Visiting Distilleries in and around Perthshire
July 08 , 2016

Visiting Distilleries in and around Perthshire

There are plenty of distilleries to visit in Perthshire and Angus

Coupar Angus is ideally situated for visiting distilleries in Perthshire and the neighbouring counties of Angus and Fife, and there are plenty to choose from.

Aberfeldy Distillery, just outside the small town of Aberfeldy, north of Perth, produces a major component of Dewar’s blended whiskies.  It also produces single malt whiskies sold at various ages.  As you’ll find at many distilleries, there’s a range of distillery tours available here, from the basic tourist visit with a single dram to taste up to a private tour with a tutored tasting of six drams.  There’s plenty for non-drinkers to do too, including a short nature trail with the chance of seeing a cheeky red squirrel or two.

The road to the north

From Aberfeldy it’s only a short hop to Bell’s Blair Atholl Distillery, one of Pitlochry’s many tourist attractions and one of the oldest working distilleries in Scotland, dating back to 1798.  The malt whisky made here is the heart of the blend of Bell’s whisky, the best selling Scotch in the UK.  Not only will you learn about the whisky on your tour, you’ll learn about how it was advertised down the years too.

While you’re in Pitlochry, nip up the hill to Edradour, Scotland’s smallest old distillery and one of its more picturesque ones.  Dating from 1825, it houses some very traditional equipment on an almost domestic scale which you’ll see from up close – everything’s small here.

Further up the A9 from Pitlochry is Dalwhinnie, at a junction on the main road that means it’s visible for miles around.  It’s also the highest distillery in Scotland, which can make it difficult to reach in winter weather.  Your distillery tour here ends with a tasting of single malt paired with chocolate!

South and west of Perth

Heading south from Perth on the A9 you reach Blackford, near Gleneagles, home to the Tullibardine distillery.  This is one of Scotland’s very few independent distilleries.  Alcohol has been produced on this site since 1488 – first beer and then whisky.  Tullibardine is a very traditional distillery and gets its water from the beautiful Ochil Hills nearby.

If Deanston, near Dunblane, doesn’t look like a distillery, that’s because the building started life as a cotton mill. The building, eight miles from Stirling, dates from 1785; it was converted into a distillery in 1966.  The water that used to power the mill now produces all the electricity required for the distillery, as well as being used in the making of the whisky.  You can see the water source on one of the distillery tours, as well as tasting the resulting malt whiskies.

Almost due north of Deanston, on the outskirts of Crieff, you’ll find Glenturret, home of the Famous Grouse Experience which tells the story of Scotland’s favourite Scotch.  Glenturret lays claim to being the oldest distillery in Scotland; it’s in a pretty location with an outside terrace where you can eat lunch in good weather.

Heading east

In the heart of the tiny city of Brechin, in Angus, you’ll find Glencadam.  It’s a very traditional distillery but, unusually, uses no peat-malted barley so the flavour is different from many others.  Most of it goes into blended Scotch but they do also sell by the barrel!  Again, you need to make an appointment to visit the distillery.

Heading up into the hills, in historic Kincardineshire, don’t miss Fettercairn, which produces single malt for blending into Whyte and Mackay Scotch as well as for bottling.  The distillery is open May to September.

The latest thing

For many, visiting distilleries is a chance to go back in time and learn a bit of Scotland’s history.  However not all distilleries are old: several have opened in Scotland in just the last few years, using the best home-grown potatoes and barley to create whisky, gin and vodka. 

Strathearn, near Methven, is one of Scotland’s newest micro-distilleries, producing gin and whisky – with the interesting twist that you can spend a day (or three, or even five, for whisky) making the spirits yourself.  You definitely need to book before visiting, as the distillery isn’t open every day.

Another brand-new distillery is Arbikie, near Inverkeilor in Angus.  Although records show that whisky was produced on the site as far back as 1794, the present distillery’s so new that their first whisky hasn’t yet been bottled.  However, they do produce gin and vodka for sale already.

Kingsbarns in Fife is our last micro-distillery.  If you’re a golfer the name may ring a bell: it’s next to the Kingsbarns Links course and the founder, Douglas Clements, used to be a caddy there.  Although the distillery is brand new, the area’s connection with whisky production go back to 1824.  None of Kingsbarns’ own whisky is for sale yet, but they do have their own gin and New Make Spirit, as well as whiskies carrying the Wemyss name, and you can visit the distillery year-round.

If you’re driving, of course, visiting distilleries has one drawback: you won’t be able to taste the produce.  But you can make up for it when you come back to The Red House at the end of the day.  We have an excellent selection to choose from and can arrange a whisky tasting just for you –you’ll just have to navigate your way upstairs afterwards.  We can also supply you with brochures for the distilleries and even help you arrange a tour.  Give us a call today.

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