A Wee Introduction to The Highlands
Scotland is made up of over 30,000 square miles of deep glens and tumbling burns, 282 imposing Munros, over 790 islands, 6000 miles of coast, a mind-boggling 31,000 lochs, and, maybe most importantly, 6 whisky regions (well, 5 and 1 sub-region, but 6 gives me an extra article).
The 6 Whisky Regions are as follows:
- Sub-Region: The Islands (Arran, Skye, Orkney, Harris, Lewis, Mull)
There are currently 120 working distilleries in Scotland, and 38 of these are active in the Highlands, which is second in quantity to the Speyside Whisky Region.
Of the 6 regions, the largest by size is the Highlands Whisky Region. Reaching from the East coast and Glen Garioch, to Oban and the West, and from Glengoyne in the South, to Pulteney in the North, this huge, sparsely-populated landscape has a wonderfully wide array of styles and flavours. The nutty, floral notes of Dalwhinnie, nestled high amongst the west side of the Cairngorms, the oaky, rich wine finishes of Glenmorangie in Tain, the dry fruitiness of Edradour near Pitlochry, or the light smoke and peat that complements Oban’s single malts, there’s no other whisky region that better encapsulates the vastness of Scotland and its synonymous creation.
The Highlands have also seen names such as Glenugie (originally ‘Invernettie)’, in Peterhead, and the now-legendary Brora, in Sutherland, fall silent, (although the latter is to be reopened, with rebuilding work having begun in November 2018). As an aside, Glenugie is unlikely to ever be rebuilt due to the site being redeveloped, and the remaining distillery warehouses demolished 2 years ago.
Both distilleries closed in 1983, unable to survive the downturn and over-saturation of the whisky market which saw several others also close their doors.
Famous Highland Distilleries:
Silent / Mothballed Highland Distilleries:
Next: Part 2 – Speyside