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The burgh of Campbeltown on the Kintyre peninsula was once home to as many as 28 distilleries, claiming the title of "Whisky Capital of the World". Its coastal location made it easy for shipping companies to offload barley & casks in the harbour and ship the finished product to overseas markets,  turning it into a regional hub for  whisky production. The prohibition in the USA devestated the industry and the town hit on hard times. One after the other the distilleries fell silent. To this day, the empty warehouses  and the pagodas are a sad reminder of its former grandeur, but by 2015 the town still stands as a whisky region in its own right, home to three operational distilleries.

distilleries located here

 

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In the Central Highlands, cramped between the highlands and the lowlands in the valleys of Perthshire and Fife, eleven distilleries have found their safe haven. Either their proximity to the city centers, their touristic exploitation value, or the blandness of their product made these distilleries able to weather the storms of a volatile whisky market. Except for Blair Athol many of these distilleries failed to earn the respect of the connoisseurs, making it probably one of the dullest whisky regions in sharp contrast to its natural beauty. Dull you say? Over the last few years no less than three new distilleries joined the ranks, making it a fertile breeding ground for whisky innovation.

distilleries located here

Aberfeldy Blair Athol . Dalwhinnie

Deanston . Eden MillEdradour . Glenturret

Inchdairnie . Kingsbarns . Strathearn

Tullibardine

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The Eastern Highlands, could be considered the odd one out, unlike its more northern brothers, they lack a general style that characterises this region and the operations on the whole were significantly smaller than the Speysiders. Maybe that is why fate hasn't been kind to this district. The whisky crisis of the 80's ravished the region and robbed her of half of her crown jewels. Undeserved, the region is home to some of the most eccentric and noteworthy whisky styles, the best lost distillery: Lochside and the most mysterious: Daftmill. With little to no new distillery projects on the horizon the Eastern Highlands are missing out of the craft distiller's renaissance.

distilleries located here

Ardmore Daftmill .  Glencadam

Glenesk  . Glen Garioch . Glenugie 

Glenury Royal  . Inchdairnie

Lochside  . North Port 

Old Fettercairn Royal Lochnagar

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The Northern Highlands are easy to define geographically, but a consensus on where they begin as a whisky region is lacking. I for one consider the Great Glen and its offshoot the River Ness as the defining border making the two distilleries west of the town of Inverness highlanders, while Millburn becomes a Speysider. While the previous regions were lacking a house style, the Northern Highlanders can be described as both bald nosed and rich in flavour, often with a thicker and rounder body. The region surived the whisky crisis rather well and saw its grand rebirth these last years with the opening of three new distilleries, though crowd favorite Brora has remained dormant ever since.

distilleries located here

Ardnamurchan Balblair .Ben Wyvis 

Brora  . Clynelish . Dalmore

Glen Albyn . Glen Mhor   . Glen Ord

Glenmorangie . Loch Ewe . Old Pulteney

Teaninich . Wolfburn

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The Western Highlands should rather be described as a collection of different distilleries, with little to no connection between them, than as a true region. To the South there are Glengoyne and Loch Lomond balancing on the edge between Highland and Lowland. On the Western shore you'll find Oban: more of a coastal malt, than a true highlander. The lonely survivor under the mountain, Ben Nevis, bears closer resemblance to her northern sisters. And Dalwhinnie, located in an outpost looking down over the Speyside and Eastern Highlands valleys, could easily be classified as Speysider . Better judge these distilleries by their merits, as they seem to escape the region-logic.

distilleries located here

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For the Islands, the case could easily be made that they are essentially just part of the Highlands, how can distilleries so geographically dispersed have any common treats? But one could also argue that the whiskies have a similar maritime profile and I'm inclined to follow this line of thinking. Thus far the the Isle of Lewis (Harris), Mull, Skye, Jura, Arran and Mainland Orkney have been the proud owners of one or more distilleries. The Isle of Islay however is widely considered to be an autonomic whisky region. Many of the new distillery projects are centered around the isles, as the island communities see them as a new source of income that could secure their survival in the 21st century.

distilleries located here

Abhainn Dearg Arran . Harris

Highland Park . Jura . Scapa

Talisker . Tobermory 

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The Queen of the Hebrides, Islay, is where eight of the greatest distilleries call home. Islay has become more than a whisky region: it is a trademark, a touchstone for all other Scotsh and a pilgrimage for whisky enthusiasts. While the rest of Scotland abandoned the production of heavily peated whisky long ago, the Ileach stuck with their recipe and brought it to perfection. The world needed another two centuries to truly appreciate its flavour and place it on the pedestal where it belongs.  By now to most, Islay has become synonymous with its heavily peated style, only initiates may know that story of Islay is generally written in peat, but richer and more complex than meets the eye.

distilleries located here

Ardbeg .  Bowmore .  Bruichladdich

Bunnahabhain .  Caol Ila .  Kilchoman . Lagavulin

Laphroaig . Maltmill  . Port Ellen 

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The Lowlands were once the highest producing  region: every town had its own operation which were often larger than their highland counterparts. All served a single purpose: high quantity production for the trade with England. Therefore the whiskies produced here were primarily lighter in style and triple distilled like their Irish cousins. The Lowland whisky industry however was build on shaky foundations and soon went into decline. When the final bubble did burst in the 80's and early 90's it nearly reduced the region to a footnote in the pages of history. Reinforced by two new distilleries the future seems to be secured for now, but the loss of Littlemill, Rosebank & St. Magdalene were a stab through the heart.

distilleries located here

Annandale .  Ailsa Bay Auchentoshan

Bladnoch .  Glasgow Distillery . Glenflagler 

Glenkinchie . Inverleven  . Kinclaith   .Ladyburn 

Rosebank . St. Magdalene 

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The Speyside accommodates about 50% of all Scottish distilleries, a region so densely clad with distilleries, so diverse in style that experts decided to divide it into 8 smaller districts (Deveron, Dufftown, Findhorn, Livet, Lossie, Rothes and Strathisla). Thanks to the availability of nearly endless supplies of suitable soft water sources in the valley, the region became immensely popular with distillers. Here in the heart of the Scottish whisky industry you'll come across all the big names: Glenfiddich, Glenlivet, Macallan, Aberlour,... But you'll also find a large number of relatively obscure distilleries, whose names may sound unfamiliar to the larger public, but play a key role in the whole story. 

distilleries located here

Aberlour Allt-a-Bhainne . Auchroisk . Aultmore . Balmenach

Balvenie . Banff  . BenRiach . Benrinnes . Benromach

Braeval . Caperdonich  . Cardhu . Coleburn   . Convalmore 

Cragganmore . Craigellachie . Dailuaine . Dallas Dhu  

Dufftown . Glen Elgin Glen Grant . Glen Keith . Glen Moray

Glen Spey . Glenallachie . Glenburgie . Glencraig  

Glendronach . Glendullan . Glenfarclas . Glenfiddich

Glenglassaugh . Glenlivet . Glenlossie . Glenrothes

Glentauchers . Imperial   .Inchgower Kininvie

Knockando . Knockdhu Linkwood . Longmorn . Macallan

Macduff Mannochmore . Miltonduff Mortlach . Mosstowie   

Pittyvaich   . Roseisle . Royal Brackla . Speyburn

Speyside. Strathisla . Strathmill Tamdhu . Tamnavulin

Tomatin . Tomintoul . Tormore