These constraints may not apply to whisky marketed as single malt that is produced elsewhere. For example, there is no definition of the term single malt in the law of the United States, and some American whiskey advertised as single malt is produced from malted rye rather than malted barley.
According to the SWA (Scotch Whisky Association) there are 5 Whisky producing regions in Scotland.
These are as follows...
The Lowlands region lies south of an imaginary line drawn from the Clyde estuary to the Tay estuary. There are now only three working distilleries. These are Auchentoshan, Glenkinchie and Blandoch. Whiskies from the Lowlands tend to be soft and light in character. They often display very malty, grassy characteristics and subtle delicate aromas.
The Highlands (and Islands)
Moving north of the imaginary line takes us in to the Highland region. The region includes most of the rest of Scotland, with the exception of the Island of Islay and Campbeltown, and thus its malts vary greatly in character. Generalisations about the Highland region are less valid, as its whiskies will range from dry to sweet and some even have a touch of smoke and peat. Examples include Glenmorangie, Blair Athol and Talisker.
Technically Speyside lies within the Highland region. It is home to approximately half of Scotland's malt whisky distilleries. This small area of land located to the north west of Aberdeen produces mellow, sweet, and particularly fruity malt whiskies. Examples include Glenfiddich, Glenlivet and Macallan.
Located in the Inner Hebrides, the small Island of Islay is often called 'Whisky Island' given its concentration of eight distilleries. The island produces very distinct malts, generally heavily peated and smoky in taste. Examples include Bowmore, Ardbeg and Laphroaig.
The town of Campbeltown was once home to more than 30 distilleries. Now it is home to only three: Springbank, Glen Gyle and Glen Scotia. Whiskies from the town tend to have a little peat and salt to them, and are generally medium to full bodied.
At SWC we will be working our way through these regions, trying Whisky from different distilleries. At our June meeting we compared 4 different bottles, all 12 year old Single Malts, all in the same price range to allow us to review and compare. Look at for details of this in our next blog.