Naturally one will always think of Scotland when the word Whisky crops up. And so they should. The very word Whisky is Gaelic for ‘Water of Life’, and Scotland has been leading the market for a very long time.
Whisky drinkers from all over the world have enjoyed the very best Scotland has to offer; from the Auchentoshan distillery in West Dunbartonshire or the Glenkinchie distillery in East Lothian in the Lowlands to the giddy heights of the Dalwhinnie distillery in the wilds of the Highlands. But as Whisky’s bucolic charm finds an increasingly younger and more metropolitan clientele (thankfully moving away from the misconceived notion of drunks and old men), and as it continues its exodus from pubs and taverns to trendy wine bars and bistros, there is an increasing demand for something different. Scotland, to some, just isn’t enough anymore.
Scotland’s connection with Whisky is indelible; for its concentration of linked distilleries and for the unfaltering quality of its product, it should never be displaced as the leading producer of Whisky. Furthermore it provides a great excuse for the more itinerant holiday maker to travel the length and breadth to observe the various distilleries.
Away from Scotland the majority of other countries producing Whiskey form an almost esoteric market, but two of the most popular current producers could really pique the interest of the more continental traveller. You could try Japan, which produces a range of excellent Whiskies – including the fantastic Yoichi. What makes Yoichi unique among Japanese Whisky producers is that it is based in the mountain regions on the island of Hokkaido – an area that mirrors Scotland’s climate of mild summers and icy winters. The people behind Yoichi really take this seriously, and the result is something not too far removed from the Scottish drams we know and love. If you yearn for a more exotic location then you could travel to Bangalore in India to see the award winning Amrut distillery in action. Recently given top marks by Jim Murray – the hard-to-please leading authority on Whiskey – Amrut is now in high demand.
These are just some of the options. Your Whiskey travels could take you to Germany, South Africa, Thailand or even to Wales and the Penderyn distillery. Or if you fancy staying in the home counties you could head to Roudham in Norfolk to see what’s going on at the St. George’s distillery. But for many there really is no place like Scotland; the spiritual home of Whisky. So, find a nice hotel, purchase a map, and get planning your Whisky travels.
- License: Creative Commons image source
Adam works alongside http://www.altnaharra.com/ located in the Highlands. He holds a degree in Journalism and has written extensively on a wide range of subjects including British cinema history and ethics in photojournalism. In his spare time he enjoys travelling the length and breadth of the UK and tasting and reviewing Whiskies from around the world.