Interesting report, David.
dstirk wrote: if you've seen one distillery you've seen most...
It's funny that you as a whisky professional feel like that, too. When I was in Scotland this year, I had the luck to be shown around Glen Scotia distillery. I then went to Islay and the landlady at our B & B asked us whether we were going to do tours on the Islay distilleries. I told her we probably wouldn't, because we'd already done a tour and if you'd seen one distillery from the inside, there wasn't all too big a difference. She then got all excited and told me I couldn't say that. This made me feel like I had done a big newbie mistake and felt quite stupid.
I guess, the truth is, all malt distilleries are different, but the process of making it is quite the same. What's different is the size and style of the mash tuns, wash backs, the stills, warehouses and so on. Then there are some distilleries with proper maltings and (most) others without. We found out that at most distilleries, it is possible to get a good look at those features without taking an official tour. Even at Ben Riach where they've not even got a visitor centre, we were allowed to sneak around, take pictures and look into the still room and so on.
Sorry for the off topic