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: 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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Review: Bladnoch Vinaya, 11 Years Old, and 14 Years Old (2021)

By Christopher Null | May 6, 2022 |

The Bladnoch expressions keep coming, as we turn to three newly available bottlings — the new permanent edition Vinaya and two whiskies that will be released annually — an 11 year old and a 14 year old. All the pertinent details follow as we taste. All are bottled at 93.4 proof. Bladnoch Vinaya – From…

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Review: Talisker 30 Years Old (2021)

By Christopher Null | April 17, 2022 |

Talisker quietly dropped a 30 year old release, turned out from refill bourbon casks and bottled in late 2021 at cask strength — a whopping 48.5% abv. Only 3216 bottles were produced, with 498 available in the U.S., so if this sounds enticing, you should probably hop on it. 30 years hasn’t dampened the nose…

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Review: Arran Barrel Reserve, 10 Years Old, and Robert Burns (2022)

By Christopher Null | April 2, 2022 |

It seems like everyone in Scotland is getting in on the brand refresh game these days, including Arran — no longer “The Arran” — which is one of just a few whiskies found on the Isle of Arran, a small island nestled between Campbeltown and Glasgow. Despite the refreshed and re-labeled range, Arran continues to…

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Review: Ardbeg Fermutation

By Christopher Null | March 30, 2022 |

Ardbeg’s Dr. Bill Lumsden is known for his experimental bent, and with Fermutation, the essential Islay distillery may have come up with its wildest release yet. Allow Ardbeg to explain: The result of a happy accident, this 13 year old dram is the delicious consequence of an unplanned experiment that resulted in the longest fermentation…

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Review: Torabhaig Allt Gleann – The Legacy Series 2nd Edition

By Drew Beard | March 27, 2022 |

Last summer, we took our first look at a single malt from Torabhaig Distillery, the first new distillery on the Isle of Skye in almost two centuries. That initial dram, Legacy 1, showed considerable promise, especially given its relative youth at just four years of age. According to the distillery, there will be three additional…

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Review: The Balvenie DoubleWood 12 Years Old (2022) and Caribbean Cask 14 Years Old

By Christopher Null | March 12, 2022 |

Naturally we have covered the whiskies of Speyside’s Balvenie on many occasions, ranging from garden variety offerings to the luxe releases in the various Tun series. Today we’re taking a new look at two of the distillery’s entry-level offerings, bottles which we’ve reviewed on various occasions and which deserve tasting again with a fresh palate.…

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Review: Diageo Orphan Barrel Project Muckety-Muck Single Grain Scotch 25 Years Old

By Christopher Null | March 9, 2022 |

Diageo’s Orphan Barrel Project featured a 24 year old single grain Scotch last year. Now Muckety-Muck returns as a 25 year old — same Port Dundas stock, same pig-inspired name, just one year older. I think it’s safe to say that any opinions you may have had about the 24 year old version of this…

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Review: Glenmorangie The Cadboll Estate 15 Years Old 2021

By Christopher Null | March 1, 2022 |

  In 2020 Glenmorangie dropped a curious limited edition expression called the Cadboll Estate, the first single estate whisky created by Glenmo, made entirely onsite “from grain to glass.” A 15 year old expression, it was aged exclusively in first-fill bourbon barrels — no funky wine cask work here. Now Cadboll is back for a…

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Review: Highland Park Viking Heart 15 Years Old (2022) and Cask Strength Release No. 2

By Christopher Null | February 28, 2022 |

Highland Park continues to refresh its venerable whisky lineup, its most recent update being the introduction of Viking Heart, which replaces its old 15 year old. This is entirely new liquid — bottled in a ceramic decanter from Wade Ceramics, no less — and includes a “high percentage” of first-fill sherry casked whisky. Today we…

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