Welcome to yet another edition of our #WhiskyWednesdays series @ the Boozeat Blog 2.0! This week, we dwell deeper to get a better understanding to one of the planet’s most popular form of whiskies – Scotch Whisky.
From our Beginners’ Guide to Whisky posted prior, you already ought to know that whisky comes in various forms and types. Scotch whisky is by far the most popular, and this mini crash course should give you an clearer understanding of it.
What is Scotch Whisky?
Scotch Whisky, or simply called Scotch, is defined as a grain or malt whisky made in Scotland. Scotch whisky must be made in a manner specified by law as stated by the UK’s Scotch Whisky Regulation 2009:
Additionally, All Scotch MUST be aged in oak barrels for at least three years. Any age statement on a bottle must reflect the age of the youngest whisky used to produce it. Any whisky that carries an age statement is also known as guaranteed-age whisky.
Long story short, if it isn’t made in Scotland using the ingredients and processes stated above, you CAN’T call it Scotch Whisky. By the way, the video below will show you how this much-loved and highly-craved spirit is typically made.
How many types of Scotch Whisky are there?
Today, you’ll likely find Scotch Whisky labeled as either ‘Single Malt’, ‘Single Grain’, ‘Blended Malt’ or simply ‘Blended’. Here’s the quick breakdown of each designation and what they actually mean:
1. Single Malt
– Scotch that’s distilled using only water and malted barley at a single-distillery by batch distillation in pot stills.
– Examples: The Macallan, Glenfiddich, Highland Park, Glenmorangie
2. Single Grain
– The “Single” in “Single Grain” grain actually means the Scotch is distilled at a single distillery. It is NOT made of single type of grain only. In addition to water and malted barley, Single Grain types may involve whole grains of other malted or unmalted cereals in its production.
– Examples: Haig Club
3. Blended Malt
– Formerly called vatted malt or pure malt, this means the Scotch is made using a blend of two or more single malt Scotch whiskies from different distilleries, possibly with differing ages. It contains only malt whiskies as no grain whiskies are used. The age stated on the label represents the youngest of the original ingredients used to make it.
– Examples: Johnnie Walker Green Label, Monkey Shoulder
– This type of Scotch is made by combining both malt and grain whiskies. Recipes vary from brand to brand whereby producers combine various malts and grain whiskies to produce a specific yet consistent brand style and taste.
– Examples: Johnnie Walker Blue Label, Chivas Regal
Does age matter?
This is an age-old question that has divided all Scotch Whisky fans worldwide. The general perception is that older means better. However, there’s an equal number of those that argue otherwise too.
The truth is that not all Scotch Whisky taste the same from brand to brand, and the same applies amongst the varying ages too. In other words, we’re not saying that all 40-year-old Scotch are by default better than a younger 18-year-old one.
We believe that if you have the money to indulge in the hobby of collecting rare whiskies, then do it! But if you don’t, then worry not as the current crop of modern (or perhaps ‘younger’) whiskies taste and perform just as good too.
How to drink Scotch Whisky properly?
We’ve heard and seen plenty of arguments about how one should sip on Scotch. We’ll get straight to the point and tell you that there’s actually no “correct” way to drink Scotch Whisky.
What is important though is good glassware, so invest in a good set of whisky glasses first. In fact, some brands (i.e. Johnnie Walker, Singleton, Glenfiddich) even offer them for free in special festive packs. Wine or champagne glasses also act as good alternatives.
Another belief that that needs dispelling is that Scotch Whisky is made solely old men. This isn’t true, meaning you can mix Scotch and make a cocktail if you wanted. If so, it’s best to use the type of Scotch that can stand on its own against other flavours like the Johnnie Walker Red Label for instance.
Now that you know… Have some!
There you have it folks, all the essential, need-to-know things about Scotch Whisky. With its varied tastes based on blend recipes and aging, you’d best choose wisely for the occasion, and we’re here to help!
Check out our vast range of Scotch Whisky on sale right now and have some delivered straight to your doorstep today! Remember folks, Pay Less. Drink Better. Because life’s too short for anyone to drink cheap and poorly-distilled spirits.
About Editor 2.0
An avid boozer and word-stringer who's paid to drink and write for the revamped Boozeat Blog 2.0
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