Sailing Scotland’s Whisky Distilleries

Date published: 07 August 2020

From the perfectly peaty to the delectably delicate, Scotland is home to an incredible array of whisky– and there’s no better way to explore the distilleries that produce them than by setting sail for a dram-draining adventure!

We’ve picked out just a few of the incredible distilleries open to the public below.  Take a look and you’ll realise why you simply #MustSeaScotland!

Grab your free Sail Scotland brochure, plan your own unforgettable adventure sailing Scotland and make sure you share them with us on social media by tagging them with #MustSeaScotland or uploading them to our gallery - but please be sure to follow all guidance and #RespectTheDestination. 

Ardnamurchan Distillery

Ardnamurchan, Lochaber

Scotland’s most westerly and self-proclaimed ‘greenest’ distillery, since opening its doors in 2014, Ardnamurchan has prided itself on the eco-friendliness of its signature single malt. It’s not an idle claim, either – the distillery generates its own hydro-electric power and uses the whisky by-products to feed the livestock living on the surrounding peninsula. Set sail for ‘Scotland’s last true wilderness’ and drain a dram at what feels like the edge of the world.

(c) Pete Stevens

Oban Distillery

Oban, Argyll & Bute

No visit to the beautiful wee town of Oban is complete without slaking your thirst on a tour of its titular distillery. One of the oldest (and smallest – it only has two stills!) distilleries in Scotland, they produce a delightfully complex dram that reflects their home at the meeting point of the Highlands and the islands of Scotland. Head along on their in-depth tour and see (and taste!) for yourself.

Springbank Distillery

Campbeltown, Kintyre

Perched on the edge of the southern Kintyre peninsula, Springbank is the oldest independent and family owned distillery in Scotland. It’s also the only distillery in the country that still carries out the entire whisky production process, including the traditional floor malting, maturation and bottling, on its premises. Setting foot inside its historic halls is like stepping back in time to the 1800s, when Campbeltown was known as ‘the whisky capital of the world.’

(c) Keith Rodger

Kilchoman Distillery

Islay, Inner Hebrides

Opened in 2005, Kilchoman is the youngest of all the Islay distilleries and the first to be established on the island for more than a century. It’s been worth the wait - Kilchoman is one of the few distilleries in Scotland where barley is malted on-site, allowing visitors to start their tour at the very beginning of the whisky-making process.

Abhainn Dearg Distillery

Isle of Lewis, Outer Hebrides

The first distillery to be built in the Outer Hebrides in nearly 200 years, Abhainn Dearg (pronounced 'aveen jerræk') is making waves in the wee archipelago. Its name is Gaelic for Red River - the burn from which the distillery draws the water for its whisky. It may be a modern distillery in terms of age, but Abhainn Dearg has an old soul. While many of Scotland’s whisky makers have converted to modern machinery and technology, each stage of the distillation process here is still done by hand. Seeing the master blenders in action is a sight to behold.

Isle of Jura Distillery

Jura, Inner Hebrides

A visit to Jura promises spectacular, untamed landscapes, glittering seas and an unforgettable dram. Founded in 1810, Jura Distillery fell into disuse by the late 1800s before being rebuilt in 1963 by two dedicated locals. Today it produces whisky as adventurous as the island it calls home.

Pulteney Distillery

Wick, Caithness

The beautifully-remote town of Wick blossomed during the herring boom of the 1800s. Pulteney Distillery was built in 1826 – before Wick was connected to the road network – so its sought-after whisky was exported around the world by boat. Even today, the wee port town is renowned for its barrels of silver (herring) and gold (whisky).

(c) Alan Hendry

Kingbarns Distillery

St Andrews, Fife

The distillery was opened in late 2014 after a full restoration of a derelict farmstead from the late 18th century into a beautiful distillery. The first cask was filled in 2015 and in early 2019 their flagship malt ‘Dream to Dram’ was released. This is a truly local whisky, slowly crafted with barley harvested exclusively from the golden fields of East Fife.