Scotland is famous for its fantastic range of whiskies. From the peaty flavours of the islands, to the more floral notes of the Highlands, they is a huge range on offer here.
We used to visit the Isle of Arran every year as kids, and there would always be space for a bottle of single malt in the bag to enjoy over the coming year (for the adults of course!).
In this post we discover some of the best distilleries in Aberdeenshire, and put together an itinerary for a seven day tour. You can follow it day by day, or maybe just pick a few of your favourites and spend an afternoon out.
However you decide to visit them, we think you’ll enjoy this 7 day tour of the best distilleries in Aberdeenshire.
Where To Stay
Accommodation Days 1-6: Muckrach House
For days one to six, we recommend using Muckrach House as your accommodation and base for your whiskey tour. This 16-bedroom, luxury house hotel is surrounded by an incredible ten acres of superb scenery, including a castle. This makes Muckrach House the ideal location for a relaxing stay within the UK’s largest National Park.
Accommodation Day 7: Boath House Hotel
For the final chapter of your seven-day whisky tour across Scotland, we suggest you stay at the divine Boath House Hotel, in Nairn. This remarkable location consists of nine unique, beautiful, stylish rooms, with the option of two elegant cottages within the grounds of the property for additional privacy. With glorious gardens, delicious food and drink and a catalogue of history, this really is the perfect base for your final day of exploring Scotland’s whisky distilleries.
- Black = Accommodation
- Red = Day 1
- Yellow = Day 2
- Green = Day 3
- Blue = Day 4
- Purple = Day 5
- Orange = Day 6
- Brown = Day 7
The Tomintoul Distillery
To begin your whisky tour of Aberdeenshire, we suggest you start at the amazing Tomintoul distillery. Located within the whiskey producing region of Speyside is a distillery named after the highest village in the Scottish Highlands. Tomintoul distillery is currently the award winner in the Gold Medal International Spirits Challenge of 2018, for its Tomintoul Vintage Single Cask 1997. Arrange a tour of this fantastic location and experience what makes this an award-winning whiskey producer.
The Tamnavulin Distillery
From there we recommend you visit the historic Tamnavulin distillery. Also located within the region of Speyside, this marvellous distillery can be found nestled amongst the foothills of the Cairngorm Mountain Range. The Tamnavulin distillery has been producing the finest Speyside malt whiskey for over 50 years and prides itself on using only the finest quality ingredients combined with age old expertise in distilling. A tour of this location is absolutely on our list.
The Braeval Distillery
Moving on to the Braeval distillery, situated in Chapeltown, Banffshire. Located at the heart of Speyside and at an altitude of 350 meters, Braeval currently stands as the highest distillery in Scotland. This successful distillery was founded in 1973 and after a steady growth is now home to six still Scotch whiskey blends. We believe this fantastic, picturesque location is a perfect way to finish off the first day of your Scottish whiskey tour.
The Glenlivet Distillery
Commence your second day with a visit to the newly refurbished, Glenlivet distillery. The Glenlivet distillery is situated near Ballindalloch in Moray and produces single malt, Scotch whisky. It currently holds the title of being the oldest, legal distillery in Glenlivet along with the production of a Scottish whisky of the same name. After undergoing a recent, extensive expansion and refurbishment, the Glenlivet distillery is one of the most modern whisky producing locations in Speyside. We recommend a tour of this fantastic location to begin the second day of your journey through the history Scottish whisky.
The Glenfarclas Distillery
Also located within Speyside is the Glenfarclas distillery. The name translates as the valley of the green grass. This distillery is currently home to six of the largest stills on Speyside, which are heated directly by gas burners. Legally established in 1836, the Glenfarclas distillery is one of the few independent Speyside distilleries and sits amongst acres of open farmlands. There is also an informative, visitor centre which guests are welcome to explore.
The Tormore Distillery
Located approximately 1 kilometre south of the River Spey, in Speyside, sits the Tormore Distillery. This unmissable location makes a statement amongst others of its kind, as a comparatively modern distillery having been built in 1959. We recommend a tour of this exclusive location to conclude the second day of your whisky experience. This iconic location, which rarely opens its doors to the public, will provide you with information about the distillery itself along with the origins of its Tormore malt whisky.
The Glendronach Distillery
On day three of your stay, we recommend starting with a visit to the Glendronach Distillery. Nestled deep within the East Highland Hills, you will find one of the oldest distilleries in Scotland. The Glendronach Distillery boasts the production of the finest, richly, sherried single malts for almost 200 years. Recognised for their deep colour and rich flavour profiles, the Glendronach Distillery’s Highland whiskies are the product of well-kept secrets and expertise in mastering the art of sherry cask maturation. A visit to this fantastic distillery is a definite must in our opinion.
The Knockando Distillery
The Knockando distillery is a single malt whisky distillery, which can be found in the Strathspey area of Scotland and gets its name after the village in which it stands. Founded in 1898 during the Victorian whisky boom, this amazing location has an array of heritage and history to share with visitors each year. The distillery boasts its pride in being incredibly picturesque and producing fantastic products which contain authentic character, accompanied by light and floral accents.
The Cardhu Distillery
A great way to conclude the third day of your Scottish whisky tour is by paying the Cardhu distillery a visit. This Speyside distillery is situated near Archiestown in Moray and was founded by the whisky smuggler John Cumming and wife Helen Cumming in 1824. Experience the stories of this only malt distillery that was pioneered by a woman by arranging a tour of this beautiful location, nestled within the heart of Speyside. There are a few different tour options to choose from, where you’ll be given the opportunity to sample a tasting from a wide variety of Single Malts and blends. We think this is the perfect location to bring the third day of your tour to a close.
The Aberlour Distillery
We suggest day four of your whisky experience should commence with a trip to the amazing Aberlour Distillery. This distillery is surrounded by dramatic, Highland scenery and is steeped in centuries of legend. The Aberlour distillery takes its name after the village in that it’s located, which lies at the very heart of Speyside. This distillery offers a large range of many different variations of ex-Sherry and ex-Bourbon cask, matured whiskies. Start your day off with a visit to this exceptionally beautiful location and experience the history behind its whisky production.
The Macallan Distillery
Next up on our list of recommendations is the Macallan distillery. This estate is located in the Craigellachie area of Moray and produces a single malt Scotch whisky. In June 2018, the Macallan distillery launched its new visitors experience, in which it welcomes guests to explore. Visitors are encouraged to discover the heritage of this location through guided tours of the distillery’s oak casks and copper spirit sills, followed by delicious tasting sessions.
The Craigellachie Distillery
The final stop of the day, we think, should consist of a visit to the Craigellachie distillery. This single malt Scotch whisky distillery is located near the village of Craigellachie, at the centre of the renowned whisky producing area of Speyside. The Craigellachie distillery was founded in 1891 at the peak of the famous whisky boom and has been producing heavy and sulphurous malt whisky, enriched with character ever since. We recommend a tour of this iconic location to discover the heritage and origins of its product. You will meet the obliging mill engineers who lovingly keep the old mill working to this day.
The Glenrothes Distillery
On day five, you should begin by taking a trip to the renowned Glenrothes distillery, located in Speyside. The Glenrothes distillery produces well known, blended scotch whiskies such as The Famous Grouse and Cutty Sark. The distillery itself was established in 1878, with production commencing in December of the following year, and has been producing Speyside Single Malts ever since. The Glenrothes distillery is rather substantial, with a capacity of over 5.6 million litres of liquid each year. A tour of this incredible location will take visitors back on a very turbulent history, whilst exploring the origins of the distillery and its products.
The Glen Spey Distillery
Moving on to the very picturesque Glen Spey distillery, located in Moray at the heart of Speyside. The Glen Spey distillery lies just below the ruins of Castle Rothes which was once home to the Earls of Rothes who lived there. The distillery itself, was founded in 1878 as the Mill of Rothes which started its life as an oatmeal mill. It was later re-purchased, and today stands as a distillery which is primarily used to produce spirits into the popular J&B blends. The distillery is available by appointment only for a limited, small number of guests to enjoy tours, exclusive access and tasting sessions. We think this location is definitely worth booking a guided tour to experience the authentic origins of its produce.
The Speyburn Distillery
What better way to conclude the fifth day of your Aberdeenshire whisky tour than a visit to the Speyburn Distillery. The Speyburn Distillery has trusted its instincts for over 100 years, while challenging the common methods of creating single malt scotch whisky. Located within the region of Speyside, this marvellous distillery was founded in 1897 by John Hopkins and Company. We recommend a visit to this iconic distillery in order to experience the sweet and gentle whisky that is produced here. This location has become increasingly popular amongst visitors thanks to its picturesque setting and exceptionally smooth whisky.
The Strathmill Distillery
The Strathmill distillery is one of three distilleries situated at the heart of what has been dubbed ‘Malt Whisky Country’, within the town of Moray. The Strathmill distillery produces Speyside Single Malt Whisky and its main production quirk comes from a purifying pipe running from the Lyne arm into the body of the spirit stills. The Strathmill distillery is hidden behind trees within a dip off of the main road, through the beautiful town of Keith. A tour of this distillery is highly recommended, to explore the uniqueness of its malts and origins of the business that remains active today.
The Strathisla Distillery
We recommend a tour of the amazing Strathisla distillery to any whisky enthusiast, for a truly authentic, memorable experience you will never forget. For over 237 years, the Strathisla distillery has produced prestigious whiskies and boasts on using only the highest quality, natural ingredients. Indulge in the authentic, distinctive flavours and aromas of the historical distillery, which is located in the picturesque village of Keith.
The Cragganmore Distillery
Situated along the banks of the River Spey, you will find the Cragganmore distillery. This distillery is home to some of the most authentic, characterful malt whiskies within the region of Speyside, making it the ideal location to conclude the sixth day of your whisky tour. Guided tours of the distillery and its history are available to be booked in advance, finishing with a complimentary taste of the Cragganmore, 12-year-old Single Malt.
The Glen Moray Distillery
Commence the final chapter of your whisky distillery tour of Aberdeenshire with a trip to the remarkable Glen Moray distillery. Situated on the banks of the River Lossie, just outside one of Scotland’s oldest towns, Elgin. The Glen Moray distillery has been producing single malt whisky since 1897 and has a long history of distilling award-winning malts by hand. We recommend booking a guided tour of the Glen Moray distillery in order to unearth its trade secrets and myths which have been passed down throughout generations over the years.
The Dallas Dhu Distillery
Moving on towards the Dallas Dhu Distillery, this iconic location was a producer of Single Malt Scotch Whiskey between 1899 and 1983. Although this distillery may not produce whisky anymore, the site remains a fascinating area that welcomes visitors every day to learn about the history and origins of Scotch Whisky. The Dallas Dhu Distillery is unique amongst Scotland’s whisky distilleries and has been preserved in the hopes of potentially distilling again in the future.
The Benromach Distillery
The final location we suggest you visit during your adventure through Scottish whisky production in Aberdeenshire, has to be The Benromach Distillery. Founded in 1898 by Duncan McCallum and F.W Brickman, this distillery boasts its use of the finest, natural ingredients with no short cuts in order to produce perfection. It is situated in the Romach Hills beside Forres and is today the smallest working distillery within the region of Speyside, employing only two people to produce its products. A trip to this quirky, unique distillery is definitely recommended to whisky enthusiasts and visitors seeking the discovery of Scottish whisky heritage.
Private Driver Scotland
This article was put together in collaboration with PrivateDriverScotland.com, a luxury tour company based in Edinburgh.
They offer a range of packages, from tours of golf courses to historic castles.
They are also specialists in whisky tours. If you want to book their luxury 7 day whisky tour of Aberdeenshire, click here to see the full itinerary.