Speyside in Moray is not officially a whisky region but it is generally accepted as a subdivision of the Highland region. Over half of Scotland's distilleries are located in the Speyside area. Speyside malts are generally accepted as being the sweetest of all Scotch whiskies.
The huge selection of Speyside malts offer a variety of strengths and can broken down into two distinct categories: the heavy sherried whiskies and the more floral lighter whiskies. The list of malts produced in this region is considerable, but some of the better known names include Glenfiddich, The Macallan, The Balvenie, Glenlivet, Glenfarclas, Glen Moray and Aberlour.
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Aberdeenshire has a number of distilleries but most notably Royal Lochnagar which had the royal seal of approval from Queen Victoria on the very first tour of a distillery and dram at the end of it. This is a complex malt with an East coast subtlety.
The current distillery was rebuilt in the late 19th century and its malt is very popular in France with the core expression being a’bunadh which is based on ex Oloroso casks. On the opposite side of the stream which runs alongside the Distillery there is a short walk to a waterfall called the Lynn Falls which is very popular with photographers and visitors alike. VisitScotland 5 Star Visitor Attraction. Open to visitors
This distillery near the town of Forres was resurrected in 1989 when independent bottler Gordon McPhail acquired the Distillery from United Distillers. During the next 10 years, the distilling equipment was installed and distillation began again. Despite being Speyside’s smallest distillery, it has been very active in producing prize-winning spirits on the international scene. Open to visitors.
Owned by William Grant & Sons, Glenfiddich was without question responsible for the growth in popularity of single malts around the world. Situated in Dufftown, along with nine other distilleries, including its sister distillery Balvenie, Glenfiddich was the first to market single malts to the mass market and is still the world's most popular brand. VisitScotland 5 Star Visitor Attraction. Open to visitors.
Situated between Huntly and Turiff, this distillery was reopened in 2002 by the BenRiach Distillery Company Ltd. Noted for its rich berry colour, derived from the maturation of the spirit almost exclusively in sherry casks, it has gained a reputation particularly among the young whisky drinkers around the world. Open to the public.
Marketed as 'The single malt that started it all', Glenlivet owes its unique taste to many factors including the glen's remote location in Britain's coldest place. It grew into one of the world's biggest single malt distilleries and is now owned by Pernod Ricard. Illicit distilleries were once commonplace and visitors can today walk along many of the signposted Smugglers Trails in the area. This VisitScotland 5 Star Visitor Attraction was revamped in 2021 into a fully immersive visitor experience including an indoor field of barley, Tasting Room and Smugglers' Hideout.
Established in 1824 on the banks of the river Spey, this distillery started life as a farm and was a staging post for cattle drovers who provided a lucrative market. Macallan is the third biggest single malt after Glenlivet and Glenfiddich. The owners aim to create the biggest distillery in the world which is due to open in 2017. Visit Scotland 5 Star Visitor Attraction. Open to the public
Founded in 1786, this is the oldest working distillery in Scotland and now home to one of the most famous whisky brands in the world - Chivas Regal. Arguably the most picturesque distillery in the Highlands with its pagoda roofs and water wheel. At weekends you may enjoy a ride on the Dufftown to Keith Heritage Railway as the Strathisla distillery is a short walk from Keith railway station. Visit Scotland 5 Star Visitor Attraction. Open to the public
Situated next to the Queen's Scottish residence of Balmoral Castle in Royal Deeside in Aberdeenshire, Queen Victoria bestowed the 'Royal' name after her whisky tour in 1848. The distillery takes its name from the mountain behind it and produces a 12 year old malt whisky from local barley and the water from the Scarnock Springs. It is owned by Diageo. VisitScotland 5 Star Visitor Attraction. Open to the public.
Located in Dufftown on Speyside, The Balvenie Distillery was built in 1892. The Balvenie’s honey-flavoured whiskies are produced by traditional methods and it is one of very few distilleries to malt its own barley, using hand-cut local peat to do so. Open to visitors, with a maximum of 8 people per tour.
On the A95, five miles south of Aberlour on Speyside, Glenfarclas is one of the few independent distilleries in Scotland and it has been owned and run by the same family since 1865. Its whiskies are in the Speyside style and with a heavy sherry influence. Open to visitors.
In addition to those listed on this page, there are over 50 distilleries on Speyside – including those on the world-famous Speyside Malt Whisky Trail. These are also Highland distilleries that are within easy reach of many of our Highland B&Bs. For more information visit our Highlands Whisky web page.