Everything you need to know about Scotch whisky..

EW&W Whisky

What is Scotch?

Scotland produces malt whiskies and grain whiskies; both are made from malted barley. Commercial distilleries started introducing whisky made from wheat and rye in the late 18th century. Scotland is home to over 130 distilleries producing Scotch whisky.

Scotch whisky is a symbol of British craftsmanship and tradition, durability and reliability. The origin of whisky began over 1000 years ago when distillation made the migration from mainland Europe into Scotland and Ireland via travelling monks. The Scottish and Irish monasteries, lacking the vineyards and grapes of the continent, turned to fermenting grain mash, resulting in the first distillations of modern whisky.

What is Scotch?

Scotland produces malt whiskies and grain whiskies; both are made from malted barley. Commercial distilleries started introducing whisky made from wheat and rye in the late 18th century. Scotland is home to over 130 distilleries producing Scotch whisky.

Scotch whisky is a symbol of British craftsmanship and tradition, durability and reliability. The origin of whisky began over 1000 years ago when distillation made the migration from mainland Europe into Scotland and Ireland via travelling monks. The Scottish and Irish monasteries, lacking the vineyards and grapes of the continent, turned to fermenting grain mash, resulting in the first distillations of modern whisky.

The Scotch Whisky Industry

Since this momentous time, the industry has progressed and grown to become Scotland’s largest export, with global exports of Scotch Whisky in 2020 totalling £3.8 billion. Whisky is now drunk worldwide and is continually seeing enhanced consumption year on year, with growth observed in over 100 international markets in 2019. As demand increases, it gradually begins to outweigh supply. Collectable whisky is also in demand for consumers, so a substantial proportion of any limited edition bottling will swiftly become much more limited as much of it is consumed by dedicated whisky lovers. Whisky is bottled after a period of maturation in oak barrels. Legally, this is a minimum of 3 years, but in practice, most whiskies mature for a minimum of 8 years to develop their character.

Does Scotch have to come from Scotland?

Yes, similarly to producers of Champagne, their sparkling wine can only be labelled as Champagne if produced in the Champagne region of France. Distillers who want to call their product Scotch likewise must produce their whisky in Scotland.

What are the different categories of Scotch whisky?

The Scotch Whisky Regulations 2009 define five types of Scotch whisky. Here’s how the types of whisky differ:

• Single malt Scotch whisky must be distilled at a single distillery.
• Single grain Scotch whisky is also distilled at a single distillery but made from cereal grains rather than just malted barley.
• Blended Scotch whisky combines one or more single malt Scotch whiskies with one or more single grain Scotch whiskies.
• Blended malt Scotch whisky is a blend of two or more single malt Scotch whiskies from different distilleries.
• Blended grain Scotch whisky is a blend of single grain Scotch whiskies, which have been distilled at more than one distillery.

What are the different Scottish regions?

The Scotch Whisky Regulations (SWR) in 2009 formalised three Scottish Regions – Highlands, Lowlands and Speyside. Along with two localities – Campbeltown and Islay. In aim to encourage Scotch’s European Union Geographical Indication (GI) and to ensure worldwide identity protection.

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