Whisky is one of the world’s most popular alcoholic beverages, and if you’re like me and you enjoy a small tipple or a wee dram now and then, you’ll find today’s topic particularly interesting I’m sure. Why? Because today I’m talking to you about Whisky.
Whisky is a beverage steeped in history and tradition, and while it is most commonly associated with Scotland, if you venture further afield you’ll find plenty of other parts of the UK with their own distilleries, offering their own blends of delicious whisky.
Whether you’re a Scotch fan, a single malt, or a double malt drinker, if you’re anything like me you’ll find that learning about where your beverages come from is almost as much fun as drinking them.
From the Highlands of Scotland to the lowlands of Norfolk, here’s a look at what I believe to be se7en of the most interesting whisky distilleries to visit in the UK.
Penderyn Distillery, Wales
As we’re talking about a drink synonymous with Scotland and the Highlands, naturally it makes sense for me to begin today’s article in… Wales?
Yes, because I’m such a cool, crazy, and unpredictable kind of guy, I’m throwing you a curveball for my first offering as I’m taking you to Penderyn Distillery, Wales.
Penderyn Distillery offers a selection of award-winning single malt whiskies which whisky aficionados such as myself, would put up against some of the world’s finest single malt whiskies, and no, I’m not just saying that.
Located in the gorgeous foothills of the Brecon Beacons in South Wales, this distillery offers an award winning visitor centre whereby visitors can enjoy a one hour tour of the distillery. During this hour, they’ll learn the history of whisky, they’ll see how it is brewed, they’ll see the mill and the equipment, and of course, they’ll also enjoy a sample or two in the tasting bar.
The English Whiskey Co Distillery, Norfolk, England
If you’re starting to grow frustrated at the lack of Scottish distilleries in today’s piece, don’t worry, because I’ve plenty up my sleeve which I know you’ll love.
Before we venture to Scotland, though, let us instead venture to Norfolk, England, to the English Whisky Company Distillery.
This is England’s oldest whiskey distillery, having been established back in 2006 by the Nelstrop family. The distillery is proud to be English, which is evident in their hugely popular St George’s Distillery.
Thanks to Norfolk’s plentiful supplies of Barley, and Breckland aquifer, situated underground beneath the distillery and providing crystal clear water, this is the perfect location for whisky distilling.
There are standard tours of the facility with the odd taster thrown in, or visitors can choose from a World Whisky Tasting Tour or an Ultimate Tasting Tour, which obviously provide more samples.
If you’re ever in Norfolk, the land of Alan Partridge, be sure to stop by for a tour.
Highland Park Distillery, Scotland
Awk, I told you I’d get to Scotland.
Now we’re heading way up north to the barren and rugged Highlands of the Isle of Orkney. This is the most northern distillery in Scotland, and the surroundings are stunning.
Incidentally, most of Scotland’s distilleries are located in the wilderness of the Highlands, rather than in built-up cities because the barren locations were harder for whisky tax excisemen to access. Remember, back in the late 1700s, illicit whisky distilling was rife. Distilleries in the wilderness were harder to find and access, plus excisemen were easier to spot in the distance.
What I like about this distillery is the fact that it offers different tours for different prices. The Magnus Eason tour is a big hit, as it allows visitors to sample 7 different whiskies.
For a more unusual twist, there’s even a tour which allows you to work a day at the distillery. Now that’s pretty cool.
Blair Athol Distillery, Perthshire
Now we’re heading to Perthshire to visit the Blair Athol distillery.
Located at the town of Pitlochry, this is described as the gateway to the Highlands, and it is every bit as beautiful as you might expect.
The tours here are great for those of you who really want to learn about the history behind whisky distilling, and to find out just what goes into making these amazing drinks.
Here they specialise in malt whisky, which is actually added to Bell’s whisky, and we all know how popular that is, don’t we?
Adnams Distillery, Suffolk
Now we’re heading back to England, down to the beautiful seaside town of Southwold, Suffolk.
Any whisky purists amongst you that are reading this might not agree with this distillery, but it’s my article so I’m including it. The reason they might not agree is the fact that Adnams Distillery doesn’t just specialise in whisky, they do a bit of everything including gin, vodka, rum, wine, and beer.
Despite this, the tours are well worth doing as you can choose between a tour of the distillery, or of the brewery to see how the real ales are made, or maybe even both.
If you want to see how various spirits are brewed, distilled, and bottled up, a tour of the distillery and or brewery is well worth a visit.
Oh, and as you’re by the sea, you know that it’s against the law to not finish your day with a generous portion of fish and chips.
Glenkinchie Distillery, East Lothian, Scotland
The city of Edinburgh is one of the most popular cities in the world, let alone the UK, and if you’re ever in the area and want a tour of a distillery, Glenkinchie Distillery should be top of your list.
With whiskies such as Johnnie Walker, and Talisker, you know you’re in for something special here, and the brewery does not disappoint.
Here they distil the Edinburgh Malt that is enjoyed all across the globe and is a vital component of Johnnie Walker Whisky. They offer a selection of different tours to choose from, and yes, each one does come complete with plenty of samples.
There’s also a shuttle bus from Edinburgh so you needn’t worry about a designated driver.
Lagavulin Distillery, Islay, Scotland
Last, but by no means least, I present to you, Lagavulin Distillery.
This distillery is located in a small bay near the South Coast of Islay, not far from the ruins of Dunyveg Castle (yes, a castle, we all know I can’t resist them).
I love the sound of this distillery because as well as standard tours there are premium whisky tasting tours, warehouse tours, and a matched whisky and food tasting tour so you can see which foods pair up the best with which whiskies.
Hope this article made you curious about how these fine whiskeys are made. Would you visit them?
Until next time stay safe, stay curious and don’t stop wandering!