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The Six Whisky Producing Regions of Scotland

A beginner's guide to how single malt whisky is produced in Scotland. Find out what influences the different styles of Scotch whisky and how the different whisky producing regions of Scotland produce unique whiskies which are enjoyed by people all over the world.


Table of Contents The Six Whisky Producing Regions of Scotland....................................................................................... 1 A beginners guide to how single malt whisky is produced in Scotland. ............................................. 1 History Of Whisky Production ................................................................................................................. 3 Origins of Whisky ................................................................................................................................ 3 What Is Needed For High Quality Whisky? ......................................................................................... 3 Blended or Single Malt? ...................................................................................................................... 4 Single Malt Whisky – Highlands Region .................................................................................................. 5 History of Highland Whisky Production .............................................................................................. 5 1. Northern Highland Whiskies ........................................................................................................... 5 Northern Highland Distilleries. ....................................................................................................... 5 2. Southern Highland Whiskies. .......................................................................................................... 6 Southern Highland Distilleries......................................................................................................... 6 3. Western Highland Region. .............................................................................................................. 7 Western Highland Distilleries.......................................................................................................... 7 In Conclusion ....................................................................................................................................... 7 Single Malt Whisky – Lowlands Region ................................................................................................... 8 History of Lowland Whisky Production ............................................................................................... 8 Characteristics of Lowland Single Malts ............................................................................................. 8 The Lowland Region Distilleries .......................................................................................................... 8 In Conclusion ....................................................................................................................................... 9 Single Malt Whisky – Islay Region ......................................................................................................... 10 Distilleries on Islay ............................................................................................................................ 10 In conclusion ..................................................................................................................................... 11 Single Malt Whisky – Speyside Region.................................................................................................. 12 History of Speyside Whisky Production ............................................................................................ 12 Speyside Whiskies ............................................................................................................................. 12 Speyside Distilleries .......................................................................................................................... 12 In Conclusion ..................................................................................................................................... 13 Single Malt Whisky – Islands Region ..................................................................................................... 14 Island Whisky Production ................................................................................................................. 14 In Conclusion ..................................................................................................................................... 15 Single Malt Whisky – Campbelltown Region ........................................................................................ 16 Campbeltown Distilleries .................................................................................................................. 16 In conclusion ..................................................................................................................................... 17 Questions About Scotch Whisky ........................................................................................................... 18 What Is Scotch Whisky? ................................................................................................................ 18 What does the term “single malt whisky” mean? ........................................................................ 18 What does the term “blended whisky” mean? ............................................................................ 18 What does the term “blended malt whisky” mean? .................................................................... 18 What is “grain whisky”? ................................................................................................................ 18 When was the blending of whiskies introduced? ......................................................................... 18 Which spelling is correct – whisky or whiskey? ............................................................................ 18 Can Scotch whisky only be made in Scotland? ............................................................................. 19 What are the regional areas for whisky production in Scotland? ................................................ 19 What are the characteristics of whisky producing regions? ......................................................... 19

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History of Whisky Production If you have ever gone into a whisky shop or visited an online whisky exchange you will be have been surprised by the different arrays of whiskies on display. But have you ever wondered what is it that makes this drink so special? In order to fully appreciate scotch single malt whisky it’s essential to know how it is produced and where to buy high quality Scotch whisky. On the Internet there are many places to purchase good quality Scotch, like a whisky exchange or online whisky shop.

Origins of Whisky It is possible that the distillation process was started in ancient Babylon around 2000 BC. This wasn't to distil spirits, but for perfumes. It is thought that the art of distilling spirits was developed around the 13th century in Italy, where wine was distilled to extract the alcohol. Then the practice spread to Ireland and Scotland.

In the Gaelic language (the language spoken by the Irish and Scots) the words ‘whisky’ literally means “water of life”. It is thought that the process of distilling grains came from Ireland and that the Scots may have learned whisky distillation from the Christian missionary monks, who had travelled over from Ireland. Although the Socts claim to have the earliest recorded accounts of distilling spirits, no one can be certain just when the drink from distilled grains was produced.

In order for a whisky to be called ‘Scotch Whisky’ it has to have been produced in Scotland and have been matured in wooden casks, on Scottish ground, for at least 3 years. Whisky is produced in other countries and the spelling of it depends on where it is produced. Whiskey produced in the US and Ireland has the ‘e’ at the end. Whereas whisky produced in Scotland, Canada and Japan don’t have the ‘e’ at the end. Although many countries have tried to produce their own whiskies, nothing can compare to the uniqueness of a fine Scotch single malt.

What Is Needed For High Quality Whisky? The three main factors to make good quality Scotch single malt are: pure water, barley and peat. Scotland has been blessed with all three of these factors. The Scottish climate produces high quality barley. Although Scottish distillers prefer using Scottish barley, the source isn’t important. For making high quality whisky the barley needs to have a higher sugar content. The water from the hills is clean and pure and fresh peat is in abundance. The water in Scotland is naturally ‘soft’, it is in abundance and is naturally filtered through peat. This all combines to give Scotch whisky a unique taste.

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Blended or Single Malt? There are generally 2 main types of Scotch whisky – blended and single malt (although in the past few years some distillers have been selling ‘grain whisky’). Any whisky produced in Scotland has to be matured in casks, usually oak, for a minimum of three years. Unlike wine, whisky doesn’t mature in the bottles. All the maturation process happens in the casks, where some evaporation occurs (called the angels share).

A blended whisky is a blend of different whiskies, from different distilleries combined with a grain whisky. The age of whisky on the bottle will be the age of the youngest whisky in the blend. Some high quality blended whisky can contain whiskies that have been matured in casks for 50 years!

A single malt whisky will be produced from one distillery and not be blended with other whiskies. The minimum age for a single malt is 8 or 10 years. The older the whisky then the smoother the flavour will be.

So what is better – a single malt or blended whisky? This is a matter of opinion. A high quality blended whisky can be even richer in flavour and smoother to the palate than a cheaper single malt. In general though, single malts are classed as the best type of whisky.

When it involves whisky there’s nothing like scotch whisky (or, as we say in Scotland “a wee dram”). It retains a unique and original flavour which has not changed throughout the centuries.

In order to view a range of good quality whiskies you can visit a whisky exchange or whisky shop. There you will be able to browse through the various brands and see what region of Scotland there are from, how ‘peaty’ the whisky is and what is unique to that specific whisky.

For more information on the history of Scotch whisky, then please click here.

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Single Malt Whisky – Highlands Region The Highlands is an area that runs from the town of Greenock on the West coast and Dundee on the East coast to the northern Scottish coast. It takes in everything from East to West, excluding the Speyside region (which is the subject for another article.) This is one of the most complex regions of Scotch whisky production. The region could be split into 3 sub-regions – Western Highland, Northern Highland and Southern Highland.

History of Highland Whisky Production The history of Highland whisky production was radically different from the Lowland production. Highland distilleries were usually very small affairs with local local farmers distilling their own whiskies and then sometimes joining cooperatives. But everything was done on a small scale. In fact Highland production accounted for less than 10%, of whisky production. However Highland whiskies were much better than their Lowland sisters. Therefore they were more expensive. Today the Highlands produces some of the finest examples of Scotch whisky.

1. Northern Highland Whiskies This is the area between Nairn and John ‘O Groats. Most of the distilleries in this region are found on the coast and so there is a distinct salinity to them. Northern Highland whiskies tend to be stronger on the palate. A whisky taster will find hints of heather and spice combined with a light peaty, smokiness.

Northern Highland Distilleries. Glenmorangie. Situated in the town on Tain, this distillery produces high quality highland whisky. It boasts the highest still in Scottish whisky production. It started in 1738 when the production of alcohol started at the Morangie farm. Water is sourced from the nearby Tarlogie springs and local barley is used. It produces some 6,000,000 litres of whisky a year. The whisky is matured in ex-bourbon casks. They produce a special Cellar 13 whisky. This is matured in a warehouse near the sea and inherits the distinctive characteristics of the warehouses location. It is run by the Sixteen Men of Tain – the 16 men who work through the year to produce the whisky. Dalmore. Not far from Tain is the town of Alness, where Dalmore is produced. It takes it’s water from the River Alness. The single malts produced are distinctly heavy and ‘oily’ and mature well in European oak casks.The barley is sourced locally. The only other ingredient, apart from barley and water is yeast. Dalmore has developed a single strain of yeast which produces a very rich and

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fruity ‘beer’ from which the spirit is distilled. The whiksies have a rich mahogany flavour with a complex aftertaste. Old Pulteney. Located in the town of Pulteneytown near Wick, Old Pulteney can claim to be the most northerly distillery on the Scottish mainland. It is located on the coast and the strong North Sea winds add to the distinct flavour of this high quality single malt. It is described as a dry whisky with a hint of sea air. They produce the standard 12 year old single malt and various editions of a 15 year old malt. It is used in Ballantine blends.

2. Southern Highland Whiskies

.

Whisky from the southern highlands is usually more gentle in flavour, but still retains the peaty flavour that are characteristic of Scotch whisky. The whiskies generally have a fragrant and flowery, but soft, sweet taste.

Southern Highland Distilleries. Dalwhinnie. There is some discussion if this is a Highland or Speyside whisky. As there is so many distilleries in Speyside to talk about, I’ve classed Dalwhinnie in the Southern Highland region. In a village of the same name is the Dalwhinnie distillery. This is truly in the heart of the Highlands and it the highest distillery in Scotland. Water is sourced from local spring water and there is an abundance of local peat from the surrounding bogs. Although this is a famous brand (being one of the Six Classic Malts) only about 10% of the produced whisky is sold as single malt. The rest is used in blends, most notably Black & White blends. Edradour. Being the smallest distillery in Scotland this produces a unique and rare whisky with only 90,000 litres being produced annually. Because of this it can be quite hard to find. If you do, then it is well worth purchasing it. This distillery is the last ‘farm’ distillery. The local mountain water adds to it’s unique depth and flavour. It’s a very smooth whisky, with just a hint of smokiness. There is no automation at this distillery and because of it’s size, it could be the smallest distillery (legal) in the world. The distillery is the only place where you are guaranteed to find a bottle of this malt. Deanston. Situated on the banks of the River Teith this is a relatively new distillery. The river Teith is the source of the water and is considered one of the purest rivers in Scotland. The river is also the source of the electricity used to for the distillation process. It used to be a weaving shed, but in 1965 started whisky production. Only unpeated malted barley is used and this results in a light, nutty but malty single malt. It is the main ingredient in the Scottish Leader blend, which is known around the world.

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3. Western Highland Region. Moving west in the Highland region we find that whiskies produced here are more robust in character than other Highland whiskies. They are more peaty and have well-rounded flavours, with a smooth taste. However there are only a few distilleries left there.

Western Highland Distilleries. Oban. Probably the most well known of from the Western Highland region. The distillery, which is in the town of Oban pre-dates the town. It has the classic ‘West-Highland’ flavour which is between the smoky peaty whiskies of the islands and the lighter sweeter malts of the Highlands. It is one of the Six Classic Single Malts. So it is well known worldwide. Ben Nevis. Situated at the foot of Britain’s tallest mountain is the Ben Nevis distillery. The water is sources from the Allt a’Mhuilinn which originate from two pools in the mountains. It used to be a major producer, but it less well-known now. However it produces an excellent single malt. It uses a Coffer still in it’s production an so is one of the few distilleries to produce both malt and grain whiskies. It is the major whisky in the Long John blend.

In Conclusion The Highland region produces some excellent examples of Scotch whisky. There are many flavours and aromas to enjoy from the salty whiskies of the north east to the light peaty ones in the west.

For more information on the production of single malt whisky in the Highlands, then please click here.

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Single Malt Whisky – Lowlands Region

The lowlands is an area that runs from the Scottish border up to Greenock, on the West coast and to Dundee on the East coast. Most of the Lowland single malts are used in blended whisky, but there are a few notable examples worth trying from this region.

History of Lowland Whisky Production 150 years ago most lowland town had it’s own whisky distillery. Most of the distilleries produced whiskies from mixed grains, but a few produced good quality whisky using pure malted barley. Today there are only 3 distilleries still in operation.

These

are

Glenkinchie

(near

Edinburgh),

Auchentoshan (near Glasgow) and Bladnoch at Wigtown on the Solway Firth. It is sometimes still possible to find whiskies from the closed down distilleries – Rosebank, St. Magdalene, Littlemill and Inverleven

Characteristics of Lowland Single Malts Generally, malt whiskies from the Lowlands are very mellow in taste and don’t have peaty flavours that are associated with other malt whiskies. Because of this these whiskies are referred to as the “Lowland Ladies”, or feminine whiskies. They can make an excellent aperitif.

Lowland single malts are quite dry because of using unpeated malt and are light in colour. This is because in the lowlands there isn’t a natural supply of peat. Most Lowland single malts are triple distilled. There is not very much salinity in lowland whiskies because most of the distilleries are located inland away from the coast.

If you are a beginner to Scotch whisky then a Lowland single malt is an excellent choice.

The Lowland Region Distilleries There are three distilleries still producing quality single malt whisky.

Bladnoch Distillery. The most southerly distillery in the Lowland region, and therefore in Scotland. The distillery was built on the banks of the river Bladnoch in 1817. Although it has gone through changes in ownership over the years, it continues to produce some fine lowland whiskies.

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Glenkinchie Distillery. Situated near Scotland’s capital, the Glenkinchie distillery produces a soft, sweet aromatic malt. It takes it’s water from the Kinchie Burn (small river). It is one of the six Classic Malts of single malt whisky. It produces 2 main whiskies – it’s standard 12 year old and a 14 year old, which has been matured in Amontillado sherry casks.

Auchentoshan Distillery. Near Scotland’s largest city is the Auchentoshan distillery. The whisky produced here is sometimes called the breakfast whisky because of it’s sweet and delicate palate. It is triple distilled and it has won some awards recently.

In Conclusion For a newcomer to Scotch whiskies, a lowland single malt whisky is a good place to start.

For more information on the production of single malt whisky in the Lowlands, then please visit this website.

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Single Malt Whisky – Islay Region Islay (pronounced ‘EYE-lay’) is the southernmost of the Western Isles of Scotland. It has the highest concentration of distilleries on any of the other islands with around 8 distilleries. Because of this and because of the unique whisky produced Islay is classed as an island in it’s own right. Whiskies from Islay are usually associated with a strong peaty flavour. Islay produces some of the best single malt whiskies from the whole of Scotland. It was probably in Islay where whisky distillation was started in Scotland.

Distilleries on Islay Let’s take a short tour of some of the most well know distilleries on Islay, starting with the north and working our way south.

The Bunnahabhain (Pronounced ‘BOON-a-havn’) produces one of the milder Islay single malts and has a very unique taste, different to that of other Islay whiskies. It has been producing whisky since 1881.

Bowmore. The oldest distillery on the island and one of the most popular Islay whiskies being the second best selling whisky behind Laphroaig. The whiskies produced are peaty – not as light as Bunnahabhain and not as intense as Laphroaig and Lagavullin. Most of the barley used is locally sourced, with some also being imported from the mainland. They produce many llimited editions whiskies, with the most expensive being the Bowmore Trilogy – three rare whiskies which cost around £15,000.

Lagavulin. The whiskies distilled here are some of the most intense smokiest whiskies a person will taste. The peat is taken from a local peat bog which has very dark peat. The whisky is one of the slowest distilled, with the first distillation taking around 5 hours and the second 9 hours. Most of the whisky is for sale as single malt and only about 2% is kept for blending. It is one of the six classic malts. It used to be the best selling Islay malt until Laphroaig took over.

Laphroaig. (Pronounced ‘La-FROYg’)Currently the best selling Islay whisky and it has an almost cult following. There is certainly not another single malt which compares to Laphroaig. It has an very pungent flavour. It also has royal connections, with the 15 yr old single malt being the

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favourite of Prince Charles. They also produce 27- 30- and 40- year old single malts which are rare and expensive.

In conclusion Islay whiskies represent some of the best Scotch whiskies available. They have all the elements that people expect from single malts with very pronounced peaty tastes, although some of the more pungent ones might be a little too strong for some people.

More information on Islay whiskies can be found here.

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Single Malt Whisky – Speyside Region Speyside is an area within the Scottish Highlands in the area around the River Spey in Moray in northeastern Scotland. Due to the high concentration of distilleries in the region it is classed as its own whisky producing region, although some whiskies from this region are marketed as Highland. There are, however, some similarities between Speyside and Highland malts. There are around 60 distilleries in the area and two of the most famous single malts – Glenfiddich and Glenlivet are from here.

History of Speyside Whisky Production The history of Speyside whisky production is similar to the history of the Highland region. The first legal license to distill whisky in Scotland was granted to the Glenlivet in 1824. Probably because the abundant arable land which was easy to manage (as opposed to the mountains to the west). Now Speyside has some of the best and largest whisky distilleries in Scotland.

Speyside Whiskies Most whiskies distilled in Speyside use only minimally peated barley. To the taste, they only have a hint of smokiness. The malts tend to be light with honey overtones and some distilleries produce malts which are heavier. Generally Speyside whiskies can be divided into two styles: One is light, grassy and at the other end of the spectrum are rich, sweet, sherry-like whiskies.

Speyside Distilleries This book will focus on three of the best distilleries in Speyside as there are too many to go into detail.

Glenfiddich. Started in 1886 by William Grant the distillery has remained independent and family-owned. It was built by him and his nine children and the same warehouses are used today. It is located near the town of Dufftown – right in the heart of Speyside. It is really a giant in whisky production with around 10,000,000 litres of alcohol being produced annually. All the whisky is matured in it’s own onsite warehouses, and is bottled onsite also. They produce a number of malts with the youngest at 12 years old and going up to 21 years old. It is the main whisky used in the Grant’s blend – which uses a similar triangle shape bottle to the classic 12 year old single malt.

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The Macallan. Founded in 1824 this is regarded as a classic single malt whisky. It has changed owner and names over the centuries (originally was called the Elchies distillery). It has only gained popularity as a single malt in recent years. It wasn’t until 1970 that it was sold as a single malt. It is now reportedly the world 3rd most popular single malt. The single malt is only ever matured in ex-sherry casks from Jerez in Spain. This gives it a sweet distinctive taste.

The Glenlivet. Situated near the town of Tomintoul The Glenlivet distillery is the first legal Scottish distillery. It is situated on what was once a farm distillery called Upper Drummin. Because the neighbouring distilleries were running without a license they became angry that the owner was running Glenlivet legally, and also becoming very successful. So George Smith, the owner, had to resort to carryng a pair pistols for protection. It is a very smooth and light Speyside malt. It is the second most popular single malt in the world and the top seller in the US.

Other notable distilleries are Balvenie, Aberlour, Cardhu, Cragganmore and Macduff.

In Conclusion The Speyside whiskies are the jewel in Scotch single malt whisky production. The region produces high quality malts suitable for many palates. The only problem is to decide which is your favourite.

To find out more on single malt whisky produced in Speyside then please visit http://singlemaltwhiskyshop.org.

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Single Malt Whisky – Islands Region The Islands regions is the most diverse of the whisky producing regions in Scotland. It comprises of all the Scottish islands with the exception of Islay, which is classed as it’s own ‘region’. The islands producing whisky are the Isle of Skye, Mull, Arran, Orkneyand Jura. Orkney in off the northern Scottish coast and the other islands are on the west coast. Some whisky experts don’t class the islands as a region in itself but put them together with the Highlands.

Island Whisky Production Being the most diverse of the Scotch whisky producing regions the whiskies produced on the islands are varied with no real similarities. What is common with them all is a sweet pungent aroma and taste which is in perfect harmony. Because of the distilleries being near the sea there is a marked salinity to the whiskies. Some of the whiskies will be peatier than the other, with Talisker from Skye being a notable peaty whisky.

Isle of Skye. There is only distillery on the island and with the island being located on the west coast and having the Atlantic ocean on one side means that the isle is battered by the elements. Here Talisker is produced. It has a very peaty flavour and is similar to the whiskies produces on Islay. Because of it’s uniqueness this is one of the six classic malts.

Isle of Mull. The isle of Mull is home to one of the oldest distilleries in Scotland. Tobermory was founded in 1798 under the name Ledaig. Over the centuries the distillery has undergone changes in ownership and at one point was even used as a power station. The distillery produces two main whiskies – Ledaig which has a pronounced peatiness and Tobermory which is sweeter and less peaty.

Isle of Jura. This island is located very close to Islay, but produces a whisky unlike those from Islay. The island’s distillery was re-opened in 1963 and produces a very strong whisky with very few peaty overtones. They produce a number of whiskies ranging from 10 to 18 years old. There are some unusual superstitions on the island, one of them being the use of the ancient Egyptian Ankh. This symbol appears on some Jura whiskies.

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Arran. A fairly latecomer to the distillery scene, the Arran distillery was established in 1995. The first ‘whisky’ to be produced was a 1 year old. It couldn’t be sold as whisky, so it was labelled as ‘Arran 1 yr old Spirit’. The first true whisky was produced in 2006 – a 10 year old. They like to produce interesting special editions including a Bordeaux, a Calvados and a port.

The Orkneys. There are 2 distilleries on the Orkneys, Scapa and Highland Park.

Highland Park. This is Scotland’s most northerly distillery. It is situated on a hillside and is battered by the elements. The names comes from the High Park, where the distillery sits. It sources it’s barley locally and the local mineral rich springs, from where the water is drawn all combine to produce a very distinct whisky. It has won many awards including “The Best Spirit In The World”

Scapa. Not a very large distillery but produces some fine whiskies, the youngest being 14 years old. There isn’t a peaty flavour to the whisky but a distinct honey flavour to it.

In Conclusion The Islands whiskies produce some very diverse and distinct single malts. There is certainly something for everyone’s palate – ranging from peaty whiskies to sweet honey flavoured ones.

For more information on single malt whisky from the Islands then click on the link.

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Single Malt Whisky – Campbeltown Region Campbeltown is a town on the Kintyre peninsula on the west of Scotland. It holds a unique position of being classed as it’s own region when in reality it is a town. It used to be one of the most prolific whisky producing regions in Scotland. At one point therewere 34 distilleries in operation, thus the town could properly be called the “whisky capital of the world”. During the Great Depression in the US most of the distilleries went out of business. Now there remain only three working distilleries, which for a small town, is still a great achievement. The costal location is reflected in the character of the whisky. They tend to be dry and pungent, with some peated editions produced.

Campbeltown Distilleries Glen Scotia. This has changed hands a number of times over the years since it started operation in 1832. The latest time that production was re-started was in 2000. It produces some limited edition whiskies. The whiskies produced are spicy with a hint of sherry. The operation is quite small with only 2 people producing the whisky 3 months in the year. Glengyle. Whisky production here began in 2004 – so the first single malt will be available by 2014. The whisky from here will be called Kilkerran. Springbank. It is one of only two whisky producers in Scotland to do every step in producing the whisky. They grow their own barley, malt their own barley on the premises and bottle the whisky. Now it’s becoming rarer that distilleries will malt their own barley. This distillery produces three single malts from Campbeltown – Longrow, Hazelburn and Springbank. To obtain the difference in the whiskies three stills are used in different combinations and the peat levels are adjusted. Longrow is distilled twice and has strong peat flavour. Hazelburn lacks the peaty flavour, but is distilled three times. Springbank is in the middle – there are peat overtones and it is distilled two and a half times. Springbank produces whiskies in casks that were used for bourbon and sherry production. They are now experimenting with rum casks.

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In conclusion While mostly overlooked Campbeltown produces some excellent whiskies which have character and tastes not found in other single malts. If only for the fact that there was so many whiskies produced here in the past and the heritage is continuing, Campbeltown is due proper recognition as a whisky region in it’s own right.

To find out more on Campbeltown produced Scotch whisky then click on the link.

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Questions About Scotch Whisky Here are the questions on single malt whisky from Scotland that your always wanted to know, but were too scared to ask!

What Is Scotch Whisky? This is a drink which is distilled in Scotland from barley, water and yeast. It has to be produced in Scotland, matured in oak cask for at least 3 years. It is sold as “blended” or “single malt”.

What does the term “single malt whisky” mean? Single malt whisky has to have been produced at only one distillery. The word ‘malt’ comes from the fact that the barley has been ‘malted’. This is a process whereby the grains are made to sprout and then dried over peat fires. It must also be distilled in a pot still.

What does the term “blended whisky” mean? Blended whisky is a blend of whiskies from different distilleries. It can include single malt whiskies and also grain whisky. The age on a bottle will determine the age of the youngest whisky.

What does the term “blended malt whisky” mean? Whisky that is sold as ‘blended malt’ (or vatted malt) will contain only malt whiskies which have been blended to obtain a unique taste. These will can’t single malts and they have no grain whisky added.

What is “grain whisky”? This is produced from grains like un-malted barley, corn or wheat. Most of the grain whisky production in Scotland is for use in the blended varieties. It is possible to buy single grain whisky. This will contain whisky from one distillery without it being blended with other whiskies.

When was the blending of whiskies introduced? Blending was started around the 1860′s in Edinburgh. It was generally felt that whisky was too strong a flavour to be enjoyed for everyday drinking. So by blending whisky it was possible to have milder flavours. Also the quality at that time of whiskies from distilleries was questionable and by blending whiskies it was possible to produce whiskies that were more constant in quality.

Which spelling is correct – whisky or whiskey? Generally dictionaries will provide both spellings. If they are from Scotland, Canada and Japan then the word is written without the ‘e’. If they are from Ireland and USA then the ‘e’ is used in spelling.

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Can Scotch whisky only be made in Scotland? Yes. Whisky which is sold as ‘Scotch whisky’ must have been wholly produced and matured in Scotland.

What are the regional areas for whisky production in Scotland? Scotland has six whisky producing regions – Highlands, Lowlands, Speyside, Islands, Islay, and Campbeltown. Each region will have it’s own unique characteristics and by tasting a single malt an expert should be able to tell which region of Scotland the drink is from.

What are the characteristics of whisky producing regions? Highland – not so peaty in flavour with hints of sea air. Speyside – light peaty flavours and a sweetness to the taste. Islay – Strong, sometimes pungent peaty flavours. Lowlands – dry and mild taste. Not very peaty. Islands – because of the geographical difference it’s difficult to categorise these whiskies. Campbeltown – dry and pungent with peaty overtones.

For great deals on single malt whisky, with worldwide shipping option, then visit

The Whisky Exchange

For more information please visit: http://singlemaltwhiskyshop.org.

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Find out at the Whisky Exchange just how great is single malt whisky. We explore the 6 regions of Scotch whisky production. All you need to...

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