The Most Remote Scottish Whisky Distilleries You Can Visit

From rolling hills to whimsical landscapes, there are some truly incredible remote Scottish whisky distilleries to explore
From rolling hills to whimsical landscapes, there are some truly incredible remote Scottish whisky distilleries to explore | © Ian Rutherford / Alamy Stock Photo
Photo of Alex Allen
27 February 2022
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There are many things Scotland excels in – self-deprecating humour, deep-fried “delicacies”, curling – but chief among them are ravishing scenery and world-beating whiskies. Combine the two for the quintessential weekend itinerary – whisky-tasting at some of the country’s most romantic, windswept and hard-to-reach distilleries. With a head-spinning selection of over 130 distilleries to choose from, we’ve bottled the best to put the dram in natural drama.

Highland Park Whisky Distillery, Orkney

Distillery, Park
Warehouses of the Highland Park Distillery in Kirkwall, with rolling green hills behind, in Mainland, Orkney, Scotland, United Kingdom
© ImageBROKER / Alamy Stock Photo
Distilleries don’t come much further flung than Highland Park, straddling the Arctic Circle in the heart of the Orkney Islands. This remoteness is key to the way whiskies have been produced here since the 1700s – where windswept, treeless moors produce heather-rich peat that’s used to smoke the malting barley. The result is a velvet-smooth single-grain scotch whisky, with plenty of fire to keep you warm in that wild Orkney weather.

Lagg Distillery, Isle of Arran

Distillery
A family walks toward the front entrance of the Lagg Distillery on the Isle of Arran in Scotland
© Robin Mckelvie / Alamy Stock Photo
With its jagged mountain peaks, heather-blanketed moors and postcard-pretty beaches, Arran is Scotland in miniature. Lying off the west coast of Ayrshire, in the Firth of Clyde, it’s only accessible via an hour-long ferry journey from Ardrossan. It’s a journey – furnished with watery views of fog-shrouded hills and islands – that makes the destination even more memorable. Not that this sparkling new distillery, with its gleaming copper stills, needs any more selling.

Nc'nean Distillery, Ardnamurchan Peninsula

Distillery
Reaching this sustainable, organic whisky distillery feels like taking a journey to the edge of the world. Right at the very tip of the Ardnamurchan Peninsula – the most remote of the West Highland Peninsulas – the only way to get here by land is a drive along a seemingly endless single-track road, lined by moss-furred stone walls. The tour of the distillery is well worth the adventure, however, with homemade cake served alongside samples of its signature light and fruity whisky.

Royal Lochnagar Distillery, Cairngorms National Park

Distillery
Just a mile (1.6km) from Balmoral Castle, Royal Lochnagar isn’t the most remote distillery on this list – but it is in the heart of one of Scotland’s wildest, most arresting landscapes: Cairngorms National Park. And it’s the water that springs from the park’s snow-capped peaks, tumbling down waterfalls and through rocky gorges straight into Lochnagar’s mash tuns, that give the whisky its distinctive clarity. Sipping a dram of the golden liquor while looking out across the Highlands’ forested hills is the quintessential Scotch whisky experience.

Bunnahabhain Distillery, Islay

Distillery
Whiskey barrels line the road leading to Bunnahabhain Distillery, Islay, Scotland, with hills in the background
© Ian Macrae Young / Alamy Stock Photo
Visit Bunnahabhain in the summer, and you’ll get a private beach day as well as a whisky tasting experience. At the end of a single-track road at the northern tip of Islay, this historic distillery overlooks empty golden sands and a sheltered, shimmering sea. In contrast to most whiskies produced on the island, their signature single malt Scotch is unpeated – produced with pure local spring water and blonde concerto barley. Its brackish notes are deliciously in keeping with the remote coastal location.

Isle of Raasay Distillery, Raasay

Distillery
In a country so steeped in whisky-producing heritage, it’s remarkable that 2017 was the first year that the Isle of Raasay produced its first legal spirits. Up until that point, the island had a history as a hotbed of illicit stills, remote enough to be beyond the reach of the law. Raasay Distillery, reachable only by ferry from Skye – which is hard enough to reach in itself – specialises in producing an older Hebridean style of whisky: lightly peated, with rich, dark fruit notes.

Torabhaig Distillery, Isle of Skye

Distillery
Torabhaig Distillery, the second distillery to be built on the Isle of Skye, with a lake, mountains and fresh green grass all around
© Skully / Alamy Stock Photo
Want to sip one of Scotland’s youngest whiskies? Make the journey to the south end of the Isle of Skye, where sheep-grazed hillsides overlook empty, seaweed-strewn beaches. Here, Torabhaig Distillery, housed in the reconstructed bones of an old castle, only bottled its first run of single malt Scotch whisky in 2021. This is lightly peated, with a golden tint the colour of Skye’s evening light.

Jura Distillery, Jura

Distillery
The front entrance to Jura whiskey distillery, with barrells, a bench and a front garden in Inner Hebrides, Scotland, United Kingdom
© ImageBROKER / Alamy Stock Photo
It says a lot about Scotland’s love of whisky that, even on an island with one road, one pub and 200 residents, you’ll find a whisky distillery. And a fine one, at that. Jura’s been on the island since the early 1800s, when distilling was illegal, but was revitalised in the 50s and 60s and has been making a broad range of superb single malts ever since in their signature broad-shouldered bottles – specifically designed to survive the rough sea crossing it takes to get here.

Keen to keep your accommodation as off-grid as these distilleries? Check out these 10 Hotels in Scotland for a Trip off the Beaten Path. Still too well-connected? How about a selection of the Best Cosy Cabins in Scotland? Or maybe you’d prefer something a little… sturdier? Perhaps one of these Castle Hotels in Scotland That You Can Stay In? Of course, you may just prefer some old-fashioned luxury, the kind of thing you can find in our Most Luxurious Hotels to Book in Scotland article. Inspired by the sustainable Nc’nean Distillery? One of these Incredible Eco Lodges in Scotland could be the place for you.

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