The Highlands

This is Scotland’s largest whisky region, with wide flavour variations that tend toward dry, nutty, honey and peaty. Well-known distilleries include Glengoyne near Glasgow, Loch Lomond and Glenmorangie. (Distilleries on other islands, including Orkney, Skye, Arran, Mull, Lewis and Jura, are considered part of the Highlands.)


Located in Scotland’s northeast along the River Spey, Speyside is home to half of the country’s distilleries including the biggies: Glenfiddich, Macallan, Glenlivet and Balvenie. Distilleries here are known for their sweeter, fruitier whiskies.

The Lowlands

This region includes Glasgow and Edinburgh and has more than 10 distilleries including Auchentoshan and Bladnoch. These whiskies tend to be light, dry and unpeated.


Pronounced eye-la, Islay is famous among whisky connoisseurs for its peated single malts, those distinct smoky Scotches that are made from a single distillery, with malted barley as the only grain ingredient. The island is home to eight distilleries.

Read more: Learning to Love Scotch On Islay


This small town on Kintyre peninsula juts into the Inner Seas between Islay and the Isle of Arran. Its three distilleries make full-bodied, peaty whiskies, not unlike those on Islay.