Scotland's raft of incredible new whisky distilleries have been designed not only to ensure the creation of the best liquid possible but also to offer experiences and tours that will live long in the memory.

From the Borders to the Outer Hebrides, the country’s whisky tourism industry has never been more robust, to take advantage of this fact, the current crop of new distilleries are often built with visitors in mind, here are ten of our favourites.

The Lowlands

Clydeside (Glasgow)

(The Old Pump House, Queen’s Dock, 100 Stobcross Rd, Glasgow G3 8QQ)

new Scottish whisky distillery tours

Picture: Clydeside Distillery

Springing up on the banks of the Clyde in Glasgow, Clydeside Distillery, with its restored pump house building and externally visible stills, is an impressive addition to the city’s landscape.

A short walk or taxi ride from the city centre, the dedicated single malt production site is the brainchild of industry stalwart Tim Morrison.

Probably one the most equipped for visitors on this list, the distillery features an impressive museum, cafe and a shop with a vast array of whiskies from a wide range of distilleries.

Is their whisky available yet? No, but you may be able to try their new make spirit.

Tour prices:

three tours – the Clydeside Tour (£15 pp) includes the history of the Queen’s Dock, a guided tour and a tasting of three drams.

The Chocolate and Whisky tour (£25pp) includes Clydeside Tour with 5 drams paired with 5 artisan chocolates

The Distillery Manager tour (£120pp) includes behind the scenes tour with distillery manager Alistair McDonald.

Borders Distillery (Hawick)

(The Borders Distillery, Commercial Road, Hawick, TD9 7AQ)

Picgture: Borders Distillery

Founded by former William Grant executives John Fordyce, Tim Carton, Tony Roberts and George Tait, this new distillery is the first to produce spirit for whisky in the Borders since 1837.

Situated smack bang in the centre of the historic town of Hawick, this exciting new distillery offers guests the chance to see how it makes not just its whisky but also its gin in the confines of their stunning restored building.

Is their whisky available yet? No, but you can buy their gin.

Tour price: £12 per person with tours running from Monday to Saturday and including a guided tasting.

Holyrood Distillery (Edinburgh)

(19 St Leonard’s Ln, Edinburgh EH8 9SH)

Holyrood Distillery. Picture: Contributed

This innovative distillery cost £6.7 million and was set up by Canadian whisky enthusiast Rob Carpenter alongside industry veteran David Robertson in a bid to return single malt whisky making to the centre of the capital.

The resulting restoration of the 19th century railway goods shed on the edge of Holyrood Park, has seen the creation of a colourful sensory experience for spirits lovers of all levels, from beginners to experts.

Is their whisky available yet? No, but you can buy their gin.

Tour prices: Holyrood is another distillery with an excellent range of tours with the standouts being the two-hour masterclass with the always brilliant head distiller Jack Mayo (£75pp) and the Walking Tour and Tasting with expert Justine Hazlehurst (£24pp) which covers the rich distilling and brewing history of the area and a tasting with some special drams.

Kingsbarns Distillery (Fife)

(Kingsbarns, St Andrews KY16 8QE)

You’d be forgiven for thinking that Kingsbarns has been around for a lot longer than it actually has due to its popularity but this smart little distillery was only launched in 2014.

Built within a Georgian farmstead (with a stunning doocot) it was opened by founder Douglas Clement in partnership with the Wemyss family – who also own independent bottlers Wemyss malts.

Located in The East Neuk of Fife and lying close to the spiritual home of that other great Scottish export golf, Kingsbarns

Is their whisky available yet? Yes, Dream to Dram is their first single malt, you can also buy their new make spirit.

Tour prices:

Three tours – Basic Tour (£10pp) guided tour with a chance to try new make spirit and a dram of their new single malt ‘Dream to Dram’

The 19th hole tour (only July & August £25pp) perfect for those enjoying golf nearby, this experience features a guided tour and three tasty drams.

The Dream to Dram Tour (£50pp) includes a guided tour, in-depth tutored tasting, complimentary Glencairn and a £5 voucher for their store.

Lindores Abbey Distillery (Fife)

(Abbey Rd, Newburgh, Cupar KY14 6HH)

The idyllic Lindores Abbey Distillery.

The ‘Spiritual Home of Scotch Whisky’ returned to whisky-making in 2017, when spirit began to flow from this new distillery built close to the site where, back in 1494, the first written record referring to what may have been Scotch whisky, noted that Friar John Cor of Lindores Abbey in Fife paid duty on eight bolls of malt to make aqua vitae (400 70cl bottles) for King James IV.

The realised dream of Drew and Helen McKenzie Smith, this charming little distillery offers a great tour with a fantastic visitor centre, Cloister exhibition and even a look at the history of the area with the Abbey ruins.

They even welcomes dogs, making it perfect for walkers and their four-legged friends.

Is their whisky available yet? No, but they do offer their new make spirit product Aqua Vitae.

Tour price: Distillery Tours cost £12.50 per person and include a tasting of Lindores Abbey Distillery Aqua Vitae as well as two other drams.

• READ MORE: Dumfries and Galloway Council gives green light for Moffat’s first legal Scotch whisky distillery

Highlands and Islands

Raasay Distillery (Isle of Raasay)

(Raasay Distillery Borodale House, Isle of Raasay, Kyle IV40 8PB)

Spectacular views of the Isle of Skye are on offer from Raasay’s new distillery.

Officially opened in 2017, Raasay Distillery has brought whisky distilling back to this small island, only fourteen miles in length, situated off the east coast of Skye.

Set within stunningly picturesque surroundings, the distillery was built by R&B Distillers, bringing the island’s disused Gothic villa hotel, Borodale House back to life and creating a visitor centre and accommodation for visiting fans.

Tour price: The Standard tour (£10pp) features a guided tour around this vibrant distillery as well as three complementary spirits from R & B.

The Whisky and Chocolate tour (£15pp) includes the regular tour with drams paired with handmade chocolates from the Glenshiel Chocolate Company, including a specially commissioned Raasay While We Wait infused chocolate.

Is their whisky available yet? No, but R & B have created a new whisky, While We Wait, representing what their future whisky will be like.

Isle of Harris Distillery (Isle of Harris)

(Tarbert, Isle of Harris HS3 3DJ)

This wonderful ‘social distillery’ truly lies at the heart of the community on the island and people of Harris, designed to create jobs and give back to the remote place it calls home, Isle of Harris was launched by Simon Erlinger to capture the spirit of Harris in liquid form.

Hugely popular thanks to its top-notch visitor experience and award-winning seaweed gin, it’s been drawing tourists to the Outer Hebrides in droves.

Their single malt whisky, which is yet to be released, will be named named “The Hearach” – the Gaelic word for an inhabitant of Harris.

Tour price: Their tour costs (£12pp) and involves a fun sensory exploration using a Harris Tweed abacus as well as the chance to try out both a whisky and their gin.

Is their whisky available yet? No, but their incredibly popular gin is available to buy and try.

Lagg Distillery (Isle of Arran)

(Lagg Distillery, Kilmory, Isle of Arran KA27 8PG)

Arran’s second distillery gives whisky fans yet another reason to visit this incredible island. First announced in 2016 by Isle of Arran Distillers, who were looking to expand to accommodate increased production and visitor numbers, the new distillery was aimed at capitalising on the success of their production site at Lochranza.

The first legal distillery on the southside of the island for nearly 200 years after the previous distillery closed in 1837, Lagg will offer fans the chance to try a new peated whisky from Arran for the first time.

They have a futuristic tour and a very modern visitor centre, as well as a charming little shop, and a café and a restaurant which will provide specially sourced coffee and seasonal dishes produced by an award-winning chef using locally sourced produce.

Tour price: Their standard tour costs (£10pp) and offers guest the chance to enjoy a virtual journey into the history of whisky making on the island, the chance to try new make spirit, a peated dram and even a cocktail, as well as a branded glass which they can then take home.

Is their whisky available yet? No, but you can try their new make spirit.

Islay

Ardnahoe Distillery (Isle of Islay)

(Ardnahoe, Port Askaig, Isle of Islay PA46 7RN)

Though Islay’s newest distillery is indeed pretty to look at, it’s the view from its still room that is guaranteed to blow you away.

Islay’s ninth and newest distillery on the island’s north-east coast, was opened at a ceremony led by Glasgow-based family firm Hunter Laing & Company, who spent £12 million on realising their dream project after it was first announced in 2016.

This modern distillery houses an exciting visitor centre, shop and cafe and will use traditional techniques equipment and methods such as wooden washbacks, long fermentation times, worm tubs and what is thought to be Scotland’s longest lyne arms to create their new whisky.

With stunning views from the still room and cafe and an idyllic location, a visit to Ardnahoe is worth it not just for the distillery tour.

Tour price: Ardnahoe offers a plethora of tours and experiences for all price and experience levels, our picks would be: The Spirit of Ardnahoe (£10pp) the standard tour gives a real feel for the distillery and comes with a free dram and glass to take home.

The Managers Tour & Experience (£70pp) this in-depth tour with manager Fraser Hughes ends in the warehouse sampling a few casks and gives guests the chance to take home a 20cl bottle of their favourite sample (available from March this year).

North Islay Whisky Tour (£125pp) which takes in not just Ardnahoe but also the Bunnahabhain and Caol Ila Distilleries.

Is their whisky available yet?  Not yet, but as they are experienced independent bottlers, DL have an incredible range of whiskies on offer to try in the meantime.

Speyside

Ballindalloch Distillery (Speyside)

(Ballindalloch, Banffshire, AB37 9AA)

The Ballindalloch Estate, which also has its own coffee shop, gardens, golf course and of course two rescue donkeys, two llamas and a Shetland pony, now also has its very own distillery.

Their eponymous distillery, which is the first ‘Single Estate’ distillery in the area, offers a teasing glimpse into not just the distillation of the whisky, and the history of the family and the nearby castle but also the farming practices involved in growing, and harvesting, their own barley.

Is their whisky available yet? No, but you may be able to try their new make spirit.

Tour price: Being such a small distillery, Ballindalloch offers a unique range of tours and experiences including a standard tour (£35pp) which lasts 2 hours and includes drams from some of the Macpherson-Grant family’s private casks.

While the Ballindalloch Spirit experience (£75pp) includes the chance to sample their New Make Spirit together and even help to fill a cask.

Finally, The Art of Whisky Making (£175pp) is a hands-on experience that will allow whisky fans to get closer to the process than ever before, effectively working at the distillery covering everything from Milling to Warehousing and all aspects in between. A free polo shirt, as well as lunch, is also included.

Bonus Choice:

Macallan Distillery (Speyside)

(Easter Elchies, Craigellachie, AB38 9RX, Scotland)

Whisky puritans might find the idea of such a vast modern distillery off-putting but actually, once inside, even the most hard-browed of whisky traditionalists will be blown away by the sheer scale of the architecture and ingenuity of the design of this pioneering distillery.

The £140 million state-of-the-art facility, which opened in summer 2018, has to be seen to be believed and even non-drinks fans will find the tour fascinating.

• READ MORE: Edrington unveils spectacular new ‘cathedral of The Macallan’

Featuring 36 new locally made copper stills, 21 stainless steel washbacks and numerous cutting edge visual and interactive displays36 new locally made copper stills, 21 stainless steel washbacks and numerous cutting edge visual and interactive displays, it really is a must-visit.

Is their whisky available yet? Not yet from the new distillery, but whisky from the older site is widely available.

Tour price: The Six Pillars Tour (£15pp) involves a guided tour around the distillery and exhibits, as well as a nosing and tasting of some carefully selected Macallan whiskies and their new make spirit.

The Heritage Experience (£40pp) includes the standard tour, a tutored tasting in their Cave Privée and a tasting glass to take home.

The Peerless Spirit Experience (£100pp) includes the Heritage Experience and a flight of three carefully selected drams of The Macallan.

A beginner’s guide to whisky

About The Author

Sean Murphy

Driven by a passion for all things drinks-related, Sean writes for The Scotsman extensively on the subject. He can also sometimes be found behind the bar at the world famous Potstill bar in Glasgow where he continues to enhance his whisky knowledge built up over 10 years advising customers from all over the world on the wonders of our national drink. Recently, his first book was published. Dubbed Gin Galore, it explores Scotland's best gins and the stories behind those that make them.

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