Highland Whisky Trail Visitor Information Guide
Along this famous route discover some of the most famous malt whisky distilleries in Scotland, historic distilleries and world-renowned brands of Malt Whisky.
Take your time as you explore famous sights and distilleries, in the Highlands, It’s an ideal road trip for bikers, hikers, driving enthusiast, history buffs alike.
Taste local whiskies and speciality foods from Scotland, such as local meats, Dairy, seafood, vegetables, puddings only found in these regions.
Meet the masters who are guardians of generations of know-how on the world’s only malt whisky.
Each distillery offers the visitors, the experience the sight, smell, taste and magic of the its own brand of single malt whisky, along with its own traditions, malting, the water used, to the height and size of its stills.
Along the way, why not take in the picturesque countryside of the Highlands of Scotland and all it has to offer, from attractions such as castles, gardens, forts, historic towns and villages, museums, waterfalls, Islands, bird and wildlife watching both on land and the sea, mountains such as Ben Nevis, Glencoe, glen Affric, strathglass, rivers, Lochs, the Isle of Skye, the Cairngorms National Park, Loch Ness and much much more.
- Today the word whisky conjures up a seemingly endless variety on the shelves of supermarkets with whisky,whiskey and bourbon,
- Scotch Whisky is synonymous with a quality product, which possesses an unrivalled international reputation.
- The highly competitive whisky industry is Scotland's biggest export earner and one of the government's main sources of revenue.
- The earliest distillers of whisky, the Scots have played a major part in the perfection of this art.
- In the 15C monks were distilling a spirit and soon after it became an everyday domestic occupation. The Union of 1707 brought exorbitant taxation, including the 1713 malt tax. Distilling went underground and smuggling became a way of life.
From the illicit stills on the hillsides the spirit was transported along a smugglers trail from Speyside to Perth over 140 miles of hill country.
Excisemen became the scourge of the Highlands with a succession of new laws in the early 19C found to do nothing to halt illicit distilling until the 1824 Act.
The latter sanctioned distillation On payment of a licence fee and duty per gallon produced. Many distilleries were founded after this date including Glenlivet 1824, Fettercairn 1824, and Talisker 1830. Whisky production developed rapidly in the 1880s as the replacement spirit for gin and brandy, which was highly taxed and becoming increasingly scarce due to the failure of the vine crop. Blending produced a more palatable drink which rapidly achieved universal success. Although blended whiskies still dominate the market the subtler and finer qualities of a single malt are gaining recognition. Malt whisky. - The original spirit was a malt or straight un blended product of a single malt whisky.
What makes a good whisky? The quality and subtle differences in character depends essentially on a combination of certain factors: barley not always home grown, water filtered through peat or over granite, equipment such as the shape of the still and the experience and skill of the still men. The 116 single malts are classified into Highland, Lowland or Islay. Blended whisky. - Grain whisky is made from a malted barley and other cereals. The blends are a mixture of a lighter grain with a malt in secret proportions. Blended varieties are subdivided into two categories: de luxe and standard. Whisky making. - The germination of barley steeped in water turns the starch into sugar.
The grain is then kiln dried over a peat fire. Mashing comprises the mixing of the crushed and dried barley with warm water. The remaining barley husks or draff is used as cattle fodder. Yeast is added to the sugary suspension (wort) in vast vats to convert the sugar into alcohol and carbon dioxide. The wash passes into vast copper pot stills. Two distillations are common to produce the high proof distillate before it is matured in oak barrels in Scotland for a minimum of three years.