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15 Best Whiskey Distillery in Scotland: Exploring Excellence

Best Whiskey Distillery Scotland

Scotland, a land of rugged landscapes and rich traditions, is renowned worldwide for its impeccable craftsmanship in producing great whisky.

If you’re a whisky lover, there’s no better place to explore the heart and soul of this spirit than in Scotland. So, in this post, let me tell you the best whisky distillery Scotland has to offer.

Whether you’re new to the whisky world or belong to a group of serious connoisseurs, these Scottish distilleries will surely make your visit enjoyable and unforgettable.

Top 15 Scotch Best Whiskey Distillery Scotland

1. Lagavulin

Lagavulin Distillery

Tour Price: Around $27 to $130 (depending on the chosen tour package)

Address: Lagavulin Distillery, Port Ellen, Isle of Islay, PA42 7DZ

Star Rating: ★★★★★

Why We Like It: Lagavulin is another Islay gem – an Islay whisky distillery known for producing whiskies with a bold and smoky flavor.

The tour immerses us in the world of peat, taking us through their historic distillery. Besides, we like the whisky tastings at the end, allowing us to savor Lagavulin’s single malt whisky that lingers on the palate.

2. Laphroaig

Laphroaig Distillery

Tour Price: Around $22 to $185 (depending on your chosen tour package)

Address: Laphroaig Distillery, Port Ellen, Isle of Islay, PA42 7DU

Star Rating: ★★★★★

Why We Like It: Laphroaig is an Islay distillery offering a sensory delight. We love the on-site whisky tastings, where we can savor the distinctive peaty Islay flavors.

Among Islay whiskies, Laphroaig truly embodies the distinctive peaty and smokey flavor that characterizes this region’s whisky.

The tour takes us through the visitor center and age-old distillation process, showcasing traditional whisky production. But the highlight is the sea breeze accompanying the unforgettable experience.

3. Glenfiddich

Glenfiddich Distillery

Tour Price: Around $30 to $74 (depending on the tour package chosen)

Address: Glenfiddich Distillery, Dufftown, Banffshire, AB55 4DH

Star Rating: ★★★★★

Why We Like It: Glenfiddich, often called the “Valley of the Deer,” is one of the country’s distilleries offering tours and a tasting experience. Glenfiddich stands out from the crowd.

No other distillery can boast such impressive awards for their single malts, a testament to the exceptional quality of their whiskies.

You can explore their diverse single-malt Scotch and rare whiskies. But aside from learning about their whisky making, the pristine surroundings also add to the charm of the experience.

4. Highland Park Whisky Distillery

Highland Park Whisky Distillery

Tour Price: Around $37 to $1610 (depending on the chosen tour type)

Address: Highland Park Distillery, Holm Road, Orkney, KW15 1SU

Star Rating: ★★★★★

Why We Like It: Highland Park, the most northerly distillery in Scotland, is steeped in Norse heritage. The tours here are a voyage through time, showcasing their commitment to tradition.

You shouldn’t miss the tasting room, where you can taste their best Scotch whisky – from their best-selling single malt whisky to their 46-Year-Old Single Cask.

As you can see, the tour fee can be a bit pricey compared to other whisky distilleries. But trust us, it’s all worth it!

Read: Dancing Pines Distillery Full Guide

5. Balvenie

Balvenie Distillery

Tour Price: Around $61 per head

Address: Balvenie Distillery, Dufftown, Keith, AB55 4BB

Star Rating: ★★★★★

Why We Like It: Balvenie is truly a gem in the heart of Speyside. We got to meet with the Master Distillers during their signature tour and had the opportunity to learn their five rare crafts.

The tour is immersive, and their dedication to craftsmanship is evident in every sip. So, we saw why Balvenie is one of the best whisky expressions, not just within the Scotch-producing regions but overall.

6. Isle of Arran

Isle of Arran Distillery

Tour Price: Around $14 to $43 (depending on the tour package)

Address: Isle of Arran Distillery, Lochranza, Isle of Arran, KA27 8HJ

Star Rating: ★★★★☆

Why We Like It: The Isle of Arran Distillery, surrounded by stunning vistas, offers a range of tours showcasing their diverse Scotch expressions.

“Lochranza is the most stunning setting for a distillery and the people of Arran always have a warm welcome.” – James Bain, White Stag Member

We like the island’s charm, which is made more fun by the distillery’s warm hospitality, making this a unique destination.

Find out which Jack Daniel’s tour is the best here.

7. Aberlour

Tour Price: Around $24 to $148 (depending on the chosen tour)

Address: Aberlour Distillery, Aberlour, Banffshire, AB38 9PJ

Star Rating: ★★★★☆

Why We Like It: Aberlour Distillery, in the Speyside region, is a true gem. The tours here provide a deep insight into the whisky-making process and provide tastings from four different barrels.

We like how they showcase the impressive range of classic Speyside single-malt expressions. The historic setting and the warmth of the staff make this a must-visit in Scotland.

The servings were ample, the host was engaging, and the quality of the whisky was outstanding.

8. Glenfarclas

Glenfarclas Distillery

Tour Price: Around $14 to $185 (depending on the tour package)

Address: Glenfarclas Distillery, Ballindalloch, Banffshire, AB37 9BD

Star Rating: ★★★★☆

Why We Like It: As we scoured the Speyside region of Scotland in search of the best whisky distilleries, Glenfarclas left a strong impression on us.

Glenfarclas boasts a rich history dating back to 1836. This family-owned distillery offers a range of tours to suit every palate.

We like their traditional approach to whisky-making, and their friendly staff creates an atmosphere that feels like a step back in time. If you are visiting Scotland, don’t miss this out!

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9. Glenmorangie

Glenmorangie Distillery

Tour Price: Around $24 to $65 (depending on the tour package)

Address: Glenmorangie Distillery, Tain, Ross-shire, IV19 1PZ

Star Rating: ★★★★☆

Why We Like It: Glenmorangie is perched on the serene shores of the Dornoch Firth, producing smooth and fruity single malts.

The distillery tours offer an intimate look into their production process, from the towering copper stills to the tranquil barley malt barn fields. This is one of the oldest working distilleries, alongside Glenturret.

10. Jura

Jura Distillery

Tour Price: Around $18 to $61 (depending on the chosen tour)

Address: Jura Distillery, Craighouse, Isle of Jura, PA60 7XT

Star Rating: ★★★★☆

Why We Like It: Jura, on the remote Isle of Jura, feels like a hidden treasure. The distillery tours gave us a glimpse into island life and the nuanced flavors of Jura’s whisky.

The captivating landscapes make our visit even more enjoyable. Besides, the extended tour allows us to try Jura’s exclusive whiskies (not available to buy).

11. Glenkinchie

Glenkinchie Distillery

Tour Price: Around $23 to $167 (Depending on your chosen tour)

Address: Glenkinchie Distillery, Pencaitland, Tranent, East Lothian, EH34 5ET

Star Rating: ★★★★☆

Why We Like It: Glenkinchie, known as the “Edinburgh Malt,” offers a taste of Lowland whisky. We like the distillery’s tours, offering a pleasant escape from the city.

We appreciate the light and delicate flavors of their single-malt whisky. It’s one of the best distilleries we’ve been to, so it’s a must-visit as you Explore Scotland.

12. Ben Nevis

Ben Nevis Distillery

Tour Price: Around $22 to $37 (depending on the tour package booked)

Address: Ben Nevis Distillery, Fort William, Inverness-shire, PH33 6TJ

Star Rating: ★★★★☆

Why We Like It: Nestled at the foot of the UK’s highest mountain, Ben Nevis Distillery is a testament to Scottish resilience. The tours provide insight into the craft of making whisky.

We also like the dramatic surroundings that add to the beautiful experience. Honestly, we’re not so familiar with Ben Nevis single malts [1], but our interest has heightened since we’ve visited the distillery.

13. Glengoyne

Glengoyne Distillery

Tour Price: Around $22 to $247 (fee varies by tour package)

Address: Glengoyne Distillery, Dumgoyne, Killearn, Glasgow, G63 9LB

Star Rating: ★★★★☆

Why We Like It: We adore Glengoyne’s commitment to slow distillation that shines through their whisky.

Glengoyne presents different tour options, and we personally engaged in the Malt Masters Experience and thoroughly enjoyed every moment of the tour!

The tours here are educational and engaging, providing insight into the art of slow maturation, which we can’t see in another distillery. We also get to taste three Glengoyne Highland single-malt whiskies.

Check out this Jim Beam distillery tour here.

14. Glenlivet

Glenlivet Distillery

Tour Price: Around $24 to $123

Address: Glenlivet Distillery, Ballindalloch, Banffshire, AB37 9DB.

Star Rating: ★★★★☆

Why We Like It: Glenlivet is a name synonymous with Scotch whisky. The distillery offers a range of whisky tours, from the informative to the extravagant, which we really enjoy.

“Exploring Scotland’s distilleries is a journey through time and taste, a true whisky lover’s dream.” – Liquor Laboratory

The stunning Speyside surroundings make this a true whisky pilgrimage, making it one of the best whisky distilleries we’ve been to in Scotland.

15. Blair Athol Distillery

Blair Athol Distillery

Tour Price: Around $21 to $123 (varies depending on the type of tour)

Address: Blair Athol Distillery, Pitlochry, Perthshire, PH16 5LY

Star Rating: ★★★☆☆

Why We Like It: Blair Athol [2], situated amidst the charming town of Pitlochry (near the Scottish Highlands), is known for producing whisky with balanced and approachable profiles.

The tour is highly involving, featuring knowledgeable guides who can address even the most intricate queries. We like how the distillery tours give a glimpse into their heritage.

If you prefer your whisky without any hint of a peaty or smoky aroma and taste, this tour is tailor-made for your palate. Also, the nearby landscapes are perfect for post-tour exploration.

Visitor’s Tip: Other distilleries to check out within or near Scotland:

  • Talisker Distillery (an island single-malt Scotch whisky distillery)
  • Harris Distillery (Produces not just whisky, but gin as well)
  • Isle of Raasay Distillery (Borodale House Isle of Raasay, Kyle IV40 8PB, UK)
  • Glenturret Distillery (the oldest working distillery)

FAQs

What is the best whisky tour in Scotland?

The best whisky tour in Scotland depends on your preferences. Laphroaig and Lagavulin on Islay offer exceptional tours if you prefer peated whiskies.
For a diverse range of experiences, Glenfiddich, Balvenie, Highland Park, and Glenmorangie are some of the best distilleries to visit.

Where is the best Scottish whisky made?

The best Scottish whisky is made across the country, with different regions offering unique flavors. Speyside is famous for its fruity and floral Scotch, while Islay is known for its smoky and peaty varieties.

What is the most visited whisky distillery in Scotland?

The Glenfiddich in Dufftown is one of the most visited distilleries in Scotland, thanks to its wide range of tours and iconic status.

What is the oldest whisky distillery in Scotland?

The oldest whisky distillery in Scotland is the Glenturret Distillery, founded in 1775. Next is the Bowmore Distillery on the Isle of Islay, founded in 1779, and Strathisla, founded in 1786 [3].

What is the largest whisky distillery in Scotland?

The Macallan Distillery in Craigellachie, Speyside, is one of the largest and most renowned distilleries in Scotland, alongside the Glenfiddich.
Macallan is one of the first distilleries in Scotland (and the only distillery before) where their whiskies spend time aging in sherry casks.

Which Scottish town has the most distilleries?

The Scottish town with the most distilleries is Dufftown, often referred to as the “Whisky Capital of the World.”
It boasts several distilleries, including Glenfiddich, Balvenie, and Mortlach. But in terms of region, Speyside has the most distilleries in Scotland.

What is the smallest whisky distillery in Scotland?

The smallest whisky distillery in Scotland is Edradour Distillery, located near Pitlochry, which produces a limited quantity of handcrafted Scotch [4]. As for the region, Campbelltown is the smallest, where we can find Glen Scotia.

How is Scotch whisky made?

Scotch whisky is typically made from malted barley, water, and yeast. The process involves malting, mashing, fermentation, distillation, aging in oak barrels, and bottling.

How long does Scotch whisky need to age?

Scotch whisky must be aged in oak barrels for a minimum of three years, although many whiskies are aged for much longer to develop more complex flavors.

Can you visit Scotch whisky distilleries in Scotland?

Yes, many Scotch whisky distilleries in Scotland offer tours and tastings for visitors to learn about the whisky-making process and sample their products.

What regions of Scotland are known for whisky production?

Scotland is divided into several whisky-producing regions, including Speyside, Highland, Islay, Lowland, and Campbeltown, each known for producing whiskies with distinct characteristics.

What makes Scotch whisky unique?

Scotch whisky is unique due to Scotland’s traditional methods of production, including the use of malted barley, oak barrel aging, and strict regulations governing its production.

Bottom Line

Scotland stands as the ultimate destination for whisky enthusiasts. Each distillery we’ve explored offers a unique and captivating experience, from the smoky shores of Islay to the tranquil landscapes of Speyside.

However, if we’re to recommend a top favorite, it would be the Lagavulin Distillery on the Isle of Islay. Lagavulin’s commitment to preserving the rich tradition of peated Scotch and its breathtaking location makes it an unparalleled whisky voyage.

The tours provide a deep dive into the art of crafting this smoky expression, and the tasting sessions let us try a few wee drams that leave our palate forever enchanted.

So, whether you’re undertaking a whisky odyssey or simply seeking a memorable experience, the best whisky distilleries in Scotland are waiting to welcome you with open arms and a wee dram of their finest liquid gold.

References:

  1. https://www.forbes.com/sites/georgekoutsakis/2020/05/31/what-exactly-is-a-single-malt-whisky/
  2. https://www.visitscotland.com/info/towns-villages/blair-atholl-p242111
  3. https://www.forbes.com/sites/joemicallef/2019/04/08/in-search-of-scotlands-oldest-distillery-the-case-for-littlemill/
  4. https://www.forbes.com/sites/felipeschrieberg/2020/04/27/5-facts-about-scotch-whisky-you-should-know/
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