Ardbeg Distillery is a small but mighty institution on the south-east coastline of the Isle of Islay, Scotland. Silent for most of the 1980s and 1990s, Ardbeg has risen phoenix-like from the ashes, to become one of the most popular heavily-peated single malt whisky distilleries in the world.
Blair Athol Distillery is one of the oldest legal distilling sites in Scotland (est. 1798) and has been the home of Bell’s Blended Scotch since 1949.
Bowmore Distillery is one of few in Scotland that continues to malt some of their barley on-site. A visit to Bowmore Distillery is an excellent opportunity to witness malt floors in action, and if you’re lucky, you might even get to see inside the kiln!
Bruichladdich Distillery was built in 1881 by the Harvey Brothers dynasty. Bruichladdich production is still very much done ‘how it was’ back in the 1800’s. Whether it’s mashing in their Victorian-era open-top mash tun, their 1913 Boby mill, continued use of timber washbacks, and being one of few who still warehouse all their stock locally, from birth to bottle, Bruichladdich whisky is made on Islay.
First opened in 1883 and originally built for blends, Bunnahabhain distillery is a classic Victorian, with some of the most spectacular views from any distillery.
Caol Ila Distillery is the largest producer of whisky on Islay. Located on the Sound of Islay (“Caol Ila” is Gaelic for “Sound of Islay”), Caol Ila Distillery is a short drive or leisurely walk from Port Askaig, and the magnificent view of the Jura Paps from the still house is hard to beat.
Clynelish Brora Distillery lies in the heart of Sutherland, where the distillery’s founders oversaw the most brutal of the Highland Clearances.
Alexander Matheson founded Dalmore Distillery in 1839, but it wasn’t until brothers Andrew and Charles Mackenzie took over in 1878 that The Dalmore got its signature Stag.
While it may no longer be the smallest, Edradour Distillery is certainly one of the loveliest, and they are set up very well for tours.
Glen Ord is one of few distilleries remaining in the Black Isle, a once prolific whisky-producing region of the Scottish Highlands.
Glenfarclas Distillery, in the Glenlivet/Speyside region of Scotland and built at the foot of Benrinnes, has been owned by the Grant family since 1865.
Opened in 2005, Kilchoman Distillery was the first distillery to be built on Islay since Bunnahabhain in 1883. A visit to Kilchoman Distillery provides an excellent opportunity to visit one of the few Farm Distilleries in Scotland and the only one on Islay.
One of Islay’s oldest distillation sites, you’ll find the picturesque Lagavulin Distillery nestled between stony, heather-covered hills on Lagavulin Bay.
Laphroaig Distillery is one of few distilleries in Scotland who still malt some of their barley on site, and even rarer again, they continue to hand cut their own peat. You can even have a go of cutting the peat yourself, plus see the malting process in action, on one of their tours. Laphroaig Distillery is well worth a tour if you’re visiting Islay.
Awarded a Royal Warrant in 1848, Royal Lochnagar is one of only three distilleries afforded the privilege of officially supplying whisky to the Queen.