The Highlands whisky region is vast, with distilleries spread far and wide, making it the country’s largest area of production. All the way from Orkney to the Isle of Arran, there are fantastic places to enjoy the nation’s favourite tipple. Thanks to the ever-evolving landscape and unpredictable climate, there’s much variety for whisky connoisseurs. You’ll find full bodied and heathery varieties to light, fruity whiskies to whet the whistle. Then there’s the island whiskies that tend to be lovely, sweet and deliciously smoky.
Want to know more about Highlands whiskey? Here are the top distilleries to visit:
Pulteney Distillery in Wick is the most northerly on the mainland, ideally close to Thurso for anyone looking to explore its beaches or surf spots. Almost 200 years after its opening, this distillery continues to use traditional methods to create its whisky. A wonderful maritime malt, the spirit captures the very essence of its unique coastal location. Brand ambassador and Michelin star chef, Aiden Byrne, has also created some exciting Pulteney pairings to help guests match the whisky to their food.
Royal Lochnagar Distillery & Visitor Centre
The Royal Lochnagar Distillery is located on the south side of the River Dee, at the foot of the Cairngorm Mountains. It is also not too far from the spectacular Balmoral Castle, the official Scottish residence for the British Royal Family. Brimming with rich heritage and great whisky, this is a destination for history fans and whisky connoisseurs alike. Choose from a range of guided tours to experience this timeless and very exclusive spirit, fed by the crystal clear waters of the nearby Scarnock springs.
Discover the softer side of the Highlands at the Tomatin Distillery & Visitor Centre. There are a number of different tours you can go on and plenty of award-winning whiskies to try. The naturally soft waters of Alt-na-Frith combined with tender Scottish barley and Tomatin’s copper stills create a mellow, fruity spirit. One that is enjoyed by drinkers of every level. Try the core range as well as some of the limited edition varieties whilst you’re there. Located just 16 miles south of Inverness, this distillery is ideally located for anyone holidaying in the Highlands capital.
This is Skye’s second whisky distillery, configured to produce a typical island-style single malt scotch whisky. Expect it to be medium in weight and medium-peated, made through a long fermentation process in Douglas Fir washbacks. The copper interaction makes it a lovely fruit-driven drink. The distillery has a visitor centre with tours, open Monday to Friday 10am-5pm or Saturday to Sunday 10am-4pm. Tours cost £10 for 45 minutes and includes a tutored tasting session. On-site, you will also find a café with a courtyard and a whisky shop for souvenirs.
Since 1824, this distillery has gone to extraordinary lengths to create the best possible whisky using the purest expression of the whisky’s character. Over the two centuries, generations and generations of distillers and engineers have passed through, ensuring that they maintain the distillery’s quality of production. Don’t miss your chance to visit Fettercairn Distillery, located at the foothills of the Cairngorms. It is conveniently equidistant between Aberdeen and Perth, making it an ideal day out for anyone exploring the Highlands and its many towns and cities. Embark on a guided tour and enjoy a dram or two of Fettercairn’s exceptional single malts.