Whisky Regions

The Lowlands

The Lowlands may not be the most famous of Scotch whisky regions, but it’s more than made its mark on the world of single malts. Lowlands whiskies are defined by being produced south of the old county boundaries that run between the Clyde estuary to the River Tay and north of the border with England.
Here’s everything you need to know about Lowlands whisky.


Whisky production in the Lowlands region dates back as far as 1494 when Friar John Cor was producing whisky at Lindores Abbey for King James IV. However, it has been historically under-represented when it comes to both distilleries and famous single malts, compared with other regions.

The line between Highlands and Lowlands whisky was drawn up in 1784 by the Wash Act, which impacted how each was taxed, leaving Lowland distilleries feeling victimised because they were paying per gallon in the wash as opposed to a tax based on the size of their still, which led to higher duty rates for them.

In terms of whisky production, the Lowlands actually leads the way and is strongly associated with single malts that are light in colour with a signature dry finish.

Meanwhile, several Lowlands distilleries have closed and not reopened over the years, including Rosebank, Kinclaith, St. Magdalene, Ladyburn, Inverleven, and Littlemill.

However, recent years have seen a resurgence with several prominent distilleries being restored and reopened.

Lowlands Whiskies

Single malts from the Lowlands are characterised by their light and grassy malt style with floral tones earning them the name “Lowland Ladies.” Other flavours that usually come through include malty, zesty flavours with slightly fruity, citrusy and floral notes, as well as honeysuckle, cream, ginger, toffee, toast and cinnamon.

Some of the main distilleries in The Lowlands include:
Annandale Distillery – Established in 1836, Annandale distillery boasts a strong maritime heritage because of its location. Closed in 1918 and reborn in 2014, this distillery is the only one that still uses the traditional triple-distilled method for all of its production.
Auchentoshan Distillery - Built in 1800 on the outskirts of Glasgow, Auchentoshan is arguably the most famous active Lowlands distillery and the only one that still uses the traditional triple-distilled method for all of its production.
Bladnoch Distillery – The most southerly distillery in Scotland and one of the oldest, Bladnoch was founded in 1817 but fell on hard times in the 20th Century and came close to being turned into a guest house around the millennium but was reopened in 2017. It is now making waves after hiring former Macallan whisky maker Nick Savage.
Ailsa Bay Distillery - The largest malt distillery in the Lowlands and one of the biggest in all of Scotland, Ailsa Bay produces around 12m litres of whisky a year, but almost all of it is used in blends.
Glenkinchie Distillery - Located just outside Edinburgh, it dates back to 1825. Glenkinchie was a lesser-known distillery until the 1980s when it was added to United Distillers & Vintners Classic Malts collection.
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