Distilleries - Whisky, Gin & Rum

Meet the makers, tour the distilleries and sample fine single malt Scotch whisky, artisan Scottish gins and rums.

Explore Scotland's West Coast Distilleries

With its extensive peatland, pure clear waters and proud distilling heritage, it’s no surprise that Argyll & the Isles have earned the reputation of Scotland’s Whisky Coast.

The area is home to fifteen world-class whisky distilleries, plus a handful of award-winning micro-distilleries producing artisan gin and delicious rum.

Whisky Distilleries

Scotland's west coast boasts some of the most famous Scotch whisky distilleries including Laphroaig, Lagavulin, Glen Scotia, Bowmore and Springbank. Visit us and sample a wee dram!

Within Argyll & the Isles, the four whisky-producing regions are:

  • Campbeltown (once the capital of whisky production),
  • Oban, a Highland distillery
  • Island distilleries; Jura and Tobermory on Mull
  • Perhaps the most famous is Islay (often called the Whisky Isle) where some of the distilleries grow their own barley.

Gin Distilleries

Gin is produced in Kintyre and the islands of Colonsay, Islay, Bute, Jura and Mull. Perhaps we should also be known as Scotland's Gin Coast!

Rum Distilleries

Jura's Deer Island specialise in the distillation of rum, while the Isle of Bute Distillery and Beinn an Tuirc in Kintyre produce seasonal barrels. 

Quality of Spirit

Wherever the spirits are produced, the emphasis here is on quality. These are prestigious products which are in global demand.

The worldwide interest in single-malt whisky has fuelled new developments and new distilleries are expected to open soon. Whatever your tipple, the choice is abundant, the expertise undisputed and the taste unparalleled. There are many ways to enjoy the heritage and produce of our distilleries. Most offer tours and tasting experiences, and with our regular ferry services, it’s easy to combine distillery visits with a wee island-hopping adventure.

Take home a bottle to remember your stay and top up supplies by ordering online from the comfort of your home. You could even join us for a dram or two at one of our fantastic whisky festivals in Islay or Campbeltown.

The Gaelic word for whisky is, uisge beatha, which means water of life. In these parts, we couldn’t agree more.

WHISKY DISTILLERIES
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Glen Scotia Whisky Casks
CRAFT GIN DISTILLERIES
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Isle Of Bute Gin 1780
RUM DISTILLERIES
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Go Wild About Argyll's Distilleries

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Ardbeg Distillery

For over 200 years, Ardbeg has been made on the small, remote Scottish Isle of Islay. Some people travel to Ardbeg along the winding road from Port Ellen. Ot...

Port Ellen
Isle of Islay
PA42 7EA

Tel: +44(0) 1496 302244

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Glen Scotia Distillery

Glen Scotia was formerly known as \'Scotia\' when it was first founded in 1832. The “Wee Toon” was known as the Victorian Whisky Capital of the World. At its...

12 High Street
Campbeltown
Argyll & Bute
PA28 6DS

Tel: +44 (0) 1586 552 288

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Caol Ila Distillery

Reopened in August 2022 after an exciting renovation project, visit Caol lla, The Islay Home of Johnnie Walker. Join us for our signature tour at Caol Ila, F...

Port Askaig
Isle of Islay
PA46 7RL

Tel: 020 8838 9385

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Wild Thyme Spirits

Colonsay Gin is a multi-award winning Scottish Gin distilled by Wild Thyme Spirits in the Southern Hebrides, on the remote and wild island of Colonsay. Influ...

Tigh na Uruisg
Upper Kilchattan
Isle of Colonsay
PA61 7YR

Tel: +44 (0)1951 200082

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Beinn an Tuirc Distillers Ltd

Spend an afternoon at gin school! You’ll learn so much about gin production and our own methods here at Beinn an Tuirc Distillers, before tasting and blendin...

Lephincorrach Farm
Torrisdale
Carradale
Campbeltown
Argyll PA28 6QT

Tel: 01583 431528

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Lagavulin Distillery

Lagavulin is said to be one of the oldest distilleries on Islay and is world-renowned for its smoky, peaty whiskies. The windswept Isle of Islay instils a st...

Lagavulin Distillery
Lagavulin
Isle of Islay
PA42 7DZ

Tel: 01496 302749

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Lussa Gin

Lussa Gin is made by 3 women at the far end of the Isle of Jura, using 15 botanicals they can grow or gather from the island using a unique distillation proc...

The Stables
Ardlussa
Isle of Jura
Argyll
PA60 7XW

Tel: 01496 820196

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Oban Distillery

For two centuries Oban’s bustling fishing village has sat on the frontier of the West Highlands and the Islands, the meeting place of land and sea. One of Sc...

Oban Distillery
Stafford St
Oban
PA34 5NH

Tel: 01631 572004

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Visit the Distilleries of Argyll & the Isles

The best distillery tours, visits and sampling experiences in Scotland

Explore Scottish Spirits

Whether you're a whisky connoisseur, a gin lover or simply interested in our world-renowned heritage, a distillery tour offers a great day out.

You'll hear from the makers, learn about the art of choosing the barrel and hear how the master distillers craft the flavour to perfection.

Plus, you'll get to sample a glass or two!

Many of the whisky distilleries are on the islands so you can combine a distillery visit with a spot of island hopping and sightseeing.

For the truly dedicated, we even have a whisky walk. The Islay distilleries pathway is a 5.5km linear path which connects the distilleries of Ardberg, Laphroaig and Lagavulin. It's a lovely walk with coastal views and helps you keep a clear head between tastings!

Whether you visit one or all of the distilleries, we know you'll be blown away by the flavours and in awe of the passion and skills of our makers. 

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Scotch Whisky Distilleries

The art of whisky production has been handed down through the generations and the role of the Head Distiller remains an esteemed and prestigious role, particularly in these parts. 

All single malt whiskies are produced using the same three ingredients and staged process but that doesn't mean they taste the same. Far from it. While whiskies from Scotland's Whisky Coast tend to share a peaty flavour, each has its own distinctive and refined tasting notes.

A distillery visit will introduce you to these tastes under the expert guidance of one of the artisan distillers. You'll learn about malting and mashing, fermentation and distillation, and maturation and release. Some distilleries even encourage you to try your hand at the process, and, importantly, all conclude with a taste of the fine stuff in convivial surroundings surrounded by the coastal beauty of Argyll & the Isles. 

The Ultimate Destination for Scotch Whisky

Single-malt Scotch whisky is special. Special in provenance, heritage, production and taste. Made by a unique process of distillation and maturation, only whisky distilled in Scotland can claim the exclusive title of Scotch. And with four whisky regions – including the world-renowned island of Islay – there’s no better destination for Scotch whisky than the Highlands and Islands of Argyll.

Here, you can expect a breadth and depth of whisky experiences like no other. All set in an incredible, ever-changing landscape that will take your breath away.

Island Hopping 

For a Hebridean island-hopping adventure, we recommend starting off at Oban Distillery and taking the ferry to Mull, where you can visit Tobermory.

Oban Distillery, perched on the picturesque harbour, is one of Scotland’s smallest distilleries. It’s nice and close to Oban Whisky & Fine Wines Shop which has a huge range of single malts, including some rare and collectable whiskies. Here you can while away the time engrossed in whisky chat with the passionate owners who are happy to pass on their expertise.

Don’t forget to sample some delicious freshly caught seafood before hopping on one of the regular ferries to Mull for the Tobermory Distillery. This artisan distillery produces both whisky and gin and offers tours, tasting experiences and a shop offering distillery-exclusive lines.

Islay - the Whisky Isle

For many, the ultimate whisky experience is a trip to Islay. This tiny wee island boasts nine working distilleries producing whiskies that truly reflect their environment with a characteristic peaty flavour and a hint of salty air and seaweed. All the distilleries offer tours and each offer something unique. And for the truly devoted, with a little planning, yes, it is possible to do them all in a day!

On Islay, Kilchoman and Ardnahoe are the newest distilleries while Bowmore is thought to be one of the oldest in Scotland, notable for malting its own barley. At Caol Ila, you can see large-scale production while Bruichladdich is refurbished in the old Victorian style. Ardberg produces one of the peatiest flavours while Bunnahabhain produces a milder, unpeated whisky. Lagavulin produces one of Scotland’s most famous whiskies while Laphroaig is the bestselling whisky on Islay.

With these distilleries, it definitely isn’t a case of ‘you’ve seen one, you’ve seen them all’!

The Times Travel writer, Jane Wright, rates Lagavulin Distillery as the best in Scotland for tradition. She writes "Join the charming Iain McArthur, who, with over 50 years of service, informs and entertains visitors in equal measure on cask tasting sessions. One of the older and more traditional distilleries on Islay, Lagavulin is famed for its distinctive red chimney, unusual pear-shaped stills and gorgeous views over the bay in front. For those who find the strong, smoky flavour a little too robust, there are younger, lighter expressions of Lagavulin available too."

In the same guide, Bunnahabhain is rated as the Scottish distillery with the best views and Jura, the best for the beautiful boat journey to reach it.

The distilleries are spread across the island, with Laphroig, Lagavulin and Arberg clustered next to each other on the south coast connected by the linear three distilleries pathway – you’ll get some wonderful coastal views and it’s ideal for clearing the head between tastings.

Campbeltown - The Whisky Capital of the World

No tour of the region would be complete without a trip to Campbeltown. Once the whisky capital of the world and home to 34 whisky distilleries - now just three remain. And what a three. Springbank Distillery, which draws its water from Crosshill Loch, produces three signature malts. Here you can tour Springbank Distillery (the only distillery in Scotland to complete the whole whisky-making process on site) and the nearby Kilkerran Distillery which opened in 2004 - the first distillery to open in Campbeltown for over 125 years. Glen Scotia Distillery uses small batch processing and retains much of its original design – including the mash sun, stillroom and dunnage warehouse. Enjoy a tour, warehouse tastings and browsing the delightful Victorian-style shop.

Tips for Visiting Distilleries

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  • Visit Laphroaig in the spring and you're likely to see the peat being hand cut. In the summer, you can see it left out to dry.

  • Visit Ilsay in May for the festival and you can visit Port Ellen Maltings to tour the malting floors.

  • Silent season - when production stops to allow for repairs, training etc - usually happens in August when most of the distilleries close.

  • It can be very warm in the distilleries, and you may be walking on narrow uneven surfaces and climbing steps. Dress for comfort!
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Whisky Festivals

Celebrate whisky with us!
Fèis Ìle - The Islay Festival

Join a gathering of whisky and Islay fans from across the globe. In the last week of May, we celebrate Islay, her culture and her spirit, in a ten-day event that defines the whisky calendar.

In 2023, the festival will run from Friday 26th May to Saturday 3rd June inclusive.

> Find out more & register for updates

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Campbeltown Malts Festival

Hosted by the Glen Scotia Distillery, the Campbeltown Malts Festival brings new and old friends together for dinners, tastings, experiments (!), virtual gatherings, distillery bottlings and even art exhibitions.

> Find out more & register for updates

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Explore the Whisky Regions

There's so much more than whisky to discover in the four principle regions!
Oban Bay
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Oban
The 'Gateway to the Isles' is surrounded by miles of dramatic coastline & countryside.
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Campbeltown
Campbeltown is an ideal base for exploring the many attractions of scenic southern Kintyre.
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Islay Sea Adventures Scallops And Whisky
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Islay
Islay & Jura promise an amazing experience with birdlife, seafood and dramatic coastal seascapes.
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Jura 1
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Islands
Visit the Inner Hebridean islands for spectacular scenery, stunning wildlife and warm hospitality.
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Scotch Whisky FAQs
What is Scotch Whisky?
Where are the Whisky Distilleries in Scotland?
Which Scotch Whisky is the Best?
Is it Whisky or Whiskey?

To be called Scotch, whisky must be made in Scotland. Single malt scotch must be distilled at a single distillery and matured in oak casks for a minimum of three years.

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There are whisky distilleries throughout Scotland. The west coast of Scotland is often referred to as Scotland's Whisky Coast. In Argyll, whisky distilleries are clustered into four regions - 1. Islay, 2. the Highlands (Oban & Loch Lomond), 3. Campbeltown (the former capital of whisky), 4. Islands - including Jura and Tobermory on the isle of Mull.

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This is a commonly asked question and one that we can't answer. It all comes down to taste. What we can say is that whisky from Scotland's Whisky Coast is some of the highest quality Scotch that you'll find in the world!

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In Scotland, it is spelt whisky, without an e.
In Ireland and most parts of America is it spelt whiskey.
This is largely due to differences in the original Scots and Gaelic derivations of the world.

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Craft Gin Distilleries

Gin is experiencing a huge revival, in part due to the popularity of cocktail culture. This revival is reflected in Argyll & the Isles with a handful of innovative, award-winning micro-distilleries.

All gins share the juniper berry as their primary attribute and it is in the expert selection and blending of botanicals where makers get creative. Thankfully, Scotland is rich in natural resources and you can expect Icelandic moss (it grows in Scotland!), sheep sorrel, heather, gorse and even Loch Fyne oyster shells. Most will be seasonally hand-foraged as part of a wider commitment to sustainability.

The secret to craft gin is in the traditional copper stills which remove any impurities from the distilling process. Many of our distillers give their stills names. Bute Gin’s is called Andrea and Beinn an Tuirc’s is called Big Don. This tells you everything about our makers' passion for the process!

These small-batch, artisan producers are using the resources on their doorstep for a unique, sophisticated flavour. The choice is huge - spicy and floral tastes, pink gin, traditional gin, navy strength and even bramble gin liqueur. Drink it neat, with a mixer or in your favourite cocktail - either way, on a distillery tour, you can expect the perfect serve.

Craft Gin Experiences

If you’re partial to a craft gin, or just curious about how it’s made, the micro-distilleries of Argyll offer a truly immersive experience.

Kintyre Gin School

Head south to Carradale in Kintyre you’ll find the Beinn an Tuirc Distillers on the beautiful Torrisdale Castle Estate.

Home of the award-winning Kintyre Gin, the distillery is run on renewable hydropower and uses local spring water in the distilling process.

The estate offers a wide range of gin experiences including distillery tours and a gin school where you can create your own bespoke flavours. 

Island Gins

Nothing says you’re on holiday like a boat trip and, with our fantastic ferries, a tour of the island gin distilleries couldn’t be easier.

Bute

On the Isle of Bute, known for its beaches and pretty villages, you’ll find the Isle of Bute Distillery with its lovely little gin garden.

Here you can sample the world’s first oyster gin – a savoury gin, ideal to pair with seafood – as well as a wide selection of botanical products.

There’s also a shop so you can take a taste of Bute home with you. 

Isle of Mull 

The Tobermory Distillery on Mull produces three Hebridean Gins for you to sample during their tasting sessions. There’s a wider distillery visitor centre to explore and enjoy.

Jura

The Lussa Gin Distillery on Jura produces multi-award-winning gins packed with botanicals that are grown both in polytunnels and community gardens and greenhouses across the island. This is truly a community spirit!

The shop is open during the week, and from there, you can see the whole distillery in action.

Colonsay

For the ultimate gin experience, head to Wild Thyme Spirits on the island of Colonsay. As well as offering a gin distillery tour and tasting experience, this family-run business offers fabulous gin lovers retreats. Perfect for special occasions, you can kick back, sip gin and enjoy the peace and wonder of this remote island.

Know your Scottish Gins

  • Scotland produces 70% of the UK's overall gin production. That's small batch craft gins plus the larger producers.
  • Most of the small producers give their pot stills nicknames. Meet Ugly Betty, Hamish and Big Don (to name but a few). 
  • Some of the producers employ foragers to gather their botanicals.

 

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Rum Distilleries

Scottish rum is a growing market. In Argyll & the Isles, we are fortunate to have three excellent micro-distilleries producing small batch, handcrafted rum inspired by our wonderful environment. These are tiny producers united by a desire to support their local economies without compromising on quality and taste.

Spiced Scottish Rums

Spiced rum is rum that has been flavoured with natural herbs and spices. Think clove, cinnamon, vanilla. citrus, ginger and pepper  - all the lovely warming flavours. 

In these parts, Deer Island on Jura specialises in the production of small-batch handcrafted spiced rum. This tiny, relatively new producer takes its name from the fact that there have always been more deer on the island than people. You can visit the distillery and shop at selected times and buy their rum - plus rum raisins and rum marmalade.

Some of our makers are also turning their gin botanicals blending skills to produce artisan rum.

The Isle of Bute Distillery produces Dead Run Rum which can be sampled in the Gin Garden or by mail order.  In addition, Beinn an Tuirc offer Caribbean Rum and Dominican Rum.

Scottish Rum

Rum is made from sugar cane which is fermented and distilled in copper pot stills or column stills. 

Some say that rum is the new gin, and with Scotland's distilling heritage, passion and expertise, we're well-placed to lead the way. Watch this space!

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More About Scotland's Distilleries

Pour a wee dram, sit back and enjoy the best of our spirit themed blogs. Slainte!

Meet the Makers

The prestigious distillers of the Highlands and Islands of Argyll
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KINTYRE GIN

Emma MacAlister

Emma is the brains behind Beinn an Tuirc Distillers which produces award-winning Kintyre Gin. The distillery uses local spring water and botanicals for earthy and spicy characteristics, a deep flavour and a pleasing floral aroma.

Located on the beautiful Torrisdale Estate, the distillery is hydro-powered and has a deep commitment to the local community. 

Emma says, "We are very conscious that we have this responsibility to the area. We have sustainability at our heart with our sustainable source of power but for me, sustainability isn’t just about green energy, it’s got to be looking at the bigger picture, especially in a rural community because it’s so fragile.”

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Kilchoman Distillery, Islay

KILCHOMAN DISTILLERY

Antony & Cathy Willis

Kilchoman is a family run business established by Anthony and Kathy Wills in 2005. It is the only independent farm distillery on Islay.

As the business expanded, the husband and wife team were joined by their three sons; James, George and Peter. 

The Wills family remain the driving force behind Kilchoman with Anthony as Managing Director and Master Distiller, Kathy running the Visitor Centre and their three sons managing the distillery’s sales and marketing activities.

Glen Scotia Whisky Tour

GLEN SCOTIA

Iain MacAlister

Glen Scotia was voted World's Best Whisky and Scotland's Distillery of the Year in 2021.

Former engineer Iain McAlister has been the esteemed distillery manager for twelve years. Born and bred in Campbeltown, Iain is fiercely proud of the place, its people and its rich whisky heritage.

Established in 1832, the distillery retains much of its original design, including the fermenters, the stillroom and the dunnage warehouse. Iain innovates while seeking to respect craftsmanship and traditional skills to retain the highest standards.

Iain's favourite tipple is a Friday night dram of Glen Scotia Double Cask.

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