Quick Whiskey Tour ratings, done in the Entertainment Weekly style:
Bushmills – Antrim Co. A really enjoyable tour, and it goes through the working factory, so you see where the whiskey is distilled, aged, and bottle. The tour guide was knowledgeable and friendly with plenty of stories from both the past and present. After the tour, if you get a tasting ask for George, who knew his stuff on how to taste, and shared that info with us both with ease and formality. Their tasting consists of their white, black, and their 10 year, 12 year, and 21 year old single malts. The staff was respectful about their competitors, and wanted the whiskey to speak for itself, rather than have them sell you the whiskey. Grade: A Charm and knowledge are all evident on their tour.
Jamesons – Cork Co. Their Heritage Center at Midleton is a decent historical tour. If you want to see what a distillery looked like from the 19th and early 20th century, this is a decent place to go, especially if you’re a Jameson fan. The tour guide was okay, but it appeared as if she was not too thrilled with knowing her script by heart. Very little interaction with the tour group until the tasting. Their tasting consisted of the a shot of Paddy, Powers Gold, and Jameson. None of their special labels were offered. Grade: A for the historical distillery tour, C for everything else.
Jamesons – Dublin Co. The Bow St. Distillery is essentially a tour through several models of distillery equipment. The movie at the start was over the top corporate propaganda with several factual errors. This movie was also shown at the Heritage Center. The tour guide was another script reader, but was more engaged with the tour group than the one at Midleton. The tasting was the same as the one in Midleton, but there was greater emphasis on disparaging the their competitors. Grade: D+ If you want to see a Jameson tour, go to Midleton.