Drop of Whisky

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Month: July 2015

The Unique Scotch Whisky

Whisky means water of life in Gaelic and Scots claim the earliest recorded history of distilling, although the distillation of the first is still unknown. Distillation already existed among the ancient Celts and the Scots could have learnt the art of distillation of whisky from Christian missionary monks from Ireland. The term Scotch is secured by Scotland and only whisky produced in Scotland can be called Scotch whisky. Whisky is distilled in many countries but nothing is unique and captivating like scotch.

The Scots, through the centuries, have perfected the art of distilling whisky. Nature has provided Scotland with the natural ingredients to produce the best whiskies. Barley and fresh peat are available in abundance and the peaty water flow down from Scottish hills and mountains. Good quality barley means good quality whisky and the selection of type of barley is of utmost importance. Traditional distillers like to use Scottish barley for their whiskies but where they come from does not matter to most producers as long as it is the right quality. The sugar content in the barley must be higher for a better taste. Barley from England and South Africa are mostly used to produce Scotch whisky. The purity of water is essential in the production of good quality whisky and Scotland has some of the purest forms of water. The water from the highlands is peaty and gives a unique taste to the Scotch whisky.

It takes three years to complete the process of production of whisky. It has to stay inside an oak cask for three full years to be called whisky. To be called scotch, the spirits have to remain in an oak cask for three years on Scottish ground. Singly malt whiskies take 8 to 10 years of ageing. Older whiskeys are more expensive and considered better in taste. Whisky does not mature in bottles like wine does; it only matures in the casks.  Most whiskies are chill-filtered before bottling to remove the residue produced during distillation. It prevents the whisky getting hazy and cloudy. Single malt and single grain scotch whiskies are the main types and blends, which are made from these two basic types. When it comes to whisky there is nothing like scotch, which is unique and has remained original throughout the centuries.

You can find a multitude of whisky and authentic Scotch whisky at Drink Finder and buy from the most popular brands in the world. Find your drink from your favourite distillers and discover collectables.

Will You Buy Canadian Whisky or American Whisky The Choice Is Yours?

So, what exactly is Whisky? Very simply speaking just like beer made from grains such as barley, rye or corn. That means you can even say its distilled beer. Right? No it would almost give a Whisky lover a heart attack. The difference comes with the type of grains used, how and the number of times it is distilled, and the quality of wooden casks chosen to age the Whisky gives Whisky its uniqueness. Though it is difficult to say where Whisky originated from now days due to its popularity Whisky is produced in several regions. So, the choice is yours whether you buy Canadian Whisky, American Whisky or any other Whisky that you prefer.

Now if you buy American Whisky instantly you think of bourbon. Other popular types of American whiskies are rye Whisky, blended Whisky, straight Whisky and malt Whisky and Tennessee Whisky. An American Whisky normally contains mash of corn, although other grains are also present. Usually no blending or additives are used to get its great taste. However, water may be used. This Whisky is aged from two to four years. If you like your Whisky slightly on the spicy side you Buy American Whisky.
When you Buy American Whisky you should see whether it’s straight or straight rye Whisky. This simply shows the age of the Whisky. If a Whisky has been casket for over two years it is called straight Whisky. If you like blended whiskies but you like them strong you safely Buy American Whisky, reason being that American blended whisky straight Whisky is combined with neutral grain spirits only and they have a similar alcohol content to straight Whisky.

Another new trend which makes one Buy American Whisky is that straight rye American Whisky is being used by mixologists and bar tenders in a number of cocktails, making this a popular choice for bar goers. So, if you are planning to have some guests over you might Buy American Whisky and try your hands one of the trendy cocktails.

On the other hand you Buy Canadian Whisky, if you prefer your Whisky slightly lighter. The reason behind this is that Canadian Whisky is usually made by mixing a base Whisky and some sort of a flavoring Whisky. The base is usually corn and the flavoring is rye. Although the amount of rye present is very small it is called Canadian rye Whisky.  When you Buy Canadian Whisky you should keep in mind that the main difference between the two whiskies is that the Canadian one is much, milder both in taste and intensity.

Since Canadian Whisky has a lighter style, you Buy Canadian Whisky and can enjoy it all year round, even in the hot summer months. Another reason to Buy Canadian Whisky would be that because of its taste it can be just mixed with soda or can be just enjoyed on the rocks. If you like a hint of caramel or fruity infused flavors you Buy Canadian Whisky and can enjoy it in a number of ways.

Nowadays, online liquor stores not carry most of the brands but also give you a chance to compare the different variety so weather you Buy American Whisky or you Buy Canadian Whisky the choice is yours.

Marketing plan for the St George English Whisky

St George’s English Whisky is manufactured and packaged by the English Whisky Co and has been on sale for the past three years. The choice of the brand’s name follows the name of the English patron saint St George who led the way in the challenge against the Scottish distilleries.  This marketing plan outlines our market divisions and the strategies we are using in getting customers and develop a solid revenue stream. We are not just any whisky seller. Our unique focal point of supplying high quality whisky offers us a niche higher over our rivals in this industry.

1.1 Vision

Our vision is to provide customers with high quality and pocket friendly whisky over the course of their normal life. We do this by making sure that all our customers are supplied with St George English Whisky at all times. Our marketing challenge is lack of consistency in the supply of whisky and we intend to deal with this problem by increasing the number of our suppliers and increase our production (Luther, 2011).

1.2 objectives

i)   Increase our sales by 12% by the end of the year.

ii) Increase our production by 10% by the end of the year

iii) Increase the number of shops selling whisky all over the country by 5%

2.0 Target markets

Our target customers are people over the age of 18 years from all over the United Kingdom. We mostly target men as they are mostly drinkers of whisky as compared to women. Customers are typically in couples or single and can drink in the shops or buy take away home whisky. Some are workers in different companies or civil offices others are in occasions that require enjoyments. Our whisky suppliers make sure that all these customers are adequately supplied with whisky at all times (Westwood, 2005).

2.1 Market differentiation and segmentation

We target two segments: whisky drinkers and organizations that prepare occasional parties in order to reach whisky drinkers. As indicated earlier in our target markets, there are heavy whisky users and those who consume it occasionally (Westwood, 2002).

a) Whisky drinkers (users)

There are two types of customers in this aspect; those who are heavy drinkers and light drinkers. Heavy drinkers are those individuals who can not stay a day without drinking a bottle of whisky while light drinkers are those individuals who do not drink daily because of many reasons like work, school among others. In order to make sure that we capture all customers we package and supply whisky in different sizes hence different prices so that each and every customer in whichever category will be able to afford it.

b) Organizations that prepare occasional parties

Additionally, there are typically some types of customers who only drink whisky occasionally while in occasions. In this case, these customers are mostly likely reached to by organizations that prepare occasional parties like wedding parties. By reaching out these organizations, we will be promoting the brands (McDonald, 2007).

2.2 Branding

The way we package our products is very much attractive and hence our intention is to increase our sales by attracting more customers and being distinguished. We package whisky and malt spirit in clear glasses so that their color can be appreciated by customers. They have white and red labels that bear the name of the company and logo. We usually box the bottles in round or square boxes with company name and logo. The decisions made on branding are made is such a way that the St George English Whisky may attract great number of people (Luther, 2011).

2.3 Target market segment strategy

Our strategy is centered on reaching all our customers from all over the United Kingdom this is done by using internet for advertising our products and allowing customers to order products. The use of internet will be able to reach a wide range of people across the country. We usually emphasize on creativity, high quality customer services, and speed in marketing (Wood, 2010).

2.3.1 Distribution

St George English Whisky and malt spirit are distributed through the company’s shops at St George’s Distillery in Roudham, website, and other independent shops across the country. There were early problems with consistency in supply have been rectified and all our customers are getting the whisky at all times whenever they need it. Our company’s website accepts international orders and hence we are able to penetrate the global market (Westwood, 2005).

2.3.2 Competitive forces

There are many companies in the United Kingdom and the entire world that produce whisky. However, we have been able to compete against them by providing high quality products at pocket friendly prices. The pricing of our products is more cost and competitor oriented than marketing led. In this case, pricing is made following the researches that have been conducted on market. This has helped in exposing a customer led approach to set prices. There is plenty of excitement that surrounds each chapter of whisky as can be learned from the nature of bottling (Westwood, 2002).

2.3.3 Communications

Communicating our products to our customers is one of our goals that we have to achieve by the end of the year. Most of our marketing communication is done through the company website where a wide range of people are reached. Additionally, public relation events are used where radio, TV, bars, restaurants, whisky critics, news papers, and trade press are invited to the sampling of new chapters. Through these public relation events our company is able to advertise whisky as many people get to know about it and radios and televisions advertise it. Further, there are a number of banners that are displayed all over the country having the names of the products. This company has employed a number of sales persons who advertise its brands across the country (McDonald, 2007).

3.0 Expense budget summary

Most of the expenses for this company are the staff that will undertake the marketing. This is estimated to cost £20,000 as people will be conducting public relation events at different parts of the country. The other expenses will be on advertisement where radio and television advertisements are estimated to cost £15,000 to make advertisements for a period of three months. Around £5,000 will be used in making sure that as many people and organizations as possible get to know about the arranged public relation events. Displaying of banners country wide is approximated to cost £10,000 in order to make sure that these banners are displayed even in very remote areas. The company has employed a number of sales people who will be moving countrywide to advertise whisky. These people are estimated to cost around £10,000 (Luther, 2011).

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Rye Whiskey

American rye whiskey

In the United States, “rye whiskey” is, by law, made from a mash of at least 51 percent rye. (The other ingredients of the mash are usually corn and malted barley.) It is distilled to no more than 160 (U.S.) proof, and aged in charred, new oak barrels. The whiskey must be put into such barrels at not more than 125 (U.S.) proof. Rye whiskey that has been so aged for at least 2 years may be further designated as “straight”, as in “straight rye whiskey”.

Rye whiskey was the prevalent whiskey of the northeastern states, especially Pennsylvania and Maryland, but largely disappeared after Prohibition. A few brands, such as Old Overholt, survived it. Today Heaven Hill, Copper Fox, Jim Beam and Wild Turkey (among others) also produce rye whiskeys, as does a distillery at Mount Vernon, the home of George Washington, which sells a version of the rye Washington made. Rye is currently undergoing a small but growing revival in the United States.

Canadian rye whisky

Canadian whisky is often referred to as “rye whisky”, since historically much of the content was from rye. With no requirement for rye to be used to make whiskies with the legally-identical labels “Canadian Whisky”, “Canadian Rye Whisky” or “Rye Whisky” in Canada, provided they “possess the aroma, taste and character generally attributed to Canadian whisky”, in some cases the corn-to-rye ratio may be as high as 9:1. Most contemporary Canadian whiskies contain only a fraction of rye, with the exception of Alberta Premium which is one of the very few whiskies made from 100% rye mash.

In contrast with the US “straight rye whiskey” counterpart, a minimum of 3 years of small (700l/~185USG or less) wooden barrel aging is required for the “Canadian Whisky”, “Canadian Rye Whisky” and “Rye Whisky” labels, although they need not be new oak, nor charred.

Differences between rye and bourbon

Rye is known for imparting what many call a spicey or fruity flavor to the whiskey. Bourbon, distilled from at least 51% corn, is noticeably sweeter, and tends to be fuller bodied than rye. As bourbon gained popularity beyond the southern United States, bartenders increasingly substituted it for rye in cocktails like Whiskey Sours, Manhattans, and Old Fashioneds, which were initially made only with rye. All other things being equal, the character of the cocktail will be drier with rye.

American distillers

Approximately twenty US distilleries produce about forty different ryes. Among them is a single malt produced by the Anchor Brewery of San Francisco, known as Old Potrero Single Malt Whiskey, one of the few single malt whiskeys made in the United States.

Canadian distillers

Approximately a dozen Canadian distillers make rye whisky today. Only a few produce a whisky with majority rye content, most famously Alberta Distillers’ Alberta Premium and Alberta Springs, and Wiser’s Old Rye Whisky, long distilled on the shores of Lake Ontario. Popular international brands of Canadian whisky are Canadian Club and Crown Royal.


“Rock and Rye” is the name of two distinct beverages: a citrus fruit flavored whiskey-based liqueur made from American rye bottled with a bit of rock candy (crystallized sugar); and a toddy made with rye whiskey, bitters, and rock candy.

Rye bottlings

American rye whiskey

Anchor Distilling Company

Old Potrero

Old Potrero 18th Century (100% rye mash, oak barrels are toasted rather than charred as for modern whiskey)

Old Potrero Single Malt Hotaling’s Whiskey

Austin Nichols (Pernod Ricard)

Wild Turkey Rye Whiskey

Russell’s Reserve Rye

Black Maple Hill

18 Year Single Barrel Rye

23 Year Single Barrel Rye

Buffalo Trace

Sazerac 6 Year

Sazerac 18 Year

Thomas Handy Sazerac Rye

Classic Cask

Classic Cask Kentucky Straight Rye Whiskey 21 Year

Copper Fox

Copper Fox Rye Whisky

Heaven Hill

Rittenhouse Rye 80 proof

Rittenhouse Rye 100 proof Bottled In Bond


Vintage 23 Year

Vintage 21 Year

Finger Lakes Distilling

McKenzie Rye Whiskey

Frank E. Wight’s Distilling Co. (Loreley, MD)

Wight’s Sherbrook Maryland Straight Rye

Wight’s Reserve

High West Distillery

Rendezvous Rye Whiskey (blend of 6-year-old 95% rye and 16-year-old 80% rye)

Hirsch Selection

Vintage 22 Year

Jim Beam

Jim Beam Rye (Yellow Label)

Old Overholt

Kentucky Bourbon Distillers, Ltd

Red Hook Rye 23 Year (not to be confused with the rye beer made by Redhook Ale Brewery )

Michters American Whiskey Co.


Michters 10 Year

Old Rip Van Winkle (now distilled by Buffalo Trace)

Van Winkle Family Reserve Rye 13 Year

Old Rip Van Winkle Old Time Rye 12 Year (discontinued)

Templeton Rye

Tuthilltown Spirits

Hudson Manhattan Rye

Government Warning Rye

Very Olde St. Nick

Very Olde St. Nick 12 Year Rye

Very Olde St. Nick 15 Year Rye

Very Olde St. Nick 17 Year Rye

Very Olde St. Nick 18 Year Rye

Very Olde St. Nick Winter Rye

Very Olde St. Nick Summer Rye

Wight’s Rye Distillery (Baltimore County, MD)

Canadian rye whisky

Alberta Premium (100% rye, 5 years old)

Alberta Springs (100% rye, 10 years old)

Alberta Premium Limited Edition (100% rye, 25 years old)

Canadian 83

Canadian Club

Canadian Five Star

Crown Royal

Forty Creek

Gibson’s Finest

Lot 40 Pot Still Single Canadian (NAS)

Seagrams VO

Walker’s Special

Wiser’s Old Whisky


^ “Standards of Identity for Distilled Spirits,” Title 27 Code of Federal Regulations, Pt. 5.22.

^ “Rye’s Revival,” Wine Spectator magazine, July 31, 2008

^ “Canadian Food and Drug Regulations (C.R.C., c. 870) – Canadian Whisky, Canadian Rye Whisky or Rye Whisky (B.02.020.)”

^ “Rye: Situation and Outlook,” Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, Bi-Weekly Bulletin, 2006-06-02 | Volume 19 Number 8 | ISSN 1494-1805 | AAFC No. 2081/E

^ See, e.g. Wondrich, David, Imbibe!: From Absinthe Cocktail to Whiskey Smash, a Salute in Stories and Drinks to “Professor” Jerry Thomas, Pioneer of the American Bar, Perigee Books, 2007. (ISBN 978-0399532870) At page 241 Wondrich states, in giving the recipe for a Manhattan, that “[a]ll things being equal, a 100-proof rye will make the best Manhattan…”

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Licensing Program Of Scottish Spirits Ltd To Budget Whisky Producers

The Scottish Spirits Ltd licensing program allows whisky producers to supply whisky cheaper than their competition and enter any budget price market. Scottish Spirits Ltd is now helping budget whisky producers save import and excise taxes through a turnkey system of bottling whiskies in their respective countries under the license of Scottish Spirits. With this new system, very little equipment investment is required and Scottish Spirits supplies the raw material, the components, and the production and marketing support.

Our product line consists of 18 whisky brands at 700 ml, 40% volume and 80 proofs, with non refillable closure. The Scottish Spirits Ltd graphic department can easily modify the wording on the labels in accordance with the requirements in any country.

Become our licensee and open a manufacturing plant under license of Scottish Spirits Ltd and become our sole distributor of our whiskies in your country for $ 50,000.00 yearly annual fee, plus a 5% royalty on local sales for the use of our trademarks and know how.

We will supply the following components and raw materials: Glass bottles – 30 ml, 200 ml, 350 ml, 500 ml, 700 ml, 750 ml and 1,000 ml – caps, over caps, labels, 12-pack cases, malt and alcohol. In addition, Scottish Spirits Ltd will supply the following onsite equipment: Filling machine, crimping machine, labelling machine, tanks, filter press and air pumps.

Scottish Spirits Ltd will assist you by sending our technicians on your premises to start the production, teach you the mixing, blending, and whisky filling.

Filling plant sizes and requirements

Our manufacturing program is very simple and is designed to accommodate your budget.

In order to work comfortably, you need a space of between 500 and 1,000 square meters. You will also need at least 5 employees for a minimum daily production of 5,000 bottles or more. One full day equals 8 hours of work, including 2 hours of cleaning, packing, etc., and 6 hours of nonstop bottling.

Manufacturing Options
Bottles / HourFull Time

The license includes:

1 – One week of training at your facility (air fare and lodging not included)
2 – Exclusive distribution rights for your country for our 14 whisky brands
3 – Sourcing for equipment and raw material (we take care of everything) if you buy a machine from us.
4 – Access to our client data base in your country if applicable.
5 – Ongoing training and quality control under supervision

* The license fee does not include the installation of the manufacturing equipment. This must be done by a local contractor appointed by Scottish Spirits Ltd.

* You must exclusively use the components and raw material supplied by Scottish Spirits Ltd or its appointed vendors in your country.

For further enquiry contact Info@scottishspirits.com
Visit : http://www.scottishspirits.com/

Glasgow, Scotland, United kingdom.

Scottish Spirits Ltd has exported its whiskies around the world since 1896. Today, Scottish Spirits Ltd bottles over 1 million cases per year and we expect to reach 5 million cases by 2012.

Scotch Whisky and Spirits Exporting Specialists

Whisky Producers Glasgow

How to choose the right whisky for yourself

Whisky is usually a complex drink produced under extremely regulated conditions and with exceptional expertise. Whisky can hail from Irish or Scotch depending on the place of origin. Although the difference in origin might seem like a small difference to novice but it actually made heaven of a difference.

Unlike other spirits, one needs to develop a taste for whisky to relish it. And same goes for buying. You need to understand and know about the whisky before you can start appreciating it. Purchasing a cask of Scotch whisky may be the ultimate prize for a Whisky enthusiast while the same can be overwhelming exercise with many pitfalls.

Whisky buying is an art just like whisky drinking, which one acquires with time and practice. However, there are few basic points which you can consider when buying a whisky to getter the better of you and ensure you have given enough thought before buying.

Look for the label: The bottle labels talk a lot about whisky, its ingredients, its ageing and its flavours. So the first step to understand whisky buying would be note what the label says. This would help the beginner know and differentiate the various brands, flavours, ageing etc which further will help them in decoding the whisky.

Choose a region of origin: Irish whiskeys are less complex in manufacturing process and palate than Scotch whiskys. And most importantly, individual choice & preference matters in the choice of Irish or Scotch whisky. So knowing the region becomes imperative. If you know which region is liked by you or person for whom you’re purchasing, then your work becomes much easier. If you don’t know, then you can go for Irish whisky if you like lighter stuff as it’s triple distilled and Scotch whisky for some distinct flavours. 

Decide on variety of whisky: Although tasting whiskys definitely gives a superb advantage to appreciate & decide them, however it’s not a always possible to taste all kinds of whiskys. In that case you can put to use your combined assimilated knowledge of all kinds of whiskys that you tasted to form an idea of the flavour or palate of any whisky you wish to buy. Or you can visit to the free spirit tasting sessions that are hosted by various brands at duty free outlets or luxury hotels. Otherwise you can also go for some popular whisky variety which is widely consumed. The possibility of you, liking it could be higher than something you never knew about. 

 – Note the color of different whiskies: One more important element of whisky is its color. And each color tone has a reason to be so and would have a different effect on the whisky drinkers’ palate. Not always and not everyone can clearly make out the variation in colour and thereby its attributes, but still you should note the color to start relating its attributes to its color.

Compare the age and flavors: Two key characteristics that define a whisky and differentiate one from the other are Age and Flavours which include nose, color & palate. Some whisky could be more peaty or smoky than the others while some can have more woody-ness to it. Each whisky would have a different smoothness, few distinct aromas & taste, and a distinct finish. And each of these combinations would appeal to you in a different way. It’s said the more the ageing, the smoother and distinctive it becomes. So don’t forget to compare the age and flavours before purchasing whisky.

Hope this comes handy when you shop for your next whisky bottle.

Author contributes articles on shopping & entertainment.

For information, Free Irish Whiskey tasting is going on at Duty Free, IGI Airport Delhi as part of their Spirit of Ireland Festival.

6 Tips for a Successful Whisky Tasting

When you plan to hold a whisky tasting – which can be anything from inviting a few friends to a large formal event – there are quite a few things that should be considered. After all, your guests want to have the best possible experience with the offered drams. And there are some pitfalls you should avoid.

Here are six essential tips to turn your whisky tasting event into a memorable experience for the participants

1. Start with a Meal

You are going to consume a decent amount of alcohol, so it is best to set a solid foundation by eating enough before you start with the tasting. With an empty stomach you are much more likely to encounter the undesirable effects of alcohol when you’ve had a few.

No Chili, no Garlic!

The meal should not by overly spiced, and you should refrain from using garlic as well. Chili paralyses your taste buds, and the taste of garlic is so persistent that it will be with you for the rest of the tasting which clearly is not something we want to happen.

Little or no Alcohol

You want to enjoy the tasting with clear senses, so try to hold your horses before. A glass of beer or light wine with the meal is OK, but don’t overdo it.

2. Water and Bread.

Prepare jugs of cooled water, both for adding to the whisky and to drink in between. Don’t use tap water unless you are sure it is not contaminated by chlorine. To be on the safe side it is recommendable to use still spring water.

To neutralize your senses between drams, serve bread. Other light snacks are also possible, but make sure they are not too spicy (see above).

3. Less is More

Even if you are convinced in your drinking capabilities, it is better to restrict the amount of whiskies in a tasting. Sooner or later you will notice the effect of the alcohol, and you don’t want your senses to be dimmed to early.

The number of whiskies in a tasting should not exceed five or six, even if you are tempted to show off all the great whiskies you might have in your collection.

4. The Right Order

There are some useful rules of thumb when choosing the order of the whiskies in a tasting session. All can be summarized by the musical term crescendo:

From Low to High ABV

When you begin your session with a cask strength whisky, your taste buds might be numb from the start. So it is best to start with the “normal” alcohol content of 40% to 46% and them work your way up to the cask strengths (if planned at all)

From Young to Old

The older a whisky becomes, the more complexity it gains. It is therefore advisable to help your palate adapt to the growing complexity.

From Mild to Strong

This does not mean ABV but the general character of a whisky. If you have heavily peated, sherried or otherwise finished drams on your list as well “untreated” ones, save the richest ones for later.

From Cheap to Expensive

This sounds a bit cheesy but has its justification. If you are lucky enough to serve a dram of Black Bowmore, you don’t really want it to be followed by a Grouse, no matter how famous.


When trying to follow these rules, you will likely run into dilemmas like “cask strength 12yo lowland or 40% 18y madeira finish first”? In these cases you have to make a decision to break one or more rules. The rule of thumb for this kind of situation might be: break as little rules as possible but be careful with early cask strengths. In this example I would actually prefer to take the finish first.

But then again, a whisky tasting is not a Japanese Tea Ceremony. So, if in doubt, just take one first and then the other.

5. Set a Theme

The right choice of whiskies is very important for the success of a tasting session. It is not just about quality, though. If you’re on a tight budget, you can have a great session even with entry level whiskies only. More important is that the choice is balanced.

It is easy to get lost in the whisky world with its thousands of available bottlings. But even when you narrow down the choice to the dozen or so bottles on your shelf, you should think of a red line to follow.

Here are a few starting points for your inspiration:

Example 1: World Wide Whisky

1. Quality blended Scotch (12yo or older)
2. Quality bourbon
3. Irish pure pot still or single malt
4. Japanese vat or single malt
5. Typical Islay
6. Speyside sherry monster

Example 2: Islay

1. Bunnahabhain 12
2. Bowmore 12
3. Caol Ila Distiller’s Edition
4. Lagavulin 16
5. Laphroaig 18
6. Ardbeg Lord of The Isles

Example 3: Scotch Regions

1. Lowlands: Glenkinchie 12
2. Highlands: Dalmore Gran Reserva
3. Islands: Highland Park 18
4. Islay: Port Ellen Annual Release
5. Speyside: Glenfarclas 30yo

6. Don’t Drink and Drive!

Oliver Klimek has been blogging about whisky since 2009. His blog Dramming.com has earned him an entry in the 2011 edition of the renowned Malt Whisky Yearbook. Dramming.com features a host of whisky related information like tasting notes, ratings, distillery visits, basic and advanced whisky knowledge and more.

Whisky Regions of Scotland

Just as France has its wine regions, Scotland has its whisky regions. Each one produces whiskies of various qualities which, even to the novice, are noticeable in taste, colour and aroma. Every distillery in Scotland has its own story to tell and peculiar traditions, adding to the romance and mystique of Scotch whisky distilling.

A visit to a whisky distillery is an unforgettable and unique experience, and no matter where you are in Scotland there will be a distillery nearby. A trip round Scotland isn’t possible for everyone, so it helps to be informed about the characteristics of each region’s whisky, and tailor visiting distilleries to individual taste.


The lowland region covers the area from the border with England and from the Clyde estuary to the Tay estuary. The main feature of lowland whiskies is their dry, light flavour and colour, mainly due to the lighter lowland barley and smaller amount of peat used in the barley drying process. Although they are light, they have a sweet, almost fruity taste and make a great aperitif, perfect for the newcomer to Scotch whisky drinking. Notable lowland whiskies are Auchentoshan, Bladnoch, and Glen Kinchie.


This is the largest of the Scottish regions and stretches from the lowland boundary right up to the north coast, and from west coast to east coast, taking in all the mountains, glens and moorland inbetween. It is also the most complex of whisky regions because of the different sub-regions, each one producing whiskies of different qualities.

Northern Highland

Northern Highland whisky tends to be stronger tasting with a complex array of flavours and aromas. Hints of heather and spice mingle with light peaty, smokiness to give a medium-bodied character. Some whiskies even have a very slight tinge of salt, perhaps due to the coastal locations of most distilleries. Notable northern Highland whiskies include Glenmorangie and Brora.

Southern Highlands

Whisky from the southern highlands is typified by its gentleness. The soil in the rolling hills is light and produces similarly light tasting barley which forms the bulk of whisky’s taste. It is also very fragrant and flowery, with a soft, sweet taste. Celebrated southern Highland whiskies are Glengoyne, Edradour, and Tullibardine.

Western Highlands

The western highland whiskies are more robust in character than those of other Highland regions. Slightly peatier than inland whiskies, they have well-rounded flavours, and are very smooth on the palate. Notable western Highland whiskies are Oban, Glen Lochy and Ben Nevis.


Although Speyside is in the highlands, it is classed as a whisky region because of its high concentration of distilleries. This is the heartland of whisky with two thirds of all Scotland’s distilleries, some of them the most famous in the world. Rivers such as the Spey and Livet flow from the Cairngorm mountains and their waters’ purity is hallowed by distillers.

Speyside whiskies are light and sweet, elegant and complex. They are not peat-heavy and have only a hint of peaty smokiness. Some Speyside whiskies are household names, such as Glenlivet, Macallan, Glenfiddich and Aberlour.


Situated near the bottom of the Kintyre Peninsula, Campbeltown was once a major centre for Scotch whisky distilling with around 30 distilleries. Now there are only three. Their whiskies have a distinctive full-bodied “maritime” flavour and aroma and are among the less peaty malts. The three Campbeltown distilleries are Glengyle, Glen Scotia and Springbank.


Among whisky connoisseurs, the “island region” isn’t really a region at all. Some argue that it can’t be a specific region because some of the islands are very far apart, for example, Arran and Skye, whose whiskies have very different flavours. However, the islands of Mull, Jura, Skye, Arran and Orkney “traditionally” make up the Island malts. All have peaty, smoky bodies and full flavours, but there are marked differences in taste, colour and aroma. Famous island whiskies include Tobermory (Mull), Isle of Jura, Talisker (Skye), Highland Park (Orkney), and Arran Single Malt.


Islay (pronounced “eye-luh”) is so famed and loved by whisky experts it is classed as a region in its own right, although it is nearby the other west coast whisky producing islands. Its eight distilleries distill the strongest whiskies in Scotland and are distinctive by their rich, peaty flavours with hints of the sea, deep colouring, and full bodies. Islay’s better known whiskies are Bowmore, Bunnahabhain, Lagavulin, and Laphroaig.

Sage Advice

Scotch Single Malt Whisky is a very strong alcoholic drink. Once a taste for it has been acquired, the palate becomes more alive to its full, complex flavours, and its smoothness makes it a pleasure to drink. Please enjoy your dram responsibly.

Harry Young works for Toltech Internet Solutions and writes on behalf of Loch Melfort Hotel – a 3-star, 2 AA Rosette hotel on the romantic coast of Argyll in the Scottish Highlands. With superb views in a tranquil setting, fresh, local produce and fine single malt whisky and ales, it is the ideal base for visiting highland and island whisky distilleries.

Enjoying your whisky

Meaning the ‘water of life’, whisky has more than earned its name, as it has provided endless pleasure for people socializing while sipping its smoky amber liquid. The malt whisky version produced in Scotland is referred to as Scotch.


You can enjoy your single malt whisky as you wish but it is harder to palate, for some, neat. Blended whisky is a tad easier to drink neat. Some hardcore whisky lovers prefer to have it pure or neat with nothing according to them interfering with the taste. However, neat whisky is strong and not to everyone’s taste and despite protests from purists you can add water to your drink. It is even believed that this helps open up the flavour of the drink. However, as with most things in this world it is all about a matter of individual taste. Each one of us will find our own unique way to appreciate a drink and should adhere to what we enjoy.


Life is after all too short to be worrying about what others think of the way we enjoy our drink! With its smoky taste, whisky has to be smelt before the initial sip, to set the mood. Take in the aroma and let it get your senses tingling in anticipation of the first sip. And that is exactly what it should be: a sip. Do not gulp or glug down your whisky, instead savour each sip you take, taking time to appreciate each mouthful of amber liquid. You will actually find this therapeutic as it becomes a ritual and you will find it relaxing.


If you are new to the whole whisky experience, then try different ways of having your drink. Most do recommend avoiding it neat initially, until your palate becomes adjusted to its strong flavour. Despite protests you can even mix it with cola for a lighter drink, giving you time to appreciate the flavour of a whisky. Browse reputed whisky shops and ask for opinions as they would have a very good idea of which drinks are best and with what. Experiment, try various options, such as whether ice should be added or not. As with adding water, some believe adding ice messes the flavour of the drink while others believe it helps set the flavour. The best way is to decide for yourself which you prefer. Start experimenting and enjoying whisky as you like.

For in-depth first hand advice on malt whiskies and other drinks visit Drink Finder the one stop whisky shop for the newbie and the experienced alike!

Japanese Whisky

When you think of whisky producing nations you immediately think of Scotland, Ireland and the US. However, in recent years Japanese Whiskies have received a great deal of attention in Europe and America and now enjoys a stellar reputation. In 2001 Japanese distillery Yoichi won Whisky Magazines Best of the Best award.

Whisky production in Japan began around 1870, however, it was not until 1924 that the first distillery, Yamazaki, opened and commercial production began.  There are now around ten whisky distilleries in Japan.

Yoichi distillery was founded in 1934 by Masataka Taketsuru and is located on the Island of Hokkaido. Taketsuru chose this location as he felt it was most similar to the Highlands of Scotland where he had learned his trade. Yoichi is often considered as the most Scottish of all Japanese malt whisky distilleries.

Yamazaki distillery was Japan’s first whisky distillery and is located where three rivers converge in Shinamoto, Osaka. Yamazaki is the most popular single malt in Japan and is currently exported to over 25 countries.  Yamazaki produce both a 12 year old and 18 year old single malt whisky.

Hanyu distillery is located on the banks of the Tone River in Saitama prefecture which is near Tokyo on the main island of Japan.  The distillery made its first serious attempt to manufacture a product similar to Scotch whisky. Unfortunately, the distillery stopped making whisky in 2000.

Hakushu distillery was built in 1973 and is located in Yamanashi at the foot of Kaikomagatake Mountain on the main island of Honshu. Hakushu distillery is owned by Suntory and produces a fruity, oily and often a little peaty style of whisky.

Chichibu distillery was founded by Ichiro Akuto, the grandson of Hanyu distillery founder, in 2007. The distillery is located in the town of Chichibu in Saitama prefecture. The distillery currently produces heavy and medium unpeated spirit along with a heavily peated spirit.

Sendai distillery is located to the North of the main island near the city of Sendai. The Sendai distillery is owned by Nikka and has a light and floral style. The distillery also has a bottling plant adjoined to the distillery.

Karuizawa distillery is located near the town of Karuizawa in Nagano prefecture on the island of Honshu. The distillery is owned by beer manufacturer Kirin and their whisky has a weighty, sweet style.

Fuji-Gotemba distillery is located at the base of Mount Fuji in Shizuoka and, like Kariuizawa, is owned by beer manufacturer Kirin.

Shinshu distillery is owned by Hombo and is located in Nagano prefecture on the main island of Honshu.

White Oak distillery is located in Hyogo on the main island of Honshu and is owned by Eigashima Shuzou.

The author is a whisky fan and recommends the The Whisky Shopfor whisky gifts and hard to find whiskies

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