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: Diageo Scotch Whisky Distillers Editions 2021

By Christopher Null | January 6, 2022 |

Not to be confused with the far more expensive Diageo Special Edition Releases, Diageo’s Distillers Edition whiskies are more accessible (read: affordable) but also released on a (mostly) annual basis. While normally we see these a bit randomly, this year we were fortunate to receive the full collection of 2021 Distillers Editions, six whiskies in…

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Review: Glenmorangie 18 Years Old and Signet (2022)

By Christopher Null | January 1, 2022 |

Today we’re taking a look at two standard bottlings of Glenmorangie, both standing at the top of its permanent collection. Rob took a fresh look at Signet last summer, while Drew checked out Extremely Rare, Glenmorangie’s 18 year old release, in 2020. Note that Extremely Rare is currently available with a limited edition label designed…

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Review: Ardbeg Traigh Bhan 19 Years Old Batch 3 (2021)

By Christopher Null | December 26, 2021 |

When Ardbeg’s first edition of Traigh Bhan dropped in 2019, we were instant fans of the 19 year old Islay malt that was the latest (and oldest) addition to the distillery’s permanent lineup. Now Traigh Bhan has settled into annual batch status, which Ardbeg is describing as “rare and ever-changing,” with slight changes to cask…

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The Top 10 Whiskeys of 2021

By Christopher Null | December 24, 2021 |

  As near as I can count, Drinkhacker reviewed more than 400 whiskeys in 2021. How do you whittle that down to the 10 very best of the lot? It’s not easy, and our staff’s initial list of favorites ran well over 30 selections. Tough decisions were made. Arguments were had. Babies were thrown out…

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Review: Glenmorangie “A Tale of Winter”

By Christopher Null | December 20, 2021 |

Glenmorangie’s last “tale” whisky was one about… cake. Now the distillery turns its attention to something you can’t actually eat: winter, with another wine cask finished single malt. A Tale of Winter, designed to “encapsulate the delight of snuggling up in a winter jumper by the fire, while snow lay on the ground,” is a…

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Review: Bruichladdich Black Art 9.1

By Christopher Null | December 19, 2021 |

  With Black Art 9.1, distiller Adam Hannett now officially has more releases of this whisky under his belt (five) than originator Jim McEwan. This one’s also a doozy: A 29 year old carrying a 1992 vintage date, matured entirely on Islay and bottled at cask strength — though as with other Black Art releases…

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Review: The Dalmore Cigar Malt Reserve (2021) and Vosges Chocolates

By Christopher Null | December 13, 2021 |

Dalmore’s Cigar Malt Reserve is a whisky that has never fully resonated with me since its relaunch in 2011, its extreme use of sherry putting me off a bit. The recipe appears to have changed somewhat since our last full review 10 years ago, with Dalmore now describing it thusly: The spirit is initially matured…

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Review: Aberfeldy 18 Years Old Finished in Cote-Rotie Casks (2021)

By Christopher Null | December 13, 2021 |

This limited edition release of Aberfeldy 18 Years Old has an increasingly popular twist: finishing in red wine casks, which the distillery is rolling out for the second year running. In this case, the finishing barrels are from the Cote-Rotie region found in France’s Rhone Valley. There’s no word on the length of the finishing…

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Review: The Whisky Exchange Black Friday and A Fine Christmas Malt 2021

By Christopher Null | December 12, 2021 |

Black Friday may have come and gone, but that doesn’t bother the purveyors at The Whisky Exchange — which is based in London, where Black Friday can’t even be a thing, can it? For TWE, Black Friday is a whisky, a special edition bottling that you can only get here. Tragically, it’s already sold out…

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Review: The Macallan A Night on Earth in Scotland

By Christopher Null | December 2, 2021 |

Macallan’s A Night on Earth in Scotland isn’t intended (necessarily) for you to buy it and drink it. It’s supposed to be a gift, a celebratory bottling that’s part of a new limited edition gifting series that celebrates the New Year. Elaborately packaged and full of surprises, the bottling is as much fun to open…

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