Types of Whisky
The two basic types of Scotch Whisky, from which all blends are made, are Single Malt Scotch Whisky and Single Grain Scotch Whisky.
Single Malt Scotch Whisky means a Scotch Whisky produced from only water and malted barley at a single distillery by batch distillation in pot stills.
Single Grain Scotch Whisky means a Scotch Whisky distilled at a single distillery but which, in addition to water and malted barley, may also be produced from whole grains of other malted or unmalted cereals. Excluded from the definition of “Single Grain Scotch Whisky” is any spirit which 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.
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Scotland was traditionally divided into four
regions: The Highlands, Lowland, Islay and Campbeltown.
Speyside, encompassing the Spey river valley in north-east Scotland, once considered part of the Highlands, has almost half of the total number of distilleries in Scotland within its geographic boundaries; consequently it is officially recognized as a region unto itself.
Campbeltown was removed as a region several years ago, yet was recently re-instated as a recognized production region.
The Islands is not recognized as a region by the Scotch Whisky Association and is considered part of the Highlands region.
Lowland — only three distilleries remain in operation: Auchentoshan, Bladnoch, and Glenkinchie.
Speyside — has the largest number of distilleries, which includes: Aberlour, Balvenie, Glenfiddich, Speyburn, The Glenlivet, The Glenrothes and The Macallan.
Highland — some Highland distilleries: Aberfeldy, Balblair, Dalmore, Dalwhinnie, Glen Ord, Glenmorangie, Oban and Old Pulteney.
The Islands, an unrecognized sub-region includes all of the whisky producing islands (but excludes Islay): Arran, Jura, Mull, Orkney and Skye — with their respective distilleries: Arran, Isle of Jura, Tobermory, Highland Park and Scapa, and Talisker.
Campbeltown, once home to over 30 distilleries, currently has only three distilleries operating: Glen Scotia, Glengyle and Springbank.
Islay — has eight producing distilleries: Ardbeg, Bowmore, Bruichladdich, Bunnahabhain, Caol Ila, Kilchoman, Lagavulin and Laphroaig.