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: Glenfiddich Grande Couronne 26 Years Old

By Christopher Null | October 2, 2021 |

The latest Glenfiddich arrived quietly and took me a bit by surprise, the brand dropping a 26 year old whisky aged in a combination of bourbon and sherry casks which was finished for up to two years in “meticulously sourced” French Cognac casks. Grande Couronne, French for “great crown,” is part of the Grand Series,…

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Review: Dewar’s The Champions Edition 19 Years Old

By Christopher Null | September 28, 2021 |

Dewar’s latest bottling is a 19 year old blend aged in American bourbon casks — which is fitting, since it’s bottled in honor of the 121st edition of the U.S. Open. I’m not sure this is an effective substitute for being at Torrey Pines, as Dewar’s suggests, but if your TV is large enough, maybe…

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Review: The Glenlivet Illicit Still 12 Years Old

By Christopher Null | September 23, 2021 |

The Glenlivet’s latest single malt is a 12 year old expression called Illicit Still, in honor of founder George Smith, who illegally distilled his whisky in handmade copper stills secreted away in the Glenlivet valley near the river Spey. The first release in what the distillery is calling its “Original Stories” series, Illicit Still is…

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Review: Port Askaig 12 Years Old – Bourbon Cask and Sherry Cask Marriage

By Christopher Null | September 13, 2021 |

Today we’re in for a fun treat, tasting Port Askaig Islay whisky at 12 years of age, but with two very different barrel treatments. (As a reminder, the Port Askaig brand is made up of whiskies sourced from other Islay distilleries — never named, but bottled as Port Askaig.) Details on the two spirits —…

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Review: The ImpEx Collection – Glen Elgin 2006, Orkney 1999, Caol Ila 2008, and Springbank 1993

By Christopher Null | August 18, 2021 |

Folks, there’s a new independent spirits bottler in town… sort of. ImpEx has been importing whisky for as long as I’ve been writing about it, but for the first time it is starting an indie bottling label under its own name, fittingly called The ImpEx Collection. The ImpEx Collection (alongside Single Malts of Scotland) fills…

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Review: Murray McDavid Craigellachie 8 Years Old and Ordha Meas 13 Years Old

By Drew Beard | August 11, 2021 |

Independent whisky bottler Murray McDavid began sourcing and bottling Scotch in 1994, earning a reputation for using unique casks to age and finish their whiskies. In the 2000s, the company famously resurrected the Bruichladdich Distillery with the help of Jim McEwan, and after selling the distillery to Remy Cointreau in 2012, they set about concentrating…

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Review: Laphroaig 10 Years Old Sherry Oak Finish

By Rob Theakston | August 6, 2021 |

The marriage of sherry and peat can prove to be a challenging equation to balance. Some distilleries manage to figure it out with elegance and style. Others have birthed mutations best forgotten, relegated to the island of misfit bottles. Thankfully this Laphroaig does not fall in the latter category, but sadly neither does it rise…

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Review: Mossburn Blended Malts – Speyside and Island

By Christopher Null | August 4, 2021 |

Established in 1992, Mossburn is a bottler of a range of whiskies, most of them sourced from other distilleries around Scotland. (It also operates Torabhaig, which is tiptoeing into its own distillates as we speak.) While Mossburn bottles a variety of single vintage whiskies from other distilleries (much like any independent bottler), what you’re more…

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Review: Ardbeg Scorch

By Christopher Null | July 20, 2021 |

Ardbeg’s latest Committee Release is Scorch, a bottling made by aging the whiskey in ultra-charred “alligator” casks (all ex-bourbon barrels). No age statement, which is typical. Reviewed here is the cask strength Committee Edition of the release; the Standard Edition is bottled at the usual 92 proof. From the nose, the name seems fully apt.…

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Review: Scarabus Islay Single Malt Whisky

By Rob Theakston | July 17, 2021 |

It should come as zero surprise to anyone reading this site with regularity (and thank you for that) that as a collective, we are big fans of nearly everything emanating from Islay. It doesn’t really matter the distillery, the bottler, or the finish, we’ll probably drink it. We’ll even try contract independent bottlings hiding behind…

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