Whether you’re a staunch fan of “a wee dram” or simply want to discover more about what is arguably Scotland’s most famous export, whisky distillery tours are always a treat.
Many Scottish distilleries boast amazing histories, as well as use a variety of highly individualised techniques and processes to create their distinctive malts.
Take a look below to discover more about five of the most intriguing and well-known distilleries in Scotland, as well as details of the tours you can take to discover more and enjoy some exceptional sampling.
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Included as part of the Highland Whisky Enthusiasts Discover Tour, the Glenmorangie distillery has been producing premium single malt whisky for over 150 years. Created in Scotland’s tallest stills and skilfully matured in premium casks, the smooth, complex flavour is a perennial favourite. The distillery is particularly regarded for its use of casks (wood), as the whisky is matured first in ex-bourbon casks, then in ex-wine casks. This process adds additional notes to the final taste.
An absolute “must visit”, the Ardberg Distillery forms part of the popular Islay Whisky Enthusiasts Discovery Tour. If you crave award-winning whisky, Ardbeg is the place to go. In the past few years, the whisky has won a range of significant accolades, including World Whisky of the Year and World’s Best Single Malt. Phenolic malt and soft water from the distillery’s own supply are thought to be part of the secret behind Ardberg’s remarkable flavour, which is a firm favourite with whisky lovers across the globe.
The Speyside lucky dip whisky tour is a golden opportunity to enjoy a selection of different distillery experiences in the Speyside area. When it comes to distillery density, Speyside probably comes close to the top of the pile! Home to well-known names such as Aberlour, Benrowmach, Cragganmore and Glen Moray distilleries, there are plenty of opportunities to try some of the best malts out there! Four different distilleries are picked at random to form the basis of the tour, so whisky lovers will benefit from an element of surprise in their tour destinations!
By DeFacto [CC BY-SA 4.0 ], from Wikimedia Commons
The Isle of Mull and the island of Iona are the location for the unforgettable Magical Mull Discovery tour, which includes a visit to Tobermory distillery. One of the longest trading commercial distilleries in Scotland, Tobermory distillery is located on the Island of Mull. The distillery boasts two single malts, each with a markedly different flavour. Whether you prefer a fruity malt or long for a smoky, more tangy choice, the Tobermory distillery won’t disappoint.
Alan Jamieson [CC BY-SA 3.0 ], via Wikimedia Commons
The Luxury North Coast 500 tour is perfect for visitors who want to explore the Balblair distillery in more detail. Established in 1790, the distillery prides itself on perfect maturation times and the production of award-winning whisky that is beautifully crafted by a highly skilled and dedicated team.
In 1823, the Excise Act was issued in Scotland which made it less easy for illicit distilleries to operate. This effectively ‘legalised’ whisky distilling.