Excellent tour and Steve our guide and driver was awesome. Full of knowledge and humour. Very helpful and has lovely knees. Nice to be in a small group. The cottages were very nice and of course the distilleries were an interesting experience. If you're a whiskey lover then this tour is for you.
A dream come true for a fan of Islay Single Malt. In depth tours and tastings at 3 distilleries and mini-tours and tastings at 3 more. Even an opportunity to pour your own bottle right from the cask, visit historic sites, walk through a peat bog, and stake your claim to a square foot of Laphroig (and collect a wee bottle of 10 year old from them as rent for use of your property). The cottages at Bowmore were delightful. The trip to and from Edinburgh is on a very comfortable coach and ferries. Lots of stops along the way to visit Lochs, castles and quaint villages. Our driver and guide, Emily, with her university education in the history of Scotland was extremely informative and entertaining.
The trip to Islay started with difficulty in so far as we were initially directed to gather at the wrong location. Viator made a feeble attempt to correct this error prior to our trip sending us a vague imprecise email with the correct gathering location that made no attempt to illuminate the error. In any case a staff member from the tour company, found us at the wrong location and redirected us to the correct location. Unfortunately all but two seats were taken and my wife and I spent the initial portion of the tour seated in different areas of the bus, a situation that corrected itself the next day and for the remainder of the trip. The Whisky Tour itself was phenomenal and more than made up for the initial displeasure we experienced. We would make two suggestions. First, all participants should be informed that they will get one, and only one, opportunity to purchase whisky at each distillery. Unfortunately we put off the purchase of a select whisky at the Bowman Distillery and never had another opportunity to make a purchase despite staying at the Bowman Distillery cottages themselves. More our loss because 1/we could not find the selected whisky in Edinburgh upon our return and 2/ the prices are significantly higher in Edinburgh - a point that was not emphasized on the tour. Lastly, we tipped our guide Emily and our driver Jamie generously because of their outstanding work. But, at no time, were tipping guidelines discussed or even mentioned. Overall we enjoyed the tour which was both educational and rewarding in oh so many ways. The Bowman Distillery cottages were everything you would expect and more. We had a power loss on one occasion when we started both the dishwasher and the washer/dryer at the same time, but the breaker was easy to reset. We could have used to directions for the washer/dryer, but we managed. We'd go on the tour again in a heartbeat.
This tour is the perfect mix of whisky tasting and sight seeing. Our tour guide, Sarah, was excellent! She was very knowledgable and helpful. The accommodation at Bowmore Distillery was great, comfy beds, hot showers and a large kitchen/living area. I really can't fault this tour, if I wanted to be picky my only complaint is that I requested a double bed but was given a room with twin beds instead. Book this tour, you won't be dissapointed :)