16 October 2013
Immerse yourself in the history and heritage of Scotland’s best-known export, with our guide to historic distilleries around the country. ...
Immerse yourself in the history and heritage of Scotland’s best-known export, with our guide to historic distilleries around the country.
Founded in 1881, Bunnahabhainn distillery on the Isle of Islay produces single malt whisky in a unique location bounded on one side by the sea, and the other by the Margadale River – the spring water source by the distillery. The distillery’s bottles feature a drawing of one of the original helmsman who delivered the whisky across choppy waters.
Bunnahabhainn Distillery, Port Askaig, Isle of Islay PA46 7RP; tel: 01496 840646.
A Speyside distillery founded by smuggler John Cumming and his wife Helen in 1824. The Cummings had established a still at Cardow Farm in 1811 and legend tells that Helen distilled the first gallon of Cardhu, making her a pioneer female distiller. She died in 1874, at the age of 97 – and had remained involved with the business until the end of her life.
Cardhu Distillery, Knockando, Aberlour AB38 7RY; tel: 01479 874635.
One of Scotland’s oldest working distilleries (pictured), located in Speyside. Glendronach was founded in 1826 by James Alladrice, an extroverted entrepreneur who attracted the support of the likes of Sir Walter Scott and Captain Charles Grant.
In the early days of the enterprise, workers, managers, excise men and their families all lived on site, with some of the original accommodation still visible to visitors today.
Glendronach Distillery, Forgue by Huntly AB54 6DB; tel: 01466 730202.
One of Scotland’s last family owned distilleries, founded by William Grant in 1886. William, together with his seven sons and two daughters, built a distillery by hand and named it Glenfiddich, Gaelic for ‘valley of the deer’. The first drops of spirit were distilled on Christmas day 1887. In 1959, an onsite cooperage was created, one of the few that remain in distilleries today.
Glenfiddich Distillery, Dufftown AB55 4DH; tel: 01340 820373.
Said to be Scotland’s oldest distillery, Glenturret (pictured) was founded in 1775 and is well-known for its distinctive pagodas. The distillery, which has its origins in the days of smuggling and illicit stills, now produces whisky for the Famous Grouse brand.
Glenturret Distillery, Crieff PH7 4HA; tel: 01764 656565.
A single malt whisky distillery on the Isle of Islay, where islanders have produced whisky for more than 200 years. Like many of Scotland’s distilleries, the firm has its origins in smuggling in the 18th century, and by the early 1800s, the Johnston family, founders of Laphroaig were farming in the area and began work on a distillery.
Laphroaig Distillery, Port Ellen, Isle of Islay PA42 7DU; tel: 01496 302418.
Established in 1794, the distillery at Oban was in existence even before the town of Oban was established. Today’s visitors can experience the cliff-side site which is one of Scotland’s oldest sources of single malt whisky.
Oban Distillery, Oban PH34 5NH; tel: 01631 572004.
One of the most northerly distilleries on the Scottish mainland, Pulteney Distillery (pictured) was founded in 1826 at the height of the Wick herring boom. Links with the sea were strong, as its waters were used to produce the whisky, and to ship out the finished product.
Pulteney Distillery, Huddart Street, Wick KW1 5BA; tel: 01955 602371.
Strathisla is said to be the oldest operating distillery in the Highlands, and the oldest continually operating distillery in Scotland. It was founded in 1789 by George Taylor and today’s visitors can see many of the original buildings, including the distinctive double pagoda and the cobbled courtyard.
Strathisla Distillery, Seafield Avenue, Keith AB55 5BS; tel: 01542 783044.
A Scotch Whisky distillery on the Isle of Mull, founded in 1798. Tobermory is the oldest commercial distillery in Scotland and the whisky is still produced in the traditional method, by hand.
Tobermory Distillery, Tobermory, Isle of Mull PA75 6NR; tel: 01688 302645.
(Glendronach image © Anne Burgess, Geograph Project)
Keep up to date with the latest history news, discoveries and research in every issue of History Scotland and Scottish Memories magazines, available in print and digital versions.
Sign up now for our FREE e-newsletter for more news stories, sneak previews, exclusive content and special offers.