As you might know, we’re big fans of Buy Local. Nowhere is this more economically relevant than in Sutherland in Scotland’s North, where the population is sparse and relies on local jobs. If we want nice things like local butchers and bakers then we have to do our bit to support them, otherwise they’ll vanish.
Beyond that though, there are many benefits to buying local. We find that we appreciate things more when we know they’re from the immediate area, know their story, and can taste the local water, the soil of the earth, and the pollen from the flowers. So where better to start than local Whisky.
Fortunately for us, we have some of the best right on our doorstep.
We’ve created this list in order of proximity to our rental home, Lower Hilton Cottage in Culrain. There’s nothing better than sipping a local malt by the fire, or in the garden, admiring the view. We’ll leave it to you to rank them by taste.
This is our closest Distillery, and is the only distillery we know of that only releases Vintage bottles. They cleverly label the bottles with the year distilled, rather than the age, similar to how wine is labelled. Their most recent vintage is 2005 and, if you’re feeling adventurous, you can go back all the way to 1969. They arrange Distillery tours but note that they don’t run between October and March. More details can be found here.
One of the better known Whiskies from this part of the world, Glenmorangie is close to nearby Tain, around 30 minutes from the cottage. Their original bottle will give you a citrus aroma, a vanilla taste, followed by flowers and more citrus flavours, as well as everything to be expected from a great Scottish Whisky. They have a large range of malts from both their regular, private and limited collection. Tours and tastings can be arranged here.
Perched on the coast at Alness is the beautiful distillery of Dalmore, where they use American White Oak ex-Bourbon Casks and Sherry Casks to deliver a unique flavour and different aromas depending on the age. More details can be found on tours here.
A bit further away from the cottage but worth a visit if you’re exploring the Northeastern coast. You’ll get a taste of the sea this one with an aroma of the sea air, followed by tastes including vanilla, citrus and brine. Oh, if you like Oysters then this is a great pairing. Information on Distillery tours can be found here.
Did we miss something from the list? Email us at email@example.com and we’ll happily review it.
For more information on Whisky, we recommend the Scottish Malt Whisky Society.