Argyll & The Isles Whisky Trail

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Take the Argyll & The Isles Whisky Trail to find an array of distilleries. Begin your tour of Argyll & The Isles’ world-class distilleries on the Isle of Islay then continue your journey into whisky production by discovering what else the region has to offer. 

  • A long shot across fields of Ardbeg distillery with the sea and hills in the distance
    Ardbeg Distillery, south coast of the island of Islay
  • Bowmore jetty, looking across to the distillery, Islay
    Bowmore jetty, looking across to the distillery, Islay
  • Looking along the coastal distillery buildings and jetty with hills in the background
    Bunnahabhain Distillery on the south coast of Islay
  • Looking along the coastline to Lagavulin Distillery, Islay
    Lagavulin Distillery, Islay
  • A row of barrels at Springbank Distillery, Campbeltown
    Springbank Distillery, Campbeltown
  • A sign on the gate of Tobermory Distillery, Tobermory, Isle of Mull
    Tobermory Distillery, Tobermory, Isle of Mull

Start with a visit to Kilchoman Distillery, a modern distillery with a traditional production method. The most westerly distillery in Scotland, Kilchoman is one of the only modern distilleries to produce completely on site. 

Bruichladdich Distillery, built in 1881, still uses much of the traditional Victorian machinery to make its whisky, including the original open 7 ton machtun, one of only a handful still in existence. The distillery brews an exceptional range of whisky which includes what is said to be the 'most heavily peated single malt whisky in the world'. For a lighter flavour, try Caol Ila Distillery, set amongst stunning scenery and now the largest malt whisky distillery on Islay. Caol Ila is one of the lighter Islay whiskies, pale in colour, with peaty, floral and peppery notes.

Located on the south eastern shore of Loch Indaal, Bowmore Distillery was established in 1779 and is the oldest recorded distillery on Islay. Why not visit one of the lesser known distilleries found on Islay, such as Bunnahabhain Distillery? The absence of peat in the malting of the barley, most of which is used to produce its internationally recognised Black Bottle, makes its whisky the lightest and most unique of all the whiskies brewed on the island.

For a distinctive taste, pay a visit to Lagavulin Distillery, the single malt here is characterised by its strong peat flavour and iodine overtones while the Laphroaig Distillery is famed for producing one of the most strongly flavoured of all scotch whiskies. Ardbeg Distillery produces the peatiest and smokiest of the Islay malts and is situated in a stunning, rugged coastal location.

For those interested in the malting process and technology, take a tour of the Port Ellen Maltings which supplies most of the Islay distilleries with their specific malt requirements. 

On your second day, why not visit some of the distilleries in the wider Argyll & The Isles area? In Campbeltown, near the Mull of Kintyre, you will find Springbank Distillery, the oldest independent family-owned distillery in Scotland. Founded in 1828 on the site of Archibald Mitchell's illicit still, the Springbank Distillery has passed through five generations to Hedley G Wright. Springbank is the only distillery in Scotland to carry out the full production process on the one site, including the bottling and malting. Springbank produces the most handmade whisky in Scotland, with traditional production methods being used throughout the process, and human involvement at each and every stage. Take a tour of the entire process, from barley to bottle and enjoy a dram in the luxurious Tasting Room.

Join the A83 to Kennacraig Ferry Terminal where you can take a ferry to the Isle of Jura. One of the most spectacular but remote islands in the Inner Hebrides, Jura has a long history of whisky distillation. Isle of Jura Distillery didn’t open until 1810 but inhabitants of Jura had been permitted to distil whisky for their personal consumption until a ban in 1781. It fell into disuse but was revitalised in the 1960s by two locals, Robin Fletcher and Tony Riley-Smith. Today the distillery produces a wide range of uniquely flavoured malts produced using traditional methods. Tours are free and include a complimentary dram and explanation of each stage of the distillation process.

Further north is Oban Distillery and Visitor Centre, one of the oldest distilleries in Scotland, dating back to around 1800. The distillery has only two pot stills, making it one of the smallest in Scotland, producing a whisky that has been described as having a 'west Highland' flavour that falls between the dry, smoky style of the Scottish islands and the lighter, sweeter malts of the Highlands.

Tobermory Distillery on the Isle of Mull is situated in the quant fishing village and is a historic and famous attraction. Housed in a collection of white-washed and stone buildings, Tobermory produces whisky distilled from unpeated malted barley which is matured in oak cases for up to 10 years. Guided tours are available which offer a fascinating insight into the distilling process. Visitors can see the unique red-painted mash tun and explore the still room with cathedral-like high walls.