15 of the most mispronounced Scotch whisky distillery names

As romantic as Scotland's national spirit itself, Gaelic is a beautifully poetic language - though it can often be impenetrable for those who don't speak it.

Published 12th Sep 2019
Updated 21 st Sep 2023

And with some of Scotland's top distilleries and whisky brands named using the Gaelic language this can often lead to some confusion when whisky fans try to speak them aloud - particularly when trying to order them in a bar.

Here are some of the top examples of distillery names that are often mispronounced that you'll now be able to say with confidence:


(Region: Islay, Location: Port Ellen, Islay)

Picture: timnutt

Ah, one of the most obvious ones to begin.

Leapfrog? lapfrog? Lafraig? All wrong.

Laphroaig is actually pronounced La-froyg.

The Gaelic word means ‘the beautiful hollow by the broad bay’ - though this has been disputed with some citing that the name Laphroaig is actually derived from the Norse ‘breid-vik’, meaning broad bay.

Glen Garioch

(Region: Highlands and Islands, Location: Oldmeldrum)

Legends of the Garioch

The distillery sits at the heart of the picturesque town of Oldmeldrum

Glen Gariok? Glen Garry otch?

This north east distillery is actually pronounced Glen Gee - ry and stems from the Gaelic words Garbh - rough and iochd - howe (a barrow or hill) and takes its pronunciation from the local Doric dialect.


(Region: Lowlands, Location: Clydebank)

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Picture: TSPL

This one is regularly mangled by anyone not familiar with this popular lowland distillery.

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Auchentoshan is pronounced och[as in loch]-en-tosh-en and is derived from the Gaelic Achadh an Oisein - which translates as ‘corner of the field’.


(Region: Highlands and Islands, Location: Tobermory, Isle of Mull )

As pointed out in the video above Ledaig is not pronounced Lead ache or Led Egg but Led chig. 

Although not actually a distillery - it's Tobermory's peated expression - this one gets in for the sheer number of times it's mispronounced.

Allt a Bhainne

(Region: Speyside Location: near Dufftown)

Picture: Alan Jamieson

This distillery released a brand new expression recently meaning more people should be coming into contact with it.

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A young Speyside distillery, Allt a Bhainne - Gaelic for ‘burn of milk’ - is pronounced Oll ta Vane. 


(Region: Speyside, Location: Keith)

Picture: Anne Burgess

Another interestingly named distillery, deemed unpronounceable for non-Scots when first produced as a single malt, it's bottling name was changed to the Singelton.

Ock Roy sk? Ock rusk?

An intriguing whisky distillery, it's pronounced Aw Thrusk - the Gaelic Ath ruaidh-uisge meaning shallow ford across the red stream, which probably refers to the nearby Mulben Burn.

Caol Ila

(Region: Islay, Location: Port Askaig, Islay)

Picture: Andrew Wood

Another that many people often trip over. This Islay favourite is actually pronounced Cull - eela, with the Gaelic name Caol Ìle, meaning 'Sound of Islay'.

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(Region: Islay, Location: Bruichladdich, Islay)

Bruichladdich Distillery & The Agronomy Institute of UHI won the Innovation of the Year award

Picture: TSPL

Brooch-lad-itch? Bruh -clad -itch?

This Islay distillery that is well known for its regular and heavily peated single malts and Botanist gin is pronounced Broo-ick-laddie.

Situated at the wild Rhinns of Islay, The name is derived from two Gaelic words brudhach and chladdich. The full name being Brudhach a Chladdaich which  translates as ‘brae by the shore’.


(Region: Islay, Location: Port Askaig, Islay)

Situated on the north side of the island of Islay near Port Askaig, Bunnahabhain is pronounced bu-na-ha-venn.

Bunnahabhain is derived from the Scottish Gaelic Bun na h-Abhainn meaning ‘mouth of the river’.


(Region: Speyside Location: Strathspey)

Picture: Martyn Jenkins

This underrated single malt is pronounced Dall-Yewan, derives from the Gaelic An dail uaine meaning ‘green valley’ as the distillery is probably named after the lush valley in which it is located.


(Region: Highlands and Islands, Location: Tain)

This is one that will often start an argument - even among Scots - but we are sure that even the good men of Tain will agree with our pronunciation - Glen Mor-un-jee.

• READ MORE: The Scotsman’s guide to Scotch whisky pronunciation



(Region: Islay, Location: Bruichladdich)

Picture: Ayack

This exciting farm distillery on Islay is often mispronounced Kil Cho Man, however it is actually pronounced Kil-ho-man

Abhainn Dhearg

(Region: Highlands and Islands, Location: Isle of Lewis)

Picture: Alan Jamieson

This one looks particularly hard but this new distillery on Uig, Abhainn Dearg, is pronounced Avin – Jerrig which is Gaelic for “red river”.


(Region: Highlands and Islands, Location: Teangue, Isle of Skye)

Picture: Torabhaig Distillery

This new and picturesque distillery on the Isle of Skye is pronounced To-ra-vaig. 

 AnCnoc/Knockdu distillery

(Region: Highland, Location: Knock)

Picture: Anne Burgess

This is another distillery whose whisky is actually the problem when it comes to pronunciation, AnCnoc is pronounced an-knock.

Knockdu, pronounced knock-doo, is derived from the Scottish Gaelic Cnoc Dubh which translates as ‘Black Hill’, this was changed to AnCnoc to avoid confusion with Knockando Distillery which in turn means ‘The Hill’.

A guide to Gaelic names for Scotch whisky distilleries

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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