If you’ve already read parts 1 and 2 of our Getting into Whisky series, then you’ll already know that in this instalment we’re going to be talking a bit about Scotland’s whisky-producing areas. Scottish whisky has enjoyed a long and rich history in the beverage world, so it’s important to know what different areas can bring to the mix.
Scotland boasts 5 distinct regions, each with their own unique flavours, so read on to find out a little bit more about them.
It may be of one Scotland’s plethora of small islands, but Islay has an incredible 8 distilleries, (it is known as the Queen of the Hebrides after all), meaning that whisky is practically in the air you breathe. You’ll find with a lot of Islay whiskies that there is a certain briny taste thanks to the harsh storms whipping the sea air inland. In addition to this, peat is a popular ingredient in the distillery process, which helps to give them their unique flavours. Popular Islay whiskies include Bunnahabhain and Caol Ila.
Highlands & Islands
Since this region covers the greatest area, it is here that you can also find the greatest variety of whiskies, with a wonderful range to suit whatever your palate. From brinier coastal malts to softer inland ones and more robust flavours, if you’re not sure where to start with your whisky, choose an Island malt like Tobermory to start with.
Once the home of a plethora of distilleries, at the southern tip of the Mull of Kintyre, only a few remain, but they are well worth a wee dram. Less peaty and briny than Islay malts, they still offer up a delectable complex taste to tantalise the palate.
With over half of the country’s distilleries operating out of Speyside, these whiskies really offer something for everybody from strong smoky peat flavours, to lighter, more citrus tastes. Since they are a lot of light and soft whiskies coming out of the region, for the beginner, a Speyside whisky is a pretty safe bet.
With just 3 distilleries operating from the Lowlands, none-the-less for the whisky beginner, the malts and blends can be just the thing. With some of the lightest and most palatable whisky flavours, even if you always believed whisky was never for you, you’ll be able to think again.
With a little bit of knowledge when it comes to regional whiskies, you’ll be able to better understand where the flavours are coming from.