Scotch Whisky

Whisky made in Scotland, referred to as Scotch, is one of the most popular types of whisky in the world. By law, it must be distilled to no more than 189.6 proof and produced from a mixture of water, cereal grains, and malt, with the only allowed additives being water and caramel coloring. Scotch must be aged in oak casks in Scotland at a licensed warehouse for a minimum of three years, but, unlike bourbon or rye, those casks can, and almost always are, used barrels instead of new ones. Scotch is separated into five categories, one of which is required to be displayed on the label: Single Malt (100% malt barley from a single distillery), Single Grain (all grain spirit from a single distillery), Blended Grain (grain whiskies from multiple distilleries), Blended Malt (a blend of single malts), and Blended Scotch (a blend of malt and grain whiskies). The malt used to make Scotch can be dried by fire from with compacted vegetation called peat, which imparts a unique flavor on the final product. (This type of Scotch is most common on island regions, particularly Islay.) There are five whisky-producing regions in Scotland, each with its own style and character: Lowlands, Highlands, Speyside, Islay, and Campbeltown.

Top Scotch Whisky Posts:

A Tour of Scotland: Understanding Scotch Whiskies
Touring Scotch Whisky Distilleries in Speyside, Scotland
Drinking Scotch with The Dalmore’s Richard Paterson
Whiskies of Glen Grant with Master Distiller Dennis Malcolm

Malcolm Waring

Sustainability and Scotch: Old Pulteney Distillery Manager Malcolm Waring

By David Tao | September 29, 2023 |

Malcolm Waring has spent years thinking about water. Waring started with Pulteney Distillery in 1990, and after working his way up the production ladder, he became Distiller Manager, a title he’s held for 15 years. As the leader of the team behind Old Pulteney’s core and limited expressions, his responsibilities focus on production capacity and…

Read More

Review: Smokehead Tequila Cask Terminado, Sherry Cask Blast, and Rum Cask Rebel

By Drew Beard | September 27, 2023 |

We kicked off our exploration of Smokehead earlier this summer with a look at the flagship offering and its bolder, cask strength sibling. Those bottles are joined in the Smokehead lineup by a trio of unique cask finished expressions (with a fourth, stout-finished offering on the way). Thoughts follow. Smokehead Tequila Cask Terminado – Finished…

Read More

Review: Glenmorangie The Cadboll Estate 15 Years Old 2023

By Drew Beard | September 26, 2023 |

Glenmorangie released back-to-back expressions of its Cadboll Estate in 2020 and 2021, both of which were aged exclusively in ex-bourbon casks, allowing the estate-grown barley to shine without the distraction of any of the distillery’s trademark cask finishing. When we interviewed Glenmorangie’s Director of Whisky Creation, the infamous Dr. Bill, he told us that he…

Read More

Review: Talisker 30 Years Old (2023)

By Christopher Null | September 23, 2023 |

Talisker‘s 30 year old expression, which first arrived in 2021, is now an annual release. Once again, it’s made from a barely there collection of barrels: 3195 bottles available globally, 561 for the U.S. Fully matured in ex-bourbon barrels, the whisky will be familiar to the few of you who’ve experienced very old Talisker in…

Read More

Review: The Balvenie Madeira Cask 15 Years Old and Pedro Ximenez Cask 18 Years Old

By Drew Beard | September 18, 2023 |

Earlier this year, we had the chance to review Balvenie’s new French Oak 16 Years Old aged in Pineaus des Charentes casks. That bottle is actually part of a trifecta of new cask-finished releases launched in the spring of 2022. Two others, a 15-year-old expression finished in Madeira wine casks and an 18-year-old expression finished…

Read More

Book Review: A Passion for Whisky

By Rob Theakston | September 17, 2023 |

The tiny Scottish island of Islay counts around 3,000 people as full-time residents but welcomes tens of thousands of tourists annually and counts hundreds of thousands, if not more, fans around the globe swearing regional allegiance. That may prove to be an unsubstantiated hot take in the end, but right now Islay seems to be…

Read More

Review: Johnnie Walker Red Label (2023)

By Rob Theakston | September 13, 2023 |

As I slowly continue the journey of organic erosion and cognitive decline we all inevitably face, I find my tastes occasionally regressing, drifting back to various points of origin. Sometimes it is out of necessity as to what is being served, but there are times when it’s to find out just how much my palate…

Read More

Review: Old Pulteney Coastal Series – Pineau de Charentes

By Christopher Null | September 12, 2023 |

Old Pulteney has launched a new range of whiskies called the Coastal Series, which is perhaps redundant on account of all of Old Pulteney’s whiskies are coastally born — but I promise there’s some logic here. The Coastal Series will comprise four different whiskies with different finishes, each from locations which are also coastal in…

Read More

Review: Bruichladdich Bere Barley 2013, Black Art 11.1, Port Charlotte PMC:01, and Octomore 14

By Christopher Null | September 5, 2023 |

Another fall is upon us, and that means Islay’s Bruichladdich is pushing out its biggest releases of the year. Normally we’d see these trickle out in bits and bobs, but for 2023, the distillery dropped a bomb on us all at once, with Bere Barley, Black Art, a new Port Charlotte, and the three Octomore…

Read More

Review: Highland Park Cask Strength Release No. 4

By Christopher Null | September 3, 2023 |

It’s been three years since Highland Park inaugurated its Cask Strength Release — the first full-proof release the distillery had ever put out. We reviewed the second edition a year later, and now we’re finally on to Release No. 4. It’s not the same old story, by the way: Cask Strength No.4 is quite a…

Read More