The most inspired travel itineraries stem from something beyond simply a desire to behold wonders in foreign lands. They feed a passion or answer a higher calling. For whisky aficionados, a pilgrimage to the fabled Glenmorangie distillery in the Scottish Highlands hits the mark on both counts.
The journey begins with a touchdown in Scotland’s capital city of Edinburgh. A delightful blend of the past and present, the metropolis deserves a day or two spent exploring attractions like Old Town and Edinburgh Castle. And of course one can’t help but indulge in some high-quality cashmere and wool from the bustling shops along famed Princes Street.
A picturesque jaunt through the Scottish countryside culminates at the beautifully restored Glenmorangie House, situated among barley fields on the outskirts of the burgh of Tain and overlooking the unadulterated shores of the Moray Firth. The expansive grounds feature immaculate gardens, the ruins of a 13th century castle, and an inviting tree-lined path leading to the beach. A stay in one of the six bedrooms (as well as the three nearby cottages) includes afternoon tea, multi-course meals and the company of fellow whisky enthusiasts. Dressed in rich tweeds and tartans, the property’s luxuriously intimate accommodations have attracted the likes of Prince Charles and singer Sting, who enjoyed a holiday here when Madonna and Guy Ritchie wed at nearby Skibo Castle in 2000.
Of course, the highlight of a stay here is no doubt a visit to the Glenmorangie distillery, where the legendary Men of Tain craft the celebrated single-malt Scotch whiskies that have captivated the world of spirits since 1843. A variety of tours guide visitors through the whisky-making process and highlights of the property, such as the Highland Cathedral: the storied still house that’s home to Scotland’s tallest stills. Lucky guests might even spot Director of Whisky Creation, Distilling & Whisky Stocks Bill Lumsden (affectionately known as Dr. Bill) and heir apparent Brendan McCarron on the premises.
Savvy travelers can take advantage of Glenmorangie House’s dedicated Whisky Tasting Weekends, which are held periodically throughout the year and include a distillery tour, a steady flow of drams, and expert guidance on tastings. A sojourn at the serene property, with its trademark Highland hospitality and unmatched access to its namesake distillery’s distinguished creations, surely should sit at the top of any whisky aficionado’s bucket list.