The Southport Whisky Trail is a fantastic new experience that allows you to take in the sights and sounds of Southport, visit some of the town’s best independent pubs, and taste a selection of exclusive, premium whiskies.
What is it all about?
It’s marketed as being a great experience for:
- A whisky connoisseur
- People visiting the area
- Organising a stag party
I’d add to that and say it’s a great experience for someone who is generally just curious about whisky and wants to have a great few hours out enjoying the town, the great venues along the way and that’s before you even try the fantastic Whiskies!
To kick things off, you need to go to:
And get yourself a ticket. Once you have bought your ticket online, you report to The Guest House to collect your glass, carry box, map and starter dram. Make sure you print out your order confirmation so that you can redeem it at The Guest House. Once redeemed, you will have everything you need to start the trail, everything apart from a nice cold refreshing pint (unless you’re super prepared).
The weather was glorious and me and my good mate John Watkinson were really looking forward to getting started on the trail. It seemed only right to kick off our tour with a nice light jar of Wainwrights in the sun.
Let the trail commence
A warm-up pint gave us lots of time to read the map and plan out our preferred route. There is no set order, you can make it up as you go along or spend a little bit of time planning the logistics – whichever you prefer.
We wanted a bit of structure to our trail so we spent a few minutes planning it out, in between catching up and enjoying the refreshing cool beer in the scorching Southport sun.
Once we had our route drafted, we were ready to start enjoying our first dram.
All Whiskies that you get to experience on the trail are some of the very best Whiskies from Southport Whisky Clubs’ specially curated collection. All of the club bottlings are scrutinised and hand selected by the clubs’ very own Man With The Hat – Victor Porter.
Our first dram was a 22 year Old Grain Whisky from Port Dundas, with only 172 bottles in existence, the trail offers a fantastic opportunity to try some very exclusive whiskies! Off to a very solid start. Well and truly warmed up, we headed onto our next chosen venue… The Windmill
Just a few minutes walk and we arrived at The Windmill, it was absolutely stacked. There were lots of punters all sat outside in the lovely seating area, enjoying good pub grub and drinks in the beaming sun.
It was great to see so many people out enjoying themselves (and more importantly these days out supporting local pubs). We headed inside to show our maps and hand over our glasses. We had a very warm welcome from the barman who proceeded to pop the cork on their dram for the trail, a Catoctin Creek Rye Whiskey finished in a Zinfandel cask.
Once again a really great quality whisky and one that I’ve wanted to try for a while. Yet another benefit of the trail is being able to try unique whiskies without having to take a punt on a whole bottle!
Drams down the hatch and a load more nattering, we were ready to box up our glasses and head over to the next venue on our list.
Our longest walk lay ahead of us (0.8 miles), but 1 pint and 2 drams in, we were as prepared for it as we could be. Just 15 minutes later and we arrived at The Cheshire Lines – yet again bustling with people lining the benches out the front, soaking up the sun, enjoying good drinks and the brilliant buzz that was apparent on approach. We were once again very warmly welcomed, with great enthusiasm from the landlady. We were asked lots of questions about the experience so far and I got the feeling she was just as excited about it as we were! It’s great to see local people coming together and sharing a passion; passion for the town and all things within it.
The lovely folk at The Cheshire Lines served us a 9 Year Old Oloroso Sherry Cask Glenfarclas which was delicious, one I have had before but had forgotten just how good it was. Once we’d finished, the very kind landlady brought over two tumblers and poured us a generous nip of one their whiskies off the bar, and congratulated us on being their first trail goers.
From here we set off in the direction of the next few stops, the plan of attack was The Shot & Chaser, Tap & Bottles and then finishing up at Masons Arms. Unfortunately on arrival at The Shot & Chaser, we were greeted by metal shutters, they were away on beer-related business. Thankfully, the Man With The Hat has thought the whole thing through and has a backup plan built in. With the reassurance of the instructions in our maps, we carried on to the next venue in our plan knowing we could return to the Guest House at the end to claim our missing dram.
On arrival at Tap & Bottles, the bar was full and an artist was performing live music – the atmosphere was brilliant.
We had a nice chat with the barman as he popped the cork on their dram for The Southport Whisky Trail – The Badger Clan Goes to Southport – a 10 year old Dailuiane one of only 117 bottles, another special bottling done by Southport Whisky Club, this one with Brave New Spirits. I was really keen to try this one as so many of the Whisky Club Members (having already tried this and bought bottles) were recently singing its praises in the group chat.
I can confirm, it certainly lives up to its reputation!
As much as we were enjoying the live music and great whisky, we wanted to make sure we had plenty of time to complete the trail, so onward we must go.
With the few long walks already covered, it was another nice short walk around the block to Mason Arms. What would they have in store for us, what would the dram be?
The gracious and welcoming barlady was very pleased to present us with 2 drams of one of my favourite Southport Whisky Club bottlings. The Loch Lomond Single Cask Peated Grain – Cask #730 This is such a bold and standout dram, it’s absolutely fantastic, and at a mighty 61.3% ABV it’s not one for the faint-hearted.
Last but by no means least, it was time to return to The Guest House for our backup dram. The final, very short walk (just over 100ft) saw us back at the start where we were able to claim our 6th dram which turned out to be a Henstone Distillery Winter Whisky Festival Single Cask bottling. Across the 6 stops we had made, we’d received fantastic quality whisky an abundance of smiles, and buckets full of hospitality. I was really impressed with how well organised it was and how welcoming every venue was. I think the trail is a fantastic initiative and will bring people from near and far to enjoy the delights of Southport and more importantly the fine whiskies that the trail has to offer.