Ask people what they associate most with Scotland and you'll probably get a variety of answers - tartan, haggis, golf and Robert Burns would certainly all be mentioned. But the most common answer is likely to be whisky. Acknowledged as Scotland's national drink, whisky - in the Gaelic 'uisge beatha' (pronounced oosh-ga beh-huh), meaning water of life - has been produced here for longer than anyone can remember.
Something that began centuries ago as a way of using up rain-soaked barley after a wet harvest in Scotland, whisky is a huge part of Scotland’s national culture and is now one of the country's biggest earners, bringing billions of pounds into the British economy every year.
Distillery visits are a great way to see some of Scotland's finest scenery, a place you can relax and take in the view as you sample a nice malt whisky. Find out more about the art of creating Scotch whisky with exclusive behind the scenes tours of some of the country’s famous distilleries in one of Scotland’s five whisky-producing regions.
One in particular, Speyside, is often called ‘Malt Whisky Country’ and is home to more than half of Scotland’s malt whisky distilleries and the world’s only Malt Whisky Trail, making it a whisky lover’s paradise. Follow the fantastic Malt Whisky Trail and see the amber nectar being made from barrel to bottle. Discover seven unique working distilleries, one historic distillery and the Speyside Cooperage. At the only working cooperage in the UK you can witness the ancient art of creating whisky barrels using traditional tools and methods and even have a go at making your own mini-cask.
Make sure you try some Scotch whisky when you visit Scotland at special whisky festivals or at renowned whisky bars across the country where you can enjoy expert-led whisky tasting sessions. There is a whisky to suit everyone's taste - from Scotch malt whisky to blended varieties - and it is sure to surprise you.
A cooper at work at the Speyside Cooperage, Craigellachie
From Shetland to North Berwick, there are many fine Scottish gin producers all across the country. Discover gin distilleries you can visit and learn about the range of wonderful botanicals used in the distilling process.