Scotland is known, amongst other things, for its dramatic scenery, bagpipes, interesting cuisine, kilts, tartan, and the Loch Ness Monster! It is also known for strong and fiery Scottish whisky. There are numerous distilleries throughout Scotland, providing the world with some of the best spirits.
No distillery is the same, and they use different methods to create Scottish whisky. A tour of several different establishments is recommended for enthusiasts. There are also many bars and restaurants throughout Scotland where you can sample some locally produced whisky.
Different parts of Scotland are known for producing different types of whisky. Some of the main areas where you can visit a selection of Scotland’s whisky distilleries are:
This is the biggest whisky producing area in Scotland in terms of actual production and the number of distilleries. The fresh rivers and springs provide the perfect water for making the whisky that is so popular. Of particular note are the area’s single malts. Every distillery follows its own traditions and techniques. The area is home to many distilleries that are listed on The Malt Whisky Trail, which is the only such trail across the entire globe. The country’s only working cooperage is also on the trail, where you can see massive barrels being made – you can even have a go yourself!
Over half of all the country’s distilleries are located in Speyside. There are too many distilleries in Speyside to list them all, although some famous ones include Cardhu Distillery, the tiny Benromach, Glen Elgin, Glen Grant, Tomintoul, Cragganmore, Longmorn, Glenrothes, Mortlach, and Strathmill.
The whisky festivals in May and September are particularly good fun!
The largest geographical whisky area in Scotland is the Highlands. Various types of whisky are made in the rugged area, including those that have a spicy kick to them. There are also those with fruity twangs, and you can enjoy the beautiful scenery as you relax with a dram of the finest whisky. Scotland’s highest distillery is located in the Highlands. The unique Malt Whisky Trail also runs through the Highlands.
Some distilleries in the area to visit include Oban, Fettercain, Ben Nevis, Dalmore, Isle of Jura, Tomatin, and Dewar’s World of Whisky.
The whiskies from this part of Scotland are often referred to as the Lowland Ladies due to their softer flavours. Whilst there are only a few distilleries still open and operating in this area, it is still worth a visit for those who want to sample a different type of the spirit as well as those looking to sample the cultural and historical delights of Dundee, Glasgow, Perth, and Dumbarton.
You can visit the Scotch Whiskey Experience, Glenkinchie, Bladnoch, and Auchentoshan.
Islay and Campbeltown
In the western part of Scotland, these two areas do not have so many distilleries today, but they are still very interesting places for whiskey lovers.
The island of Islay uses the natural peat that covers most of the ground to make slightly salty flavoured single malts. There are eight distilleries on Islay, and they are all really close to each other, meaning that you can visit a wide selection in a relatively short space of time.
Campbeltown was a major whiskey area in the past, but there are only two distilleries today that are open for visitors. One, Springbank, is the oldest family owned distillery in the country, and the other was the first distillery to open in Scotland in the new millennium.
You will certainly be spoiled for choice when you visit Scotland’s whiskey distilleries!