Top 10 Distillery Visits in Scotland

In summary

Any distillery tour is a must for Whisky enthusiasts but here is a selection of some of the best. The only way to find out whether we’re right or not is to go and find our for yourself!

With a view of the firth for the distillery, this is a tour that introduces you to Scotland’s scenery as well as exceptional Glenmorangie malt.  the distillery itself is picturesque and a lovely building to walk through.  On the tour you’ll learn everything there is to know about Glenmorangie and the malt made there. There are three tours on offer, The Original, The Signet and The Heritage. The Heritage is especially interesting as you are given a glimpse at how the distillery’s surroundings contribute to the making of their malt with a visit to the Tarlogie Springs.

This distillery tour was awarded Best Visitor Attraction of 2013 at the Scottish Thistle awards.  The Glenlivet has a long history and captures that in the three tours it offers, the standard Distillery Tour, The Glenlivet Inspiration and The Legacy Tasting Experience.  One of the most eciting parts of the Glenlivet experience is the chance to fill your own bottle.  What could be better to commemorate your visit than a bottle of great malt that you hand filled?  As well as some great tours there is also the opportunity to walk the Glenlivet smugglers trails.  What a great way to relive the smuggling experience that so many distilleries are built on!

3. Highland Park

Located on the Isle of Orkney at the very northern tip of Scotland is Highland Park.  This is a beautiful distillery to visit simply for the fact that you’ll experience so much of the Scottish countryside on the way up.  There are four tours on offer from Highland Park and each one gives you a different glimpse of the legendary distillery.  It is best to book these tours in advance as they only take 15 people at a time.  With the Magnus Eunson tour you have the chance to taste and compare up to seven Whiskies.

Found on the famous Whisky island of Islay, Laphroaig is a must for anyone who loves peated Scotch.  They offer four different tours, including the Water to Whisky Tour that takes you on the full journey of your dram, from water to Whisky.  At the end you get to bottle your own and take home a little momento of your time there.  On the tasting tours you are given the opportunity to learn how to really appreciate your dram and get the most flavour out of it.

5. Talisker

The Lord of peated Whisky, Talisker is a must visit for all hard-core smoke-heads.  The distillery is located on the Isle of Skye and is perched right on the edge of the island.  It showcases the most extreme of Scottish landscapes, with a rugged coast and crashing waves.  The sea air that is so vital to Talisker needs to be tasted to be believed.  The shortest tour is 45 minutes long, so it’s well worth travelling to in order to experience it.  You can see everything that goes into the making of Talisker, including the worm tubs that are only found at a handful of distilleries.

Home to both the Glenturret and Famous Grouse brands, Glenturret Distillery is in the Highland region and is one of the oldest distilleries in Scotland.  Glenturret has three different tours, ranging from £10-30, which is a pretty good price range.  On each of these you have the opportunity to try and compare some of the best Whiskies the distillery has to offer.  These tours all focus on tasting and while you’ll learn more about Glenturret and The Famous Grouse and their distilling processes, you’ll learn even more about their drams and how to appreciate them.

Isle of Arran is a little known distillery but produces some fantastic malt.  Their visitor centre is award winning and has great food as well as drink.  Isle of Arran Distillery offers three tours, each of varying price but beginning at the pretty reasonable £7.50.  This distillery is warm and welcoming and though many may be attracted to bigger names in the Scotch world, it is places like the Isle of Arran that capture the traditional heart of Whisky distillation.  The CASKS café is the best place to stop after your tour and relax, taking in the amazing scenery and malt.

Situated near the coast in the Speyside region, Benromach is a beautiful distillery that is just waiting for you to discover more about its malts.  There are many tours available at Benromach with each giving you a different glimpse of the distillery and its story.  Perhaps the most interesting tour is the Personal Distillery Tour with distillery manager Keith Cruickshank.  This is the perfect opportunity to hear some exclusive anecdotes and pick the brain of an industry expert.  You even get the chance to fill and take home your own bottle from the distillery-own single cask.

Ardbeg is another Islay distillery perched right on the edge of the island.  It is perhaps most well known for its trips into space, when some molecules of Scotch were sent into orbit to measure the effect it had on maturation.  They pride themselves on the thought they pour into their drams and present this knowledge to visitors.  One of their tours is especially interesting as the pull apart every step of the distillation process, examine it, and then put it back together.  This is certainly guaranteed to be an intriguing tour where you will learn things that are perhaps not as well addressed in other distilleries.

The Macallan is one of the oldest and best Scotches in the world and finds itself in the Speyside village of Craigellachie.  They produce and sell some of the most expensive Whisky and are renowned for their beautiful decanters.  The Macallanoffers only one tourbut at £15 and 1 Hour and 45 minutes long, it is well worth it.  Their visitor centre is very modern and up-to-date and you will get to learn about the long and interesting history of such a well-known brand.  The distillery is situated on the Macallan estate and gives you a glimpse of the astounding Speyside

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My name is Greg, and I’m a brand strategy consultant, writer, speaker, host and judge specialising in premium spirits. My mission is to experience, share and inspire with everything great about whisky, whiskey, gin, beer and fine dining through my writing, my brand building and my whisky tastings.

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