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

Review: Ardnamurchan Small Batch

By Christopher Null | August 7, 2022 |

Adelphi is a well-known independent bottler of other people’s whiskies. After 100 years as a bottler, the company finally decided to get in on the game in earnest by building its own distillery and making its own whisky in the western Highlands of Scotland, operating under the name of Ardnamurchan. The first release, Ardnamurchan Small…

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Review: The ImpEx Collection Secret Japan Single Grain Whisky 17 Years Old

By Christopher Null | August 6, 2022 |

The ImpEx Collection independent bottlings of whiskey and rum launched with much fanfare (at least for us) last year, and now the collection is expanding to offer its first Japanese whisky. This 17 year old grain whisky comes from an undisclosed distillery — hence the name — and is made from koji rice and barley.…

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Tasting Report: Jack Rose Premier Drams 2022

By Drew Beard | August 5, 2022 |

It was a terrible, no-good two years for in-person spirits events (make that in-person events of any kind), but things are finally, thankfully starting to return to normal. Chris noted (with some surprise) that Whiskies of the World held its San Francisco event last fall but at a reduced scale. Washington, D.C.’s famous Jack Rose…

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Review: The Gladstone Axe Blended Scotch – American Oak and Black Axe

By Christopher Null | July 31, 2022 |

The Gladstone Axe is a blended Scotch line created in honor of William Gladstone, who served as Prime Minister of Britain four times during the reign of Queen Victoria. There are two whiskies in the line, both made from 100% malt whiskies; no grain whisky in the mix. The Gladstone Axe American Oak Whisky is…

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Review: Peat’s Beast Scotch Whisky

By Christopher Null | July 29, 2022 |

Young and heavily peated whisky is always a curious experience, combining the double-edged brashness of smoky peat with not-yet-matured spirit in the hopes that two balance each other out, at least to some degree. Peat’s Beast is released by an outfit called Fox Fitzgerald, and it offers no age statement or really much else in…

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Review: GlenDronach Cask Bottlings Batch 19 – 1992 and 1994

By Christopher Null | July 23, 2022 |

GlenDronach’s Cask Bottling series rolls along with Batch 19 of the single malt whiskies, of which three single cask offerings are on tap. There’s more similarity in these three whiskies than in previous Cask Bottling Batches, with ages ranging from 27 to 29 years old, and all three aged in some form of sherry cask.…

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Review: Compass Box Experimental Grain Whisky

By Christopher Null | July 19, 2022 |

Compass Box is out with its latest expression, and even explaining what it is takes some doing. Experimental Grain Whisky is a blend of four whiskies, one of which is made from 100% peated malted barley from Loch Lomond Distillery. So: That portion is a single malt, right? Actually, no. It’s distilled in a column…

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Review: Johnnie Walker High Rye

By Christopher Null | June 25, 2022 |

Johnnie Walker’s blends don’t typically disclose their mashbill, with the exception of this new release: High Rye, a blended whisky that includes 60% rye in the mash. Here’s the concept: With a bold profile inspired by iconic Johnnie Walker Black Label tasting notes, Johnnie Walker High Rye Blended Scotch Whisky features a unique mash bill…

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Review: Ardbeg Ardcore

By Christopher Null | June 4, 2022 |

Ardbeg Day 2022 is upon us, and as always the chaps in Islay have a special release in store for Ardbeg Committee members. Ardcore is a celebration of all things punk, made with roasted black malt that is “incinerated to hair-raising levels.” It’s the first usage of black malt by the distillery, which Friend of…

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Review: Bruichladdich Octomore 12.1, 12.2, and 12.3

By Christopher Null | May 19, 2022 |

Octomore — the self-proclaimed world’s peatiest whisky — is back for round 12, this time with a twist. While the “x.2” release is usually a duty-free release, Octomore 12.2 is available for the first time in general retail. Details from the distillery: This twelfth series of Octomore returns to explore a delicately balanced, soft smoke…

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