Scotch whisky (aways spelled without an “e” to differentiate it from Irish!) is produced only in Scotland and is of two types: blended and single malt (the original Scotch).
Blended Scotch whiskies are made of both malt and grain whisky; one blend may contain up to 40 diferent malts. Its age is determined by the age of the youngest whiskey in the blend. Most are a minimum of four years old and are 80 proof.
Malts are aged for at least eight years and are defined by the natural characteristics of the region where they are produced.
- The Highlands is the largest of the whisky producing regions in Scotland and generally produces more full-bodies whiskies with deeper notes of peat and smoke. Due to the vastity of the region, Highland whiskies often taste very different from each other, from the extreme heathery, spicy character of Northern Highlands to the fruity whiskies of the Southern Highlands. Highland malts are distinguished as dry, smooth, and smoky
- Campbeltown was once the whisky capital of Scotland, there are only three distilleries remaining in Campbeltown. The Scotch here is peaty, and has a salty hint and a briny character.
- Lowland are generally considered as the most light bodied of the Single Malts.
- Speyside scotch are thought to be the country’s most complex, and is known for their sweetness and elegant flavors and aromas. Many of the distilleries use water straight from the river Spey in their production process.
- Islay scotch is considered to be the smokiest and strongest-flavored (some say it tastes of the sea) of the single malts. Their strong flavor is believed to be due to the region’s exposure to the high winds and seas of the west coast
- Islands scotch, though not considered by all as a region of its own, scotch from the Islands can be described as a milder version of Islay whisky (sort of like a hybrid between Highland and Islay whiskies).