Scotland

Scotland is the undisputed World leader in the production of whisky. The pure water, the peat bogs, the climate is perfect for slow excellent maturation, it was designed with whisky making in mind. Single Malt Scotch Whisky is, in our opinion, not only the best whisky in the World, but the best Alcoholic beverage of any type in the World. When whisky is made out of malted barley in Scotland it is done with tradition and skill, each distillery doing things slightly differently so each Single Malt has its unique character. This is what makes Single Malt Whisky so great. The other type of whisky made in Scotland is Grain Whisky. This is made on a more industrial scale using a column or Coffey still. Grain whisky is lighter and more consistent in flavour. It is most commonly used in Blended Whisky.

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Lowland Whiskies

There’s more distillation in the Lowlands than any other Scottish region, but its days as a significant single malt player are consigned to history. This is the home of the blend, and of the large quantities of grain whisky which form its foundation – but a few producers keep up the trademark light and grassy Lowland malt style.

The Lowlands – like most of Scotland – were once a thriving hub of malt whisky production, until the need for grain to drive blended Scotch production made making single malt an almost forgotten art. But a few outposts preserve the old ways and a grassy, easy-drinking style of malt that still has many admirers.

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Highland Whiskies

The Highlands, for whisky purposes, is the mainland area of Scotland which is North of an imaginary line which stretches from Greenock in the West to Dundee in the East. This is a massive area with some very diverse distilleries and whiskies, Tullibardine and Deanston in the softer countryside of Perthshire produce light, gentle whiskies where as Old Pulteney and Clynelish in Sutherland are more robust and spicier and then Oban on the West Coast, which is smoky, something for everyone.

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Islands Whiskies

These are whiskies made on the Scottish Islands, except Islay. Once Island whisky was considered big bold, robust in character, echoing the uncompromising and harsh conditions often found in Isles.  Today they produce many more diverse whiskies, have the gentle elegance of Isle of Arran and Tobermory distilleries alongside the rich weighty offerings from Talisker and Highland Park, this in turn echoes the diverse and versatile inhabitants of the Isles.

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Islay Whiskies

The Magical Island of Islay is at the southern tip of the Hebrides, it has a population of around 3000 people, but is home to nine of the world’s finest distilleries. We believe that if you find a whisky expert anywhere in the world and ask them to name their top five distilleries one will be on Islay!

Islay whisky tends to be Peaty, smoky flavours, and as the peat contains a lot of Seaweed it tends to be very medicinal (Iodine comes from Seaweed). There are a couple of exceptions, Bruichladdich and Bunnahabhain make non-peaty whisky.

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Speyside Whiskies

This is the area around the river Spey between the Grampian Mountains and the Moray Firth where the vast majority of Single Malt Scotch Whisky is produced. It is an excellent area for making whisky, cold, pure snow melt water runs off the mountains, the area grows excellent barley and there are only a small number of passes through the mountains so that Gaugers or Redcoats could be seen coming well in advance. This was important as before the mid 1820’s whisky tended to be made in this area in the “traditional manner” that is without duty or tax being paid. In the 1820’s the law changed so it became economical to operate a small Highland Distillery legally.

The characteristics of Speyside whisky is also vast from the light Glenlivet to the heavy Macallan to the smoky Benromach.

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Campbeltown Whiskies

Situated at the Southern tip of the Kintyre Peninsula, this “Wee Toon” as it’s affectionately known, is a whisky region in it’s own right. In it’s hay day it was home to 30 distilleries, not bad considering the population has never been more than 3000. Campbeltown was a great place to make whisky, barley is grown locally and there was a coal seam for powering the distilleries, and peat for Malting the Barley. Over the years the number of distilleries dwindled to just one, Springbank, but now with the new Glengyle and the reopened Glen Scotia there are three.

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Blended Whiskies

The vast majority of whisky drunk around the world is Blended Scotch Whisky. There are two types of whisky made in Scotland; Malt whisky, made from Malted barley, distilled in Pot Stills, and Grain whisky made from other grains such as corn, wheat and rye, and distilled on a Continuous Still, sometimes called a Coffey or Patent still.

Blended whisky is a “blend” of the two – the Malt giving big flavours, the lighter, consistent, cheaper, grain whisky gives bulk.

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Blended Malts Whiskies

These are a blend of different malt whiskies, no grain. The blender can bring in different attributes from the different malts to create a complex and rounded whisky.

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Grain Whiskies

Grain whisky, in the UK and Ireland, is any whisky made, at least in part using grain which is not Malted Barley. Grains used are usually Corn, Wheat or Rye. Usually in practice a certain amount of malted barley is used in the mash to provide enzymes. Grain whisky is usually made on a Column Still, often called a Patent or Coffey Still, named after Angus Coffey who developed the original still. Grain whisky tends to be very light bodied and nearly all is used in Blended Whisky, mixed with Malt whiskies. Occasionally exceptional casks of grain whisky are tasty enough to be bottled on their own.

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