Scotland has a long and rich history of producing high quality, world-renowned spirits. The earliest documented record of distilling in Scotland in 1494 is an entry in the Exchequer Rolls lists. The increasing popularity of Scotch saw the first taxes being introduced in 1644 which led to an increase in illicit whisky distilling across Scotland. To combat the smuggling that had become standard practice during this time, in 1823 the Excise Act was passed, which sanctioned the distilling of whisky in return for a licence fee. Legal and licenced distilleries flourished, with over 300 recorded in this decade.
500 years on, Scotch Whisky Regulations came into force which specified that it must, by law, be distilled and matured in Scotland in oak casks for at least three years and bottled at a minimum alcoholic strength of 40% abv. Scotch Whisky is now enjoyed in over 175 countries throughout the world and each second, 41 bottles of Scotch are shipped from Scotland across the globe. In this blog post, we will shine a light on some of the Scottish distilleries that have truly mastered the art of making premium Scotch Whisky.
One of the oldest distilleries in Scotland, The GlenDronach has been creating richly sherried single malts for nearly 200 years. Nestled deep in the East Highlands, in the valley of Forgue, GlenDronach Highland whiskies are well known for their deep colour and rich flavour profiles. Their whisky is aged in the finest Spanish Pedro Ximenez and Oloroso sherry casks from Andalucía which imparts sweet fruity flavours and dry, nutty notes.
Located on a remote island just off the West Coast of Scotland, Jura is an ancient landscape filled with wild mountains, peaceful lochs and stormy seas. Using pure water from the Island's tallest mountains, the Paps of Jura, which has filtered down to Market Loch below along with some of the tallest stills of any island distillery produces a whisky that tastes rich and rounded, sweet with a hint of subtle smokiness.
Balvenie Distillery was established in 1892 by William Grant at the abandoned Balvenie New House in Dufftown. Their whisky-making process is dedicated to maintaining the Five Rare Crafts. They are the only distillery in Scotland that still grows its own barley, uses traditional floor maltings and keeps both a coppersmith and a team of coopers on site. Malt Master David C. Stewart MBE presides over the maturation process, making The Balvenie the most hand-crafted of single malts.
Highland Park Distillery stands proudly in Orkney’s remote and remarkable landscape. Crafted by modern-day Viking descendants, Highland Park uses five keystones of production: aromatic peat, hand-turned floor maltings, sherry oak casks, cool maturation and cask harmonisation. We stock their award-winning Highland Park 12-Year-Old Whisky, which remains one of the gold standard malts for other distilleries to aspire to.
In the picturesque Glenlivet estate lies the Tomintoul Distillery. The distillery was built in 1964 and uses traditional techniques that stretch back hundreds of years. The surrounding natural environment, fresh air and pure water all add to their uniquely smooth and mellow single malt, “the gentle dram”. We stock their award-winning Tomintoul 10-Year-Old Whisky which is a wonderfully smooth drink which uses the famous Ballantruan spring, whose pure waters have been flowing through the Highlands for millions of years.
If you have been tempted by anything you have read, then take a look at our full range of Scottish Whisky here. We also stock a fantastic range of carefully selected gifts for the discerning whisky lover in our Whisky Room.