Scotch has been referred to as “The Water of Life”. Scotch is essentially malted barley that is fermented and distilled twice, then aged in oak barrel. In Scotland, Scotch is required to age in its barrel for a minimum of 3-years, although most Scotch is aged for 8 to 20 years. Scotch type whiskies made in Scotland, Canada and England is called Whisky, while Scotch type whiskies made in the US and Ireland is Whiskey.
There are 5 types of Scotch Whisky:
Single Malt- This type of whiskey is considered to the gold standard of Scotch. Single malt is distilled at a single distillery, in pot stills, from only water and malted barley. No cereal grains are added and it must be bottled in Scotland.
Single Grain- It is produced at a single distillery and is similar to single malt; however, other malted or unmalted grains or cereals can be evident.
Blended- This type of whisky is a blend between one or more single grain and one or more single malt Scotch whiskies.
Blended Malt- This type of whisky has one single malt Scotch whisky from more than one distillery blended together.
Blended Grain- This type of whisky is made from more than one single grain Scotch whisky, produced at more than one distillery.
Scotland was originally divided into four regions (The Highlands, The Lowlands, The Isle of Islay and Campbeltown. In 2014 Speyside was added due to its large number of distilleries.
The Lowlands- In 2019 there were 18 distilleries in this region. The region is known for producing soft and smooth Scotch’s with floral noses and sweet finishes. The whiskies tend to be lighter, sweet and with floral tones.
Speyside – Speyside gets its name from the River Spey which cuts through the region and provides water to many of the distilleries. There are approximately 50 distilleries and the region accounts for half of the country’s whisky. The whiskies tend to be light on peat and lean towards flavors of apple, pear, honey, vanilla and spicy. Sherry cask aging is typical as well.
The Highlands- This is the largest region in Scotland and it has 47 distilleries. The whiskies are characteristically bold, powerful and peaty. They are also diverse as the malt can be voluptuous and syrupy, tart and oaky or intensely smoked.
Campbeltown- The region used to have over 30 distilleries, but now only has 3. The whiskies are fruity, peaty, sweet and smoky.
Islay- The region has 9 distilleries. These whiskies are medium-bodied, saturated with peat smoke, and briny. These complex whiskies reveal themselves in layers.
Scotch Whisky Reviews
Aerstone Sea Cask 10 Year Old Single Malt Scotch Whisky
Alexander Murray & Co Glen Keith 21-year Single Malt Scotch Whisky 1994
BenRiach 10 Year Single Malt Scotch Whisky
Glenfiddich Bourbon Barrel Reserve 14 Year Old Single Malt Scotch Whisky
Glenmorangie The Original 10 Year Single Malt Scotch Whisky
Naked Grouse Blended Scotch Whisky
Shackleton Blended Malt Scotch Whisky
Spey River Single Malt Sherry Cask Scotch Whisky
Speyburn 10 Year Old Single Malt Scotch Whisky
The Famous Grouse Bourbon Cask Blended Whisky