Distilleries to Visit in and Around Inverness, Scotland

The Macallan is one of the largest producers of whisky in Scotland
The Macallan is one of the largest producers of whisky in Scotland | © John Bracegirdle / Alamy Stock Photo

If you’re visiting Inverness in the Highlands of Scotland and are partial to a sip of the “water of life” then a trip to at least one Inverness distillery is a must – or rather a distillery in the region of Speyside, which is to the south and east of the city. Inverness whisky is typically light and sweet, often with a fruity flavour, and is made with water from the River Spey. Plenty of distilleries can be reached by train or taxi from Inverness, allowing you to taste their wares during your trip.

1. Dalwhinnie


Dalwhinnie Distillery on a bright sunny day in Autumn.
© Izel Photography - IP3 / Alamy Stock Photo
A drive, or a scenic rail journey, south of Inverness leads to Dalwhinnie. Technically referred to as a Highland malt, there is an argument that, since the water comes from a tributary of the Spey, it should be called a Speyside whisky. As well as an informative tour, the distillery offers an interesting tasting experience – pairing whisky with chocolates.

2. Glen Ord


Singleton Single Malt Scotch Whisky by Glen Ord Distillery
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Just north of Inverness is Muir of Ord, home to Glen Ord Distillery. Founded in 1838, this is an old home to the “water of life” and creates a sweet and dry whisky that is usually exported to Asian markets. Indeed, the only way you can buy The Singleton of Glen Ord within Europe is by visiting the distillery.

3. Tomatin


United Kingdom, Scotland, Highlands, Tomatin s distillery, cellar
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A short distance east of Inverness is where the area of Speyside, home to some classic Highland whiskies, begins. Tomatin is 16 miles (25.7km) south of the city and can easily be reached by taxi, for those who wish to sample the whisky during one of the tours on offer. The distillery also offers the rare opportunity to fill a bottle directly from a cask. Booking in advance is recommended.

4. Cardhu


Cardhu whisky distillery on Speyside in Scotland United Kingdom
© Iain Masterton / Alamy Stock Photo
Meaning ‘black rock’ in Gaelic, this distillery was originally recorded as being licensed in 1824, although rumour has it this was mere paperwork, as an illicit still had been in operation for some time before this date. A huge percentage of this whisky goes into the Johnnie Walker blends and one of the biggest markets for the single malt itself is Spain. There are four different experiences to choose from – one that includes tasting six different malts.

5. The Macallan


The new Macallan whisky Distillery near the village of Craigellachie in Speyside, Scotland, UK
© Simon Price / Alamy Stock Photo
A short distance from the Cardhu Distillery is the home of The Macallan, one of the largest producers of whisky in Scotland. The tour takes in the famously small stills and booking is advised, as the tour groups are limited to 10 people. The Six Pillars tour includes tasting of four Macallan whiskies.

6. Glen Moray


Glen Moray Distillery Speyside Scotland
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On the outskirts of Elgin, the tour of the distillery at Glen Moray is often given by one of the workers themselves, whether it’s the mashman (who tends to the mash tun, where barley flour is combined with hot water) or the manager – they all know the process inside and out and back to front. This depth of knowledge makes the tour exceptional. The whisky itself is spicy, rich, and smooth. Glen Moray is also in a great location if you want to explore a few other distilleries, as Glenburgie Distillery, Benromach Distillery and the Dallas Dhu Distillery – where you can see how whisky used to be made – are a drive east from here.

7. Balblair


Balblair Distillery, Distillery, Distillery, Whiskey, Edderton, Scotland, United Kingdom, Europe
© mauritius images GmbH / Alamy Stock Photo
This distillery sits close to the Dornoch Firth, to the north of Inverness, and is different from others in that it labels its bottles with the year the whisky was laid down, rather than the age. The Balblair visitor centre is modern and well thought out, with three different types of tour to choose from. The opportunity to try rare vintages is not to be missed.

8. Glenmorangie


Glenmorangie Distillery
© Thomas Schaeffer / Alamy Stock Photo
The tallest stills in Scotland – as tall as a fully grown giraffe – await you at probably the most famous distillery Inverness and the surrounding area has to offer. Glenmorangie has sat on the edge of the Dornoch Firth since 1843. The distillery was one of the first to experiment with different casks in which to mature the whisky. There are three tours, and two tasting experiences – the Classic and the Innovator, which includes a wider range of whiskies.

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