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: 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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Review: Jura 12 Years Old

By Christopher Null | November 26, 2021 |

Did you know that as of 2020, Jura was the fastest growing single malt brand in the U.S.? Neither did I, and I’ll savor that morsel of trivia while sipping on the brand’s newest expression, a 12 year old offering that fits in the lower-middle spot alongside Jura’s 10 year old, Seven Wood, and 18…

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Drinkhacker’s 2021 Holiday Gift Guide – Best Alcohol/Spirits for Christmas

By Christopher Null | November 25, 2021 |

Ready for Christmas? Ready for Christmas 2023, maybe? Our long day’s journey into night may have continued unabated this year, but we’re hopeful you’ve at least found some ability to get out of the house, maybe take a trip, and reconnect with friends and family this season. Naturally, you’re still not going to be able…

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Review: Dewar’s Japanese Smooth Mizunara Cask Finish 8 Years Old

By Christopher Null | November 22, 2021 |

Dewar’s “Smooth” blended Scotch whisky #4 is here, an obvious addition to the lineup which is finished in Japanese Mizunara oak casks. The whisky carries an 8 year old age statement, but the finishing time is not disclosed. Let’s give it a try. Well, I’ve had a lot of Japanese whisky and I’m hard-pressed to…

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Review: The Balvenie Tun 1509, Batch 8

By Christopher Null | November 21, 2021 |

It’s been a year since we last encountered Balvenie’s Tun 1509 series, which is now back with its 8th installment — the final bottling in the long-running and impressive collection. This vatting of 18 casks selected by Malt Master David C. Stewart includes, as usual, a mix of various cask types and ages, with the…

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Review: Diageo Scotch Whisky Special Releases 2021

By Christopher Null | November 13, 2021 |

Diageo’s Special Releases Single Malt Scotch Whisky Collection for 2021 has arrived. Tagged with the moniker “Legends Untold,” this year’s collection spans 8 whiskies, all single malt (no grain whisky this year), designed to “reach into the realms of augmented reality to share the untold stories of iconic Scotch distilleries in new and unique ways.”…

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Review: Compass Box Artist Blend, Glasgow Blend, and Orchard House (2021)

By Christopher Null | November 9, 2021 |

Compass Box never seems to slow down its efforts, and when it’s not releasing new spirits, it’s revamping old ones. The Great King Street collection dropped between 2011 and 2014, launched to celebrate the preferred whisky styles of the people of Edinburgh and Glasgow (at least according to a book published in 1930). In 2021,…

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Review: Johnnie Walker Blue Label Ghost and Rare Pittyvaich

By Christopher Null | November 7, 2021 |

The Jonnie Walker Blue Label Ghost and Rare series continues with this fourth installment, Johnnie Walker Blue Label Ghost & Rare Pittyvaich. As with the prior Ghost and Rare releases, this limited edition is blended with “irreplaceable ‘ghost whiskies’ from Scotch whisky distilleries that have long since closed.” The centerpiece of this one is Speyside’s…

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Tasting Report: Whiskies of the World Expo San Francisco 2021

By Christopher Null | October 25, 2021 |

One of the staff asked me what the biggest surprise was at this year’s Whiskies of the World San Francisco. “That it was actually happening” was my response. WotW marked the first time in nearly two years that I’d attended a spirits event of any substance, and while it was wonderful to stroll the booths…

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