While the Speyside area is rightly celebrated across the world for being the traditional centre of the Scottish Malt Whisky Trail, did you know there are eight distilleries in Aberdeenshire and, more important, can you name them?
To help visitors and locals know more about these gems, which are all within easy reach of Aberdeen and its surrounding towns and villages, Aberdeenshire Council has developed a guide to what it calls The Secret Malts of Aberdeenshire, as a means of highlighting the range of globally recognised distilleries.
The eight distilleries featured in the guide are:
Ardmore, at Kennethmont
Fettercairn, south of Stonehaven
GlenDronach, at Forgue
Glen Garioch, at Oldmeldrum
Glenglassaugh, at Portsoy
Knockdhu, at Knock
Royal Lochnagar, at Crathie
The council strongly believes that these small and intimate distilleries have a huge amount to offer to visitors and to the whisky connoisseur. Working in partnership with local whisky producers, it established the Secret Malts of Aberdeenshire concept last year to raise the profile and encourage people to visit and experience the distinctive history, style and taste of these distilleries and their whiskies.
Four of the distilleries have small visitor centres and shops offering regular tours and three of the remaining distilleries – while not officially open to the public – can organise informal tours, often led by the distillery manager, subject to availability and advance booking. The comprehensive booklet also provides fascinating details of the area’s “lost”, or non-operational, distilleries, as well as a guide to whisky tasting and the location of some specialist whisky retail outlets.
The initial response to the whisky trail has been very encouraging, with distilleries reporting a particular increase in international visitors. The intention is to develop a range of events to support the initiative and, as part of the celebrations for 2015 Year of Food and Drink, the guide has been translated into a number of foreign languages, including German, French and Chinese.
Blair Bowman, founder of World Whisky Day, said of the initiative: “Many people will be astonished to learn that they can actually visit a number of these distilleries, to see first hand – often from people who work there – what goes into making Scotland’s national drink. The Secret Malts of Aberdeenshire guide is a great initiative which will encourage even more people to visit distilleries across the area.”
Scotch Whisky is an iconic product worldwide. The industry supports 35,000 jobs and around £2billion is being invested in infrastructure over the next two years. It is of vital importance to the economy. The aim is not to compete with but rather complement the more well-established Malt Whisky Trail in Speyside.
The Secret Malts of Aberdeenshire offers something slightly different. All are within easy travel from Aberdeen and offer a wonderful insight into the whisky heritage of our region. The guide acts as a great starting point for a journey into a truly fascinating industry.
For more information and to download the PDF version of the Secret Malts of Aberdeenshire guide visit: www.visitscotland.com/secretmalts