Scotlands malt whisky trail is the only one in the world, and Speyside, home to Rosegrove Guesthouse, is home to more than half of Scotlands distilleries.
The traditions of distilling and maturing Scotch Whisky have evolved through the centuries, using crafts passed from generation to generation in a continual process of refinement. Today Scotland’s fine Scotch Malt Whisky is produced in distilleries located in the most picturesque of settings, close to the natural ingredients on which their unique flavour depends.
Starting from Rosegrove Guesthouse, take the Malt Whisky Trail and discover the best Scotland has to offer – Highland scenery, a beautiful coastline, attractive towns & villages and visit the many distilleries and the Speyside Cooperage as well as the Cashmere Visitor Centre, craft centres and castles & gardens.
1. Benromach Distillery and Malt Whisky Centre – Invererne Road, Forres. Tel: 01309 675 968
Benromach Distillery. Visit the smallest working distillery in Speyside. Founded in 1898 Benromach Distillery suffered many closures and changes in ownership until 1993 when malt whisky specialists, Gordon & MacPhail, rescued the distillery and set about an extensive reinstallation programme to bring it back to its former glory. The distillery was officially opened in October 1998 by HRH The Prince of Wales. The Malt Whisky Centre, formerly the drier house, opened its door to welcome visitors in 1999. Sit in the ‘wee nook’ and watch a video depicting the history of Gordon & MacPhail and the production at Benromach. Enjoy guided tours, gift shop, tutored nosing, tasting and exhibition. Language sheets available
2. Dallas Dhu Historic Distillery – Mannachie Road, Forres, Tel: 01309 676548
The last distillery to be built in the nineteenth century. Visitors can wander at will through this completely preserved time capsule of the distiller’s craft using our new audio tour in French, German, Italian, Spanish and English. Explore this fine old Victorian distillery and then enjoy a dram in the audio-visual theatre as the story of Scotch Whisky unfolds before you. Audio-visual theatre, exhibition, gift shop, picnic area. Bus or rail to Forres: station and bus stop 1 mile from distillery
3. Glen Grant Distillery and Gardens – Rothes, Tel: 01340 832118, Fax: 01340 832104
Founded in 1840, Glen Grant is unique in Scotch Whisky as being the only distillery named after its owners. Today you can witness Major James Grant’s legacy on a guided tour and see the magnificent shining copper stills that produce a malt of unique quality and crisp fresh character. Stroll through the delightful Victorian Woodland Garden to the heather thatched dram pavilion and tumbling waterfall beyond. Free dram. Gift shop. Exhibition. Parking
4. Strathisla Distillery – The homeof Chivas Regal. Keith, Tel: 01542 783044 Fax: 01542 783039
At Strathisla Distillery, home of Chivas Regal, we welcome you as our guests. Enjoy our hospitality and the un-hurried pace of the self-guided tour of the oldest working distillery in the Highlands, founded in 1786. Discover the art of the blender before sipping a superb dram in luxurious comfort. Coffee and shortbread, souvenir guide book, tutored whisky nosing, gift shop. Train or bus to Keith: railway station 600m, bus stop 500m from distillery.
5. The Glenfiddich Distillery – Dufftown Tel: 01340 820373, Fax: 01340 822083
William Grant & Sons Ltd is one of the very few Scotch whisky companies to remain in the hands of the family who founded it. Glenfiddich® is the only Highland single malt to be distilled, matured and bottled at its own distillery. Found in homes and bars around the globe, Glenfiddich is the world’s favourite single malt Scotch whisky. Free guided tours, distillery film in six languages, exclusive Gift Shop, large car park, outdoor picnic tables. Bus from Elgin – bus stop near Distillery.
6. Speyside Cooperage - Craigellachie, Tel: 01340 871108 Fax: 01340 881437
Multi award-winning working cooperage with unique visitor centre. Come and see our highly skilled coopers and our apprentices practising their ancient craft. Each year we repair around 100,000 oak casks which will be used to mature many different whiskies. Exhibition and audio-visual (6 languages), viewing gallery, gift shop, tastings, refreshments available March to September, all weather picnic facilities. Bus from Elgin; request stop at entrance.
7. Cardhu Distillery - Knockando, Tel: 01340 872555, Fax: 01340 872556
A warm welcome awaits you at the Cardow Distillery (previously known as the Cardhu Distillery), the only malt distillery pioneered by a woman. A deliberately slow rate of distillation together with the special qualities of the spring water yields a malt whisky of the subtlest flavour. The malt whisky produced at the Cardow Distillery has a warmth and cleanliness of taste which experts describe as “silky”. Matured for 12 years in specially selected oak casks, during which time it mellows and develops its smooth, warm and sensuous flavour, a signature of the vatted CARDHU Pure Malt. Share with us the story of the Cardow Distillery and how the unique, silky smooth malt whisky produced there is used in some of the award winning JOHNNIE WALKER scotch whiskies.
8. The Glenlivet Distillery - Glenlivet, Tel: 01340 821720, Fax: 01340 821718
Visit the wild and lonely setting of The Glenlivet Distillery. Established in 1824 by George Smith, discover the home of this world famous Single Malt Scotch Whisky. Enjoy a guided tour of the distillery and vast bonded warehouse where the famous spirit matures to a whisky of infinite subtlety and grace and of course sample a complimentary dram of The Glenlivet. Exhibition. Interactive presentation. Coffee Shop. Gift shop. Situated on the B9008, 10 miles north of Tomintoul.
After the Malt Whisky Trail there are numerous other distilleries to visit, which are spread throughout the key distilling regions of Scotland and a visit to one or more will explain how each unique malt whisky is crafted.
The distilleries are in order starting with the most northerly going south.
1. Clynelish - Brora, Sutherland, Tel: 01408 623 000
Located on the A9 in the popular holiday town of Brora with commanding views of the North Sea.
Spring water from the Clynemilton burn is used to produce this fruity, slightly smoky Single Malt Scotch Whisky.
2. Glen Ord - Muir of Ord, Ross-Shire, Tel: 01463 872 004
Welcome to Glen Ord distillery. Just north of Inverness, the ancient Highland capital, is the legendary Black Isle – in reality not quite an island but a peninsula linked to the mainland by a neck of land no more than seven miles across. Here, where the gentle undulating landscape of the Black Isle gives way to the Highlands rising steeply to the west lies Muir of Ord, where Glen Ord Distillery has stood since 1838. Water is the lifeblood of Scotch whisky, and the Highlands are well endowed with this gift from the skies. Every malt distiller depends on a pure water source, but Glen Ord’s supply has an idiosyncrasy that makes it unique. It is drawn from two lochs, one fed by spring water, the other is fed entirely by the rain. Together they unite to form a stream known by its Gaelic name, Alt Fionnadh, meaning the White Burn. The two lochs lie 1,000 feet up in the surrounding hills, some four miles or more to the west of the distillery. Loch nam Bonnach, the Loch of the Smoke, derives its name from the shroud of swirling mists that billow over its surface. Loch nan Eun, the Loch of the Bird, is the haunt of wild duck and other waterfowl. Their outlet streams marry some distance down the hill and become the foaming waters of the White Burn.
3. Cragganmore - Ballindalloch, Banffshire, AB37 9AB, Tel: 01479 874 700
Welcome to Cragganmore, Our distillery here on the banks of the great River Spey is not usually open for tours, so you are honoured. The Speyside region is populated with more distilleries than any other in Scotland. You will enjoy yourself more with a glass of our classic Speyside malt at your side. Sip it as you look round – it really will help bring everything to life. Cragganmore distillery was built in 1869 and we make malt whisky today using similar equipment and much the same methods as they did back then. Our sophisticated, complex dram owes much to the unusual shape of the head on the spirit stills.
4. Talisker - Carbost, Isle of Skye, Tel: 01478 614 308
Welcome to Talisker, one of the most remote distilleries in the world. We can be found on the rugged western shores of the Isle of Skye, at the head of Loch Harport, in the small village community of Carbost. My name is Charlie Smith and I took over as manager here in August 2004. This is quite a change for me as the last distillery I managed was Glenkinchie, way down in the gentle rolling hills of Pencaitland, just outside Edinburgh. I don’t plan to make any alterations here – given the amount of awards TALISKER receives, why would you? My arrival does coincide with two changes though. The packaging of the whisky – but don’t worry, the contents of the bottle will still be the same gold medal winning 10 year old golden spirit. The second is a superb new age statement that will be bottled at 18 years old from September 2004. If you were here of course, I’d let you taste both, after a guided tour of the distillery. But you can take a quick look around the distillery yourself by clicking the virtual tour. Pictures and words are one thing, but you really need the taste and smell to complete the experience (both are available to buy in the shop!).
5. Royal Lochnagar - Crathie, Ballater, Aberdeenshire, Tel: 01339 742 700
Royal Lochnagar distillery is situated on the south side of the River Dee close to Balmoral Castle.
Age old traditions and craftmanship produce one of Scotlands most exclusive whiskies, a malt whisky worthy of the “Royal” prefix to its name.
6. Dalwhinnie - Dalwhinnie, Inverness-Shire, PH19 1AB, Tel: 01540 672 219
Dalwhinnie distillery, one of the highest distilleries in Scotland – and a weather station! In Gaelic, Dalwhinnie means meeting place, and in times gone by drovers, driving their herds from the North and West Highlands would gather here before continuing to the markets in the South. These days, people travelling between Inverness and Perth break their journey with a guided tour around our distillery. If you can make it up to the Highlands one day, we’d be delighted to see you, show you round our distillery which is over 100 years old and toast your health with a dram of our gentle spirit.
7. Blair Athol - Pitlochry, Perthshire, Tel: 01796 482 003
Established in 1798 in the picturesque town of Pitlochry, Blair Athol is one of the oldest orking distilleries in Scotland.
The distillery produces a 12 year Old Single Malt Whisky, with a mellow deep-toned aroma, a strong fruity flavour and a smooth finish.
8. Oban - Stafford St., Oban, Argylshire, Tel: 01631 572 004
OBAN whisky is a combination of West Highland and Island malt styles, reflecting the town’s geographical position between the two, as well as its temperate, rainy climate. The distillery, which is one of the oldest in Scotland, can be found on the sea at Oban town. It underwent refurbishment in the 1890′s and the present buildings have changed little since that time. During the overhaul, a remnant of Oban Bay’s ancient beginnings was revealed when a cave (which has now been resealed) containing Mesolithic human remains was discovered behind the distillery. Over two hundred years ago, the Stevenson brothers who started this place were local entrepreneurs who realised that brewing and distilling were good businesses. From here, they exported local products all over the world. If they’d known how popular OBAN single malt would turn out to be, being businessmen, they might have chosen a different site – the cliffs behind us and the promenade between us and the seafront mean we can’t expand our production. However, if we were elsewhere, and we didn’t have our famous small stills, then OBAN almost certainly wouldn’t have all the characteristics that make it the favourite of so many malt drinkers. Have a look at them, and the rest of the distillery on the virtual tour. You’ll almost hear the seagulls and smell the sea air – especially if you have a glass of OBAN to keep you company.
9. Caol Ila - Port Askaig, Isle of Islay, Tel: 01496 302 760
Situated on the north eastern shores of Islay, with magnificent views across the Sounf of Islay to the spectacular Paps of Jura.
Watch the distillers at work, tending the six copper stills.
10. Glenkinchie - Pencaitland, Tranent, East Lothian, Tel: 01875 342 004
The home of ‘The Edinburgh Malt’ is located in the rolling farmland of East Lothian and houses an exhibition in the listed red brick buildings.
11. Lagavulin - Port Ellen, Esle of Ilsay, Tel: 01496 302 400
Lagavulin distillery on the southern shore of the famous whisky-making island of Islay. Dunyveg Castle guards the entrance to Lagavulin Bay. This was the stronghold of the Lords of the Isles who ruled the seas off the west coast of Scotland centuries ago, and strangers were very much discouraged. Today, the castle is a fine ruin, and we’re much more welcoming. Visitors from all over the world come on a pilgrimage to our distillery and the other six on the island still producing. Lagavulin distillery is the traditional finish point for the annual Classic Malts Cruise. The crews of smart yachts that will continue their way around the world, as well as more modest craft gather to swap stories of the two week sail between distilleries. Stories of towing boats with lost props, distilleries welding bits and pieces back together and more than one or two sunrises still on deck! ‘Highland scenery, distillery hospitality, BBQs and Ceildh’s, keep crews comming back year after year.