500+ Years of Drinking Have Proven That Single Malt Scotch is Darn Good!
May 5, 2013
Single malt Scotch whisky under Scotch Whisky Regulations made exclusively with Malted Barley, water and aged for a minimum of three years in in oak casks not exceeding 180 gallons. These technical rules that basically ensure that Single Malt stays delicious. Perhaps the best known style of Whisky in the world, Scotch has survived the various fads and tastes of countless generations. It is a timeless spirit that has always had a tried and true flavor that Whisky lovers have grown to appreciate.
While Whisky has been thought to be produced as early as 800 B.C, Single Malt Scotch as we know it has historical records dating to 1494 in Scotland. Written in the Exchequer Rolls, which reads “Eight bolls of malt to Friar John Cor, by order of the King, wherewith to make aqua vitae. This is the first reference to a Whiskey using malted barley. The 1800’s is when Single Malt really started rolling with the invention of the use of continuous stills that dramatically increased production. Also in the late 1800’s the louse Phylloxera was wiping out grapes and affecting people drinking habits of wine and Cognac. The rest as we say is history.
There are essentially five Single Malt regions in Scotland, each of which has a particular style due to preference, water and environmental conditions.
- The Lowlands is in Southern Scotland and claims only three working distilleries. The whiskies here tend to be soft and light in character and often display very malty grassy characteristics with subtle aromas. Glenkinchie and Auchentoshan are examples to be had around here with Blandoch being harder to find.
- The Highlands is north of the Lowlands and really includes most of the rest of Scotland. Because of the large area, its malts tend to vary greatly in style and generalizations of this region are tough to quantify. The whiskies will range from dry to sweet and some may have a touch of smoke. Glenmorangie and Talisker are great examples.
- The Speyside region technically lies within the Highland region but because of the large amount of distilleries here has warranted its own region. Northwest of Aberdeen, whiskies from here tend to be mellow, sweet and particularly fruits. Perhaps the most approachable in style and price for the novice. This is where the larger distilleries are located such as Glenlivet, Glenfiddich, and Macallan.
- The Islay region is located in the Inner Hebrides; this small island is often called Whisky Island because though a tiny island it has eight distilleries. Perhaps the most distinctive of the regions, they are generally very heavily peated with a smoky salty taste. Examples include Bowmore, Laphroig and Lagavulin.
- Campeltown is a town in the Southwest Scotland and was once home to over 30 distilleries. Today it is down to three. Springbank is the easiest to find and the other two are Glen Gyle and Glen Scotia. Whiskies from this area tend to have a little peat and salt to them and are generally medium to full bodied.