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: Dewar’s The Champions Edition 19 Years Old (2023)

By Christopher Null | August 22, 2023 |

Dewar’s “Champions Edition” scotch continues its celebration of the 19th hole of golf — the bar, in case you didn’t know — with another annual release of this 19 year old blended Scotch, produced in collaboration with the U.S. Open. This is our third year running with the blend, following the 2022 and the inaugural…

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Review: Laphroaig Cairdeas White Port & Madeira Casks 2023

By Christopher Null | August 4, 2023 |

Laphroaig’s latest annual edition, dubbed Càirdeas, is described by the distillery as bringing together “the best of much loved Càirdeas releases over recent years.” For 2023, the distillery went in two different directions: 3/4 of the whisky is matured in second-fill Madeira casks (which were the focus with the 2016 Cairdeas release), while 1/4 is…

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Review: GlenDronach Cask Strength Batch 12

By Christopher Null | August 2, 2023 |

The latest cask strength sherry bomb from GlenDronach has arrived, a whisky again using Pedro Ximénez and Oloroso sherry casks to create an unabashed exploration of the power of sherry. As usual, this carries no age statement yet has a clear maturity to it that certainly gives it ample gravitas. As with virtually all of…

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Review: Benriach The Forty

By Christopher Null | July 29, 2023 |

Barely a month ago we looked at the newest entrant into Benriach’s single malt lineup, a 16 year old expression. Now we dive back in with an even more prized offering, Benriach The Forty, which is exactly what you think it is. Well, almost. While most Benriach releases are unpeated (sans the Smoke Season-designated releases), The…

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Review: Royal Salute 21 Years Old The Signature Blend

By Christopher Null | July 23, 2023 |

Did you know: Royal Salute is the only whisky brand whose core lineup starts at 21 years of age and gets older from there? The Signature Blend, reviewed here, was originally created for Queen Elizabeth II’s coronation in 1953 and it remains the same today, still carrying its 21 year old age statement. The blender (part…

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Review: The Singleton of Glen Ord 40 Years Old

By Christopher Null | July 21, 2023 |

The Singleton brand has finally put the cap on its ultra-rare Epicurean Odyssey Series, which launched with a 38 year old expression from Glen Ord, was followed up by a 39 year old, and now ends the story with its natural conclusion: The Singleton of Glen Ord 40 Years Old. Each of the three whiskies…

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Review: Selections from the Macbeth Whiskey Collection, Act One

By Christopher Null | July 5, 2023 |

Ah, Macbeth. The Scottish play. The Thane of Glamis. The Murderous King. The… collection of 42 whiskies hand-selected by Livingstone and Elixir Distillers? OK, we’re listening. This way-out-there concept celebrates Macbeth by taking 42 Scotch whiskies and pairing them with 42 characters from the famous play. At the top of the line is the £10,000…

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Review: Glen Grant 21 Years Old

By Christopher Null | July 3, 2023 |

Master distiller Dennis Malcolm has been on the job for 60 years at Speyside’s Glen Grant distillery, and to mark the occasion the operation has launched a new permanent expression, the oldest in its lineup. The new 21 year old bottling joins 10, 12, 15, and 18 year old expressions, not to mention various special…

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Review: Bruichladdich Port Charlotte Islay Barley 2014 Heavily Peated Islay Single Malt

By Christopher Null | July 2, 2023 |

Port Charlotte’s latest vintage Islay Barley release — made entirely from heavily peated barley grown on the island —  has arrived. It’s our first look at the bottling since the delightful 2012 expression, and as is customary for the release, the aging regimen has taken a few twists and turns. Peated to 40 PPM, its…

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Review: The Balvenie French Oak 16 Years Old

By Christopher Null | June 27, 2023 |

When The Balvenie dropped its new French Oak release, I immediately assumed that the term implied new French oak was used in the aging process. Not so. What The Balvenie has done is finish a 16 year old whisky in wine casks that held the rarely seen Pineau des Charentes, which is a sort-of wine that…

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