Five of the best East Coast distilleries in Scotland


You may be familiar with Scotland’s west coast whiskies, but the opposite coast has its own thing going on – and it’s just as exciting. In this blog, we take you through some of the best east coast distilleries in Scotland.

As the birthplace of some of the country’s most celebrated whisky exports, Scotland’s west coast and islands are often the regions which (rightfully!) attract a lot of whisky lovers from across Scotland and further afield. However, Scotland packs a punch for its size, and doesn’t let limited land mass stop it from showcasing a number of wonderful distilleries on the other side of the country. Take a trip to the east coast and you’ll find a rich and diverse whisky trail that has as much to offer as its coastal rival. Here are some of the best east coast distilleries in Scotland that deserve a spot on your visit list…

Old Pulteney

Old Pulteney being poured into a Glencairn glass

Based in Wick, Old Pulteney has been producing whiskies since 1826. One of the most northerly distilleries in the UK, its warehouses are exposed to the blustery North Sea winds, which gives Old Pulteney its trademark taste of the sea. Not only is it one of the best east coast distilleries in Scotland, Old Pulteney is also one of the most northernly on the UK mainland.

Visit Old Pulteney Distillery

The Macallan

The Macallan distillery

Founded in 1824, The Macallan was one of the first distillers in Scotland to be legally licensed. In the brand’s own words: “Since then we have built a reputation as one of the world’s leading single malt whiskies. The creation of The Macallan draws on the vital contributing influences of Spain, North America and Scotland – and of their respective natural raw materials, combined with traditional methods and craftsmanship.” It’s also James Bond’s preferred whisky of choice, and we all know that means it’s nothing if not pure class.

Visit The Macallan Distillery

Glenfarclas Distillery

The Glenfarclas distillery

Instagram: @glenfarclasuk

A family-run operation for five generations, Glenfarclas has been owned and managed by the Grants of Glenfarclas since 1865. Using traditional, direct-fired stills, the purest water from Ben Rinnes and high quality European oak casks, Glenfarclas works hard to preserve the “time-honoured quality” you’ll find in a bottle of this famous Speyside. Glenfarclas was one of the first distilleries in Scotland to open a dedicated visitor centre back in 1973. Today, the distillery offers a range of tours to appeal to everyone from budding whisky enthusiasts to seasoned fans of the spirit.

Visit Glenfarclas Distillery

Fettercairn Distillery

Fettercairn Distillery Bar, East Coast Scotland

One of the oldest licensed distilleries in Scotland, Fettercairn was founded in 1824 by Sir Alexander Ramsay, the owner of the estate in the Eastern Highlands on which the distillery is located. Tucked into the foothills of the Grampian mountains, Fettercairn enjoys an ideal location, both for the views down the glen and the distillation process. Year-round access to the purest water comes from the springs and lochs of the nearby mountains. They also use this crystal-clear water to cool the stills, literally pouring it down the sides of the copper.

Visit Fettercairn

Lindores Abbey Distillery

Lindores Abbey Distillery from Abbey ruins
Often called the spiritual home of whisky, Lindores Abbey in Newburgh, Fife is the site of the earliest record of Scotch whisky production in 1494. Fast forward 527 years, and after two decades of careful planning, the distillery launched its first whiskies to the world. While they have learnt as much as they can from great Scottish distillers, past and present, current owners Helen and Drew McKenzie Smith bring a modern approach to the ancient site.

“We ultimately decided that although we are blessed with such a rich history, the spirit is king”, they told us. “We wanted people to really rate the whisky. I’m delighted that our award-winning new make spirit is combining with our premium casks to produce a fantastic lowland single malt, which even at only three and a half years has a complexity of a spirit twice that age.”

Visit Lindores Abbey Distillery

“The spirit is king!”: Q&A with Drew and Helen McKenzie Smith, Founders at Lindores Abbey Distillery