Whisky is as Scottish as it comes (except if you’re Marks and Spencer and think it’s British. They told their customers that “Scotland voted to stay part of England” – but that’s a rant for another day) and is known as the water of life or uisge-beatha in Gaelic. We’re going to look at some of the best distilleries to visit in this blog.
Laphroaig Distillery – Islay
Located on the south of the island of Islay off the west coast of Scotland, Laphroaig is the only whisky that bears the royal warrant of the Prince of Wales (his favourite is the 15-year-old apparently). As with all Islay whiskies, the character is heavily peated with as many as 55 ppm of phenol. The flavour is commonly described as medicinal, but you wouldn’t expect anything less from what Laphroaig themselves describe as “the most richly flavoured of all Scotch whiskies.” If you’re visiting the island, Laphroaig is situated close to both the Ardbeg and Lagavulin distilleries, so it’s a great opportunity to visit all three.
Springbank Distillery – Campbeltown
If you want to see the most traditional of all whisky manufacturing processes, then a trip to the Kintyre peninsula is a must. Campbeltown is its own whisky region and was at one time home to 30 distilleries before the quality dropped due to fish barrels being used for the maturation process. Today there are three distilleries in Campbeltown – Springbank (opened in 1828), Glengyle (opened in 2004) and Glen Scotia (opening in 1828 and which also has a tour and visitor centre and is definitely worth the trip if you’ve made the long journey to Campbeltown). The distillery produces three types of Whisky – Springbank, a two and a half times distilled lightly-peated malt, Longrow, a more heavily peated double-distilled malt and Hazelburn a triple distilled non-peated triple distilled malt in the Irish Whisky Style. All of the whisky is non-chill filtered and doesn’t contain colourants like other malts. The distillery is the only Scottish distillery that turns grain into bottles of whisky on-site, so why not go and see the only Scottish distillery producing bottles of whisky?
Glenmorangie – Highlands
Glenmorangie is one of the most famous whiskies in the world with a global market share of 6% in the single malt market. The distillery started life as a brewery before being converted in 1843 using two converted gin stills to produce the spirit. Today the distillery uses 12 stills to produce its spirit and they are the tallest in Scotland, standing at 8 metres tall. The sixteen men of Tain that used to produce all the whisky has been expanded to 24 in recent years to help produce the 10 million bottles a year that the distillery produces. Available in most markets around the world, Glenmorangie is hugely famous, getting a mention in the 1980s film Highlander and has even made it into an album title – “The Sixteen Men of Tain” by Jazz fusion virtuoso guitarist Allan Holdsworth.