Elgin is the capital of Moray and a great base for exploring the Speyside Whisky region of Scotland. There are some 60 malt whisky distilleries in Speyside, many of them offering distillery tours and with visitor centres open to the public and worth a visit.
Glen Moray Distillery and Visitor Centre
In Elgin itself, Glen Moray Distillery offer year-round distillery tours (except for a two week closure over Christmas and New Year). The distillery sits on the western edge of Elgin, about a twenty five minute walk from the town centre. The standard tour includes a tasting of two drams. Specialist tours are also available, including one which looks at wine finishes for which Glen Moray has become known in the last twenty years or so. Advance booking is recommended, and is required for larger groups.
The wood of the cask is such an important part of the whisky making process – and there isn’t a better place to learn about it than Speyside Cooperage at Craigellachie. Speyside Cooperage have been operating since 1947 and are now the largest independent cooperage in the UK producing and repairing some 150,000 casks each year. It is also the only cooperage in Britain with a visitor centre. Follow the lifecycle of the cask on a cooperage tour, marvel at the coopers practising their craft with traditional methods and tools. There is a gift shop and café on site to pick up a souvenir or a coffee.
Gordon and Macphail Retail Shop
Update: Gordon and Macphail’s Shop is temporarily located on Elgin High Street as the company develop their historic South Street premises into a unique whisky visitor experience.
Gordon and Macphail was founded in Elgin in 1895 as a grocery shop and still occupy the building on the corner of South Street and Culbard Street where they began. The company is no longer based above the shop having grown to become a leading independent bottler and owner of two distiileries. Any serious whisky visitor will want to see the range of 800 whiskies available at the retail shop to or do one of the tasting experiences on offer. Truly a mecca for whisky lovers.