2015 is the Year of Food & Drink in Scotland, and, what's more, May has been dubbed Whisky Month. In honor of the occasion, members of the Connoisseurs Scotland collection of luxury hotels have introduced a bevy of ways for travelers to enjoy Scotland's uisge beatha, the “water of life.”
Located on the shores of Loch Lomond and with parts of the property in both the Highlands and the Lowlands, the hotel’s Great Scots Bar offers more than 200 whiskies. This country house hotel also has seven Whisky Suites, each of which was inspired by a Scottish distillery. The closest of those distilleries is Glengoyne, which offers a Malt Master experience, during which guests can create their own whisky to take home after learning about the blending process.
Tennis star Andy Murray’s luxury hotel opened last spring and is located less than five miles from his hometown of Dunblane. In addition to its 10 bedrooms, five suites and gate lodge, the property is also home to the Balvenie Whisky Room, a room dedicated to whisky connoisseurs and featuring the entire collection of products from Balvenie Distillery in the Speyside region, as well as a range of distilleries from elsewhere in Scotland. Cromlix’s whisky sommelier and bar team are available to host tastings and answer guests’ questions.
This city-center hotel in Edinburgh has 20 suites that are each named after a different brand of whisky, from Aberlour to Talisker and from Ardbeg to Oban. Guests who stay in these suites are given a complimentary dram of their suite’s namesake whisky in the hotel’s Snug, which lives up to its name by offering comfy chairs and a roaring fire.
Located in the town of Perthshire and host to 2014’s Ryder Cup, Gleneagles is known as one of the world’s top golf resorts. The hotel also offers a whisky blending experience in its Blue Bar, an alfresco showcase for the finest whiskies. Participants in the “Perfect Pour” experience learn how to identify and savor the flavors of Johnnie Walker Blue Label, and then they have the opportunity to craft their own blend to take home, using a selection of single malts.
The country house hotel Greywalls has 23 bedrooms, a peaceful walled garden and a private dining room that has more than 50 malt whiskies on display. The hotel enjoys a close relationship with both Balvenie and Glenfiddich distilleries, which provide tutored tastings that take guests through Scotland’s five whisky regions and explain how production affects the style and taste of each brand. Chef Mark Saddler will prepare a customized menu to match a flight of whiskies.
The MV Hebridean Princess is offering a seven-night “Spirit of Scotland” whisky cruise in March 2016, traveling from Greenock to Oban. The Hebridean Princess provides all-inclusive trips aimed at highlighting the cultural essence and historical significance of each port its guests visit. The whisky cruise will take guests to six distilleries – Glengoyne, Arran, Springbank, Laphroaig, Bowmore and Oban – in the western isles while offering side trips to castles, gardens and a private island.
Hotel du Vin One Devonshire Gardens
When guests arrive at this hotel, which occupies five Victorian townhouses in the fashionable west end of Glasgow, they’re greeted with a welcome dram of 10-year-old Macallan whisky. More whisky can be enjoyed in the welcoming bar, or in its neighboring Whisky Snug, which offers 250 whiskies from across the country. The hotel offers guests the opportunity to participate in a whisky tasting, which enables them to sample five different blends.
Old Course Hotel, Golf and Spa
A haven for golfers, the Old Course Hotel, Golf Resort & Spa in St. Andrews also attracts lovers of single malt. Its Road Hole Bar has panoramic views of the famous Old Course and stocks more than 250 whiskies, at least one from every distillery in Scotland (even those which no longer exist). The resort’s resident Whisky Experts are on hand to offer tailored tasting experiences, known as “Whisky Journeys.”
Trump International Golf Links, Scotland
Donald Trump’s MacLeod House & Lodge in Aberdeenshire – one of the newest members of the Connoisseurs Scotland family of hotels – has its very own Trump whisky, which was bottled and released to celebrate the opening of Trump International Golf Links here in July 2012. The 26-year-old Highland single malt was crafted by GlenDronach, a local distillery that dates to 1826. The blend is served exclusively at Trump International and Trump Turnberry.
Trump Turnberry, a Luxury Collection Resort, Scotland
As part of its ongoing renovations, this golf resort on the Ayrshire coastline has just opened a new Grand Tea Lounge & Bar, which serves more than 200 whiskies. Located in the heart of the hotel, the lounge offers guests a chance to enjoy a Trump whisky or the Turnberry Blend whisky. New for this year, the hotel’s concierge team has launched a “Destination Discoveries” program that highlights activities that are native to Scotland – including a complimentary whisky tasting session two times each week.