The Scotsman's guide to Scotch whisky pronunciation

We asked Frank Murphy of the world famous Potstill bar in Glasgow to help us to create a guide on the correct way to say the names of some of the Scotch whisky distilleries which are the hardest to pronounce.

Published 30th Mar 2017
Updated 21 st Sep 2023


To help we have created a quick video guide with Frank, showing how to pronounce some of the harder distilleries to help impress your friends or simply make it easier to order them the next time you want a dram.


AnCnoc (Knockdhu Distillery)

(Region: Highlands, Founded: 1893, Owner: Inverhouse distilleries, Address: Knock, Huntly AB54 7LJ)

Picture: AnCnoc

This idyllic distillery lies close to Keith and can be seen from the A95 to Keith, another that has benefited from the recent resurgence in the interest in smaller single malt distilleries.

It's releases are named AnCnoc due to the fact that the distillery's name was dubbed to be close to sounding like the Speyside distillery Knockando.



(Region: Lowland, Founded: 1823, Owner: Morrison Bowmore\Beam Suntory, Address: Dalmuir, Clydebank G81 4SJ)

pronunciation Scotch whisky guide

Picture: Lady of the Glen

Considered to be Glasgow’s local malt, Auchentoshan is unique in that currently it is the only distillery (at time of posting) doing 100 per cent triple distillation.

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This process leads to a far smoother liquid making Auchentoshan one of the most approachable single malts around.


(Region: Islay, Founded: 1881, Owner: Remy Cointreau, Address: Bruichladdich, Isle of Islay PA49 7UN)

Picture: Fumaro\Wikimedia

Another of the most popular Islay distilleries, Bruichladdich has been going through something of a renaissance not only in popularity but in terms of products too.

With the Octomore and Port Charlotte peated ranges doing a roaring trade and The Botanist fast becoming one of Scotland's most popular gins, the distillery's portfolio continues to break new ground.


(Region: Islay, Founded: 1881 , Owner: Distell , Address: Port Askaig, Isle of Islay PA46 7RP)

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Picture: Trip Advisor Traveler

The second of Islay's lighter malts (alongside Bruichladdich), Bunnahabhain has built up a reputation as being a favourite for many Scots, both in its accessibility and in its richness of spirit.


Caol Ila

(Region: Islay, Founded: 1846 , Owner: Diageo , Address: Port Askaig, Isle of Islay PA46 7RL)

Picture: Andrew Wood\

Caol Ila is the largest of the eight working distilleries on the island of Islay, owned by Diageo it was founded in 1846 and produces a lightly peated single malt.

Popular with those looking for something a little less punchy than the Ardbegs and the Laphroaigs, the distillery has released a number of excellent new expressions of late.

• READ MORE: 10 of the best Scotch whiskies (as chosen by the experts)

Glen Garioch

(Region: Highland, Founded: 1797, Owner: Morrison Bowmore , Address: Distillery Rd, Oldmeldrum, Inverurie AB51 0ES)

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Picture: Anne Burgess\

Morrison Bowmore have put some serious effort into re-establishing Glen Garioch as a serious producer of single malt and thankfully the results have been nothing short of spectacular for the Aberdeenshire distillery.

Now a mainstay on many a gantry, the single malt produced there is rich and fruity.


(Region: Highland, Founded: 1843 , Owner: Moet Hennessy , Address: Tain IV19 1PZ)

Picture: Trip Advisor Traveler

One of the most popular single malt whiskies in the world yet, strangely able to produce heated arguments on its pronunciation.

Led by Dr Bill Lumsden, the brand have become famous for their excellent finished expressions such as the Lasanta (sherry cask finish) and Quinta Ruban (port cask finish).


(Region: Islay, Founded: 1815, Owner: Morrison Bowmore , Address: Port Ellen, Isle of Islay PA42 7DU)

Picture: Ayack\Wikimedia

Of the peated drams, Laphroaig is widely accepted to be one of the, if not the, peatiest Scottish whiskies.

A true punch of flavour, the distillery on Islay has become famous for producing one of the most distinct single malts around.

Ledaig (Tobermory Distillery)

(Region: Highland and Islands, Founded: 1798 , Owner: Distell, Address: Ledaig, Tobermory PA75 6NR)

Picture: Alastair Maw\Wikimedia

Technically not a distillery instead Ledaig is the peated expression of the tiny distillery of Tobermory, which is located in the picturesque town of the same name on the island of Mull.

Exquisitely smokey, it's the perfect option for smoke heads growing tired of exploring Islay's exhausting range.

Slàinte mhath!

• READ MORE: 5 of the most underrated Scottish whiskies you should order next time you want a dram

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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