ILLUSTRATION BY LOUISE BILLYARD
With more than 50 distilleries either recently opened or in the works, Scotland’s whisky industry is undergoing its largest expansion since the 1890s. Here, six to keep on your radar.
Islay’s ninth distillery opened in April and barreled its first batch in November. The peaty, sea-salty whisky isn’t available yet, but you can pick up a hip flask that features a custom tweed patter inspired by purple heather and rusty bracken fern.
Glasgow’s first new single-malt distillery in a century won’t be pouring its own barrel-aged stuff for a few years, but after a tour of the facility (an old riverside pump house), you can sample
the surprisingly sweet new-make (aka moonshine) spirit.
This soon-to-open Highlands distillery aims to use all renewable power sources in the future, but it’s the owner who’s truly revolutionary: Heather Nelson is the first woman to run a Scotch distillery solo. (The last female owner opened a distillery with her husband in 1824.)
The Speyside giant opened a nearly $200 million addition to its estate last June. The subterranean marvel features an undulating turf roof and a circular bar offering around 950
Macallan whiskies—some dating back 70 years.
When it opened in July, Holyrood became the first new single-malt distillery in Edinburgh in 90 years. While the real estate (an 1835 railway engine shed next to Holyrood Park) is enviable, the creative team (including former Macallan master distiller David Robertson) is even more so.
6. The Borders
Long the Rodney Dangerfield of the Scotch world, the Scottish Borders region is finally getting some respect. Last spring, the cashmere-making capital of Hawick welcomed the area’s first new distillery since 1837. Try the Clan Fraser blended whisky.