With 60 distilleries across a 50-mile radius Moray Speyside it is no wonder that the region is known simply as Whisky Country.
With so many places to see that explore the past and celebrate the great industry it is hard to know where to start on you journey.
Our three day itinerary is a good place to start to get the most out of your visit.
Keith, Dufftown & Aberlour
Situated in the historic burgh of Keith, the distillery is surrounded by beautiful gardens. Strathisla Distillery was founded by two enterprising local gentlemen in 1786 within a stone’s throw from the ruins of Milton Castle. Enjoy their master blender experience and learn all there is to know about this iconic brand.
Traveling South on the B9014 head towards the village of Dufftown where you will find the world renowned Glenfiddich Distillery. In the heart of Speyside, surrounded by forest, the ruins of a medieval castle and a natural spring, is a landscape little changed since 1886. Glenfiddich’s founder, William Grant, gathered his family of nine children to build the distillery with their bare hands. Around one year later, on Christmas day, 1887, the first Glenfiddich spirit trickled from the stills.
To end your first day, travel along the A95 to the Aberlour Distillery. Situated at the junction of the rivers Lour and Spey, the distillery is surrounded by glorious scenery, dominated by the rugged peaks of Ben Rinnes a short distance away. Pure spring water for making the whisky is drawn from the Lour. The maturing spirit in the warehouse beneficially inhales the moist Speyside air.
Aberlour is an ancient place as well as a beautiful one. For more than 1,400 years there has been a community there and signs of its long heritage are all around. From the age-old oak trees above Linn Falls to the mysterious standing stones on Fairy Hill.
At the distillery, nature, tradition and local craftsmanship combine to create a great malt whisky – the spirit of Aberlour.
Ballindalloch & Glenlivet
Travel south on the A95 to Ballindalloch Distillery. Nestled deep in the beautiful Spey valley, Ballindalloch Castle has been the home of the Macpherson-Grant family since 1546. Indeed, Guy Macpherson-Grant is the 23rd generation of his family to live at the Castle.
Returning the family to the distilling traditions of previous generations, Ballindalloch Distillery embraces an approach to whisky making rarely seen today.
Continue your day by visiting the wild and lonely setting of The Glenlivet Distillery, situated on the B9008, 5 miles south east of Ballindalloch. Established in 1824 by George Smith, discover the home of this world-famous Single Malt Scotch Whisky. Enjoy a guided tour of the distillery and vast bonded warehouse where the famous spirit matures to a whisky of infinite subtlety and grace. Don’t forget to sample a complimentary dram of The Glenlivet after your tour.
Aberlour, Knockando & Elgin
Head north on the A95 and visit the new Macallan Distillery and Visitor Experience in the heart of The Macallan Estate and get an insight into the process, production, people and passion that make their internationally renowned single malt whisky so special.
After enjoying Moray Speyside’s newest distillery, head west on the B9102 to visit Cardhu Distillery, the only malt distillery pioneered by a woman. It is alleged that Helen Cumming distilled the first gallon of Cardhu, the only malt whisky to be pioneered by a woman. For many years Helen Cumming produced only the smallest quantity of malt whisky in Cardhu’s little still, as quality was her chief concern.
Discover the history of Cardhu on a guided tour. Browse the gift shop after a tour or relax with a dram of the famous single malt. It is produced in limited quantities by a deliberately slow distillation process and matured for 12 years in specially selected oak casks. It may take longer than many malts to reach fruition, but it is time well spent. The process creates Cardhu’s exceptionally smooth and mellow character.
To finish your day, head back to the A95 and head north to Elgin where you will find the Glen Moray Distillery. Glen Moray Distillery nestles on the banks of the River Lossie in the city of Elgin, the capital of Speyside. Glen Moray Single Malt Whisky has been distilled here since 1897. In over a century of distilling at Glen Moray, much has changed. However, the ingredients, processes and skills of those responsible for producing Glen Moray remain constant.
At the Glen Moray distillery, you can discover the reality of malt whisky distilling. Each guide knows the process of whisky making like the back of their hand. At Glen Moray you will gain an unforgettable insight into how water and barley are transformed into ‘the water of life’.
Discover the workings of Glen Moray with a tour and a dram or relax and enjoy some homemade lunch in their coffee shop.
Travel west along the A96 to Forres, home to the Benromach Distillery. At Benromach, they handcraft their whisky and make it slowly, the time-honored way. Using the finest natural ingredients their 3 distillers orchestrate every second of the distillation process; there are no short cuts to perfection. They make it this way to give their whisky that gorgeous pre-1960s Speyside character. The famous Benromach is beautifully balanced with a light touch of smoke.
Leaving Forres, travel along the A940 for six miles. There you will find the Dallas Dhu Distillery. Dallas Dhu is the last distillery to be built in the nineteenth century. A visit here will allow you to step back in time to see and hear how whisky was made in the 1900s. Picturesque Dallas Dhu originally made malt whisky for the popular Roderick Dhu blend. Visitors can wander at will through this completely preserved time capsule of the distiller’s craft. Explore this fine old Victorian distillery and then enjoy a dram. Make sure to stop in audio-visual theatre as the story of Scotch Whisky unfolds before you.
And these are just a few of the Malt Whisky Distilleries you can visit here in Moray Speyside.
Wherever you choose to visit, you will be sure to receive a warm welcome and a dram, Cheers!