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: 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…

Read More

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…

Read More

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…

Read More

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…

Read More

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…

Read More

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…

Read More

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…

Read More

Review: Oran Blended Scotch – Blend No. 1 and No. 2

By Christopher Null | December 29, 2023 |

Oran is a new line of blended Scotch whisky that comes to us from an unexpected place: The Perfect Fifth, an independent Scotch bottler based in the U.S., in partnership with Jim Murray, the infamous whisky critic and writer. Murray personally created the two blends — his first ever — from 11 total casks of…

Read More

Review: Talisker Glacial Edge 45 Years Old

By Christopher Null | December 28, 2023 |

Does Talisker ever plan to stop releasing successively older whiskies? Here’s to hoping the answer is no, because the stuff coming out of the Isle of Skye continues to blow us away every time a sample arrives. Talisker Glacial Edge 45 Years Old is the final release in the Xpedition Series (we didn’t know it…

Read More

The Top 10 Whiskeys of 2023

By Christopher Null | December 24, 2023 |

It was another tough year for the whisky nerds among us – which is, well, all of us – as we tried to pare down the hundreds of options we reviewed throughout 2023 and come up with a list of the ten that excited us the most. Yes, we heard your cries from last year:…

Read More