Whisky is Scotland’s national drink and its biggest export, enjoyed across the globe. With over 100 active distilleries in Scotland spread across five whisky regions, with many offering fascinating tours, there are plenty of opportunities to learn how it’s made. Each whisky has its own unique flavors and character and whatever your palate, we’re sure there’s one for you – you just have to taste a few to find it!
Scottish whisky was originally made from malted barley, although commercial distilleries began introducing whisky made from rye and wheat in the late 18th century.
Scotch whisky is divided into five categories:
A Scotch whisky produced from only water and malted barley at a single distillery by batch distillation in pot stills
A Scotch whisky distilled at a single distillery, but which may contain whole grains of other cereals besides barley.
A blend of two or more single malt Scotch whiskies from different distilleries
A blend of two or more single grain Scotch whiskies from different distilleries
A blend of one or more single malt Scotch whiskies with one or more single grain Scotch whiskies.
A few of our favorite distilleries:
Blair Athol Distillery
Blair Athol Distillery is one of the oldest working Distilleries in Scotland. Established in 1798, it stands at the gateway to the Scottish Highlands in the town of Pitlochery. It produces a 12-year-old malt whisky, and also contributes to Bell’s Blend, the most popular blended whisky in the UK.
Isle of Harris Distillery
A new distillery in the Outer Hebrides, the Isle of Harris Distillery opened in 2015 with five local distillers trained from scratch for the task of creating true island spirits. It’s known as “The Social Distillery”, an ethos which embraces the generous character of the Isle of Harris and the people who live there. A fire burns at the heart of the building, symbolizing the warmth of an Outer Hebridean welcome and the life they are bringing to the wider community.
Oban Whisky Distillery
Oban, one of the smallest distilleries in Scotland, is nestled in the heart of Oban town center, beneath a steep cliff by the sea. Founded in 1794 by local merchants Hugh and John Stevenson, the distillery has been little changed since its refurbishment in the 1890s. Visitors can enjoy a complimentary dram of the Oban 14-year-old West Highland Malt.
One of the few single-malt distilleries to remain entirely family-owned, Glenfiddich is now the world’s most-awarded Single Malt Scotch Whisky. Founded in 1887, it’s the only Scottish whisky to use a single source of water – the Robbie Dhu spring, which the company notes has “a unique highland tang wrought from millennia of flowing through Banffshire peat and over Scottish granite”.
Glen Grant was founded in 1840 by brothers John and James Grant – twenty years earlier, James Grant had helped lead the “Raid on Elgin”, the last clan revolt in Scottish history, and the tartan waistcoat he wore that day remains proudly on display at the distillery. Glen Grant prides itself on its crisp, fresh and light single malt, which is produced using extremely tall stills that help ensure only the lightest spirits becomes Glen Grant, and through the use of purifiers in both of its distillations, ensuring only the purest vapor is allowed to pass from the still to the condenser.