Scotch whisky

Last updated

Scotch whisky
Bowmore whisky 12 years.JPG
Type Whisky
Country of origin Scotland
Alcohol by volume 40–94.8%

Scotch whisky (Scottish Gaelic : uisge-beatha; Scots : Scots whisky/whiskie, whusk(e)y; [1] often simply called whisky or Scotch) is malt whisky or grain whisky (or a blend of the two), made in Scotland.


All Scotch whisky was originally made from malted barley. Commercial distilleries began introducing whisky made from wheat and rye in the late 18th century. [2] As of 2020, there were 134 Scotch whisky distilleries operating in Scotland. [3]

All Scotch whisky must be aged in oak barrels for at least three years. [4] [5] 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. A whisky without an age statement is known as a no age statement (NAS) whisky, the only guarantee being that all whisky contained in that bottle is at least three years old. The minimum bottling strength according to the regulation is 40% alcohol by volume. [6] Scotch whisky is divided into five distinct categories: single malt Scotch whisky, single grain Scotch whisky, blended malt Scotch whisky (formerly called "vatted malt" or "pure malt"), blended grain Scotch whisky, and blended Scotch whisky. [4] [5]

The first known written mention of Scotch whisky is in the Exchequer Rolls of Scotland of 1494. [7]

Many Scotch whisky drinkers refer to a unit for drinking as a dram. [8]

According to the Scotch Whisky Association, the word whisky comes from the Gaelic uisge beatha or usquebaugh, which means "water of life". [9]


Greybeard Heather Dew Scotch whisky jug Greybeard whisky.JPG
Greybeard Heather Dew Scotch whisky jug

The earliest record of distillation in Scotland is in the Exchequer Rolls of Scotland for 1494. [10]

To Friar John Cor, by order of the King, to make aqua vitae, VIII bolls of malt.

Exchequer Rolls of Scotland, 1 June 1494.

The Exchequer Rolls record crown income and expenditure and the quote records eight bolls of malt given to Friar John Cor to make aqua vitae over the previous year. The term aqua vitae is Latin for "water of life" and was the general term for distilled spirits. [11] This would be enough for 1,500 bottles, which suggests that distillation was well-established by the late 15th century. [12]

The first known reference to a still for making aquavite in Scotland appears in the Aberdeen council registers, [13] in a case heard in 1505 by the town's bailies concerning the inheritance of goods belonging to a chaplain called Sir Andrew Gray, who died in 1504. Among his goods was recorded (in Middle Scots) "ane stellatour for aquavite and ros wattir". [14]

It is probable that whisky was introduced to Scotland from Ireland as evidence of Irish whiskey dating back to 1405, which is nearly 100 years before it shows up in any Scottish context. Considering the abundance of Scottish records during the 15th century and the lack of mention of whisky, it therefore stands to reason that it was recently introduced sometime in the mid to late 15th century from Ireland [11]

Aqua vitae (in the form of wine or spirits) was used when making gunpowder to moisten the slurry of saltpetre, charcoal and sulphur. [15] As a drink, Scotch whisky was a favourite of King James IV of Scotland. [16]

Whisky production was first taxed in 1644, causing a rise in illicit whisky distilling in the country. Between the 1760s and the 1830s a substantial unlicensed trade originated from the Highlands, forming a significant part of the region's export economy. In 1782, more than 1,000 illegal stills were seized in the Highlands: these can only have been a fraction of those in operation. The Lowland distillers, who had no opportunity to avoid taxation, complained that un-taxed Highland whisky made up more than half the market. The heavy taxation during the Napoleonic Wars gave the illicit trade a big advantage, but their product was also considered better quality, commanding a higher price in the Lowlands. This was due to the method of taxation: malt was subject to tax (at a rate that climbed substantially between the 1790s and 1822). The licensed distillers therefore used more raw grain in an effort to reduce their tax bill. [17] :119-134

The Highland magistrates, themselves members of the landowning classes, had a lenient attitude to unlicensed distillers—all of whom would be tenants in the local area. They understood that the trade supported the rents paid. Imprisoned tenants would not be able to pay any rent. [17] :119-134

In 1823, Parliament eased restrictions on licensed distilleries with the "Excise Act", while at the same time making it harder for the illegal stills to operate. Magistrates found counsel for the Crown appearing in their courts, so forcing the maximum penalties to be applied, with some cases removed to the Court of Exchequer in Edinburgh for tougher sentences. Highland landowners were now happy to remove tenants who were distillers in clearances on their estates. These changes ushered in the modern era of Scotch production: in 1823 2,232,000 gallons of whisky had duty paid on it; in 1824 this increased to 4,350,000 gallons. [17] :119–134

A farmer, George Smith, working under landlord the Duke of Gordon, was the first person in Scotland [18] to take out a licence for a distillery under the new Act, founding the Glenlivet Distillery in 1824, to make single malt Scotch. [19] Some of the distilleries which started legal operations in the next few years included Bowmore, Strathisla, Balblair, and Glenmorangie; all remain in business today. [16]

Two events helped to increase whisky's popularity:

Regulations and labelling

As of 23 November 2009, the Scotch Whisky Regulations 2009 (SWR) define and regulate the production, labelling, packaging as well as the advertising of Scotch whisky in the United Kingdom. They replace previous regulations that focussed solely on production, including the Scotch Whisky Act 1988.

Since the previous act focussed primarily on production standards, it was repealed and superseded by the 2009 Regulations. The SWR includes broader definitions and requirements for the crafting, bottling, labelling, branding, and selling of "Scotch Whisky". International trade agreements have the effect of making some provisions of the SWR apply in various other countries as well as in the UK. The SWR define "Scotch whisky" as whisky that: [4] [5]


A Scotch whisky label comprises several elements that indicate aspects of production, age, bottling, and ownership. Some of these elements are regulated by the SWR, [23] and some reflect tradition and marketing. [24] The spelling of the term whisky is often debated by journalists and consumers. Scottish, English, Welsh, Australian and Canadian whiskies use whisky, Irish whiskies use whiskey, while American and other styles vary in their spelling of the term. [25]

The label always features a declaration of the malt or grain whiskies used. A single malt Scotch whisky is one that is entirely produced from malt in one distillery. One may also encounter the term "single cask", signifying the bottling comes entirely from one cask. [25] The term "blended malt" signifies that single malt whisky from different distilleries are blended in the bottle. [26] The Cardhu distillery also began using the term "pure malt" for the same purpose, causing a controversy in the process over clarity in labelling [27] [28] —the Glenfiddich distillery was using the term to describe some single malt bottlings. As a result, the Scotch Whisky Association declared that a mixture of single malt whiskies must be labelled a "blended malt". The use of the former terms "vatted malt" and "pure malt" is prohibited. The term "blended malt" is still debated, as some bottlers maintain that consumers confuse the term with "blended Scotch whisky", which contains some proportion of grain whisky. [29]

The brand name featured on the label is usually the same as the distillery name (for example, the Talisker distillery labels its whiskies with the Talisker name). Indeed, the SWR prohibit bottlers from using a distillery name when the whisky was not made there. A bottler name may also be listed, sometimes independent of the distillery. In addition to requiring that Scotch whisky be distilled in Scotland, the SWR require that it also be bottled and labelled in Scotland. Labels may also indicate the region of the distillery (for example, Islay or Speyside). [30]

Alcoholic strength is expressed on the label with "Alcohol By Volume" ("ABV") or sometimes simply "Vol". [30] Typically, bottled whisky is between 40% and 46% ABV. [31] Whisky is considerably stronger when first emerging from the cask—normally 60–63% ABV. [30] [31] Water is then added to create the desired bottling strength. If the whisky is not diluted before bottling, it can be labelled as cask strength. [31]

A whisky's age may be listed on the bottle providing a guarantee of the youngest whisky used. An age statement on the bottle, in the form of a number, 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. [32] Scotch whisky without an age statement may, by law, be as young as three years old. [4] In the early 21st century, such "No age statement" whiskies have become more common, as distilleries respond to the depletion of aged stocks caused by improved sales. [33] A label may carry a distillation date or a bottling date. Whisky does not mature once bottled, so if no age statement is provided, one may calculate the age of the whisky if both the distillation date and bottling date are given. [30]

Labels may also carry various declarations of filtration techniques or final maturation processes. A Scotch whisky labelled as "natural" or "non-chill-filtered" has not been through a filtration process during bottling that removes compounds that some consumers see as desirable. Whisky is aged in various types of casks—and often in used sherry or port casks—during distinct portions of the maturation process, and will take on characteristics, flavour and aromas from such casks. Special casks are sometimes used at the end of the maturation process, and such whiskies may be labelled as "wood finished", "sherry/port finished", and so on. [30]

Economic effects

The Scotch Whisky Association estimated that Scotland's whisky industry supported 40,000 jobs and accounted for £4.37 billion in exports in 2017. Of that total, single malt Scotch accounted for £1.17 billion in exports, a 14% increase over 2016. [34]

The industry's contribution to the economy of the UK was estimated as £5.5 billion in 2018; the industry provided £3.8 billion in direct GVA (gross value added) to Scotland. Whisky tourism has also become significant and accounts for £68.3 million per year. One factor negatively affected sales, an extra 3.9% duty on spirits imposed by the UK in 2017. (The effect of the 25% increase in tariffs imposed by the U.S. in October 2019 would not be apparent until 2020.) Nonetheless, by year-end 2017, exports had reached a record-breaking amount. [35] [36] [37] [38]

In November 2019, the Association announced that the government of the UK had agreed to consider revising the alcohol taxation system, hopefully producing a new plan that was simplified and "fairer". [39]

Exports in 2018 again increased 7.8% by value, and 3.6% in number of bottles, in spite of the duty imposed in 2017; exports grew to a record level, £4.7 billion. [40] The US imported Scotch whisky with a value of just over £1 billion while the European Union was the second largest importer, taking 30% of global value. This was a boom year with a record high in exports, but the Scotch Whisky Association expressed concern for the future, particularly "the challenges posed by Brexit and by tensions in the global trading system". [41]

Scotch whisky tourism has developed around the industry, with distilleries being the third most visited attractions in Scotland; roughly 2 million visits were recorded in 2018. Some 68 distilleries operate visitors' centres in Scotland and another eight accept visits by appointment. Hotels, restaurants and other facilities are also impacted by the tourism phenomenon. The tourism has had an especially visible impact on the economy in some remote rural areas, according to Fiona Hyslop MSP, Cabinet Secretary for Culture, Tourism and External Affairs. "The Scottish Government is committed to working with partners like the Scotch Whisky Association to increase our tourism offer and encourage more people to visit our distilleries," the Secretary said. [42] [43]

During the COVID-19 pandemic, exports of many food and drink products from the UK declined significantly, [44] and that included Scotch whisky. Distillers were required to close for some time and the hospitality industry worldwide experienced a major slump. [45] According to news reports in February 2021, the Scotch whisky sector had experienced £1.1 billion in lost sales. Exports to the US were also affected by the 25% tariff that had been imposed. Scotch whisky exports to the US during 2020 "fell by 32%" from the previous year. Worldwide exports declined by 70%. [46] A BBC News headline on 12 February 2021 summarized the situation: "Scotch whisky exports slump to 'lowest in a decade'". [47]

Ownership of distilleries

A 2016 report stated that only 20% of the whisky was made by companies owned in Scotland. Distilleries owned by Diageo, a London-based company, produce 40% of all Scotch whisky, with over 24 brands, such as Johnnie Walker, Oban, and Talisker. Another 20% of the product is made by distillers owned by Pernod Ricard of France, including brands such as Glenlivet, Chivas Regal, and Ballantine's. There are also smaller distillers that are owned by foreign companies, such as BenRiach whose parent is the Brown–Forman Corporation based in Kentucky. Nonetheless, Scotch whisky is produced according to the current regulations, as to ageing, production and so on, ensuring that it remains Scottish. [16]

Independents owned by Scots companies make a substantial amount of Scotch whisky, with the largest, William Grant & Sons, producing 8%, or about 7.6 million cases per year. Its brands include Glenfiddich and Balvenie. [48] Glenfiddich is the best-selling single malt Scotch in the world. [49] Roughly 14 million bottles of Glenfiddich are sold annually. [48]

Independent bottlers

Most malt distilleries sell a significant amount of whisky by the cask for blending, and sometimes to private buyers as well. Whisky from such casks is sometimes bottled as a single malt by independent bottling firms such as Duncan Taylor, Master of Malt, [50] Gordon & MacPhail, Cadenhead's,[ citation needed ] The Scotch Malt Whisky Society, Murray McDavid, Berry Bros. & Rudd, Douglas Laing, and others. [51] These are usually labelled with the distillery's name, but not using the distillery's trademarked logos or typefaces. An "official bottling" (or "proprietary bottling"), by comparison, is from the distillery (or its owner). Many independent bottlings are from single casks, and they may sometimes be very different from an official bottling.

For a variety of reasons, some independent bottlers do not identify which distillery produced the whisky in the bottle. Mostly this will be at the bequest of the whisky distiller as they are unable to regulate the quality of the whisky sold. Some distilleries, to prevent third-party bottlers from naming them on the bottle, add a small amount of whisky from a different distillery, a technique called ‘tea-spooning' which then precludes the sale of the whisky as from a specific distillery, or as a single malt; the addition of any whisky from a second distillery is by regulation a blended malt. [52] Instead the bottler may identify only the general geographical area of the source, or simply market the product using their own brand name without identifying their source. This may, in some cases, give the independent bottling company the flexibility to purchase from multiple distillers without changing their labels.


Various Scotch whiskies Scotch whiskies.jpg
Various Scotch whiskies

There are two basic types of Scotch whisky, from which all blends are made:

Excluded from the definition of "single grain Scotch whisky" is any spirit that qualifies as a single malt Scotch whisky or as a blended Scotch whisky. 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 whisky.

Nearly 90% of the bottles of Scotch sold per year are blended whiskies. [54] Three types of blends are defined for Scotch whisky:

The five Scotch whisky definitions are structured in such a way that the categories are mutually exclusive. The 2009 regulations changed the formal definition of blended Scotch whisky 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 whisky, including for example a blend of single malt Scotch whiskies.

As was the case under the Scotch Whisky Act 1988, regulation 5 of the SWR 2009 stipulates that the only whisky that may be manufactured in Scotland is Scotch whisky. 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 whisky originating from Scotland, one "Scotch whisky" and the other, a "whisky – product of Scotland" that complies with the generic EU standard for whisky. According to the Scotch Whisky Association, allowing non-Scotch whisky production in Scotland would make it difficult to protect Scotch whisky as a distinctive product. [5]

The SWR regulation also states that no additives may be used except for plain (E150A) caramel colouring. [56]

Single malt

To qualify for this category the Scotch whisky must be made in one distillery, in a pot still by batch distillation, using only water and malted barley. [57] 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. [58] [59]

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. [56] Examples include The Balvenie 12 Years Old DoubleWood and Laphroaig Triple Wood.

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. [60]

Single grain

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. [56] Single grain whiskies are usually not distilled in pot stills but with column stills. [61]

Blended malt

Blended malt whisky—formerly called vatted malt or pure malt (terms that are now prohibited in the SWR 2009)—is one of the least common types of Scotch: a blend of single malts from more than one distillery (possibly with differing ages).

Blended malts contain only single malt whiskies from two or more distilleries. [56] 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. For example, a blended malt marked "8 years old" may include older whiskies, with the youngest constituent being eight years old. Johnnie Walker Green Label and Monkey Shoulder are examples of blended malt whisky. Starting from November 2011, no Scotch whisky could be labelled as a vatted malt or pure malt, the SWR requiring them to be labelled blended malt instead. [62]


Johnnie Walker produces a line of blended whiskies Johnnie Walker Blends Lineup.jpg
Johnnie Walker produces a line of blended whiskies

Blended Scotch whisky constitutes about 90% of the whisky produced in Scotland. [63] 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 Ballantine's, Bell's, Chivas Regal, Cutty Sark, Dewar's, J&B, Johnnie Walker, Teacher's Highland Cream, The Famous Grouse, Vat 69 and Whyte and Mackay.

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. [64]

Sensory characteristics

Flavour and aroma

Dozens of compounds contribute to Scotch whisky flavour and aroma characteristics, including volatile alcohol congeners (also called higher oils) formed during fermentation, such as acetaldehyde, methanol, ethyl acetate, n-propanol, and isobutanol. [65] Other flavour and aroma compounds include vanillic acid, syringic acid, vanillin, syringaldehyde, furfural, phenyl ethanol, and acetic acid. [65] [66] One analysis established 13 distinct flavour characteristics dependent on individual compounds, including sour, sweet, grainy, and floral as major flavour perceptions. [66]

Some distilleries use a peat fire to dry the barley for some of their products before grinding it and making the mash. [54] Peat smoke contributes phenolic compounds, such as guaiacol, [66] that give aromas similar to smoke. The Maillard browning process of the residual sugars in the mashing process, particularly through formation of 2-furanmethanol and pyrazines imparting nutty or cereal characteristics, contributes to the baked bread notes in the flavour and aroma profile. [67] Maturation during multi-year casking [66] in oak barrels mostly previously used for bourbon whiskey, Sherry, Wines, Fortified Wine, (including Port and Madeira) Rum and other spirit production, has the largest impact on the flavour of the whisky. Some distilleries use Virgin Oak casks as used casks are becoming increasingly harder to source (particularly authentic sherry casks due to the downturn in sherry consumption plus the laws introduced in 1986 regarding bottling Spanish wines exclusively in Spain) [68]

Screening for potential adulteration

Refilling and fabrication or tampering of branded Scotch whiskies are types of Scotch whisky adulteration that diminishes brand integrity, consumer confidence, and profitability in the Scotch industry. [65] Deviation from normal concentrations of major constituents, such as alcohol congeners, provides a precise, quantitative method for determining authenticity of Scotch whiskies. [65] Over 100 compounds can be detected during counterfeit analysis, including phenolics and terpenes which may vary in concentration by different geographic origins, the barley used in the fermentation mash, or the oak cask used during ageing. [69] Typical high-throughput instruments used in counterfeit detection are liquid chromatography and mass spectrometry. [65] [69]


The regions of Scotch whisky Scotch regions.svg
The regions of Scotch whisky

Scotland was traditionally divided into four regions: The Highlands, The Lowlands, The Isle of Islay, and Campbeltown. [70] Due to the large number of distilleries found there, the Speyside area became the fifth, recognised by the Scotch Whisky Association (SWA) as a distinct region in 2014. [71] The whisky-producing islands other than Islay are not recognised as a distinct region by the SWA, which groups them into the Highlands region. [71]

Macallan Distillery production hall Macallan part of the production hall.jpg
Macallan Distillery production hall
Glenlivet Distillery Glenlivet Distillery.jpg
Glenlivet Distillery
Bowmore Distillery Bowmore Distillery - - 933023.jpg
Bowmore Distillery

Although only five regions are specified, any Scottish locale may be used to describe a whisky if it is distilled entirely within that place; for example a single malt whisky distilled on Orkney could be described as Orkney Single Malt Scotch Whisky [5] instead of as an Island whisky.

See also

Related Research Articles

Whisky Type of distilled alcoholic beverage made from fermented grain mash

Whisky or whiskey is a type of distilled alcoholic beverage made from fermented grain mash. Various grains are used for different varieties, including barley, corn, rye, and wheat. Whisky is typically aged in wooden casks, which are often old sherry casks or may also be made of charred white oak.

Single malt Scotch

Single malt Scotch is single malt whisky made in Scotland. To qualify for this category, a whisky must have been distilled at a single distillery using a pot still distillation process and made from a mash of malted barley. As with any Scotch whisky, a single malt Scotch must be distilled in Scotland and matured in oak casks in Scotland for at least three years.

Single malt whisky malt whisky from a single distillery

Single malt whisky is malt whisky from a single distillery. Single malts are typically associated with single malt Scotch, though they are also produced in various other countries. Under the United Kingdom's Scotch Whisky Regulations, a "Single Malt Scotch Whisky" must be made exclusively from malted barley, must be distilled using pot stills at a single distillery, and must be aged for at least three years in oak casks of a capacity not exceeding 700 litres. While the Scotch model is usually copied internationally, these constraints may not apply to whisky marketed as "single malt" that is produced elsewhere. For example, there is no definition of the term "single" with relation to whisky in the law of the United States, and some American whiskey advertised as "single malt whisky" is produced from malted rye rather than malted barley.

A blended whiskey is the product of blending different types of whiskeys and sometimes also neutral grain spirits, colorings, and flavorings. It is generally the product of mixing one or more higher-quality straight or single malt whiskey with less expensive spirits and other ingredients. This typically allows for a lower priced finished product, although expensive "premium" varieties also exist.

Royal Brackla distillery

Royal Brackla distillery is a Highland Scotch whisky distillery on the Cawdor Estate, near Nairn in Scotland. The distillery is operated by John Dewar & Sons Ltd for Bacardi.

Grain whisky Type of alcoholic beverage

Grain whisky normally refers to any whisky made, at least in part, from grains other than malted barley. Frequently used grains include corn, wheat, and rye. Grain whiskies usually contain some malted barley to provide enzymes needed for mashing and are required to include it if they are produced in Ireland or Scotland. Whisky made only from malted barley is generally called "malt whisky" rather than grain whisky. Most American and Canadian whiskies are grain whiskies.

Springbank distillery

The Springbank distillery is a family-owned single malt whisky distillery on the Kintyre Peninsula in western Scotland. It is owned by J & A Mitchell & Company, which also owns the Glengyle Distillery, the oldest independent bottler, William Cadenheads, and several blended scotch labels. Licensed in 1828, Springbank is one of the last surviving producers of single malt whiskies in Campbeltown, an area that once had over thirty active distilleries. The distillery produces three types of peated and unpeated malt whisky that it bottles under three distinct brands. The majority of its distillate is bottled as a single malt, with a small percentage sold to larger blenders or ending up in one of J&A Mitchell's own blended scotch labels, such as Campbeltown Loch.

Blended malt whisky

A blended malt, formerly called a vatted malt, or pure malt, is a blend of different single malt whiskies from different distilleries. These terms are most commonly used in reference to Scotch whisky, or whisky in that style, such as Japanese whisky.

McClelland's Single Malt is a range of Single Malt Scotch whiskies from four of Scotland's key whisky distilling regions—Highland, Islay, Speyside and Lowland.

Malt whisky is whisky made from a fermented mash consisting primarily of malted barley. If the product is made exclusively at a single distillery, it is typically called a single malt whisky. Although malt whisky can be made using other malted grains besides barley, those versions are not called malt whisky without specifying the grain, such as rye malt whisky or buckwheat malt whisky.

Tamdhu distillery

Tamdhu distillery is a single malt Scotch Speyside whisky distillery, located in the village of Knockando in Banffshire, Scotland. Tamdhu comes from Gaelic for "little dark hill".

It has been common practice in the whisky industry for more than a century for distilleries to sell barrels of whisky to blenders and independent bottlers as a means of making additional income. In fact, some distilleries exist solely to serve independent bottlers, and do not market any brands themselves.

Straight whiskey, as defined in United States law, is whiskey that is distilled from a fermented cereal grain mash to a concentration not exceeding 80% alcohol by volume (abv) and aged in new charred oak barrels for at least two years at a concentration not exceeding 62.5% at the start of the aging process.

Single pot still whiskey

Single pot still whiskey is a style of Irish whiskey made by a single distillery from a mixed mash of malted and unmalted barley distilled in a pot still. Somewhat similar to single malt whiskey, the style was defined by its inclusion of unmalted raw barley in the mash in addition to malt. However, small amounts of raw oats or wheat may have been used at times. This unmalted component is said to give the pot still whiskey a "spicier bristle" and "thicker texture" than the otherwise similar malt whiskeys. If the whiskey is not distilled completely on the site of a single distillery, then it may be termed pot still whiskey but not single pot still whiskey.

Mortlach distillery is a distiller of Scotch whisky in Dufftown, Moray, Scotland. Founded in 1823, the distillery is currently owned by Diageo. The whisky is a key component in several Johnnie Walker bottlings., while Diageo also markets four Mortlach single malts.

Established in 1948, Douglas Laing & Co is an independent bottler of Scotch whisky. Based in Glasgow, Scotland, the company has a number of brands including its "Remarkable Regional Malts" range, encompassing The Epicurean, Timorous Beastie, Scallywag, Rock Island and Big Peat, as well as Old Particular, Provenance and Xtra Old Particular, which they collectively call their "Exceptional Single Casks". The firm also creates and sells King of Scots Blended Scotch Whisky, Clan Denny Single Casks and Premier Barrel.

Amrut (whisky) brand of Indian single malt whisky

Amrut is a brand of Indian single malt whisky, manufactured by Amrut Distilleries. It is the first single malt whisky to be made in India. Amrut (अमृत) or amrita is a Sanskrit word which can be translated as "nectar of the gods", "nectar of life", or "drink of the gods". The company translates it as "Elixir of Life". The brand became famous after whisky connoisseur Jim Murray gave it a rating of 82 out of 100 in 2005 and 2010. In 2010 Murray named Amrut Fusion single malt whisky as the third best in the world. John Hansell, editor of American magazine Whisky Advocate, wrote that "India's Amrut distillery changed the way many think of Indian whisky – that it was, in the past, just cheap Scotch whisky blended with who knows what and sold as Indian whisky. Amrut is making whisky, and it's very good".

Australian whisky Type of distilled liquor produced in Australia

Australian Whisky is whisky produced in Australia. As of March 2020, there were 293 registered distilleries in operation within Australia, of which approximately 50 have a whisky on the market. The Industry has shown steady growth since the early 90s especially in the boutique craft distilling scene.

Outline of whisky Outline of the knowledge of whisky

Whisky or whiskey is a type of distilled alcoholic beverage made from fermented grain mash. Various grains are used in different varieties, including barley, corn, rye, and wheat. Whisky is typically aged in wooden casks, generally made of charred white oak.


  1. "whisky". Scottish National Dictionary . Retrieved 13 January 2021 via Dictionary of the Scots Language.
  2. MacLean 2010, p. 10.
  3. "Facts & Figures". The Scotch Whisky Association. Retrieved 6 July 2021.
  4. 1 2 3 4 Scotch Whisky Regulations 2009.
  5. 1 2 3 4 5 6 Scotch Whisky Association 2009.
  6. "What is the alcoholic strength of Scotch Whisky?". The Scotch Whisky Association. 1 December 2018. Retrieved 19 December 2019.
  7. 'Exchequer Rolls of Scotland, 1494–95, vol 10, p. 487, "Et per liberacionem factam fratri Johanni Cor per perceptum compotorum rotulatoris, ut asserit, de mandato domini regis ad faciendum aquavite infra hoc compotum viij bolle brasii."
  8. Simpson, John A.; Weiner, Edmund S.C., eds. (1989). "dram, n.". Oxford English Dictionary (2nd ed.). Oxford, England: Oxford University Press. ISBN   978-0-19-861186-8. OCLC   50959346 . Retrieved 2 July 2012. Earlier version first published in New English Dictionary , 1897.
  9. "Scotch Whisky FAQs". Scotch Whisky Association. Retrieved 26 April 2020.
  10. Exchequer Rolls of Scotland, 1494–95, vol 10, p. 487, "Et per liberacionem factam fratri Johanni Cor per perceptum compotorum rotulatoris, ut asserit, de mandato domini regis ad faciendum aquavite infra hoc compotum viij bolle brasii.": See also Accounts of the Lord High Treasurer of Scotland, vol 1, (Edinburgh 1877), pp. ccxiii–iv, 373, December 1497, "Item, to the barbour that brocht acqua vitae to the King in Dundee, by the King's command, xxxi shillings."
  11. 1 2 "Whisky or Whiskey". Master of Malt. Retrieved 17 January 2020.
  12. "History". Scotch Whisky Association. Retrieved 16 July 2012.
  13. "The Still in context: a list of early references related to aquavite in Scotland". Aberdeen Registers. 2019. Retrieved 9 August 2021.
  14. "Aberdeen Registers Online: 1398-1511". University of Aberdeen. 2019.  entry reference ARO-8-0466-02 '
  15. "Famous whisky drinkers: King James IV | Scotch Whisky".
  16. 1 2 3 4 5 "A Comprehensive Yet Concise History of Scotch Whisky". Bespoke Unit. Retrieved 25 December 2019.
  17. 1 2 3 Devine, T M (1994). Clanship to Crofters' War: The social transformation of the Scottish Highlands (2013 ed.). Manchester University Press. ISBN   978-0-7190-9076-9.
  18. "Glenlivet Single Malt Scotch Whisky | The Whisky Shop".
  19. "The Story". The Glenlivet.
  20. "The History of Whisky and Whiskey – Celtic Life International".
  21. 1 2 "The Difference Between Pot Versus Column Stills, Explained". VinePair. 5 October 2018.
  22. Ranahan, Jared (12 July 2019). "How Phylloxera Jumpstarted the Modern Whiskey Industry".
  23. MacLean 2010, p. 20.
  24. MacLean 2010, p. 23.
  25. 1 2 Jackson 2010, p. 22.
  26. Jackson 2010, p. 23.
  27. Whisky branding deal reached, BBC News, 4 December 2003. Accessed 2 May 2012.
  28. Tran, Mark (4 December 2003). "Whisky industry settles on strict malt definitions". The Guardian . Retrieved 23 March 2014.
  29. Jackson 2010, pp. 419–420.
  30. 1 2 3 4 5 MacLean 2010, p. 21.
  31. 1 2 3 Jackson 2010, p. 25.
  32. Hansell 2010.
  33. Mure Dickie (9 December 2013). "Hopes soar for spirited revival". Financial Times . Retrieved 23 January 2014.(registration required)
  34. "Scotland's Next Wave of Whisky Distilleries". Bloomberg News. 10 September 2018. Retrieved 11 January 2020.
  35. "Scotch Whisky Economic Impact Report 2018". Scotch Whisky Association.
  36. "Whisky Tourism Facts and Insights" (PDF). VisitScotland.
  37. Stewart, Heather; O'Carroll, Lisa (7 October 2019). "PM urged to confront Trump over US tariffs on scotch whisky" via
  38. Inman, Phillip (12 October 2017). "Cut duty on Scotch whisky to raise industry spirits, say distillers" via
  39. "SWA response duty system review". Scotch Whisky Association.
  40. "Scotch Whisky Exports rise in 2018". Scotch Whisky Association.
  41. "Scotch whisky exports reach record high". BBC News. 12 February 2019.
  42. "Record numbers of visitors for Scotch Whisky Distilleries". 21 June 2019.
  43. Scotch Whisky Tourism at All-Time High
  44. "Data shows collapse of UK food and drink exports post-Brexit". 22 March 2021. Retrieved 23 March 2021.
  45. "Scotland's whisky islands are dealing with a major Covid hangover" . Retrieved 23 March 2021.
  46. "COVID COSTS SCOTCH WHISKY EXPORTS £1.1 BILLION IN LOST SALES". 12 February 2021. Retrieved 23 March 2021.
  47. "Scotch whisky exports slump to 'lowest in a decade'". BBC News. 12 February 2021. Retrieved 23 March 2021.
  48. 1 2 "Top 15 Scotch whisky companies". WhiskyInvestDirect.
  49. Koutsakis, George. "World's Bestselling Single Malt Whisky Undergoes Risky Change". Forbes.
  50. or empty |title= (help)
  51. - What is an Independent Bottler?
  52. "Independence Day". The Really Good Whisky Company. Retrieved 17 October 2020.
  53. "How Single Malt Whisky Is Made -".
  54. 1 2 3 "Scotch Whisky FAQs". Scotch Whisky Association.
  55. "How is Whisky Made?". 2 October 2019.
  56. 1 2 3 4 The Scotch Whisky Guide
  57. The Scotch Whisky Regulations 2009
  58. How Single Malt Whisky Is Made
  59. FAQs
  60. "The Difference Between Scotch and Whiskey". 21 December 2019.
  61. What exactly makes a scotch ‘single malt’, ‘single grain’ or a ‘blend’?
  62. Scotch Whisky Association 2009, Chapter 11.
  63. "Statistical Report" (PDF). 2009. Archived from the original (PDF) on 31 January 2012. Retrieved 16 November 2011.
  64. Smith, Gavin D. (2018). MicroDistillers' Handbook. Paragraph Publishing. p. 52. ISBN   978-1-9998408-0-8.
  65. 1 2 3 4 5 Smith, Barry L.; Hughes, David M.; Badu-Tawiah, Abraham K.; Eccles, Rebecca; Goodall, Ian; Maher, Simon (29 May 2019). "Rapid Scotch whisky analysis and authentication using desorption atmospheric pressure chemical ionisation mass spectrometry". Scientific Reports. 9 (1): 7994. Bibcode:2019NatSR...9.7994S. doi:10.1038/s41598-019-44456-0. ISSN   2045-2322. PMC   6541643 . PMID   31142757.
  66. 1 2 3 4 Lee, K.-Y. Monica; Paterson, Alistair; Piggott, John R.; Richardson, Graeme D. (2000). "Perception of whisky flavour reference compounds by Scottish distillers". Journal of the Institute of Brewing. 106 (4): 203–208. doi: 10.1002/j.2050-0416.2000.tb00058.x . ISSN   0046-9750.
  67. Boothroyd, Emily; Linforth, Robert S. T.; Jack, Frances; Cook, David J. (2 December 2013). "Origins of the perceived nutty character of new-make malt whisky spirit". Journal of the Institute of Brewing. 120 (1): 16–22. doi: 10.1002/jib.103 . ISSN   0046-9750.
  68. "Different Types of Whisky Casks and Their Impact on the Whisky..." The Really Good Whisky Company. Retrieved 4 July 2021.
  69. 1 2 Vosloo, Nicola (21 October 2015). "Identifying whiskey counterfeits". Food Quality and Safety. Retrieved 19 December 2019.
  70. The Scotch Whisky Regulations 2009 – Chapter 8 section 1
  71. 1 2 3 "Whisky Regions & Tours". Scotch Whisky Association. Archived from the original on 26 July 2018. Retrieved 13 May 2014.
  72. 1 2 3 "Lowland Whisky – Map & Distillery Tours Near Edinburgh & Glasgow". VisitScotland.
  73. "Eden Mill—Scotch Whisky". Retrieved 9 September 2018.
  74. "Lowland > Daftmill". Whiskies of Scotland. Archived from the original on 10 December 2013. Retrieved 3 December 2013.
  75. "Spirited revival for third distillery". 10 October 2017. Retrieved 26 July 2019.
  76. "Rosebank distillery set to reopen in 2020 | Scotch Whisky". Retrieved 26 July 2019.
  77. "Your Cheat Sheet to Scottish Whisky Regions". Flaviar. 14 September 2016. Retrieved 3 November 2019.
  78. 1 2 "Speyside Distilleries – Whisky Tours, Tastings & Map". VisitScotland.
  79. 1 2 3 "All The Scotch Distilleries, locations and Flavors". The Scotch Advocate. Napier Marketing Group.
  80. 1 2 "Highland Distilleries – Whisky Tours, Tastings & Map". VisitScotland.
  81. "Scotch Whisky Regions". Scotch Whisky Association.
  82. Powell, Tom (31 July 2018). "The beginner's guide to scotch whisky". Foodism.
  83. "Campbeltown Whisky Distilleries – Map & Tours". VisitScotland.
  84. "Islay Malt Whisky and Islay Whisky Distilleries Map". Retrieved 14 May 2019.
  85. "Islay Malt Whisky and Islay Whisky Distilleries Map".
  86. "Islay Distilleries – Whisky Tours, Tastings & Map". VisitScotland.


Further reading