The Scottish Highlands are one of the most sparsely populated regions of Europe, making the role of the Scotch whisky industry a major lifeline for small communities in the region. The distilleries primarily produce single malt whisky, made from 100% malted barley. The whisky is usually made in a pot still, which preserves more of the flavourful constituents giving it more distinctive character.
Note that although Speyside is geographically situated in the Highlands, it is considered to be a separate whisky region because there are more than 60 distilleries in Speyside alone.
Highland whiskies are generally described as being bold, rich, sweet, full-bodied, and sometimes peaty. However, due to the size and variations of the region, the characteristics of the single malts differ significantly. Because of this, the Highlands region is often categorized into four subregions based on the four compass points.
The north produces some big bodied single malts, containing sweetness and richness, for example The Dalmore. In the south there are lighter, fruitier whiskies that are characterized by a definitive dryness, such as Aberfeldy. In the east there are some full-bodied, dry whiskies with lots of fruit flavour, as well as some pungency; Glen Garioch is a good example. Finally, the west part of the Highlands contain full bodied whiskies with peaty, smoky overtones, while closer to the coast there are some more maritime flavoured whiskies including malts from Clynelish and Pulteney.
Below I have identified 34 distilleries in the Highlands. The ones highlighted in blue periodically have their whiskies available in Canadian liquor stores.
|Balblair||Ben Nevis||Blair Athol|
|Glencadam||Glen Deveron||Glen Eden|
|Glengoyne||Glenmorangie||Singleton of Glen Ord|
|Old Pulteney||Royal Brackla||Royal Lochnagar|