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: Deanston Tequila Cask Finish 15 Years Old

By Christopher Null | March 1, 2024 |

Scotch casks tend to make it to Mexico for use in tequila. The other way around… not so much. Deanston Distillery mixes that up with this 15 year old — blending “the essence of the Scottish and Mexican Highlands.” The whisky starts out spending 13 years in traditional Oak hogsheads before being finished for 2…

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Review: Spirits of Single Cask Nation, Spring 2023 Releases

By Drew Beard | February 27, 2024 |

More than just the packaging has changed for indie bottler Single Cask Nation (SCN) since last we checked in on them. At the beginning of 2024, the brand announced their acquisition by Artisanal Spirits Co., owners of another, bigger bottler you may have heard of, The Scotch Malt Whisky Society. Founders Joshua Hatton and Jason…

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Cameron George

Can Scotch Win More American Hearts and Minds? Brand Building with Ardbeg’s Cameron George

By David Tao | February 24, 2024 |

In a whisky world pushing press around master distillers and blenders, one group with outsized market impact doesn’t always get the spotlight: professional brand ambassadors. They’re the folks often closest to accounts both on and off-premises, promoting brands at large-scale events, and tackling entry into new markets one at a time. Few spirits in the…

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Review: Ardbeg Anamorphic and Traigh Bhan 19 Years Old Batch 5 (2023)

By Christopher Null | January 31, 2024 |

Two new releases from Islay’s Ardbeg — the latest Committee Release, Anamorphic, and this year’s annual drop of Traigh Bhan, Ardbeg’s ever-shifting 19 year old expression. Details about each follow in turn. Ardbeg Anamorphic – The story with Anamorphic revolves around barrel charring. After removing the heads of classic Ardbeg bourbon casks, they were scored…

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Review: Diageo Orphan Barrel Project Castle’s Curse Single Malt 14 Years Old

By Christopher Null | January 30, 2024 |

The latest from Diageo’s Orphan Barrel Project takes a return trip to Scotland in the form of the ominously named Castle’s Curse. Don’t worry, it’s not so scary: It’s just a 14 year old single malt from Teaninich, aged in sherry casks. Single malts from Teaninch are rare but not unheard of, as Diageo uses…

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Review: Benriach Malting Season 2023

By Drew Beard | January 25, 2024 |

Last fall, Benriach released the third installment of its limited-edition Malting Season single malt whisky, but this time without its non-age-stated partner, Smoke Season. It is unclear if we’ll see that one return in the future, but for the time being we’ll have to make do with just the one. As a reminder, Malting Season…

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Review: The ImpEx Collection Edition Three – 6 Scotch Expressions (2023 Releases)

By Christopher Null | January 21, 2024 |

We’re on to edition three of the ImpEx Collection — which comprises six Scotch whiskies and, for the first time, four agave-based spirits, specifically mezcal. Today we run through the Scotch. Stay tuned for the mezcal in another dispatch. Away we go! The ImpEx Collection Benrinnes 2008 16 Years Old Cask #800218 – Aged in…

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Review: Ardnamurchan ArdnAmerica, Madeira Cask, and Paul Launois Cask

By Drew Beard | January 18, 2024 |

Last fall, we got our first taste of the single malts of Ardnamurchan, a new distillery from Adelphi, a longtime independent bottler who decided to finally get fully into the Scotch whisky game. The distillery makes both peated and unpeated spirit aged in a mix of ex-bourbon, ex-sherry, and European oak, and it’s located so…

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Review: Deanston Virgin Oak Cask Strength Batch No. 1 (2023)

By Drew Beard | January 15, 2024 |

While we’re starting to see more and more Scotch distillers dabble with virgin oak, Deanston in the Scottish Highlands has had a non-age-stated Virgin Oak offering as a core expression for years now. That bottle clocks in at a respectable 46.3%, but last fall, they decided to turn up the volume on this one with…

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Review: Nc’nean Organic Single Malt Whisky

By Drew Beard | January 11, 2024 |

Distilleries all over the world are finally starting to go green, but it feels like there’s been a particular focus on sustainability in the whisky space over the last year or so. Distilling is a notoriously energy intensive process, and for a lot of large-scale heritage brands, it’s going to take a while for their…

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