BEST SCOTCH WHISKY
There are two basic types of the Best Scotch Whisky, from which all blends are made:
- Single malt Scotch must be made from a mash or malted barley and distilled at a single distillery using a pot still distillation process.
- Single grain Scotch
- made from a mash of malted barley
- whisky is a Scotch whiskey distilled at a single distillery
- made from a mash of malted barley
- “Single grain” refers to the fact that this is made in a single distillery and does not mean that only a single type of grain was used to produce the whiskey. Making a single grain requires using a mixture of grains such as barley and some malted barley as must be used in all Scotch whisky.
Excluded from the definition of “single grain Scotch whiskey” is any spirit that qualifies as a single malt Scotch whiskey or as a blended Scotch whiskey. The latter exclusion is to ensure that a blended Scotch whisky produced from single malt(s) and single grain(s) distilled at the same distillery does not also qualify as single grain Scotch whiskey.
Nearly 90% of the bottles of Scotch sold per year are blended whiskies. Three types of blends are defined for Scotch whiskey:
- Blended malt Scotch whiskey means a blend of two or more single malt Scotch whiskies from different distilleries.
- Blended grain Scotch whiskey means a blend of two or more single grain Scotch whiskies from different distilleries.
- Blended Scotch whiskey means a blend of one or more single malt Scotch whiskies with one or more single grain Scotch whiskies.
The five Scotch whiskey definitions are structured in such a way that the categories are mutually exclusive. The 2009 regulations changed the formal definition of blended Scotch whiskey to achieve this result, but in a way that reflected traditional and current practice: before the 2009 SWR, any combination of Scotch whiskies qualified as a blended Scotch whiskey, including for example a blend of single malt Scotch whiskies.
As was the case under the Scotch Whiskey Act 1988, regulation 5 of the SWR 2009 stipulates that the only whiskey that may be manufactured in Scotland is Scotch whiskey. The definition of manufacture is “keeping for the purpose of maturation; and keeping, or using, for the purpose of blending, except for domestic blending for domestic consumption”. This provision prevents the existence of two “grades” of whiskey originating from Scotland, one “Scotch whiskey” and the other, a “whiskey – product of Scotland” that complies with the generic EU standard for whiskey. According to the Scotch Whiskey Association, allowing non-Scotch whiskey production in Scotland would make it difficult to protect Scotch whiskey as a distinctive product.
The SWR regulation also states that no additives may be used except for plain (E150A) caramel colouring.
To qualify for this category the Scotch whiskey must be made in one distillery, in a pot still by batch distillation, using only water and malted barley. As with any other Scotch whisky, the Scotch Whisky Regulations of 2009 also require single malt Scotch to be made completely and bottled in Scotland and aged for at least three years. Most are aged longer and received 4-5 years.
Another term is sometimes seen, called “double wood” or “triple wood”, sometimes incorrectly referred to as “double malt” or “triple malt”. These indicate that the whisky was aged in two or three types of casks. Hence, if the whisky otherwise meets the criteria of a single malt, it still falls into the single malt category even if more than one type of cask was used for ageing.
Another nuance is that Lowland Scotch malts used a triple distillation just like the Irish do, breaking away from the general rule that all Scotch is double distilled.
Single grain whisky is made with water and a malted barley but the distillery then adds other grains or cereals, wheat, corn or rye, for example. From that moment on, it can no longer be called single malt. This type of product must be from a single distillery and is often used in making blended Scotch.
Blended malt whisky—is one of the least common types of Scotch: a blend of single malts from more than one distillery.
Blended malts contain only single malt whiskies from two or more distilleries. This type must contain no grain whiskies and is distinguished by the absence of the word “single” on the bottle. The age of the vat is that of the youngest of the original ingredients.
Blended Scotch whisky constitutes about 90% of the whisky produced in Scotland. Blended Scotch whiskies contain both malt whisky and grain whisky. Producers combine the various malts and grain whiskies to produce a consistent brand style. Notable blended Scotch whisky brands include Johnnie Walker, Chivas Regal, Bell’s Ballantine’s, Cutty Sark, Bell’s, Chivas Regal, Cutty Sark, Dewar’s, and J&B.
The term blended grain Scotch refers to whisky that contains at least two single grain Scotch whiskies from at least two distilleries, combined to create one batch of the product.
Scotland treasures its best Scotch Whisky and the Scottish government has established several regulations. Each of the roughly 100 distilleries in Scotland must adhere to the rules of the Scotch Whisky Association. These rules include and indicate:
- The entire production process must occur within Scotland.
- The product must be aged for at least three years and one day.
- The product must be a minimum of 80 proof.
Many scotches use barley that has been dried using peat smoke, giving the whisky a natural finish. While most scotch whisky is aged in used bourbon barrels, some distillers use old sherry, wine or rum barrels for flavoring.Scotch whisky is crafted in six distinct regions, with each incorporating its own characteristics.
- Highlands — light-bodied with a dry finish and a slight note of saltiness
- Speyside — sweet with some note of smoke
- Islands — soft and sweet in its peatines
- Islay — Peaty and smoky as well as the strongest of all
- Lowlands — A mellow dry Scotch
- Campbeltown — A full-bodied Scotch
Scotch comes in two varieties; single malt and blends. Single malts are made from 100-percent barley at one distillery. Blended scotch combines single malts from multiple distilleries and also incorporating an aged grain whisky to creating a new unique Scotch.
Scotch purist consider it to be best consumed straight up, but many enjoy Scotch on the rocks or Scotch and water. Adding a little water actually opens up some flavors and aromas.
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Check out some great selection of the Best Scotch Whisky from, or course, Scotland or go to our main site for a complete selection of best Scotch Whisky as well as all our fine beverages.
Glenlivet 18 Year Single Malt Scotch
Oban 14 Single Malt, 14 Year
Macallan 17 Yr Fine Oak Single Malt Scotch
Singleton Glendullan 12 Year Single Malt Scotch
Macallan Double Cask 12 Year Single Malt Scotch
Glenkinchie Scotch 12 Year Single Malt Scotch
Auchentoshan 21 Year Single Malt Scotch
Ballantine’s 17 Year Single Malt Scotch
Glenfarclas Scotch 10 Year Single Malt Scotch
Aberfeldy 12 Year Single Malt Scotch
Aberlour 18 Year Single Malt Scotch
Highland Park 18 Single Malt 18 Year
Glenmorangie Single Malt Scotch
Dewars Signature Blended Scotch
Dewar’s 15 Year Blended Scotch
Johnnie Walker Rye Cask Finish Blended Scotch Whiskey
Buchanan’s Master Blended Scotch
Compass Box Peat Monster Blended Malt Scotch
Johnnie Walker Swing Blended Scotch Whiskey
Bank Note 5 Year Blended Scotch
Great Kind Street Artists Blended Scotch
Black Bottle Blended Scotch
Cragganmore Distillers Edition Single Malt Scotch
Glengoyne Single Malt 21 Year Single Malt Scotch
Aberfeldy 21 Year Single Malt Scotch