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: 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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Review: Benriach Malting Season and Smoke Season 2021

By Christopher Null | February 22, 2022 |

Benriach only just recently completed its lineup overhaul and it’s back once again with two new products, Malting Season and Smoke Season. These will both be annual releases and neither will carry an age statement. Some details: The first edition of Benriach Malting Season is created with a unique process that brings out the wholesome, creamy flavor…

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Review: The Macallan Harmony Collection Rich Cacao

By Drew Beard | February 17, 2022 |

The Macallan is out with a new whisky series, and the backstory is a real doozy, so pay attention for a minute. The new Harmony Collection launched this fall to highlight the brand’s devotion to sustainable packaging. Per the press release: Sustainability has been a constant guiding principle for The Macallan since it began crafting…

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Review: Compass Box Peat Monster Arcana and Menagerie

By Drew Beard | February 16, 2022 |

Compass Box, as Chris already observed in his review last fall, seems to always be adding new spirits while also revamping their old ones, often for special releases and the like. Case in point: Peat Monster Arcana which hit shelves late in 2020 and Menagerie, which arrived not long after in early 2021. Always in…

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Review: Bowmore Core Lineup – 12, 15, 18, and 25 Years Old (2022)

By Christopher Null | February 15, 2022 |

We’ve dabbled with all many Bowmore releases in the past — having started with the entry level 12 year old way back in 2009 and, most recently, checking out the new 30 year old bottling, with plenty of special editions in between. What we haven’t done is a full look at the Bowmore core lineup,…

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Spirits Trends for 2022: An Interview with Moët Hennessy’s Allison Varone

By Drew Beard | February 9, 2022 |

2022 is shaping up to be an unusual year for the spirits industry. “Learn to live with the pandemic” has become a frequent, optimistic refrain, but what does it mean for an industry that saw many of its customers completely change their drinking habits over the last two years? Never mind the welcome return to…

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Review: Compass Box No Name, No. 3

By Christopher Null | February 6, 2022 |

Compass Box’s No Name — which we’ve encountered only at tasting events like WhiskyFest — was envisioned as a one-off in 2017, built on a base of Ardbeg but showcasing the lighter side of peat. The original spawned a sequel, and now this third edition has arrived — the final in a series that was…

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Review: Single Cask Nation Invergordon Single Grain Scotch Whisky 46 Years Old

By Drew Beard | February 4, 2022 |

Scottish grain whiskies, distilled typically from wheat or corn on columns stills, don’t get much love in the Scotch world. Pot-distilled barley contributes more flavor and texture, or so the argument goes, and thus grain whisky is rarely bottled on its own. Instead, it serves as the workhorse for most blended Scotch, contributing sweetness and…

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Review: Glenmorangie Cognac Cask Finish 13 Years Old

By Drew Beard | February 3, 2022 |

The “Barrel Select” releases appear to have become an annual event from Glenmorangie, although there’s still no trace of them anywhere on the distillery’s website that I can find. Using my impressive deductive skills, I’m assuming these are limited offerings focusing on special cask finishes apart from those associated with the core lineup and other…

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