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: Bruichladdich Organic 2003, Links 15, Oloroso Sherry Edition 1998, and Peat

By Christopher Null | June 10, 2010 |

Islay’s Bruichladdich keeps pumping out whisky faster that I can drink it. Here’s a look at four recently-released expressions from the vaunted distillery. Bruichladdich Organic 2003 – A young whisky — it’s unclear exactly how young since the spirit carries no age statement, but it’s 7 years old at most — this light spirit is…

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Review: Johnnie Walker Complete Lineup (2010)

By Christopher Null | June 7, 2010 |

Here’s a great gift idea for Father’s Day: One each of the five expressions that the whisky legends at Johnnie Walker. You don’t actually have to buy him five full bottles (what dad is worth that kind of expense?). Instead, JW has a nice little set of 200ml bottles of four of the five expressions…

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Review: The Glenlivet Cellar Collection 1973

By Christopher Null | May 13, 2010 |

This new, limited release whisky has spent 36 long years in cask (one sherry cask and two American oak barrels have been blended together), waiting for just the right amount of time to get from oak into the bottle and from there into your belly. This is a whisky that feels just about perfect, cooled…

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Review: Glengoyne 10, 17, 12 Cask Strength, and 16 Years Old Shiraz Finished (2010)

By Christopher Null | May 7, 2010 |

I’ve had limited encounters with Glengoyne, a Highland Scotch producer just a dozen miles from Glasgow, and today had the opportunity to sample four of the company’s most worthwhile expressions. Here are some thoughts on each. As a house style, Glengoyne does not peat its whisky, but rather air dries the barley, so sweetness and…

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Book Review: Michael Jackson’s Complete Guide to Single Malt Scotch 6th Edition

By Christopher Null | April 25, 2010 |

There are two major schools of thoughts in whiskey review compendiums: You can get Jim Murray’s Whiskey Bible, which features digest reviews of every whiskey known to man in birdseed type, or you can go for Michael Jackson’s less thorough (and covering single malt Scotch only) Complete Guide to Single Malt Scotch, which features quite…

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Review: Bowmore 15 Years Old “Darkest” (2010)

By Christopher Null | April 15, 2010 |

A bit harder to come by than the ubiquitous 12 Year Old Bowmore, this expression of Bowmore’s single malt is 15 years old and is denoted as “Darkest” due to its distinct color, owing to its sherry finishing. This whisky has a wonderful balance of all the elements that make good single malts great. The…

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Macallan Auctioning Tastes of 64 Year Old Scotch for Charity

By Christopher Null | April 7, 2010 |

Want to try Macallan’s 64-year-old single malt (the oldest the company has ever produced), but don’t have the six figures to buy one of the few bottles from which it was made? Try snagging a 100ml taste from the company, which is auctioning off sample-size bottles in advance of a single bottle in a special…

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Tasting Report: Whiskies of the World Expo San Francisco 2010

By Christopher Null | March 29, 2010 |

Was it the crowds (insane), the heat (manageable), or the rumor that some lady had thrown up near the buffet an hour into the event (just gross, yet credible)? Whatever the case this year I found myself not in the whiskey groove at the ordinarily smashing Whiskies of the World San Francisco event. It was…

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Drinking Scotch with The Dalmore’s Richard Paterson

By Christopher Null | March 27, 2010 |

After spending some time with Tom Bulleit yesterday, I moved on to lunch with another whiskey world celebrity, Richard Paterson of Whyte & Mackay, which produces The Dalmore line of single malt Scotch whiskys, among other spirits. Paterson is serious about his passion and is renowned for his olfactory skills: At one point, the author…

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Review: Highland Park 1968 Limited Edition

By Christopher Null | February 18, 2010 |

It’s not every day I get to sample a four-figures-a-bottle whiskey. This week I got to try two side by side. Highland Park brought out its newest bottling — the vintage-dated 1968 Limited Edition (bottled in 2008, it’s a 40-year-old whisky) — which is on the cusp of being released into the wilds. At $4,000…

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