Distilleries are often tucked away in obscurity, never getting enough attention from people that enjoy their work worldwide. The Scottish mainland is populated with some truly magnificent distilleries that have sit pretty, blending perfectly into the landscapes.
These dreamy looking distillery buildings are the pride of Scotland, yet few get the chance to revel in their beauty. Sure you may have enjoyed a bottle of The Glenlivet in some part of the world but to get to experience the very place where it was created is an otherworldly feeling.
The Whiskypedia presents a closer look at some of the best Scottish distilleries such as the Strathisla, The Glenlivet, Aberlour and more. Get to know the hallowed halls where your favourite Scotch whiskies are birthed, nurtured and perfected, making their way to mesmerize you.
The Glenlivet Distillery
The Glenlivet brand was established by George Smith, an illicit distiller who plied his trade in the sprawling countryside and green hills of the Speyside. Smith’s infamous single malt, known the region as ‘the single malt that started it all’, even tempted King George IV during his visit to Scotland.
After the Excise Act of 1824 was passed, Smith fought off competitors and fellow illicit distillers that meant to harm him for obtaining a distilling license. Tucked away in the lush plains, The Glenlivet Distillery is one of the region’s historic landmarks. Home to the mammoth, lantern-shaped copper stills used to distil ‘the single malt that started it all’, this distillery is as beautiful as it is important.
In addition to the state-of-the-art distillation equipment and warehouses for maturation, The Glenlivet Distillery houses a beautiful library, and a gift shop. Three different distillery tours are offered, with some added incentives for Guardians of The Glenlivet. A visit to this magnificent distillery will leave you enthralled by its beauty, and the stories that the walls of this building hold within them. Truly one of our favourite, and most recommended distillery tours.
The Strathisla Distillery
For a distillery to be known as the heart & soul of Chivas Regal is a massive commendation in itself, but that is still not the most admirable things about this Speyside gem. Built in 1786, the Strathisla Distillery was earlier known as the Milton before it was renamed by Sam Bronfman in 1951.
It is the oldest functioning distillery in the Highlands & Speyside region of Scotland. The Strathisla has won immense praise from visitors and other Scotch whisky lovers over the years. While the Strathisla single malt is a work of art in itself, the distillery building and structure has been admired for its beautiful architecture and design. Many consider the Strathisla Distillery to be one of Scotland’s most visually striking distillery buildings, managing to preserve its heritage throughout its nearly two and a half century existence.
The distillery is not only home to one of the most iconic Scotch brands in Chivas Regal, but is also home to the Royal Salute Vault. The ultra-premium luxury Scotch brand is created at the Strathisla itself. Created to honour nearly every major Royal event since the Coronation of Queen Elizabeth II in 1953, the Royal Salute blend is also built around the Strathisla single malt. Consistently featured on lists of the best distillery tour experiences in Scotland, the Strathisla Distillery is just as beautiful as the sublime single malt itself.
The Aberlour Distillery
Rebuilt by James Fleming in 1879, the Aberlour is one of the Speyside’s little known delights. Not only is the Aberlour single malt criminally underrated, the distillery itself is treasure hidden away from the world.
Aberlour’s Graeme Cruickshank posing with his Master Distiller of the Year award outside the Aberlour Distillery Warehouse
Located near the confluence of two rivers, the Spey and the Lour, the Aberlour Distillery is surrounded by transcendent beauty on all sides. The distillery itself is quaint, modest and quite intimate both in the way it was built, and the way it is run. Distillery tours at the Aberlour have often been cited as one of the most enriching experiences, and many believe it was Aberlour that first began the ‘bottle your own’ option for guests.
A bottle of Aberlour A’bunadh with the Penny Bridge in the backdrop. It was built by for the community by Aberlour Distillery founder James Fleming
Aberlour offers a variety of tours for their guests including a special event that introduces their guests to the art of double cask maturation, something Aberlour have mastered over the years. The Aberlour Distillery has been consistently reviewed as a phenomenal place to visit for Scotch whisky lovers, where not only the tours are breath-taking but a chance to sample rare Aberlour whiskies is up for grabs.
Not only is the Glengoyne Distillery well-known for their terrific single malt whisky, the distillery itself is one of the best places to visit in Scotland. Established in1833 by Ian Macleod, the Glengoyne is truly a unique structure, built upon the Highland line, the division between the Highlands and Lowlands region of Scotland.
The Highland Line is described as a fault zone, which, for all intents and purposes, can be described as an actual division separating the two regions of Scotland. The Glengoyne is categorized as a Highland single malt, and although their spirit is distilled in the Highlands region, it is matured in the Lowlands region. This is because the Glengoyne Distillery lies in both regions simultaneously, with the distillery technically in the Highlands region, whereas the warehouses are part of the Lowlands.
The distillery itself is quite modest, but the surrounding region plays a largely pivotal role in augmenting the beauty of the Glengoyne. Many guests have named Glengoyne as one of their best distillery visit experiences, and it has regularly been named on the best looking distilleries list alongside the Strathisla, The Glenlivet and many more.
That sums up our list of some of the best distilleries in Scotland that The Whiskypedia recommends getting to know a lot better than you do. The Glenlivet, the Strathisla, the Aberlour and the Glengoyne are some of Scotland’s finest and we will be back with more.