Whisky

Appellations

The Highlands are one of Scotland’s vast whisky regions, boasting a spectrum of styles from rich and textured to fragrantly floral, as befits an ever-changing landscape of coastline, moor and mountain.

To call Highland single malts diverse is an understatement: from the fertile east coast to the rugged west, this vast area boasts a rich variety of distillery styles. From light and grassy to heavily sherried – these are whiskies that refuse to be pigeonholed. Some of the most well-known Highland distilleries include Clynelish, Dalmore, Edradour, Glendronach, Oban and Old Pulteney.

Curiously, there are only three distilleries that are allowed to use the ‘Royal Epithet in their names and all are located in the Highlands: Royal Brackla, Glenury Royal (Now closed) and Royal Lochnagar.
Scotland’s small islands, from Arran, Jura and Mull in the West, to Orkney in the North, produce whiskies of varying styles. Crucial to note, however, is that when referring to the Island region, this does exclude the 'whisky capital' Islay, which is a region of its own.

Island malts, like the beautiful countryside they spring from, will provide something to suit everyone’s taste. Vicinity to the sea and the coast has a large bearing on the flavour and character of the spirit and there can be some generalisations dependant on the location of the island. Highland Park and Scapa in the northern island of Orkney are coastal distilleries but produce very different styles of whisky - malty and smoky and herbal/citrus respectively. The legendary Isle of Skye distillery, Talisker, produces whiskies that are big and punchy with plenty character. Arran, Mull and Jura all produce their own whiskies too, each very different to one another. If anything, the one generalisation that can be made of the Island distilleries is that they have pushed the boundary in regards to innovation and today produce some of the most exciting and collectable malts.

The Island malts are stylistically hugely diverse and beg to be explored!
Islay, the southernmost of the Scottish islands, is almost always recognised by its peaty expression. Islay is covered in peat bogs and in traditional times burning peat was the most effective way of heating and drying the barley used in whisky production. As peat burns it releases pungent peaty smoke which in turn infused the drying barley and influences style.

Among its famous active distilleries, Islay boasts one of the most legendary of ‘lost’ producers: Port Ellen which closed doors in 1983. Beyond the obvious lurks a surprising diversity of spirit, making the identity of Islay whisky a more elusive prospect than might first appear.

Islay is also one of the fastest growing whisky regions in Scotland with several new distilleries having come online in recent years.
Defined by a line following the old county boundaries running from the Clyde estuary to the River Tay, the Lowlands is deemed anything South of this to the Scottish Border. A region of few distilleries, this area has always been known for its unrivalled lightness and soft nature, and it is for this reason that the distilleries here have been fondly named 'The Lowland Ladies."

The most famous whiskies from the lowlands are Auchentoshan, Glenkinchie and the silent distilleries of Rosebank and Ladyburn. On the outskirts of Glasgow, Auchentoshan exudes a delicate lowland character and is renowned for being a great entry into Scotch. Glenkinchie is on Edinburgh's doorstep and produces a fantastically light and ethereal dram. Rosebank and Ladyburn are rare and highly coveted and if you are lucky enough to get your hands on them then they will no doubt reward generously as both names are synonymous with quality.
Speyside is located within the Scottish Highlands, and is named as its own region due to the large number of Scotch whisky distilleries operating in a small area (i.e. 84 working distilleries including some of the world’s most famous) who produce whisky in their own distinctive style. Slightly sweeter and often richer in style, Speyside is the perfect region for beginners and connoisseurs alike.

There is no doubt about it, Speyside is a very special region indeed. Over half of Scotland’s single malt whisky distilleries can be found within this one geographical area, a fertile valley of the River Spey. A traditional Speyside single malt whisky would not be dissimilar to the Highland whisky, with a robust character and hints of the well-known peated flavour. However in recent times, a much broader spectrum has evolved from light and grassy whiskies to rich and sherried expressions. Usually lacking the peaty punch of the Islay and Highland Drams, these whiskies are difficult to pigeonhole. There are no definitive rules as to the characteristics of Speyside whisky, especially as age often brings increased body and most are matured in either ex-bourbon or ex-sherry casks which adds depth and complexity.

We certainly believe that there's a dram for everyone in Speyside!