20 May 2023

The whisky distilleries you need to visit in 2023

We’ve found five of the world’s most exciting whisky distilleries, combining stunning locations, fascinating tours and first class whisky.

Table of Contents

Lark at Pontville, Tasmania

Lark distillery at sunset

The iconic new home of Australia’s oldest and most innovative single malt whisky distiller, Pontville distillery lies within Tasmania’s only working whisky village among meticulously restored historical buildings just outside Hobart, the capital of the island state. Acquired in 2022, as Lark whisky entered its 30th year, Pontville is the third working distillery owned by the brand, which was founded by the godfather of Australian whisky, Bill Lark. 

To discover the magic behind the distillation of this supreme single malt, book a guided tour of Pontville followed by a session in the cellar door tasting room. Or for a unique experience, blend your own distinct bottle of single malt whisky to take home. However you choose to spend your time at Pontville, you can’t fail to be inspired by the stunning historical architecture and the beautiful surrounding landscape.

Lagavulin, Islay

Lagavulin distillery, Islay, Scotland

Nestled in a small picturesque bay on Scotland’s windswept isle of Islay, Lagavulin distillery was founded in 1816 and has been producing whisky ever since. The complex, rich and peaty spirit made here is beloved by Scotch whisky enthusiasts across the world and only a visit to the distillery can reveal the unique processes it takes to produce its unique flavour. 

Take a tour to see the distillers at work, peek inside the pear-shaped stills and see the traditional malting floor. Learn about the long maturation and slow distillation techniques then head to the warehouse for an exclusive cask tasting. With a range of tours and tastings to choose from, the distillery has something for connoisseurs and those just at the beginning of their whisky journey.

High West, Utah

High West distillery, Utah in the snow
Snow covered casks on display outside the High West distillery

Utah’s first distillery since the 1870’s also happens to be the only ski-in gastro-distillery in the world. Located in Old Town Park City, at the bottom of Quittin’ Time ski run, the original High West Distillery & Saloon was founded in 2006 by former biochemist David Perkins and his wife, Jane. Perkins channelled his scientific knowledge and his love of bourbon, cooking and the American West into a mission to bring the craft of small-batch distilling back to Utah and create a great Rocky Mountain Whiskey. 

After successfully creating award-winning whiskey, bourbon, and rye spirits now known as being among America’s finest, Perkins was able to upsize, opening a larger state–of-the-art-High West distillery in Wanship in 2015. Today, you can visit this impressive site for a tour where an in-house whiskey expert will walk you through the distillation process and give you a sneak peek at the blending, ageing and bottling operations first-hand. Afterwards, you can enjoy a few samples in the tasting room, or head back into town to enjoy them in the atmospheric saloon. Just don’t forget your skis.

Nikka whisky Yoichi distillery, Japan

The Nikka distillery in Japan

One of the oldest and most iconic whisky distilleries in Japan, Yoichi has been producing whisky since 1934 when Taketsuru Masataka, the founder of Nikka whisky, identified the site as having the perfect conditions for whisky-making. Having spent years studying the art of whisky-making in Scotland, he knew clear water, brisk air and rich peat were required and this spot had them all. The traditional distillation process that he brought over is largely unchanged today, including using coal-fired stills and ageing the whisky in American and Spanish oak casks.

Tours of the distillery in English are self-guided, with audio provided to direct visitors around the original stone buildings and explain the processes and equipment, before you reach the museum which focuses on the unique history of the brand and its fascinating founder. The finale is of course in the tasting room where visitors can sample Nikka’s finest spirits to help them decide which they’ll be taking home with them (we challenge you to leave empty-handed!)

Cardrona, New Zealand

Cardrona whisky distillery NZ

Located in the Cardrona Valley of New Zealand’s Southern Alps, this distillery is remarkable for several reasons. It is set in a truly stunning location, produces an award-winning single malt whisky, and is run entirely by women – quite something in such a male-dominated industry. 

Established in 2015 by Desiree Reid, Cardrona Distillery is passionate about creating spirits that embody the unique character and terroir of the region. They’re also keen to provide visitors with an authentic and unique experience offering in-depth tours offering a deep insight into whisky making and maturation and special nosing and tasting experiences exploring the impact temperature, foods and texture have on the whisky drinking experience. It’ll leave you with a very fine taste in the mouth and some wonderful whisky-fuelled memories .