Paul McLean hails from Connel on the shores of the beautiful Loch Etive in Argyll, Scotland. This ‘West Coast Wanderer’ was raised in a land of natural beauty, complete with a history that can rival pretty much anywhere in Scotland.
Leaving school as a lad of 16 years. The man in question, Paul McLean, was employed directly with an Advertising Agency. Here Paul learned his trade, Advertising, Marketing, and Design. Spending some Twenty plus years in the Advertising and Marketing Sector, some would say Paul was living the dream. As by this point, he had his own Advertising/Marketing Agency. However ‘some’ would be wrong!
Through a request made by friends from the United States of America, Paul’s work life was to take a dramatic change. The request in question, was for Paul to drive his ‘friends and party,’ around Scotland during their holiday. The favour was duly completed, and all went well. Better still Paul got a bit of a kick out of his ‘Chauffeur come Tour Guide’ role.
Two months later, request #2 was made to Paul; Asking if he would be prepared to do his Tour Guide once again. The initial group Paul had enlightened with the beauty of Scotland, had raved so much about their vacation to their friends about the sights Paul took them to see, not to mention the snippets of ‘times gone by,’ he enthralled them with through his adept knowledge of Scottish History. These friends of friends wanted to experience much of the same.
Hello ‘McLean Scotland.’ Goodbye ‘Advertising Agency’
Possibly a Midlife Crisis or just a Lifestyle choice. However, Paul decided it was time to turn his back on the Advertising Agency and embark on his new career in Tourism.
Mclean Scotland(Paul’s) repertoire now extends well beyond taking a few tourists around the Bonnie shores of Scotland. Holding on to his coat tails listening to him wax lyrical on the history of Alba. Expansion has led to Driver Guided Tours, Group Tours, Self Drive Tours, Whisky Tours, Fishing Expeditions, Golf Tours and Pipe Band Events. This is not to mention the Renewal of Vows package that is offered.
Thank you to The Middle Corner for this biography of Paul McLean
How do the experiences you offer at Whisky Tours Scotland give guests a unique perspective on the history, people or culture of your region?
We have three types of whisky tourist; Starter, medium whisky experience and experts! All receive the same professional service.
How have the experiences that you offer evolved since their inception?
Basically, some years back, whisky tourism really took a boost and we followed that boost by expanding our “normal” tours, to more specialized. We now offer everything from first time beginner, to expert – all all in between.
What is one detail of an experience you provide that may go unnoticed by guests, but which you feel is important?
We feel a very personal experience is utmost in our service, every person on tour is equally important and we provide the same service to a person on a day tour, as we do for people on a two week tour! With our own careful research for every tour, this research generally goes un noticed, as it cannot be “seen” on the surface, although we do get comments at the tour end on this.
What do you wish every guest knew as they consider participating in the experiences you offer?
The 20 odd years of experience, the vast amount of time spent on research before a tour (often before a quote), and maybe most importantly; the vast experience and network of whisky trade contacts.
What is one travel trend that really excites you?
People who understand whisky and know we have worked hard for them.
What sets Whisky Tours Scotland apart from other, similar, tour companies?
I would say the level of personal service and attention to detail. Also the amount of variety on our tours; whisky visits, tastings, whisky schools dinners and special events.
What is one insiders tip to getting the most out of an experiential travel vacation?
Tell your provider everything you want, don’t want, be honest.
What is one strategy that has helped your business to grow?
Our range of whisky contacts, from trade contacts, to distillery people. By using our network well, we can design that bespoke tour.
What is one personal habit that has helped you to be successful?
Loving whisky ourselves! It’s no good trying to sell something you know nothing about.
Please share one instance where a guest had a moving or emotional reaction to the experience you provided to them.
It is to hard to choose just one, here are three:
After organizing excellent group tours for us in Scotland, we decided to choose Whisky Tours Scotland as the organizer of Malt Whisky Association of Finland’s first-ever venture to Ireland. Now this was a really wise decision, which we did not regret one bit, on the contrary! Our week-long tour of Ireland could not have been better organized. Paul’s network of contacts and ability to provide us with lovely, unexpected surprises on the tour (like a live local band & ex-tempore whiskey tasting, guided by an expert at Hugh Lynch’s pub in Tullamore – what a night!) really made us all extremely happy indeed.
Mika Jansson. President, Malt Whisky Association of Finland.
Paul, This was a whisky tour of my dreams, a VERY impressive tour – lots of great sightseeing and 36 whisky distilleries (21 full-scale tours)! Lots of fun, magnificent drams and a very lovely and friendly atmosphere. The tour was truly fabulous – perfectly planned, greatly executed, every little detail was considered during 6 days! – a truly marvelous experience for a true whisky lover like me !! I very much appreciate your highly professional approach and have no hesitations in recommending Whisky Tours Scotland as the best whisky tour operator.
Timofei Prokopov. CFO, Vice President Finance & Investments, OAO Protek, Russia
Dear Paul and Liz, I wanted to personally thank both of you for all of your help and expertise in making our Scotland trip one of our best holidays. Your partnership and personalities made it seem that we were visiting friends than a business relationship. In many ways I think Paul and I are kindred spirits in our passion for history, politics and most importantly whiskey. Without both of your company our trip would not have been as memorable. I look forward to receiving our whisky that you are shipping and salivate at the thought of it. Thanks again for all of your help and company in making our trip so memorable. Please keep in touch as I don’t know who else in the world I’ll be able to share our interest and passion of whisky. By no means are we experts but we are further down the road of being merely informed consumers.
Jonathan & Lauren. Hoboken, New Jersey