FEATURED WHISKY FOR AUG 2022 :
WHISKY IN SCOTLAND
SINGLE MALT WHISKY EXPERIENCE
ABOUT SCOTCH WHISKY
The fiery amber spirit, ‘whisky’, was originally named "Uisge Beatha", meaning ‘water of life’ in Scottish gaelic. Although the exact origin of when whisky was first produced in Scotland has yet to be found, it started as a medicine that people believed to have mystical powers to cure. Scotch whisky, a product of quality and heritage, is now exported and enjoyed in more than 175 countries around the globe.
WHAT MAKES A SCOTCH WHISKY?
Scotch Whisky Regulations 2009, a set of comprehensive rules, governs the Scotch industry to maintain the quality of this globally renowned spirit.
To bear the name, it must be entirely produced in Scotland.
The main ingredients, water and malted barley, must be converted to a fermentable substrate only by endogenous enzyme systems.
Fermentation must only be done by adding yeast.
It must be aged in oak casks, no more than 700 litres, for no less than three years, guaranteed by the age-statements on the bottles.
The bottling strength must be between 40% - 94.8% alcohol by volume.
It contains no added substances, except water caramel coloring.
REGIONS OF SCOTCH WHISKY PRODUCTION
Similar to coffee, whiskies are heavily influenced by the location of where it is produced. The Scotch Whisky Association, founded in 1942, lists five official scotch whisky production regions: Highland, Lowland, Campbeltown, Speyside, and Islay. Although the Islands is part of the Highland region, it is often considered as the sixth region due to the unique flavour profile of whisky produced there. Each region has unique characteristics which impact the flavor, appearance, and aroma of the scotch.
With the abundance of vast and beautiful sceneries, the Highlands region of Scotland is where numerous films, including James Bond, Da Vinci Code, Harry Potter, etc., were shot. The region is home to the biggest waterfall in England as well as the infamous lake monster. As the largest of the five regions, it holds over 30 distilleries, supplying 25% of the country’s scotch. In fact, the Highlands region is where the first boom of the whisky industry took place. It offers such a wide range of scotch whiskies, the area can be split into four subregions: north, east, south, and west. The two most recognisable distilleries, Clynelish and Glenmorangie, are situated in the north. Their scotch features a full-bodied, sweet, and rich character. On the other hand, you can find medium and fruity whiskies in the east, such as Glendronach. Each subregion expresses a different style.
The Lowland region covers the two largest cities, Glasgow and Edinburgh, of Scotland. Distilleries, of no more than five, are sparsely distributed in this region. Easily overshadowed by the Highlands region, where all the drama happens, the Lowlands region stands out by offering rare scotch made of wheat and corn, resulting in light and gentle whiskies with almost no peatiness. Its smooth and approachable character makes an excellent base for blended whiskies, also a great entry into malt whisky! The most famous Lowlands whisky is Auchentoshan which triple distills for all of its production.
Campbeltown was once a thriving whisky hotspot, home to over 30 distilleries, yet it is down to three now. The region suffered from a catastrophic fall during the prohibition and recession in the 1850’s. It was stripped from its status as the whisky capitol with only two distilleries remaining afterwards. Eventually, the emergence of the third distillery successfully restored Campbeltown as an official whisky producing region. The few distilleries offer distinct tastes, sometimes known for its dryness and pungency. Springbank is robust and heavily smoky, while Glen scotia is light and grassy.
Speyside, named after the River Spey, is the most successful whisky-producing region due to its close proximity to pure water supply, one of the main ingredients to whisky making. The region has the greatest number of distilleries including the three biggest selling single malt scotch, Glenfiddich, Glenlivet, and Macallan. Whiskies produced here are often known for its sweet single malts, smoothness and complexity, compared to salty and heavily peated whiskies from other regions. Balvenie also offers whiskies of rich, fruity aroma accompanied by sweet vanilla flavours. Excellent for anyone starting on their whisky adventure!
The isle of Islay is the southernmost island of the Inner Southern Hebrides of Scotland. This 25-mile stretch of rocky bays features peaty whisky of a smokey and even medicinal taste. Although its strong character may scare away beginners, it may eventually be one of your favourites! As the smallest region of all, most people on the island are involved in scotch production, whether it is the cultivation of barley or the export of the products, thus being crowned Scotland’s ‘whisky land’. Among the eight distilleries on the island, Ardbeg, Laphroaig, Lagavulin are world famous, characterized by an iodine-like taste, due to the marine environment. Whereas Caol Ila and Bowmore exhibit lighter, floral, and pepper notes, wonderful warm ups to the more aggressive single malts.