Distilleries

Juniper’s not just for Gin.

If you seek out the sites of Scotland’s illicit whisky stills of the past you might notice something a little odd – Juniper Bushes. Why would stills creating the water of life be found in areas where one of the main raw ingredients of gin thrives?

Historically whisky making in Scotland was very much illegal with the government going to great lengths and expense to try to curb the practice. The dreaded excise men were employed to seek out the illicit stills and shut them down, even going so far as to offer a financial reward to those who were willing to clype on their neighbours. Of course that’s not what we do in the Highlands and the job of the government men was usually made more difficult by misinformation rather than tale-telling.

Juniper bushes were a major help in hiding the stills too and not just as camouflage. Juniper is a smokeless fuel – the excise man can’t shut down your still if he can’t find it – hide it in woodland and heat it with burning juniper and there’s no tell-tale pall of smoke to lead him to your door!

With the legalisation of whisky making coming in the early 1800’s, many legitimate distilleries sprang up in the areas previously served by the illicit stills, areas where juniper bushes are abundant. One local distillery even reflects this early reliance on juniper in its very name – Tomatin is gaelic for “hill of the juniper” – a nod to the distillery’s history and perhaps a cheeky wee swipe at the excise man too.

The juniper is also put to good use on south Loch Ness, as we are home to the award winning Loch Ness Gin, distilled by Loch Ness Spirits.

Loch Ness Spirits

Loch Ness Spirits

Kevin & Lorien Cameron-Ross are Loch Ness Spirits and everything they create is born from their connection to Loch Ness and the land around it. Their family have lived on the banks of the loch for over five centuries and their knowledge, love and thorough understanding of the natural landscape fuels their passion and approach.


With great care, they produce premium spirits, using ingredients sourced from the surrounding area and the rich water of the loch. It’s this ethos of natural quality that makes their products taste as pure, refined and original as they do.


They release limited-edition handmade batches, and each and every one of their bottles is treated with the utmost respect for the ingredients, the process and their home.


The distillery is not open to the public. However, their office/shop is available by appointment. Please contact 01463 751773 or info@wearelochness.com for further information.


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Tomatin Distillery

Tomatin Distillery
Experience the 'softer side of the Highlands' at Tomatin Distillery, where you will find a range of tours and award winning malts.  You can also enjoy our distillery film and our brand store where you can even fill your own bottle of one of our distillery exclusive single cask whiskies. 

The Tomatin Distillery lies just 16 miles south of Inverness and 15 miles north of Aviemore on the A9.  If you would prefer to visit us from the South Loch Ness area directly, we can be reached in under an hour from most places via the B852, B862 and B851 roads which will join the A9 8 miles north of Tomatin.

Booking is highly recommended to guarantee your place on a tour.

We look forward to welcoming you soon!      
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