Regarded by many as 'whisky island', Islay lies in the Inner Hebrides off the west coast of Scotland. It might be just 25 miles long and 15 miles wide, but Islay punches well above its weight for producing single malt Scotch whisky. There are nine whisky distilleries on the island, including the most recently opened Ardnahoe Distillery.
Most of Islay's original distilleries - some long since lost to history - started as farm distilleries and retreated to secluded glens and caves during the 17th century when the excise man came calling. You'll find distillery staff much more welcoming these days and it's well worth taking a tour around all of Islay's whisky distilleries.
Number of distilleries: 9
Oldest distillery: Bowmore (1779)
Most popular distillery: Ardbeg
Flavour profile: powerful, peaty, smoky, sweet, salty
Although Campbeltown is Scotland's smallest whisky-producing region, consisting of just three distilleries (in its heyday there were more than 30), its single malts boast unique characteristics that are considered by serious malt lovers to represent a distinct region in its own right. The distilleries that survive today produce some of the finest malts you're likely to find.
Springbank malts are robust and smoky with hints of their maritime roots. Glen Scotia malts are lighter with grassy notes. Glengyle's Kilkerran malts are lighter and sweeter, but with the distinctive oily and salty notes you'd expect from a Campbeltown whisky.
Number of distilleries: 3
Oldest distillery: Springbank (1828)
Most popular distillery: Springbank
Flavour profile: fruity, peaty, sweet, smoky
Speyside is whisky heaven! This breathtaking area sits in a fertile valley of rivers and secluded glens and accounts for half of Scotland's whisky production.
Speyside is arguably the driest and warmest part of Scotland and the fertile farmlands in and around the region are ideal for growing barley, which when combined with soft local water tumbling down off the mountains, produces some of Scotland's best-loved malt whiskies.
Sample the remarkable flavours of Speyside's fine malts as you explore the region, and follow the world-famous Malt Whisky Trail™ - the world's ultimate Scotch whisky experience - comprising of nine 'must-visit' sites including seven working distilleries, Dallas Dhu historic distillery and the Speyside Cooperage - the only working cooperage in the UK.
Number of distilleries: 52
Oldest distillery: Strathisla (1786)
Most popular distillery: Glenfiddich
Flavour profile: fruity, sweet, spicy, vanilla
The distilleries of the Lowland region can be found picturesquely set amongst the lush, rolling countryside of southern Scotland. Reflecting the gentle, rolling hillscapes and fertile farmlands, Lowland Scotch whiskies offer the perfect introduction to single malts if you have never tried this tipple before, due to their lighter, sweet and floral tones. As a result, malts from this region have earned themselves the collective nickname of the 'Lowland Ladies'.
The area has long, historic associations with whisky, with Friar John Cor producing whisky here in 1494 for King James IV. Although you'll find fewer distilleries here than regions further north, this is an area growing in whisky production. For example, whisky production returned to Glasgow in 2017 with the opening of the Clydeside Distillery and Glasgow Distillery Company.
Number of distilleries: 22 (+6 grain distilleries)
Oldest distillery: Bladnoch (1817)
Most popular distillery: Glenkinchie
Flavour profile: light, unpeated, floral, citrusy, sweet
The largest of Scotland’s whisky regions, the Highlands do not disappoint. With a vast range of changing landscapes, the whiskies you can find in this area of Scotland feature many aromas, both strong and gentles, fragrant notes, and tantalising tones.
There are many ways to experience the unique elements of the Highlands, from age old distilleries, educational tours, tastings and more, you’ve got plenty to get stuck into.