The Lowland region sometimes feels like one of the most under-appreciated, certainly over the past 50 years, but as the home of The Scotch Whisky Experience, it has a very special pace in our hearts.
Once many of the smaller towns in the southern part of Scotland were home to their own distillery and the bustling cities housed dozens of stills (although some were on the illicit side!). Then there came a time when, with the exception of a handful, the Lowlands were known only for their production of Grain Scotch Whisky used to create the famous blends. Things have changed fast over the past decade and now more and more distilleries are sprouting up from the Kingdom of Fife to the Scottish Borders, the cities of Glasgow and Edinburgh to the faraway and remote south west coast.
The first week of our Whisky Month is dedicated to the Lowlands so here are some facts to entertain and educate about five of the distilleries who find their homes in Scotland’s southern rolling hills and vibrant cities.
Five Lowland Distilleries
Meaning Valley of the Kinchie burn
Fact Glenkinchie has the largest pot still in Scotland with a capacity of 21,000 litres.
Meaning Corner of the field
Fact Auchentoshan is the only Malt Whisky distillery in Scotland that triple distils every drop of spirit using their 3 unique stills.
Meaning Reference to the ancient Kingdom of Fife, when Scotland’s capital was Dunfermline.
Fact The bottles are adorned with Scottish “doos”; doves or pigeons representing the oldest building at the distillery the Laird’s doocot.
Meaning Church by the water
Fact The distillery is built in the site of the ancient Lindores Abbey, famous for its reference to the monks producing Aqua vitae as far back as 1494, Scotland’s first written reference to Scotch whisky.
Meaning Place of Flowers
Fact Bladnoch is the most southerly distillery in Scotland
When to visit the Lowlands.
Due to the location close to Edinburgh, the distilleries of the Lowlands are some of the most accessible and therefore tend to be open year-round. This means that whenever you fancy a city break to Edinburgh you can take in a distillery on a day drip or if you already live in the south of Scotland, make the most of these distilleries on your doorstep. Fife’s whisky festival takes place in early March so it’s the perfect time to expand your knowledge of the local whiskies.
Typical Lowland characteristics
The south has Scotland has long been known for creating gentle and soft single malts, perhaps mirroring the gentle rolling landscape. Floral, grassy, cereal and citrus notes make up the classic description of these drams. If you are tasting a range of single malts it’s best to start with the delicate Lowlands.