Aberdeenshire Council hopes to market the region alongside Speyside and the Highlands as the place to hunt out a top drawer dram.
The local authority has unveiled a guide to the region’s ‘hidden’ distilleries which are often neglected from the tourist trails.
Aberdeenshire’s rich but under-recognised whisky heritage is being showcased with the council’s Secret Malts of Aberdeenshire guide.
The council’s economic development team worked with local whisky producers to highlight the hidden range of small distilleries all within an hour’s drive of Aberdeen.
Aiming to cash in on the growing market for “whisky tourism” the guide highlights the fascinating history of eight local working distilleries.
The booklet also details the area’s ‘lost’, or non-operational, distilleries, as well as a guide to whisky tasting and the location of some specialist whisky retailers.
It was launched by whisky and tourism experts alongside local councillors at the Glendronach Distillery at Forgue.
Aberdeenshire Provost Jill Webster said: “The Secret Malts of Aberdeenshire provides a wonderful insight into the whisky heritage of our region, but it is so much more than just a booklet.
“Many people will be astonished to learn that they can actually visit a number of these distilleries and hear, see and taste first-hand the true art of the distiller, whose skills have remained almost unchanged for hundreds of years.”
Of the eight working distilleries featured in the guide, most are relatively small in scale but each has its own distinctive history, style and taste.
Four of them have small visitor centres and shops offering regular tours led by knowledgeable guides.
Three of the distilleries are not officially open to the public, but will organise informal tours, often led by the distillery manager who can offer a unique insight into how their whisky is made.
The eight distilleries featured in the guide are: Ardmore at Kennethmont, Fettercairn, Glendronach at Forgue, Glen Garioch at Oldmeldrum, Glenglassaugh at Portsoy, Knockdhu at Knock, Macduff and The Royal Lochnagar at Crathie.
David Frost, chief executive of the Scotch Whisky Association, said: “Scotch Whisky is an iconic product worldwide. The Secret Malts of Aberdeenshire guide is a great initiative which will encourage even more people to visit distilleries across the area.”