The first written mention of Scotch whisky is in the Exchequer Rolls of Scotland, 1495; a friar named John Cor was the distiller at Lindores Abbey in the Kingdom of Fife.
Scotch whisky, often simply called Scotch, is malt whisky or grain whisky made in Scotland and must be made in a manner specified by law to be called Scotch whisky.
The law specifies that to be called Scotch whisky, the new make spirit must be aged in oak barrels for at least three years (with many distilleries requiring three years and a day to account for a leap year) within the borders of Scotland.
A single malt Scotch whisky is made with only three ingredients:
- Malted barley
The colour and much of the flavour is derived from the cask in which the whisky is aged. Traditionally Scotch whisky was matured in American oak casks, but in recent years other types of cask have been introduced. A popular second type of cask used are sherry casks from Spain in which whisky is either matured or finished resulting in a darker colour and richer flavour.
Any age statement on a bottle of Scotch whisky, expressed in numerical form, must reflect the age of the youngest whisky used to produce that product; a whisky with an age statement is known as guaranteed-age whisky.
All Scotch whisky was originally made from malted barley, but commercial distilleries began introducing whisky made from wheat and rye in the late 18th century. Scotch whisky is divided into five distinct categories:
- Single malt Scotch whisky (such as Laphroaig, Dalwhinnie and The Macallan
- Single grain Scotch whisky (such as Haig Club)
- Blended malt Scotch whisky which was formerly called “vatted malt” or “pure malt” (such as William Grant & Sons’ Monkey Shoulder)
- Blended grain Scotch whisky
- Blended Scotch whisky (such as Johnnie Walker, Dewars or The Glenturret (Famous Grouse Experience))
As mentioned, the islands are officially classed as part of the Highlands, but on this site have been broken out as a distinct region to make finding the non-mainland distilleries easier to identify for planning distillery visits.HighlandsSpeysideIslandsIslayLowlandsCampbeltown
This article uses material from the Wikipedia article Scotch whisky, which is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike License 3.0.