If you are a real whiskey lover, you should visit Scotland at some point in life, and especially the highlands.

Throughout the ages the distilleries have always been placed near some type of water source, often a river. The type of water source and the nature of the area has then largely affected the unique properties of the beverage. Up in the Highlands of Scotland there are many of the features of a landscape that is needed for whiskey production.

Which is actually the oldest distillery?

Whiskey is always a hot topic in Scotland. The noble drink is mentioned for the first time in 1494 in the history books. But the first official, well-known distillery started much later. The Scots have never been able to agree which was first.

For many years, Bowmore and Glenturret have argued about who is the oldest distillery in Scotland. Representatives from both camps argued that they had been founded in the 1770s but none of them could specify anything more precise. Not until 2007 when an archivist at the Scottish Brewing Archive found tax breaks where it appeared that Bowmore was two years older than Glenturret. Bowmore was founded in 1816.

However, the oldest was none of these distilleries. Instead, it turned out that Strathisla, founded in 1789, was Scotland's oldest. But that was before Glen Garioch entered the battle. They have on their bottles always had the year of founding there and that in 1797. But even there came a surprise because archivists found evidence that Glen Garioch was first called Meldrum and started in 1785. Just like the fighting between Irish and Scottish whiskey, the struggle between the oldest in Scotland continues.

Different types of whiskey in Scotland

Scottish whiskey is divided into several different types; malt whiskey, grain whiskey, single malt whiskey, Watty malt which is a mixture of malt whiskey from several different distilleries and blended whiskey which is a mix of both grain and malt whiskey.

British law states that the alcohol content must be at least 40 percent, the whiskey must have matured for at least three years on oak barrels and the storage must have been at the customs warehouse in Scotland.

Speyside is a highland whiskey region located near the Spey River. There are about half of all single malt distilleries in Scotland and many of the most famous whiskey brands come from that area. Some examples are Macallan, Cragganmore, The Glenlivet, Aberlour, Glenfiddich, Glenfarclas, and Benromach.

Another famous whiskey area in Scotland is Islay whose whiskey is said to have character. There are big giants like Laphroaig, Ardbeg, Lagavulin, and Bowmore.

The real pubs

If you go on a whiskey trip to Scotland, you must also not miss visiting a rural pub. There you can often note that games and whiskey go hand in hand, regardless of whether it is a bagpipe game, slots, dart, table game or pool. Since many pubs today offer free Wi-Fi, you see more and more people sitting in the pub watching sports while at the same time betting on their favorite teams and drinking with their friends. The Internet has definitely changed the behavior of pubbers, but it does not have to be any negative in itself.

At last, one advice to avoid being mocked: never order an Irish coffee at a Scottish pub. Scottish really defend their native whiskey in every way so ordering something containing the Irish variety is not a good idea.

Photo by Prem Pal Singh from Pexels