A tour of Diageo distilleries with Ingvar Ronde

So, once again I go touring distilleries with Ingvar Ronde, my Swedish whisky expert pal. April 2018 saw us first into Blair Atholl Distillery in Pitlochry. Right away, awaiting our guide Derek Younie (SOM) we waited in the newly finished reception and bar area. The bar caught my attention right away, an old washback that has been superbly brought in to be the new bar, the photos say it all. Can I just say (on a personal note) that each Diageo distillery we toured, the questions can get unanswered or worked around, not all the info requested is forthcoming. Shall I say “careful” with answers to certain questions and generally no photos. But a good tour. We next called in to chat with Neil Murphy (SSM) at Dalwhinnie Distillery. New stills here, an hour, a dram and a departure. Glen Elgin Distillery next, a nice girl Fraya took us around, not the best looking site – and it was raining – but we had a great tour. After lunch Cardhu Distillery with SSM Andrew Millsopp, a jolly, cheerful guy, very friendly and a long timer with the company. A great wee chat in the Library pre tour, the actual tour was good, also meeting the girls in the office – I have many contacts with them but all by email, so nice to put faces to the emails. I like it here a lot and to be honest, we take tour groups often. Another chat with drams and an end to a good visit. Four hairy coo’s in the field today.

Blair Atholl Distillery Visitor centre - new bar made of a whisky still

Dailuaine – one of my favourite drams.  We went to see Archie, ex Royal Marine and not the typical manager for a Diageo distillery.   He was forthcoming, very humorous, said his piece and made me laugh every few minutes. A great guided tour of all areas even those not now used, it is always good when someone at a distillery says “(I know your face”, happy worker in the still room told me this, he knows me from his earlier job at Speyside Cooperage, as a Cooper, nice to be recognised eh! Like his pal Andrew, he gave us a dram and a long chat in his office to end the tour.  Next,  Glen Spey, Perry the fun Canadian took time to show us around, he was fun, great guy, so knowledgeable, much of his comment went way above my head but it was a really great time.   Nuno Antunes joined us on part of the tour. Again, not the most good looking distillery but a great informative and refreshing tour. A wee drive to Mortlach Distillery, another favourite dram of mine. Meeting up with Rune Molvik (SSM) and a tour with Mark Brunton (SOM), Mark is quite new but gave a great tour, the distillery lends itself to tours, but sadly not open to the public generally. Finally on this trip, Glenkichie Distillery. Andrew guided our tour, very interesting, one of the distilleries that will benefit from new investment soon. A good tour, including the beast that is the still room, second largest stills in Scotland I think. Followed by a great tasting, thanks Andrew.



Glen Spey Distillery stills in Rothes

So, Diageo distilleries, some are a great tour (public) some a wee bit ordinary – these are my views by the way – with many more that we hadn’t time to see. Big news from Diageo with many millions £’s being pumped into Scotland, keep a look out!  Several excellent whiskies in their portfolio, and I have a few pals who work in them or have worked there (Vic for example). They feature in our tours and will remain to do so – we cannee ignore the largest drinks company in the world can we?

PAUL MCLEAN, www.mcleanscotland.com