No doubt, Scotland is the country of the whisky. It is home to over 100 producers of Scotch whisky, from the Highlands to the Islands, many of them in scenic settings. They blend solid tours, great whisky, a dose of history into one memorable visit. As single malt enjoys something of a renaissance, we’ve selected six of the finest distilleries producing Scotland’s greatest drams.
The Dalwhinnie distillery, located at the center of the impressive Cairngorms National Park, is one of the highest whisky producing distilleries in Scotland where clear, crisp spring water and peat are abundant. The Dalwhinnie distillery uses spring water from a unique source that no other distillery can use. Therefore Dalwhinnie only can yield a distinctively clean and malty-sweet taste, with a smooth and smoky flavor.
The white-painted Dalwhinnie Distillery with its two original pagodas sits beautifully in the mountains of the Scottish Highlands. Visitors to Dalwhinnie get the opportunity to do tastings of the distillery’s single malt paired with the finest chocolate.
Glenfarclas, which in Gaelic means “Glen of the green grassland”, nestles at the foot of the Ben Rinnes mountain, in the heart of the Speyside area. In 1865, the Glenfarclas Distillery was purchased by the famous Grant family, and since then they have intended to brew only the finest single malt whisky possible.
Glenfarclas is renowned for its traditional full bodied and well-sherried whisky. First-class ingredients, the unique size and shape of the copper pot stills, conventional distillation methods, and the specially selected oak casks determine the unique character of Glenfarclas that have won numerous rewards.
Glenmorangie sits in a scenic setting on the shores of the Dornoch Firth, in northern Scotland. The distillery distinguishes itself by sourcing casks from all over the world and maturing whiskies only twice instead of the usual five times creating inventive whiskies such as the sherry cask aged Lasanta.
The distillery offers various tours including a tour where you have the chance to visit the water source at nearby Tarlogie Springs. Or you can make a reservation to stay in one of their cottages, next to the Glenmorangie house, which are surrounded by magnificent fields of barley and the most spectacular coastal views.
The Bruichladdich distillery, built in 1881, sits opposite the western shore of Loch Indaal on the southern Hebridean island of Islay. The distillery describes itself as ‘progressive Hebridean distillers’, and are proud to be non-conformist and to do things a little differently. This modern approach is contrasting their traditional and local values to maturing and bottling all their spirits on the island, using only Scottish-produced barley and retaining conventional equipment.
The distillery produces a vast range of cask-finished whiskies, many of which are non-traditional for whisky aging, such as casks which used to hold white wines like the French Jurançon and Italian Pinot Gris.
The Talisker distillery is tucked away in a peaceful spot on the west coast of Skye, overlooking Loch Harport. Talisker, founded in 1830, is the only remaining distillery on the Isle of Skye producing a wonderfully powerful and award-winning single malt.
Talisker is not only an esteemed single malt among scotch enthusiasts, but instead is one of a few whiskies that is loved all over the world for its maritime character. The tasting and finishing roundtable discussion over six drams of Talisker’s spirits makes for an excellent afternoon break from hiking Skye’s famous hills.
While some Scottish distilleries are easily accessible by car, trekking to Highland Park is an adventure in itself. Highland Park is Scotland’s northernmost whisky distillery, located in the heart of the Orkney Islands. Surrounded by vast plains of barley fields and rocky outcrops, it is the salty air from the north Atlantic that contributes to the rich flavor of Highland Park Whiskies.
In their parlor room, you can taste a full range of their single malts and sign up for a tutored tastings of rare Highland Park Vintages. For the ultimate exclusive hands-on experience, the distillery offers the chance to work for a day at the facility, before relaxing in front of an open fire and be treated to a grand dinner.