Touring a whisky trail at home or abroad is a rite of passage for any whisky enthusiast—and like most things, more fun with friends. If planning a whisky trail tour yourself seems too daunting, seek out help from one of many touring companies eager to plan and tailor an excursion to meet your club’s specific goals. “Our tours are all-inclusive—meaning we book everything from guaranteed tour times to lunch outings, tasting sessions, and more—and feature informative tour leaders and drivers who provide a wealth of whiskey knowledge along the way,” says Sara Havens, director of marketing for Mint Julep Tours, which has offices in Kentucky and Tennessee. They can even add liquor store stops to your route.
Similar trails and tours exist in Scotland, Ireland, and even Australia. “We work with many whisky clubs from around the world, and we ensure that every tour is individual,” says Paul McLean, co-owner of Whisky Tours Scotland. “Touring distilleries opens your club up to new whiskies, new experiences, and new tastings, plus they get to see where their favorite whiskies are produced.”
For an enthusiast, no whisky is as memorable as one tasted where it was produced. “Reading about it, talking about it, or just sipping samples of it don’t hold a candle to actually stepping on the hallowed grounds of a legendary distillery,” Havens says.
Top Trails to Explore Around the World
These distillery trails are ever evolving. Check websites for latest details.
Kentucky Bourbon Trail
The granddaddy of American whiskey trails features key bourbon producers along with must-try culinary and cocktail destinations. Consider also exploring the Kentucky Bourbon Trail Craft Tour and the B-Line in Northern Kentucky.
Tennessee Whiskey Trail
A sprawling statewide tour spanning Nashville to Memphis and everywhere in between, this trail is best tackled in three parts.
The Malt Whisky Trail, Speyside
Discover the most iconic names in single malt in this beautiful driving tour of just over 40 miles.
North East 250, Aberdeen
This ambitious 250-mile scenic loop is a favorite of drivers and well-trained cyclists.
The Irish Whiskey Trail
Spanning all of Ireland, you’ll find stunning natural landscapes, waterfalls, pubs, and, of course, distilleries.
Tasmanian Whisky Trail
A historical distilling hotspot, Tasmania recently returned to whisky making (resumed in 1992) and now boasts more than a dozen distilleries.