The Whisky Trail - Famous Road Trip Through Scotland
A road trip through Scotland will always be alluring and breathtaking. For whisky lovers, here is our guide to the trip.
Whisky is the principal commodity produced in Scotland’s fascinating regions. Scotland and whisky are entwined together since centuries. According to the Scotch Whisky Association, Scotch whisky derived from a Scottish drink ‘uisge beatha ’, and it means ‘water of life’. In the records of royal income and expenditures, the earliest records of distillation in Scotland were found which said to occurred in 1494.
At present, there are over 120 active distilleries spread across Scotland, split into five whisky-producing regions: Highland, Islay, Lowland, Campbeltown, and Speyside. These regions have a stunning landscape and very rich culture, and the best way to discover these places is to set off a breathtaking road trip through Scotland.
So, get on the flight to Glasgow, because we have picked out some of the road trips that you can take in and around Scotland.
(The road trips will take you to a few remote areas, so plan your ride and hotel bookings in advance.)
Blessed with a mild climate, grassy land and flat landscape, Lowlands is quite a suitable place for growing barley. It is Scotland’s most reachable whisky region, due to the travel links from the key cities of Edinburgh and Glasgow. The region is located in the southernmost parts of Scotland.
Whiskies from this region have a delicate and citrusy character and usually considered as the most light-bodied of the single malts. Many of them are triple distilled, hence, they are unpeated and lighter in nature, and gentle on the palate. Whiskies from this region are usually easy to drink and hence, best for the new drinkers. Around 18 distilleries lie in the Lowlands whisky region out of which, Auchentoshan is the oldest. It is located 8 miles north-west of Glasgow city. The distillery claims to be the only distillery in Scotland that practices triple distillation. This technique allows the whiskies of this distillery to be more smooth, sweet and delicate, also known as ‘breakfast whisky’.
15 miles away from Edinburgh, Glenkinchie distillery is located in the East Lothian farmland. This distillery produces some of the best light, sweet and malty whiskies. The roots of the distillery go back to 1825. More distilleries to find in this region are Lindores Abbey Distillery, Clydeside Distillery and Glasgow Distillery Company.
3-hours drive from Glasgow to the Western Peninsula Kintyre will take you to one of the most beautiful landscapes of Scotland. It is Loch Lomond and The Trossachs National Park. Campbeltown used to have more than 30 distilleries in its past. Currently, there are three operating distilleries in the area.
Despite having a minimal number of distilleries, this region boasts single malts with unique characteristics. These three distilleries produce some of the finest malts that are appreciated worldwide. Malts from Springbank are robust and smoky, whereas, malts from Glen Scotia are lighter and represents grassy notes. Kilkerran distillery also produces some of the best malts that are lighter and sweeter, with unique oily and salty notes.
The drive is quite long, but worthwhile, as you go through some alluring Argyll scenery.
Begin by taking the ferryboat from Kennacraig by driving up to the western coast of Kintyre, it will take around 2 hours to reach Port Ellen on the isle of Islay. Known as ‘whisky island’, this region is just around 25 miles long and 15 miles wide. They say that monks introduced distillation techniques over here in the 14th century.
The southern distilleries, Lagavulin and Laphroaig use peaty malt and peaty water to produce powerful whiskies. Lagavulin, located in a quiet bay, is the producer of some of the wonderful whiskies which represent the flavors of Islay. Its whiskies boast fruity and smoky flavors with hints of sea salt. Down the road, lies Laphroaig, offering some of the smokiest whiskies of Islay.
During March to September, visitors can go on the ‘Water to Whisky Experience’. Here they are allowed to cut peat with the help of staff and visit this distillery’s water source.
From Campbelltown, it is the longest drive of around 236 miles in the north to Argyll which will require a good rest during the previous night. Visitors usually stop at the fishing city Oban for some fish and chips. Heading to north-east, Speyside will be there. Most numbers of total distilleries of Scotland are in the Speyside region. This region is a part of Highlands and the only whisky region where visitors get to go for three-day guided malt whisky trail.
Speyside is the driest and warmest part of the country. Its fertile farmlands are perfect for growing barley. In this region, Dufftown is home to Glenfiddich, the world-famous single malt Scotch whisky. Here, visitors are taken through the distillery’s warehouse. One of the oldest distilleries Strathisla lies in the city of Keith. It is known as the most alluring distillery in Scotland due to its cobbled courtyard and double pagoda towers.
Highlands, possessing the largest territory, is the biggest whisky region out of all in Scotland. The area spans from the Orkney Islands to the Isle of Arran. This vast area of land results into various characteristics in whisky; some of them are smoky, some are peaty and some are delicate.
Many of the oldest distilleries of Scotland lie here, including Glenturret and Balblair. There are other new distilleries too, such as Isle of Raasay, Torabhaig and Ncn’ean distillery.
Closure: The place where the whisky is produced can leave a huge effect on its flavor. Whiskies from Scotland’s famous-five regions flaunts everything about Scottish land in its flavors. From the source of water to the presence of peat, all reflect well in these Scottish whiskies.
Did we just make your day? Come here often to find exciting and insightful articles covering thrilling places regarding whisky and other spirits.
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