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Scotch Malt Whisky Distillery of Scotland

California
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464 posts
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Scotch Malt Whisky Distillery of Scotland

My husband, Steve and I just returned from a scotch distillery tour of Scotland, our 3rd trip in 4 years with Jim Johnstone, of JA Johnstone Chauffeur Drive and had a wonderful experience on all trips. We wanted to visit as many distilleries as possible to tour, see production and of course taste single malt whiskies. Since tasting was an important part of our trip and because of the strict drink/driving laws in Scotland, we hired Jim to be our driver/guide and help plan our trip.

Planning came in the form of email correspondence to help us plan our itinerary, places to visit, and suggestions for hotels. Jim would have planned it all, but we preferred for him to provide suggestions and advice since there were distilleries and places we felt we must visit. Jim booked distillery tours and suggested a variety of hotels. I checked them out and reserved rooms via the internet certain that any I chose were personally recommended. Jim would have been happy to do this as well.

On our various trips we visited Edinburgh, Speyside, the Northern Highlands, Skye, and West Coast to Islay. All accomodations were more than adequate, with lots of personality; not impersonal tourist chain hotels. With Jim’s friendly stories, neighborhood restaurants and accomodations, we felt like visitors not tourists and were treated accordingly. We exchanged ideas and opinions with Jim and felt he was our friend and traveling companion rather than just our guide. At the end of each day Jim made sure we were set for the evening with restaurant suggestions and reservations.

We visited distilleries in several of the areas we traveled to. Since we are avid scotch collectors we were interested in tasting single malt scotches that were not available in the United States After visiting the scotch museum at the silent (closed and now a museum) Dallas Dhu Distillery, we had an understanding of the distilling process. Jim took the list of the scotches in our collection to the reception area and introduced us. He then explained that his American collectors were interested in their special malts. This often produced amazing results. This year I made advance reservations for tastings and Jim confirmed the bookings before we arrived in Scotland.

Jim made sure we also saw important sites throughout the country. We enjoyed visiting castles; Dunrobin, Cawder, Ballindolah, and Scone and gardens. We saw gorgeous scenery, visited historic battlefields and learned about the history of Scotland.

We highly recomment touring Scotland, distillery tasting, and most of all, our guide and friend Jim Johnstone. Let me add that Jim and his chauffer service (www.jajcd.com) are members of ASTA and also specialize in day as well as multi-day specialty tours.

Canada
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1. Re: Scotch Malt Whisky Distillery of Scotland

Hi Marcia!

Your trip sounds wonderful. My husband and I are planning to visit Scotland as well. Would you mind disclosing how you paid for the chauffer service and over what time frame?

Thanks,

Donna

Scotland, United...
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for South Ayrshire, Glasgow
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2. Re: Scotch Malt Whisky Distillery of Scotland

Could you let us know what route you took and perhaps share the names of the places and accommodations you stayed?

cheers:-)

London, United...
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3. Re: Scotch Malt Whisky Distillery of Scotland

sounds wonderful. Can you let us know how you found Jim, and what made you choose him amongst all the competition?

slanj

California
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464 posts
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4. Re: Scotch Malt Whisky Distillery of Scotland

Donna,

I'm not really sure exactly what we paid but it was in the $600-$700 dollar range per day. This is pretty standard for Europe, Australia and New Zealand included Jim's services in a nice roomy Volvo sedan and his recommendations of where to eat lunch and dinner and what to see along the way and lots of information about Scotland.

We have taken 3 trips with Jim over a 4 year period. The trips lasted 6 days, 4 days, and 3 days.

Hope this helpsl

Marcia

California
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464 posts
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5. Re: Scotch Malt Whisky Distillery of Scotland

Itineraries for our 3 trips are as follows:

1. We began our first trip in Edinburgh. We took a bus day tour to Loch Ness and left it at Inverness. Jim met us in Inverness and we spent 2 days exploring Speyside and visiting distilleries. The next day we drove to east coast stopping at Oban. We then visited Glen Coe and traveled to Tarbert. We stopped at Inveray Garden. We crossed by ferry to Islay and spent 2 days visiting the 8 distilleries there. Our last day with Jim was spent driving to Glasgow. We said goodbye to Jim and took local day tours for the next 2 days. We had a driver take us to Edinburgh where we took day tour around and out of the city. We used Rabbies for some of the tours. We visited Famous Grouse, Sterling Castle, and Melrose Abby. Rabbies provided wonderful small groups tours.

2. We were guests of Glenlivet for the first 3 days of our next trip. We met Jim in Speyside and spent the day in the area. This trip took us north as far as north as Dunrobin Castle with stops at the local distilleries.On our way back to Edinburgh we stopped at Cowder and Scone Castles.

3. Two months ago we went to Ireland with a stop in Scotland. Jim picked us up in Edinburgh and drove us to Speyside for the day. The next day we traveled to Skye and spent the night in the charming town. The next day we visited the Eileen Donan Castle and then took the scenic route to Glasgow Airport.

Most of the places we stayed in Scotland are not worth mentioning. They were adequate and helped with the budget. We stayed in 3 star hotels. We did like the Kildonnian in Edinburgh although it was a 20 bus ride to the Royal Mile. We also liked the Rosedale on Skye. We had their special Bed, Breakfast and Dinner. It seems to me that it was about $360 US for the night.

These trips were really distillery tours but we managed to see many lovely places on the way. Jim made sure of this.

California
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6. Re: Scotch Malt Whisky Distillery of Scotland

Slanj,

4 years ago we wanted to take a trip to Scotland and were given the name of a tour company. I can't remember the name but they did set us up on a very nice tour. Jim was the driver on the private tour part of our two week trip. He was so fantastic that we have used him ever since.

We were recently in Ireland with a private tour guide/driver. The contrast is the reason that we would not use anyone else in Scotland. He's the best! The Irish driver/guide was not worth the money.

Marcia

7. Re: Scotch Malt Whisky Distillery of Scotland

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