Lowland single malts

Lowland single malts are single malt whiskies distilled in Scotland's lowlands. The region is home to distilleries such as: Ailsa Bay,[1] in Girvan; Annandale Distillery in Annan; Auchentoshan near Clydebank; Bladnoch in Galloway; Daftmill in Fife; The Glasgow Distillery in Glasgow; and Glenkinchie distillery near Edinburgh.

Several new distilleries have begun to produce new-make spirit in recent years, including Kingsbarns distillery[2] and InchDairnie distillery,[3] both in Fife, and Lindores Abbey.[4] at Ardgowan,[5]

At least six other lowland single malts are still available, but are no longer distilled: Rosebank, Kinclaith, St. Magdalene, Ladyburn, Inverleven, and Littlemill.

Lighter flavours

As a region, the Lowlands have been more strongly associated with grain whisky and blended whisky than malt whisky. Blended whisky often uses a high proportion of Lowland malt, as the less intense flavour profile means it does not dominate the other constituent whiskies.[6]

In terms of Lowlands whisky flavour, the character of the malt often comes through strongly, with a soft body, according to another report.[7] Traditionally the barley used has been unpeated, possibly because the Lowlands, East Lothian in particular, had a strong coal-mining industry.[8]

Another review states that most of the region's whiskies tend to be "lighter and grassier" without the "smoky" flavour produced by peat.[9] However, in recent years Lowland distilleries such as Ailsa Bay and Annandale have been characterised by their use of peat.[10]

According to an August 2019 report, Auchentoshan is the region's only distillery still making whisky that is triple distilled which leads to "an edge of citrus flavour".[11]

The distinction between the Lowlands and the Highlands was originally drawn by the 1784 Wash Act. Highland distilleries were taxed based upon the size of their still; Lowland distilleries were taxed per gallon in the wash.[12] This led to outrage from Lowland distillers over their comparably high duty rates.[13]

Today the term Lowland is a "protected locality" for Scotch Whisky distilling under UK Government legislation.[14] The modern Lowland–Highland line is drawn by the Scotch Whisky Regulations 2009 as follows:

"the line [begins] at the North Channel and [runs] along the southern foreshore of the Firth of Clyde to Greenock, and from there to Cardross Station, then eastwards in a straight line to the summit of Earl’s Seat in the Campsie Fells, and then eastwards in a straight line to the Wallace Monument, and from there eastwards along the line of the B998 and A91 roads until the A91 meets the M90 road at Milnathort, and then along the M90 northwards until the Bridge of Earn, and then along the River Earn until its confluence with the River Tay, and then along the southern foreshore of that river and the Firth of Tay until it comes to the North Sea."[15]

This line is distinct from the geological Highland Fault line to the north. If the geological line were used, several Highland distilleries would become Lowland ones, including Loch Lomond and Fettercairn. [16] According to Visit Scotland, the Lowlands region covers "much of the Central Belt and the South of Scotland including Edinburgh & The Lothians, Glasgow & The Clyde Valley, the Kingdom of Fife, Ayrshire, Dumfries & Galloway and the Scottish Borders". There were 18 distilleries in the region as of 2019, including some that opened quite recently, such as Lindores Abbey Distillery, Clydeside Distillery and Glasgow Distillery Company. [17]

List of Lowland single malt distilleries


In development

  • Ardgowan
  • Burnbrae [23]
  • Crabbie's Bonnington Distillery [24]
  • The Clutha [25]
  • Falkirk [26]
  • Holyrood [27]
  • InchDairnie distillery, Glenrothes[28]
  • Port of Leith [29]
  • Rosebank [30]

Closed or demolished

  • Inverleven [31]
  • Littlemill [32]
    • Bottlings of Littlemill are periodically released by the Loch Lomond Group, who took on ownership of the distillery shortly before its closure.[33]
  • Lochrin [34]
  • St. Magdalene [35]


  1. Ailsa Bay Distillery Wordpress.com
  2. "New Kingsbarns Distillery officially opens in Fife". The Scotsman. 2014-12-01. Retrieved 3 March 2017.
  3. Hamilton, James (2016-05-18). "New Fife distillery InchDairnie opens its doors". The National. Retrieved 3 March 2017.
  4. "New whisky distillery built at historic Lindores Abbey". BBC News. 2016-07-19. Retrieved 3 March 2017.
  5. "Ardgowan whisky distillery plans approved". BBC News. 2017-03-02. Retrieved 7 March 2017.
  6. Russell, Inge, ed. (2003-08-28). Whisky : Technology, Production and Marketing. Academic Press. p. 234. ISBN 978-0-12-669202-0.
  7. "Scotch Whisky Regions". Diffords Guide. Retrieved 2 November 2018.
  8. Bathgate, George N. (2003-08-28). Russell, Inge (ed.). Whisky : Technology, Production and Marketing. Academic Press. p. 8. ISBN 978-0-12-669202-0.
  9. A Comprehensive Guide to Scotland’s Whisky Regions
  10. "William Grant ups peated presence with Ailsa Bay". The Spirits Business. Retrieved 2 November 2018.
  11. A Comprehensive Guide to Scotland’s Whisky Regions
  12. "The Wash Act, 1823". Edinburgh University. Retrieved 1 November 2018.
  13. "Acts of Parliament". Kennetpans. Retrieved 2 November 2018.
  14. Scotch Whisky Regulations 2009, Section 10: Locality and region geographical indications
  15. "Laws of Scotch labelling". scotchwhisky.com. Retrieved 2 November 2018.
  16. "Laws of Scotch labelling". scotchwhisky.com. Retrieved 2 November 2018.
  18. "Borders Distillery opens to the public in Hawick". BBC. Retrieved 1 November 2018.
  19. "New whisky distillery opens in Glasgow". Retrieved 21 February 2018.
  20. "Eden Mill's First Single Malt Whisky Breaks A New World Record". Forbes. Retrieved 1 November 2018.
  21. "Glasgow Distillery". Whiskypedia. Retrieved 1 November 2018.
  22. "New distillery opens at Lindores Abbey in Fife". Retrieved 21 February 2018.
  23. "Scotch Whisky distilleries to open in 2018". scotchwhisky.com. Retrieved 1 November 2018.
  24. "Crabbie's owner plans Edinburgh distillery". scotchwhisky.com. Retrieved 1 November 2018.
  25. "Glasgow whisky distillery to be called The Clutha". BBC. Retrieved 1 November 2018.
  26. "Distillery due to open this year bringing jobs boost". The Falkirk Herald. Retrieved 1 November 2018.
  27. "Investors raise £5.8m for whisky distillery in Edinburgh". BBC. Retrieved 1 November 2018.
  28. "InchDairnie - Scotch Whisky". Retrieved 8 December 2016.
  29. "Port of Leith distillery could 'resurrect' whisky-making heritage". The Scotsman. Retrieved 1 November 2018.
  30. "Rosebank Distillery set to reopen". scotchwhisky.com. Retrieved 1 November 2018.
  31. "Inverleven". Malt Madness. Retrieved 2 November 2018.
  32. "8 of Scotland's most famous lost whisky distilleries". The Scotsman. Retrieved 2 November 2018.
  33. "Littlemill". SMWS. Retrieved 2 November 2018.
  34. "Chance to explore former site of iconic Edinburgh distillery". Deadline News. Retrieved 2 November 2018.
  35. "8 of Scotland's most famous lost whisky distilleries". The Scotsman. Retrieved 2 November 2018.

Further reading

  • Barnard, Alfred (2008) [1887]. The Whisky Distilleries of the United Kingdom. Edinburgh: Birlinn. ISBN 978-1-84158-652-6.
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