Scottish Whisky Distilleries

Our personal views on whisky distilleries and drams,  you may not agree but och well, they are ours!



Aberfeldy in Perthshire, used to be called Dewars World of whisky. Another local distillery to Paul, “I really like this one, superb staff, Rhona, Big Ross and George (both good curlers/bowlers).  There’s an interesting museum on the tour. The extra long tours are excellent. Lovely setting and very scenic, we have taken many guests over the years”.  You may be pleasantly surprised by the Aberfeldy blend and the single cask releases which are relatively new. In our opinion, the drams are getting better all the time! We know a great place nearby for lunch and if you like chocolates, well, say no more.

Aberfeldy Distillery in Perthshire, used to be called Dewars World of whisky


here’s a tour with friend Ingvar Ronde to Chivas distilleries;   Exploring distilleries with Ann Miller (International Brand Ambassador) was a highlight. With 30 years’​ experience in the world of scotch Whisky,  Ann is an acknowledged expert on all of Chivas Brothers’​ whisky brands – Chivas Regal, Royal Salute, Ballantine’s, The Glenlivet, Aberlour, Longmorn, Tormore, Scapa and more, as I found out.  Ann did Ingvar proud with the drams, including a new make he enjoyed. I do like the A’bunadh.

A bottle of Abunach from Aberlour Distillery, Speyside


We took the Malt Whisky Association of Finland here, just before it was officially opened.  Great drams as they are also an independent bottler, so we had lots of whisky.  This distillery – and its’ drams get better all the time, you can even buy a cask here! How they got the large trucks down that road is a wonder, a very scenic location and is in Maclean lands, what could be better? When we visit this one we normally include the Isle of Mull and Tobermory/Ledaig.

The stills inside the Adelphi Ardnamurchan distillery


Located near Dufftown – built to supply whisky for the Chivas Brothers blends, pronounced Ollt-err-VANE it was founded in 1975, the distillery’s name derives from the Gaelic, ‘Allt a’bhainne’ meaning ‘burn of milk’. I didnee see much evidence of the milk, but we had a great private tour there, no visitor centre and not open to the public, I managed it with Ingvar, we do get to these places when on tour! They have since released a bottle and aye, it’s really – just enough peat to start a fire.

Allt-a-Bhainne Distillery


very tidy distillery, spick and span, very clean and sharp, good shop and restaurant. Nice tour and I love the produce from here. I would say Ardbeg is one of the more remote of the Islay distilleries, along the road to Kildalton Kirk. On a nice summer’s day it’s spectacular. We took Ingvar Ronde here with friends.  Favourite dram – Ardbeg Dark Cove.  By the way, the staff here are all good also, we always get smiles and hello’s. One of my favourite places on the whole island for grub!

Taken during Ingvar Ronde


Russell was happy to receive us, many thanks to Alex too, it helps to have friends like them. Ardmore Distillery is, near Kennethmont, Aberdeenshire (near Huntly for those without a map) – and has a railway line running alongside, with its’ own signal box. Am told they get their water from no less than 16 springs up on the Knockandy Hill. Maybe more famous for their Teachers brand, almost no pubs stock it now in Scotland.   Its’ main markets now, would you believe are Brazil and India!

ardmore distillery scotland


With a family background in the whisky business dating back to the 1940s. First runs of distillation began here in October 2018. In 2018 I visited with Ingvar Ronde, a shining new distillery, the cafe/restaurant is huge and well done, it was to be a malting floor but they changed their minds, just as well as there was a need for good grub in this neck of the woods. A huge well appointed shop, with products from my pal in Wick also on sale. The actual distilling side is the smallest part, the views are really good over to Jura.  I have been there a few times since, it only gets better! This  is a few miles from the Port Askaig ferry, which is pretty dismal if you ask me, hotel and one shop is all that is there, so this new foodie outlet is good.



they have built a new second distillery on Arran called Lagg Distillery. The distillery opened in spring 2019 and it will increase production to 2 million litres. They also hope that the visitors to the two distilleries will exceed over 200,000 by 2020. The first Arran Distillery was built in 1995 and produces Arran Single Island Malt Scotch Whisky and Lochranza Blended Scotch Whisky. Arran is a very special place to visit spend a night or two if you can, lots to see, including the ruined castle at Lochranza. The ferry from there can be a bumpy ride, ask some of our groups!

The wee driver


close to Glasgow, on the Dumbarton road, a nice tour to be had here, my favourite dram is the 18 year old, or 3 woods. Good shop, relaxing and tours. One of only 2 Scottish distilleries to triple distil, go and see why they do it is my suggestion.  Bottle Your Own. Fill a bottle, straight from the cask and not off the shelf.

A lovely dram in a glass of Auchentoshan whisky


Their staff are as good as their drams. Balblair was founded in 1790 by the Ross family until 1894 then it was taken over by Alexander Cowan. In the current workforce there are still nearly half the workers in the distillery with the surname Ross. The range of whisky that are present at the the distillery are Balblair Highland Single Malts.  Well worth spending time here, it was also one of the distilleries featured in the movie Angels Share.


Certainly architecturally (like its contemporary, Allt-a-Bhainne) it stands out – a white, modernist structure in the moorland.  Auchroisk was first bottled as single malt in 1986 and was the first to carry the prefix ‘Singleton’, a name now attached to single malts from Glen Ord, Glendullan and Dufftown. Most of the whisky from the Auchroisk Distillery goes into the J&B blended Scotch whisky. The 10 year old of the Flora and Fauna series is perceived as the distillery bottling.



For us, whilst it’s  tidy and clean, it’s a little on the pretentious side –  a small distillery with an attitude AND over priced! WE have been on tour here twice and today our thoughts stay the same. Our guests tell us the same, can we all be wrong?

Ballindalloch Distillery in Speyside, small, clean and neat


Situated a mile inland from the village of Cromdale, Balmenach is one of Speyside’s most traditional distilleries and makes what could be classed as an ‘old-style’ whisky? The fermentation is long, the stills small and run quickly and the vapour runs into worm tubs, rather than shell and tube condensers.  Inver House has no plans to release this highly distinctive whisky as a single malt. The reason for this is that the make – whose style is unusual these days – is too highly-prized as fillings for blends, both by Inver House and other firms. I managed to get in here with my pal Ingvar, as usual with him, we had a very private and grand tour, just a shame I was the driver, as drams were flowing.



I urge all whisky fans to do this one, you won’t be disappointed. Own malting floors, watch the peat fires, great, it has it all! Has to be Liz’s favourite.  All our guests emerge overjoyed and full of whisky, huge smiles and holding purchases.  This is one of the great distillery tours to do and we can arrange it! If you do one distillery to find out what whisky is all about – do this!

A photo outside Balvenie Distillery near Dufftown, Speyside


Have been here a few times with tourists mainly, though a few experts along the way have been with us. Set on the side of the mountain of the same name. Again, the longer more in depth is the better tour here. A good stop when touring along the great glen. They do not have much choice, it’s a Japanese owned distillery, that in our view needs money put into the visitor experience. They have some excellent aged drams if you can get them!  Paul enjoyed a cuppa here with Colin.

Sample drams at Ben Nevis Distillery


One of my favourites on Speyside, a ‘warts an all distillery’, doesn’t pull punches and not designed for happy tourists on a whisky sightseeing trip. Anyhow, a closed to the public distillery at the moment which I love, we do take tours in here and it’s really worth it. The warehouse drams are superb. Sold to the Jack Daniels folks recently.

A bottle of Benriach whisky outside a castle in Perthshire


Not the biggest,or most well known but a lovely wee place and a great tour. I like this one a lot, nice shop too, friendly staff and an all round good visit. Not far from Elgin and on the way to Speyside, I do encourage you all to try this one. Located in Forres, this is a distillery owned and run by Gordon & MacPhail, a different approach to marketing, bottle design etc, I do like so many of their drams!  Again, try for the more expensive tour, it is worth it! Will G&M be opening a second distillery soon?

The lovely Benromach Distillery showing a bench outside


One of Diageo’s distilleries, also known as Bells. Located in the lovely Victorian town of Pitlochry, easy to find and park.  It’s a decent tour but we always try for the special tours, as we have more dedicated whisky lovers here than tourists.  It has a new bar area with many drams available, try this out even if you do not do the tour, actually we tend not to do the tour, just drink in the bar, as you would expect, it has all the Diageo drams across Scotland on offer. We are working our way through the alphabet! The Blair Atholl single malt is good.  The mash tun which was used to create the bar was originally from Diageo’s Clynelish Distillery in Brora on the north east coast of Scotland, I know some of you here will cringe, but do try a whisky cocktail!


I do like this one.  It has a superb tasting room looking over the water, great staff and a good taste at the end.  They hand turn the barley on the malting floor, one of the few. Liz and I stayed in the accommodation here, loved it,  waking up to the smells wafting in through the windows is outstanding! Malt Whisky Association of Finland were here in 2017, a fantastic 2 hour tour with 4 great drams to end it with, well done Bowmore yet again. And, it is well located with restaurants and bars close by, not to mention the round church – where the devil cannee hide in any corner!

The washbacks at the Bowmore Distillery, Islay


A very scenic location on the same site as Clynelish.   Brora Distillery, one of many whisky distilleries on the east of Scotland.  The older whiskies are the better here. It has not long re opened after large refurbishments. Do go to Brora if you are here the plans are to reopen this one also, even getting the exact same stills back in action. A long way north but worth it, good shop too. It is one of the Diageo distilleries soon to get money and new facilities. We tend to take tours here incorporating Glenmorangie, Dalmore, Balblair etc and stay in a friendly pub we know in Dornoch.

Brora Distillery one of many whisky distileries on the east of Scotland


The water comes from the hills behind this small distillery – the Bruichladdich and Port Charlotte bottles are all great.  The staff are brilliant, good shop – grand T shirts and the whisky is excellent. My only downer – they release too many whiskies each year, too many bottles to choose from. Liz can only remember the whisky she likes by the colour of the bottle! Paul took Ingvar Ronde here as a part of his Islay tour, and he was even given great driver drams to take away. Malt Whisky Association of Finland were back here with us, fantastic drams – many, many purchases made.

Ingvar Ronde


“Mouth of the river” in Gaelic,  Liz says – “bunny haven”. On a cold, wet day here we strayed into this distillery, we both said  “it looks like a prison”, with courtyard high walls and bars on the windows.  Liz’s favourite dram from Islay.  It’s not too peaty at all, very drinkable for the person not wanting heavy peat. Recently returned with a group tour (Malt Whisky Association of Finland), boy were we treated well!  Then again with Ingvar Ronde. We have even taken guests here by boat, now that is different.  Ask us about it

A bottle sitting inside Bunnahabhain Distillery, Islay


Whisky is good, another Diageo. Visited and had a good tour, large as you would expect, nice staff. Far end of the isle near the ferry at Port Askaig, now there’s a strange place if ever there was one.  Step back in time, we were looking for Dr Who when there. As expected a good shop, on a nice day it’s good to sit outside with a hip flask and a sandwich! Great views to Jura. Caol Ila do a very good NON peaty whisky, brought this back for Liz, she loved it!

a bottle o Caol Ila whisky sitting outside Caol ila distillery


Whisky is good, another Diageo but they do things a little differently. Lovely location and a nice tour. However, the best thing is the hairy coos behind the distillery, they totally love digestive biscuits, honestly! (Liz). have been on tour here (Paul) more times than I can recall. A good selection of drams available and you can add drams to your tour at the shop when you do the tasting. Gold Reserve is good, as is the 18 year old, save some for us! We have had many tastings in the VIP library, many thanks to the girls here for a great dramming time!

Love these little ladies, the Cardhu Distillery coos!


It’s on the same site as Brora Distillery.  The older whiskies are the better here. It has not long re opened after large refurbishments. Do go to Brora if you are here. A long way north but worth it, good shop too. It is one of the Diageo distilleries soon to get money and new facilities

The outside of Clynelish Distillery, which sits next to Brora Distillery


In Ballindalloch, owned by Diageo.  This is strange but nice distillery, spread out, up a wee roaad,  through the village.  The Single Malt is the most complex of the Speyside Malts. It is in limited supply as it is one of Speyside’s smaller distilleries It’s unique flat topped spirit stills and traditional wooden worm-tubs, shows off Cragganmore’s complexity. A really nice wee lass named Claire took us around, her family are all whisky workers going back to her great grand dad. At Christmas 2015 they opened up especially for us,  well done Diageo, we appreciated this, a great dram room by the way which I could easily live in!

Looking through the iron gates at Diageo


Housed in restored stone farm buildings and has been traditionally designed by Frances. The distillery uses home grown barley of the highest quality, nothing is wasted in the process as spent grains, “draff” is fed to cattle on the farm, effluent produced is used as a fertiliser and hot water is pumped into the farm’s duck pond, which ensures that the surface does not freeze over during the winter. I love this place, its’ wee and Francis does a superb tour. Bottles have just been released, do try and get hold of one, or two, drink one keep one! The name related to the farm stream/burn which seems to run uphill – daft! Frances is one of the most laid back people I know, he works at the distillery when he feels like, but not to interfere with the farm he and his brother run. It will never be a large output, that’s just what he wants

casks maturing inside Daftmill Distillery


a single malt whisky distillery in Charlestown of Aberlour, Strathspey –  Diageo owned these days.  It was founded in 1853 by farmer William MacKenzie.  The name he c means ‘the green vale’ in Gaelic. In 1863 The Strathspey Railway arrived, bringing the Dailuaine nectar to the world.  It is one of the biggest in the highlands in terms of production. In 1889 it becomes the first Scottish distillery to be fitted with architect Charles Doig’s pagoda roof. Aye well, Ingvar took me in here and boy was I happy! It is huge, with many areas abandoned and almost in a state of collapse. It was in the still room, one of the two guys there said “I know you don’t I”, sounded like the police to me, I said “maybe” and grinned. He used to work elsewhere – cannee mind where the now – and recognised me from takin tours. Felt good actually.

dailuanine distillery speyside scotland.jpg


The distillery closed in 1983 and today is owned and run, as a visitor whisky museum by Historic Scotland. A state owned distillery, with a shop! Aye it’s a museum and in my view, worth a visit. There are rumours this will open again as a distillery, if you like to find out more on the whisky process and enjoy a great shop, pay a visit. It’s not far from Elgin/Forres.

Dallas Dhu Distillery cum musuem in Speyside


Visited often, always have a great time. Shelly took me on a private tour, my eye popping experience started as we reached the still room. Every still is a different shape and size, some quite unique! And aye, the still man who sits in mission control is hilarious, had a great time chatting with him, came away with a wee set of test tube samples, superb! Liz’s favourite – King Alexander, the girl has expensive tastes, Paul likes the Cigar Malt. Though – we do think they are all are overpriced! Once there you see all the oil/gas rigs out in the Firth, repairs and “car parking”.

A whisky tour brochure sitting on a table inside Dalmore Distillery


What can I say? It was mind blowing, from the front door, to the space age still room, unique features everywhere, green aware, wood taken from the old Imperial wash backs for the entranc.  We were so lucky to get a tour before it was officially opened. We happened to be outside the door taking photos, wearing our whisky tour jackets, a man came out, we had a chat, we went in! Star Wars meets whisky distillery, the whole plant is superb, including all the outbuildings and bio plant etc. We are told everything will go to blend.

Dalmunach distillery


The highest above sea level in Scotland, a Diageo one again, so you do tend to get the same patter and jokes from the guides as many others in their stable, a shame.  Try the taster drams platters – great if you are short on time. We like the idea of tasting drams with chocolates without doing the full tour, something different from Diageo. A great place to stop en route to Speyside.

A view of the outside of Dalwhinnie Distillery


We like this one, no computers, nice friendly staff, good tour.  It’s in a lovely location,  once a cotton mill, owned by Burn Stewart. It’s near Doune Castle, where Monty Python’s Holy Grail and Outlander were filmed, so you would expect lots of tourists.  Not really, I would say it’s a hidden gem. Nice cafe too (try the toasties). We recommend a more in depth tour with some good drams to match, a nice tasting room, or for the more wealthy of you, an even better room upstairs!

The Glenturret Distillery, also known as The Famous Grouse


Scotland’s ‘first’ 100% organic single malt Scotch whisky distillery has opened on a remote farm estate in the Highlands. Ncn’ean Distillery (pronounced Nook-knee-anne), aim to produce a ‘young, light and fruity spirit, with maturation in ex-Bourbon and red wine casks.   A great ‘all rounder’ the shop tour, fantastic to be there on our own with nae time limit. Can I thank Riona for her time and chat, grand stuff. Also, I would suggest not arriving by car, rather, by boat – so if this “floats your boat” let us know Take a look at our blog


Aye, been in here too, a huge place run by two guys. Diageo of course and closed to the public. Tim (Russia) and myself had a tour here one evening, it’s not in the slightest bit neat and tidy, it’s a working distillery not meant to be taken on a tour, but we did. It was really interesting, we had a great tour many thanks to the lads there! Another blend distillery, it would be nice to see a Dufftown Special one day!

Dufftown Distillery, Speyside


Not a distillery obviously.  I never get tired of coming here, a superb shop with everything you need for a good whisky, bottles from around the world.  Fill your own from the cask, presents and gifts all catered for.  They have superb staff who know everything they have and happy to give suggestions and info on any bottle, miniature or full size, great! We know Euan and Andrew here more than anyone else.  Liz and Paul shared a dram or two a few years ago in his house.

a bottle of Duncan Taylor


Near St Andrews. They started life as a craft brewery, now produce some fantastic gins (Love, Oak) before their amber nectar was ready to taste in 2018.  A quirky place with the most passionate people on the planet. But is it a brewery, a gin palace or a distillery?  Don’t think they know. One thing we do know, staff come and go very often.


It is a very scenic distillery up in the hills above Pitlochry,  lots of different whiskies in the bar at 50% off pub prices.  The staff are good.  Andrew has built a twin distillery up the hill, new warehouse, his own bottling plant, it’ a good one to see. Read interview with Andrew Symmington. It was  ne of our favourites until in 2020 they changed the whole tour structure, tours are now £25pp and on a first come first served basis, no advance bookings unless it’s a group private tour. It has certainly made it harder for us to take guests.



Paul toured the distillery, approx. 1 year after the three Amigos purchased it. We had a great personal tour, the tasting/blending room, the distillery itself with wash backs, stills etc, nicely laid out. After this we moved on to the warehouse, drams from casks,–   But I dither, the tour cost is high and for what you get, I would rather go elsewhere.

glenallachie distillery.jpg


A large distillery producing some good single malts and most going to blends, closed to the public.  It’s rather like a huge chemical plant. I must say when I went around this one, it was with a group at Speyside whisky fest. As they do not normally have visitors, it is a boring place to wander around, but the Belfast lass that took us was enthusiastic and passionate, we had a taste of the 12 year old. Have been here again with Ingvar Ronde, nothing has changed.

Sampling a dram of Glen Elgin 12 year old at Glen Elgin Distillery


We love coming here, great tour, very friendly staff (even a Maclean here!) and a superb location. Good shop and even better tasting room, some of their drams are on the 9/10 level – what more can I say? Go see it. The older the dram here, the better, try the 105 range.We take tours here every year both groups and private tours. Paul’s favourite; 25 year old, but is aiming on tasting the 40 year old soon, when his 40th birthday comes round … Liz, before you say anything, don’t!

Some lovely Glenfarclas Distillery drams one Christmas


A wee bit out of the way but well worth the trip. It has a good range of tours available, decent shop and a great tasting at the end. It is known for its’ sherry finish and has many releases. Recently sold to JD. We were hired by owners at the time to look after 20 Russian distributers for a few days, they all stayed on site in the cottages, Paul loves a sherry finish, so this is fine for him! A true sherry bomb dram. The new visitor centre is tremendous, worth the drive just for this, we visit often, especially if using Aberdeen Airport.

Sampling drams straight from the cask at Glendronach Distillery


Their general tours are good but a wee bit show reel stuff.  It’s a very clean and tidy distillery and a weird point – the ladies toilets are amazing! We normally do the special tours and they are brilliant. The full day tour of Glenfiddich and Balvenie is just stunning.  You will see many tourists and indeed, special tour people coming for the longer, more intense tours. Definitely a good lunch stop too. Another good point, they have stopped taking coach tours of tourists! The more expensive the tour the better. :

A winter


Pronounced Glen Gare – ree, a different one to visit, the staff are superb and friendly (I got a nice cup of tea while my group went round – the drivers share – a chat and many smiles). Still with many features other distilleries have lost, it’s a hands on tour, not at all touristy, which is one reason why I like it. It is far out though, near Old Meldrum near Aberdeen. Liz loves the wee smoke house. Paul will be here again in June he can’t wait.

It looks like ghostly goings on. Liz surrounded by smoke inside Glengarioch Distillery


A one off privately owned distillery, Stuart and Ronnie have shown me around here in the past, both long since moved on, it’s a grand distillery, on the up regarding the whisky and very progressive. Casks for sale, small but good shop and tours are very good and informative, love it!

The stills inside Glenglassaugh Distillery


I like this one, a huge still outside, great shop, nice layout.  Big stills inside, warehouse is good, a great tour we had especially to see the bottling plant. Once December in heavy snow we were the only two people mad enough to be there, apart from the two workers, one of whom showed us around, an extra special tour we really appreciated. Liz and Paul did the whole tour privately, gardens, waterfall, hidden cask – well worth everyone doing this. dram enjoyed most here; Five Decades. Recently changed the visitor centre around – for the better.

Liz sampling a Glen Grant dram


Pentcaitland, in East Lothian, a Lowland distillery again a Diageo one. South of Edinburgh, it does tend to get more tourist visitors than experts but it’s always good to see the lowlands.  A good tour and visitor centre, friendly helpful staff. Paul and Ingvar got the special treatment here recently.

A lovely bottle from Glenkinchie Distillery


What can I say about this one; been here so often, and now it’s been enlarged to one of the largest in Scotland. Good for tourists and whisky lovers. Some good displays here, great shop, good food and drinks. I am a Guardian and have my key for upstairs. I also took a 3 day whisky course that was excellent and I learned a lot. Ok bit touristy but it’s worth a tour here. We were guests here at the 2015 Speyside whisky festival, drivers and brand ambassadors looking after us, lunch with our pal Charlie (Maclean, our whisky club patron), private drinks with Ian Logan, masterclasses with Charlie and Allan Winchester. Favourite dram has to be the 50 year old Ian gave us! New developments afoot here.

Liz and Paul with Ian Logan, Global Ambassador at Glenlivet Distillery


Closed to the pubic but we went around in April 2016.  We did like our tour here, top guys are passionate about what they do, in fact two of them have over 30 years there.  The stills are to change in summer of ’16, in five weeks the old ones are out, new in! Considering they do not do tours, nice space to donder around, loved it! losed to the pubic but we went around in April 2016.  We did like our tour here, top guys are passionate about what they do, in fact two of them have over 60 years there.  The stills are to change in summer of ’16, in five weeks the old ones are out, new in! Considering they do not do tours, nice space to donder around, loved it!

Drams lined up to be consumed at Glenlossie Distillery, Speyside


Far north but worth the trip, it’s a nice tour and a good taste, with options for extra tastings. Decent distillery tour and a nice location, good views here in the land of the Picts. Been here many times as it’s a well known dram and the tourists (how I make my living) like to see it. Easy to get to from Inverness and there are many more distilleries on this route. Liz loves the Quanta Ruben, port finish. Paul will dram any of them.

Glenmorangie Distillery chose their logo based on this old pictish stone


Pronounced Murray. Good shop, good food and refreshments, excellent tour. Arranged a tour here specially at 7am for a guest (Russia), extensive tour with the manager Graeme and many drams. I like this place, near Elgin and easy to get to once  you found your way round the houses. The product is not bad either and the drams are great prices, thanks as always to Iain, Visitor Centre Manager and Emma who really look after us. We visit here so often I think we may get an invite to the xmas dinner? Paul was here with Ingvar Ronde when the very first peated whisky was released, all 7 of us  got a signed bottle. Do consider their aged drams, excellent value. Along with Edradour these two are favourites of ours.

 Iain at Glen Moray distillery takes Ingvar Ronde and us on a tasting journey.


Another December visit in heavy snow. Again we were the only mad fools to be there but we had a good nosey around the place, it’s big! Very scenic in the summer. Rothes has a few other distilleries, we went to see where Cappaerdonich used to be, just a pile of rubble when we were there, a shame. Returned with Ingvar Ronde, great tour, stills, cooperage and tasting. Have been here a few times just calling in.

Coopers working on site at The Glenrothes Distillery


Malt Whisky Association of Finland were here with us in August 2016 and even despite the rain we had a grand tour and great taste, although a small distillery, it has a lot to offer, I for one will be going back as soon as I can. See Paul’s interview here;

iain mcalister at the glen scotia distillery in campbelltown scotland.jpg


Also known as Famous Grouse. A good tourist tour. Very nice restaurant, good bar and fun shop. We do take tours here but no so much the hard core whisky lovers as general tourists. I would say this is a distillery with maybe more photos taken of the big bird than any other although they are moving away from the bird for marketing? Paul’s favourite dram? Hard one that, their single malt is good, I also like the Smoky Black. As of December 2018 the distillery is up for sale.

Glenturret Distillery, also known as the Famous Grouse


One of only a few distilleries where they turn the malt by hand. 20% of their malt comes from Orkney. It’s a great wee place, a very good visit, nice shop and staff, I do like to tour this one, no matter how often I go, mainly with tour groups and not so many whisky experts on tour. I like the drams, I have the latest St Magnus – it’s stunning. We had Martin Markvardsen (Highland Park and The Macallan Senior Brand Ambassador) on our coach as guides around Orkney, how good is that? He also brought with him a good few drams to taste on our day out, a whisky tasting on the peat bog was brilliant! Jani, one of guests from Finland handed over his hand made guitar, lovingly made from a Highland Park cask.

Jani, from Finland hands over his hand made guitar. Lovingly made from a Highland Park cask.


The stills are very tall and it is a much lighter alcohol which goes over the top creating a lighter whisky, a long way to go to get there and a most expensive wee ferry – £18 return trip for our car! Something needs to be done about that. However I do like all their drams and a decent distillery. Just a shame about the ferry, all the people of Jura are nice, wonder what they think? Willie gave a superb tasting session. We were there again many times and in September (2016) by boat! That will be good, by boat after a visit to Bunny Heaven by boat too.

Jura Distillery actually has palm trees outside it! Here is the proof!


Kingsbarns Distillery is based near St Andrews in Fife.  They use Fife grown barley and water from 100m below the distillery, fill just 24 casks a week.  We have taken a tour here and know people at the company.   We feel it’s a bit of a “show” distillery, more about the concept rather than the product and aimed at selling their other products, we can’t see it being a large player.  Their new gin area is a real wow experience however!

Liz in reception of Kingbarns Distillery, Fife


The knock hill is known to locals as anCnoc, this comes from the Gaelic black hill. Transformed by the weather, the heathers and other vegetation appear black due to the natural shadows on the hill. A traditional cast iron mash tun is used in the mashing process although not as efficient as its modern counterparts it is similar to what was first used. I had a really superb tour here with the distillery manager, Gordon, my guest had 6 drams, myself; driving could only sniff! Took Liz here but Gordon was away so we have a wee man full of the “Doric” taking us around, what fun, Liz whispered to me after 20 minutes “I don’t understand a word he is saying”, I did my best on translation – good man, great fun!

Knockdu Distillery is also known by local Scots as An noc distillery


Near Port Ellen on Islay, peaty heaven if this is what you like – I do! David is a guide there and good fun, I was there in April (2016 with Ingvar Ronde) the tour was excellent, the drams too – many of them! Lagavulin is one of the three Kildalton distilleries in the south of Islay and sits between Ardbeg and Laphroaig at the “Hollow by the Mill”, translated from the Gaelic lag a’mhuilin, pronounced as La-ga-voolin. Records show illicit distillation on the site as far back as 1742. Malt Whisky Association of Finland were back here with us in August 2016 purchases, tour, sample tasting and great craic, what could be better?

Lagavulin Distillery on the island of Islay, west coast of Scotland


Another clean and tidy place, love the entrance the first thing you see is comfy couches! A good museum/guide…. to wander around, a great distillery tour and dram ,with great staff – what more could you want? Down in the south near Ardbeg this one. I did like it, the tours, the drinks, the staff and the place. I do like a peaty dram and this supplies just that!  Not for Liz’s lips!  See an interview with a bottle of Laphroig SelectMalt Whisky Association of Finland were back here with us in August 2016 I would say one of the best distillery tours in this trip, they each came away with a complimentary bottle, filled by themselves.

The whisky casks outside Laphroig Distillery, Islay


The earliest Aqua Vitae was made at Lindores as long ago as 1494, Lindores Abbey Distillery is situated in north west Fife, next to the small town of Newburgh.  Just 20 minutes drive from Perth, 1 hour from Edinburgh, the Legacy Bar offes a selection of Scottish cheese and meat platters to accompany your drams and cocktails.  I have to say I’ve been many times with different people, each time I think it good, very well done and clean and tidy, good food available. But I do think it is more of a tourist site than a good distillery tour.  Oh well, that’s just me, try for yourself.


Closed to the public but we were taken around by the manager, it was rushed, we felt like we were interrupting his day. Could have been so much better, it had all the promise but did not deliver, we were happy to leave, poor show Diageo. Too modern but a 1960’2 style for me, we tried the 12 year old, pretty bland to be honest.  This could have been so much better, but och well, it is a closed to the public place.


A closed to the public distillery, when I took a tour here I was flabergasted, a malt distillery with grain right next door, under the same roof! Gavin Durnin (Sales Director) took us around, the stills use towers/columns for 4 stills and is really unusual.  The SWA call them Lomond towers but we were assured they are not. A great tour everywhere, distillery, cooperage, warehouse etc. we took our  group here in August 2016 – the Malt Whisky Association of Finland. We spent two hours, split into 2 groups, tasting and distillery tour, then swapped around, it was exceptional, thanks to all there.

A selection of whisky bottles from Loch Lomond Distillery


another we wormed our way into, not open to the public, but we are not public eh! Another Chivas distillery right behind Ben Riach, shares the same site actually. It is a big one, very clean actually.Once again a private show round, with Ingvar getting drinks, myself looking on with a jealous look on my face.  Many Scottish whisky distilleries were founded during the whisky boom at the end of the 19th century – in contrast to many of them Longmorn survived and has constantly produced without any terms of mothballing up to now.



Near Craigellachie. A huge new distillery, with its “town” of warehouses, a vastly new designed distillery, much of it underground, this is something to behold!  Everyone knows their drams but it’s a wee bit of a concern now the “no age statements” are coming more to the fore.  Liz likes the Sienna. We  toured  the new distillery often in 2018, unsure what we think, at the end of the day it’s up to you, we think it’s a wee bit arty farty and gimmicky.


A closed to the public distillery but we visited April 2016.  It’s in the centre of the Glenlossie plant, very similar but more modern, again lots of room to move, still room is good. Spent a good hour here, learned a lot. They have a unique feature, the bottom of the stills are made from STAINLESS STEEL.

A bottle of 12 year old at Mannochmore distillery


My home town so can I really slam it? Well no, it’s a Diageo distillery it’s good, interesting, but I do feel you get a similar tour at many Diageo distilleries – but Liz really enjoyed it. However, I love the drink, it is on my top ten list of single malts. It is situated within spitting distance of the bay, looking to another favourite of mine, Mull. Now there’s a different distillery!  Oban Little Bay my favourite; A dense mouth feel sugary and minty, warming, richly fruited malt loaf.  Available to buy at our Distillery Shop if I haven’t bought them all.

Oban Distillery, owned by Diageo, west coast of Scotland


In February Deborah took me on a personally guided tour, gave me all the info and low downs, even a cup of tea! I think she felt sorry for me, I was soaking wet and it was snowing outside with real high winds. I even got a lift back to my hotel, fantastic girls here, going back soon. We took the Malt Whisky Association of Finland (28 of them) here, good tour, fab drams, our pal Ian Horne has everything they have bottled over the recent year, we have the 40 year old also! For sale if you wish?

A pipe band playing with Old Pulteney being advertised on the side of a drum


Just off the coast of Skye. Opened: September 2017 the first legal distillery on the Isle of Raasay, which sits between the Isle of Skye and the Scottish mainland, the team is hoping to create the finest Hebridean single-malt whisky using a combination of virgin American oak casks and casks previously used for high-rye-content bourbon and wine.  Our re with recent visit with guests – love it, passionate staff and in a beautiful setting.  Highly recommended.

View of Skye from Raasay Distillery courtesy of visitscotland


Another Diageo, this is one I like a lot. It’s near the German Queen’s place I know but well, if you can sidetrack that castle and just go to the distillery, great! It’s got a good tour, a nice shop, a very good tasting room and the tour is different from other Diageo’s.  It’s not computer run, that’s the thing I like and that’s what makes it different and likable to me. Diageo take a lot of their staff here on training days, it’s a good old fashioned distillery.

the sign for Royal Lochnagar Distillery


The visitor centre opened in 2015 so we paid a visit to Scapa Distillery with the Malt Whisky Association of Finland, all 28 of them! It was a really good tour, a great location and we had a superb tasting and “buying” end to the visit. The special release 20 year old was amazing.  We can’t wait to return to Orkney again.

Scapa Distillery owned by Chivas, on Orkney


A really nice small distillery with a great wee still room.  It is set in a fantastic location, the most southern in Speyside, hence it’s name. After a really good tour including all outbuildings, we were taken in to endure a few drams.  We left with wee bottle samples and a hankering to return. Since our visit we have become great friends with the distillery, directors, staff and marketing – thanks to Paul Dempsey, we’ve met met many times. We learned all about Taiwan sales and Michael Owen as Ambassador. We have several bottles at home and give samples away when on tour.

Liz sipping a dram in Speyside Distillery


A great tour had here, excellent staff, very interesting tour and boy what a tasting session afterwards at Cadenhead! As we left the distillery happy we arrived into the tasting room and had an even better time with some good shopping time well spent.  Back here again in August with the Malt Whisky Assocation of Finland who enjoyed a totally outstanding tasting session in the warehouse, before almost taking everything from the shop – much money changed hands at Cadenhead.


A selection of samples at Springbank Distillery


A Chivas distillery – one which we have been to many times.  It is stunning,  possibly the most scenic distillery in Scotland, it’s more like a five star hotel than a distillery. The makeover in 2018 is incredible. With short, small copper stills and natural spring water, Strathisla produces a full-bodied single malt Scotch whisky. It is the heart of all the Chivas Regal blends.

Strathisla Distillery, Keith, Speyside


Probably the best micro distillery and here in Perthshire too.  Tony is doing a great job with his craft gins (Heather Rose being Liz’s favourite).  We haven’t tasted his whisky but we feel sure it will be delicious, distilled in tiny wee copper stills from Portugal  Good luck Strathearn.

Tony, the owner of Strathearn Distillery with his wee stills


almost hidden from view, sitting on a bend of the Isla River, from where it takes its cooling water. The whisky it produces has some of Speyside’s classic characteristics, added to which you’ll find a chocolate, creamy note not often seen in its contemporaries.  Built as a corn mill in 1823, it was converted into a distillery then known as Glenisla-Glenlivet in 1891 during the Victorian whisky boom. W.A. Gilbey & Son acquired the building in 1895 and gave it the name Strathmill – probably because parts of the old mill remained intact. Strathmill is not owned by Chivas but since 1997 by Diageo who operate it for the production of blends such as J&B whisky



the Gaelic translation of ‘mill on the hill’, named in part after the historic former carding mill which sits on the site of the distillery. Local farmers would bring their sheep fleeces here in the summer months to be made into wool. Their story began in 1966 (the best thing that happened in Britian that year!) with the opening of the distillery in the rural village of Tomnavoulin, Scotland. Notice the two different spellings here. Although the doors were closed in 1995, it reopened in 2007 after a major distillery refurbishment. Since then, they’ve crafted exceptional single malt whisky with a true Speyside character; rich, smooth and mellow. I do like the sherry finish by the way, great tour here.