Whisky Month, a region at a time. The Scottish Highlands

The Scottish Highlands are without doubt the most famous of Scotland’s regions.  From misty glens and majestic mountain peaks to the gurgling steams, waterfalls and expansive lochs, there couldn’t be a more evocative backdrop to the distilleries from the region.  It’s also the largest and most varied region with coastal locations, mountain distilleries and also many of Scotland’s islands encompassed within the Highland area.

Aberfeldy Distillery in the spring; credit John Dewar & Sons

The second week of our Whisky Month is dedicated to the Highlands so whether you are drawn by the famous Loch Ness Monster, Outlander or romantic ruined castles here are some tales from the distilleries nestled beneath mountain peaks or alongside lochs and coasts.  

Five Highland Distilleries

Aberfeldy

Pronounce         aber-FELL-dee

Meaning             Pool of the water god

Fact                     The distillery is home to a colony of red squirrels which are fed by distillery workers.

Ben Nevis

Pronounce         ben NEV-is        

Meaning             Mountain touching heaven        

Fact                     Ben Nevis is the only distillery in Scotland to draw its water from Britain’s highest mountain, Ben Nevis.

Glenmorangie

Pronounce         glen-m-ORangey

Meaning             The glen of tranquility

Fact                     Glenmorangie has the tallest and most elegant pot stills in Scotland today reaching a height of 5.13 metres.  As tall as a giraffe!

Jura

Pronounce         JEW-ra

Meaning             Isle of the deer

Fact                     Jura is the only distillery on the island of Jura, an island where the deer outnumber the human inhabitants.

Dalwhinnie

Pronounce         dal-WHIN-ee

Meaning             Meeting place  

Fact                     An ancient cattle drovers route where the cattle came down from their Highland grazing to the markets in the south

When to visit the Highlands. 

One of the best times to visit the Highlands is the spring with the beautiful light, bright green of the new leaves on the broadleaf trees and the fresh grass providing grazing for gambling lambs.  (you might even spot a baby Highland Cow – the ultimate snapshot memory of the Highlands for your Instagram!)  Alternatively visit at the end of the summer in September to truly appreciate the mountain sides ablaze with a wash of purple heather.

Isle of Rassay Distillery in the spring with lambs
Raasay Distillery with lambs in the Spring; Credit R&B Distillers

Typical Lowland characteristics

The varied and dramatic Highland landscaped in mirrored in the flavour and character of its whiskies,  Notes of heather and nuts characterize many of the inland whiskies, whilst a seaside breeze of salt, a gentle hint of peat and the fresh sea air can be picked up in any of the coastal single malts.  


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