What is Scotch Whisky

Where did the name Whisky come from? The Latin aqua vitae (water of life) from which came the Gaelic “usage beathea” (pronounced weshka bay) became “usky” the Whisky in English. First written record of production of uisage breatha (water of life, eau-de-vie, in Gaelic) dates back to 1494, but its origin is much older.

Scotland has internationally protected the term Scotch. For a Whisky to be labelled Scotch it has to be produced in Scotland. Other excellent whiskies are produced in other countries, but they are not Scotch.

For Whisky to be called Scotch Whisky, it has to satisfy certain criteria which are governed by law Scotch Whisky Regulations 2009. There are literally pages of regulations but in simple terms a Scotch Whisky must:

Be made from barley – Have been produced in Scotland – Be matured in oak casks in Scotland

Be matured for minimum three years – Contain nothing else except natural caramel for coloring

The Scotch Whisky Family:

Single Malt – Single Grain – Blended – Blended Malt – Blended Grain

Single Malt:

Must be distilled at a single distillery from water and malted barley only. Must be produced by batch distillation in pot stills. Single malt is generally the most expensive Scotch. The barley does not have to come from Scotland


Must be distilled from water and malted barley only with or without whole grains of other mallet or unmalted cereals, typically wheat or maize. Produced using a continuous distillation process which does not involve pot stills.


This is a blend of single grain and single malt whisky’s. The larger portion is from Grain whisky. The rest is made up from 3 different types of malt Whisky.

  1. Base malt (larger proportion)
  2. Top dressers (intense flavors)
  3. Packers (low aroma intensity)

Some blended whiskies are mixed together then re-casked for approximately 6 months to insure all the flavors are combined, a process called marrying

Blended Malt Whisky:

Blended malt Whisky is a blend of single Malt Scotch Whiskies distilled at more than one distillery. It cannot have the name of one distillery and will have a brand name. Usually done by independent bottlers.

Blended Grain Whisky:

Blended grain whisky is a blend of single grain Scotch Whiskies distilled at more than one distillery

Source The Best Wood:

Up to 70% of the flavor in Scotch Whisky can come from the wood that the spirit matures in. Great wood is essential to make great whisky.

Whisky Regions

Campbeltown Whisky Region

With just three working distilleries, Campbeltown is Scotland’s smallest whisky-producing region. While some argue this doesn’t warrant it being designated a whisky region, its single

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Island Whisky Region

There are five undisputed Scotch whisky regions: Speyside, Highlands & Islands, Lowlands, Islay, and Campbeltown. The Islands are often considered a region on its own,

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Islay Whisky Region

The small, remote Scottish island of Islay (pronounced ‘eye-lah’) is an antique land. A wild and untamed place, where Celtic monks found refuge from raiding

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Lowland Whisky Region

With miles of farmland and neat woodlands, the Lowlands is one of the most charming and accessible whisky regions in Scotland. Encompassing Edinburgh, Glasgow and

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Speyside Whisky Region

There are over 120 active distilleries spread across Scotland, which are split into five whisky-producing regions; Campbeltown, Highland, Islay, Lowland and Speyside. Where a whisky is

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Whisky Distilleries

Ardbeg Distillery

For over 200 years, Ardbeg has been made on the small, remote Scottish Isle of Islay. Ardbeg Distillery is a Scotch whisky distillery in Ardbeg

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Balblair Distillery

The Balblair distillery in Scotland, established in 1790, is noted as being one of the oldest working distilleries in the Scottish Highlands. It has, for

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Bruichladdich Distillery

Bruichladdich is an award-winning distillery employing generations of distilling knowledge and the principle of minimal intervention. Built in 1881 on the wild Scottish island of

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GlenAllachie Distillery

In October 2017, Billy Walker, Trisha Savage and Graham Stevenson came together to purchase the GlenAllachie Distillery. Before acquiring GlenAllachie, the spirit was predominantly used

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Abelour 12 Year

Steeped in centuries of legend and surrounded by the dramatic Highland scenery of Ben Rinnes, the village of Aberlour lies at the very heart of

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Aberfeldy 16 Year

Aberfeldy 16 Year

Whiskies aged in first-fill Sherry butts are especially so, and those drawn entirely from such sherried stock are invariably known as “sherry bombs” for the

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Aberlour ABunadh

Aberlour A’Bunadh

The Sherry and wood form a pincer movement that stamps out any sense of identity in the distillate itself. A great Sherry-matured malt should possess

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anCnoc 12 Years

anCnoc 12 Years

The story of the Knockdhu distillery starts with a man of vision (who also had an eye for a good investment).  In 1892 an enterprising

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