Scotch Whisky for Beginners
1. Whisky’ or ‘Whiskey’?
In Scotland, we have 'whisky'. Scotch whisky is often simply called Scotch. For a whisky to be called ‘Scotch whisky’, it must be made in Scotland and aged in oak barrels for at least three years. Scotch whisky is generally distilled twice.
In Ireland, they have 'whiskey' (with an 'e') and theirs is distilled three times.
In America, they call it ‘whiskey’, but theirs is usually distilled twice.
That being said; there are also exceptions to these rules.
All clear so far? Great!
2. The Five Categories of Scotch Whisky
Scotch whisky is divided into five categories:
3. Single Malt Scotch Whisky
Originally, all Scotch whisky was made from malted barley; hence the name ‘malt’.
‘Single malt Scotch whisky’ means a Scotch whisky produced from malted barley and water at a single distillery.
Did you know?
In 2016, single malt Scotch whisky topped
£1bn worth of exports for the first time.
4. Single Grain Scotch Whisky
In the late 1700s, distillers started using grain such as wheat and rye to make whisky; hence the name ‘grain’.
‘Single grain’ doesn’t mean that only one type of grain was used. ‘Single’ refers to the use of a single distillery.
‘Single grain Scotch whisky’ is Scotch whisky distilled at a single distillery but where, in addition to malted barley and water, whole grains of other cereals have been added.
5. Better with Age
On many bottles and whisky menus – ours included – you will see a number after the name of the whisky. This is called an ‘age statement’. This reflects the age of the youngest whisky used in the production process.
A whisky with an age statement is known as ‘guaranteed-age whisky’.
A Red Lion Favourite
At the Red Lion, we believe the
Dalmore 12 has a fine pedigree. For the first nine years,
it is aged in ex-bourbon casks (made from American white oak), before half is transferred to ex-oloroso sherry casks for the final three years. The result is a whisky with a combination of sweetness and rich, sherried flavours.