Scotch Hop: Discovering the Best Whiskey Distilleries on the Isle of Skye

by | 22 Sep 2023

For the best distilleries in Scotland, where you can sip the country’s favorite golden liquor at the source, look no further than the Isle of Skye. This magical part of the Herbrides may look and feel like another world (not to mention being quite the trek from Edinburgh) but it’s well worth a visit for those who appreciate a proper scotch whisky.

That said – our time spent exploring the Isle of Skye has also led us to many other watering holes that do not produce whisky, but are distilling spirits that capture the essence of Scotland equally as deliciously.

Talisker Distillery


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When it comes to the best distilleries in Scotland, let alone the Isle of Skye, your first stop for a dram should be Talisker.

Talisker is the oldest working distillery on the Isle of Skye and its full-bodied single malt is a thing of beauty. You could spend your entire vacation on the Isle of Skye just at the distillery: multiple tours guided tastings, multi-sensory experiences, and even small group tutored tastings of Talisker straight from the cask.

And if you sadly can’t visit the shores of Loch Harport for the Hebridean Whisky Festival, you can at very least raise a glass to what you’re missing. The smoky, peated flavor is present in every sip, though the longer you let it sit, the more the sweeter notes of pear and apples make themselves known.

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Torabhaig Distillery


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Torabhaig, the second ever distillery on the Isle of Skye, invites you to taste a single malt that pays tribute to the isle’s bounty yet delivers a taste that is unique to any other glass in the Hebrides.

Traditional distillery tours are on offer, providing exactly what you want in your trip to Teangue, but it’s the whisky and chocolate pairing tour that really kicks things up a notch. Rather than muddle with its mineral, rocky taste and smoky, almost tobacco-like notes, the chocolate pairing enhances the experience.

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57° SKYE earth + sea


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While, evidently, Skye is a fantastic spot to sample high-quality scotch, it’s certainly not the only iconic spirit that the island specializes in.

57° SKYE earth + sea is rewriting the narrative and proving that there’s more to the Inner Hebrides than whisky. What do Scottish people drink at 57° SKYE? London Dry Gin.

The name should tip you off to the 57° SKYE earth + sea gin taste. Local botanicals from the isle like juniper, yarrow, ginger root, and hibiscus blossoms are culled from the ground while both smoked and dried laminaria digitata are sourced from the sea. The result is a glass of gin that tastes as refreshing as a Scottish breeze.

And those lucky enough to visit this Broadford Distillery may get a chance to sample a cask-finished gin.

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Isle of Skye Distillers

Let’s double-down on the different distillers on the Isle of Skye and highlight another of the best distilleries in Scotland that do not bottle scotch whisky: Isle of Skye Distillers.

Its Misty Isle Gins and Misty Isle Vodka have won multiple awards thanks to the same handcrafted processes, fresh botanicals, and clear local spring waters that you’d expect all Isle of Skye spirits — whisky or otherwise — to use.

If you find yourself in Portree, we recommend hitting up Isle of Skye Distillers for a dram or two. Once you taste their triple-gold vodka and pink gin, stumble your way down to the village and learn how to distill these spirits at their Gin School.

Everyone comes back from Scotland with scotch; only you will return with a genuine Isle of Skye gin that you distilled yourself.

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Isle of Raasay Distillery

Here, we’re going to bend the rules a little. The Isle of Raasay Distillery is located on, you guessed it, the Isle of Raasay. Due east of the Isle of Skye, you can easily visit Raasay by taking the CalMac Ferry from Sconser to Clachan.

The Isle of Raasay Distillery is less than a 10-minute walk from the port. It’s the first legal distillery on the isle which means its Isle of Raasay Single Malt and Isle of Raasay Gin bottles are full of local history.

Tours of the distillery are available, granting you a closer look at its copper pot stills and great views of the Cuillin Mountains across the water on the Isle of Skye. Those in the know will stay the night at the inn, though; overnight guests get exclusive access to the ground floor whisky lounge.

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About Nick Dauk
Nick is an American travel writer based in Orlando. From visiting a Mayan god in Guatemala to sand boarding in Egypt to sniffing out white truffles in Italy, Nick embraces unique cultural experiences wherever and whenever he can. When he’s not lugging his backpack between Bogota and Bucharest, he’s carrying his children through the zoos and museums of Central Florida.