Scotch Whisky

  • Distilled from malted (germinated) barley mash in copper pans called pot stills
  • Usually aged in ex-bourbon or sherry casks, however others such as port, wine or even beer (e.g. Glenfiddich IPA) aged whiskies exist
  • From Gaelic “uisge-beatha” (OOshge-bah) meaning water of life
  • Two types – single malt and blended
  • Must be:
    • Produced at a distillery in Scotland from water and malted barley
    • Be matured in oak casks for a minimum of three years
    • Minimum ABV of 40% (this can go much higher!)
    • Whisky/Whiskey


  • Accounts for £4.37billion in exports















Sweet Whisky

Whisky casks are made of wood (usually oak) which contains naturally occurring sugars. Casks that are used for making whisky undergo the process of charring where the inside of the cask is ignited by a flame and allowed to burn for a set period of time, which caramelises the sugars in the wood and opens up the wood to allow the spirit to absorb these sugars and take on the imparted flavours. Depending on the char, this can impart flavours of vanilla, toffee, caramel and oakiness and can act as a barrier to the more “green” woody flavours.


While all whisky casks will at the very least undergo a light toasting, an example of a particularly sweet whisky is Dalmore, located in the town of Dalmore north of Inverness.


Peated Whisky

If peat (a type of fossil fuel created by decayed vegetation) is burned as the fuel during the malting process then the whisky is described as peated and is a style heavily associated with the Island of Islay (eye-lah). This imparts a very strong smoky, medicinal quality to the whisky and is one of the most dividing flavours among whisky drinkers. An example of a peated whisky is Laphroaig, which markets itself as “the most richly flavoured” whisky in Scotland. Peated whiskies are not recommended for people new to whisky as even lightly peated whiskies can have an overpoweringly strong flavour.







Local Distilleries

Tourists travel from all over the world to all over Scotland to visit distilleries and sample different regions’ styles; therefore it is likely you will at some point be asked to recommend a local distillery. The below distilleries are within driving distance of Aberdeen. You may consider printing this page to give to inquiring guests:

Fettercairn Distillery

South of Aberdeen and nestled under the Grampian foothills is Fettercairn Distillery, which was founded in 1824. It’s open for visits between Easter and October, but it’s best to arrange your tour time in advance.


Royal Lochnagar Distillery

Near Ballater – and not far from Balmoral Castle – is the handsome distillery which was awarded a Royal Warrant from Queen Victoria. Royal Lochnagar is open year-round and offers a range of tours as well as private tastings.



GlenDronach Distillery

This historic distillery is almost 200 years old. Open all year round, the distillery has a visitor centre, gift shop and a range of fascinating guided tours. GlenDronach Distillery lies north of Aberdeen and from the city takes about an hour to reach by car.



Glen Garioch Distillery

Lying just 20 miles from Aberdeen, Glen Garioch Distillery specialises in fine non chill-filtered single malt whiskies. It’s open year-round and offers a unique range of tours, including the more unusual whisky and cheese pairing! Private tastings are also available.





Glenglassaugh Distillery

In the north, skirting the picturesque Moray coastline, you’ll find the Glenglassaugh Distillery.  It sat silently for 20 years until reproduction started up again in 2008. The distillery enjoys great sea views and offers a regular tour and, by appointment only, a behind the scenes tour.



Ardmore Distillery

An hour’s journey north west of Aberdeen will bring you to Ardmore Distillery, where a peaty, Highland single malt is produced. Tours are by appointment only and must be arranged in advance.




Knockdhu Distillery

This small but perfectly formed distillery, which produces the anCnoc single malt whisky, is open to visitors by appointment only. You’ll find it in the tiny village of Knock, 50 miles north west of Aberdeen.

Taken from VisitScotland


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