Picture courtesy of Rich238 - Flickr

Och, aye Scottish Whiskey

No trip to Scotland is complete without a visit to a Scotch malt whisky distillery. Malt whisky is known as the ‘water of life’ in Scotland, and its distilleries capture the spirit of the nation. Beautiful distilleries dot key regions from glen to mountain and island to lowland. A visit to one of Scotland’s distilleries will delight you with its charm, history and a dram of the iconic Scotch whisky. Each distillery boasts its own methods for crafting a savoury, iconic libation of Scotch whisky.

Picture courtesy of Rich238 - Flickr
Picture courtesy of Rich238 – Flickr

Speyside: Speyside is located in the highland’s whisky region and is home to the world’s only Malt Whisky Trail. It’s a whisky lover’s paradise. Along the trail, you can visit the renowned Speyside Cooperage, Benromach and the Cardhu Distilleries. Amid Scotland’s rolling hills, the Speyside Cooperage is the only distillery where you can experience the ancient art of coopering. The “water of life” is crafted from the best American Oak and produces the finest casks. A tour will take you on a journey through the lifecycle of the cask, and you can even have a go at it making your own mini-cask.

The Benromach Distillery is nestled on the outer edge of the ancient market town of Forres. The experienced distillers use the purest spring water from the nearby Romach Hills and the finest Scottish barley to handcraft a fruity and smoky malt. The libations are left in sturdy oak casks to mature before being bottled. At the Benromach Distillery, you can watch the mash tun and the burnished copper stills as you witness distillers create their own unique malts. Experience tutored tasting, wander through the museum or hand fill your personal bottle of Benromach Malt Scotch Whisky.

The Cardu Distillery is the only distillery pioneered by a woman. The malt whisky produced at this distillery is clean and silky. Many of its blends are used in the award-winning Johnnie Walker brand. Guided tours are available with a short history, views of the whisky making process and topped off with a dram of Cardu.

In addition to its fine distilleries, the Scottish highlands is home to many popular attractions amid its bagpipes, heather, mist and purple mountains. Capture the medieval romance of the region at one of its many castles like the Eilean Donan Castle. At the Inverewe Gardens, you can enjoy botanical gardens with exotic plants and shrubs from all over the globe.

Islay: Islay whisky is well-known for its distinctive peaty flavor, and the island has eight impressive malt whisky distilleries. At the popular Laphroaig Distillery, you can sample some of the spectacular dram dubbed as “liquid smoke.” Islay peat is pretty unique and made up of decaying heather, mosses and lichens. It’s the lichens that give its peat the medicinal flavor that is the hallmark of this region’s malt whisky. A full tour will take you to the Killbride Stream, peat cutting beds, mash house, peat kilns, stills and malting floors.

Also known as the Laddie Distillery, you can discover a Scotch whisky that is truly Islay at the Bruichladdich Distillery. Even watch it go from barley to bottle. This distillery still uses much of the original brewing equipment installed by their visionary Victorian forefathers. Using science and their artisan skills, the Bruichladdick Distillery delivers Scotch whisky that is floral, elegant and soft.

After a visit to the distilleries, head on over to the Rockside Farm for a picturesque pony trek along the beach. The Outback Art Gallery is another popular haunt of the locals and tourists alike. Not only is some amazing local art strung along the walls, you can sit back in comfy leather seats while munching on some delicious cakes and sipping loose-leaf teas with the beach in the backdrop.

All in all, the Scotch whisky distilleries are part of the fabric that weaves Scotland’s history and culture. It is a tradition that began over 500 years ago and is still going strong today.

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