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: Aberfeldy 15 Years Old Finished in Napa Cabernet Sauvignon Casks (2023)

By Christopher Null | October 15, 2023 |

Aberfeldy has become well-known for its series of 18 year old expressions, each finished in a different type of red wine cask. This year, Aberfeldy is flipping the script, just a bit, offering another red wine cask expression of its single malt that’s a more youthful 15 years old. The wine cask this time around:…

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Review: Loch Lomond Original Single Malt and The Open Special Edition 2023

By Drew Beard | October 15, 2023 |

Loch Lomond is not your average Scotch distillery. Nestled in the far southwest corner of the Highlands, near the famously scenic loch (lake, for you non-Scots) of the same name, the distillery uses a combination of uniquely configured pot and column stills to produce as many as 11 different distillates, including grain whiskies. We got…

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Review: Ardbeg Anthology 13 Years Old: The Harpy’s Tale

By Christopher Null | October 14, 2023 |

The whisky machine at Ardbeg continues to churn, with the launch of a brand new collection called Anthology. The Anthology Collection will be an ongoing series of whiskies built around experimental malts and asks (or combinations of casks) it has not previously used. Round One is The Harpy’s Tale, a 13 year old whisky aged…

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Review: Distillery Exclusive Single Malts from Dalwhinnie, Glenfiddich, and Auchentoshan

By Drew Beard | October 14, 2023 |

I’m not sure when the distillery-exclusive trend came to Scotland, but I know it was well before we Yanks embraced it stateside. Limited edition festival bottlings have been helping to drive turnout for years at events like the Feis Ile on Islay and Spirit of Speyside Festival, among many others. But long before that, I…

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Review: King Robert II Blended Scotch – Treble Cask and 12 Years Old

By Christopher Null | October 11, 2023 |

King Robert II is a budget Scotch brand that got a relaunch last year from its owners at Ian Macleod. Now available throughout the U.S., three expressions are on tap — a non-age-statement “treble cask” edition, a 12 year old, and a 15 year old. (We’re reviewing the first two today.) Some details: The brand…

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Review: ImpEx Core Expressions 2023: Ardnamurchan, Filey Bay, Lochlea, and Wolfburn

By Christopher Null | October 8, 2023 |

ImpEx continues to rise in prominence as an importer and indie bottler of rare, obscure, unusual, and important whiskeys — not to mention rum and (soon) mezcal. (Stay tuned for details.) We’ll get to more independent bottlings from ImpEx soon, but today we’re looking at four distillery releases which ImpEx considers its “core expressions” for…

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Review: Spearhead Single Grain Scotch

By Drew Beard | October 6, 2023 |

A new Scotch brand arrived stateside over the summer: Spearhead Single Grain Scotch Whisky. It’s a bit of an unusual single grain offering, so I’ll let the Spearhead spokespeople do the talking. Spearhead Whisky, which is crafted at Loch Lomond Distillery, one of the most award-winning distilleries in the world, is made from 100% malted…

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Malcolm Waring

Sustainability and Scotch: Old Pulteney Distillery Manager Malcolm Waring

By David Tao | September 29, 2023 |

Malcolm Waring has spent years thinking about water. Waring started with Pulteney Distillery in 1990, and after working his way up the production ladder, he became Distiller Manager, a title he’s held for 15 years. As the leader of the team behind Old Pulteney’s core and limited expressions, his responsibilities focus on production capacity and…

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Review: Smokehead Tequila Cask Terminado, Sherry Cask Blast, and Rum Cask Rebel

By Drew Beard | September 27, 2023 |

We kicked off our exploration of Smokehead earlier this summer with a look at the flagship offering and its bolder, cask strength sibling. Those bottles are joined in the Smokehead lineup by a trio of unique cask finished expressions (with a fourth, stout-finished offering on the way). Thoughts follow. Smokehead Tequila Cask Terminado – Finished…

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Review: Glenmorangie The Cadboll Estate 15 Years Old 2023

By Drew Beard | September 26, 2023 |

Glenmorangie released back-to-back expressions of its Cadboll Estate in 2020 and 2021, both of which were aged exclusively in ex-bourbon casks, allowing the estate-grown barley to shine without the distraction of any of the distillery’s trademark cask finishing. When we interviewed Glenmorangie’s Director of Whisky Creation, the infamous Dr. Bill, he told us that he…

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