Whisky Month, a region at a time. The Lowlands

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.

Two classic Lowland single malts, Glenkinchie and Authentoshan

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

Glenkinchie

Pronounce         glen-KIN-chee   

Meaning             Valley of the Kinchie burn          

Fact                     Glenkinchie has the largest pot still in Scotland with a capacity of 21,000 litres.

Auchentoshan

Pronounce         OCH-un-TOSH-un          

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.

Kingsbarns

Pronounce         Kings-BARNS

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.

Lindores

Pronounce         lin-DOORS

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.

Bladnoch

Pronounce         BLAH-d-noch

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.

A view of the Forth Bridges (credit and copyright: Andrew Palmer)

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.


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