Learn about Scotch Whisky Regions ...
View Scottish Whisky regions here. We have a great selection from all the Scottish Whisky regions, and there is something suitable for all occasions and budgets. Don`t forget our Irish Whiskey selection, and from further afield, a selection from New Zealand, Japan and India!
A brief overview of the key Scotch Whisky regions...
; Towards the end of the Kintyre peninsula on the West Coast of Scotland lies Campbeltown. The town was once home to 32 whisky distilleries at its peak. While this number has sadly shrunk to just 2, Campbeltown can at least boast the awesome Springbank as one of its malts. Campbeltown whiskies are medium to full bodied, with a little of the peat found in the neighboriing
Islay whiskies together with some saltiness.
Highlands; The largest of the regions and the one that has the greatest of diversity of style. Highland malts are tricky ones to characterize, covering such a wide area from Wick in the North East of Scotland, the home of Old Pulteney down to Glengoyne, outside
Glasgow. Some would even include Campbeltown as a
Highland malt now while others will claim the town's independence. These malts range from medium to light bodied with heather and some peatiness in Northern Highland whiskies and a sweeter floral flavour in the whiskies further South
Islands; Covering a wide and diverse area, Island malts are produced on Arran, Mull, Jura, Skye and Orkney (the
Islay is a region in its own right). As you might expect from such a broad area, the whiskies vary although all seem to have been influenced by their seaside locations - often salty, with a peaty, smoky character.
, like Speyside, is a mecca for whisky lovers. There are 8 distilleries squeezed onto the island from the recently re-opened Bruichladdich and Ardbeg to Bowmore, Lagavulin, Bunnahabhain and Laphroaig. Caol Ila's malts were re-launched by owners Diageo in summer 2002, giving a welcome boost to the distillery. Taking their smoky flavour from the peat fuel used for malting the barley used in producing their whiskies,
Islay malts are often described as being smoky and medicinal, salty and 'seaweedy'. Port Ellen distillery sadly ceased production in 1983, although some bottles of its wonderful malt are still available through independent bottlers.
whiskies tend to be light, fruity and dry whiskies that are elegant and subtle rather than robust and peaty. The Lowland region lies South of an imaginary line that runs from Dundee to
. The whiskies tend to be light, dry whiskies that can taste quite spirity. Some distilleries such as Glenkinchie are still producing reasonable volumes, while others such as St.Magdalene in Linlithgow has sadly been mothballed. On a positive note, B
's most Southerly distillery is now producing again after several years of rest.
has always been at the Whisky distilling centre for
. Lying between Inverness and
in the Grampian and
, there are no less than 84 distilleries currently producing whisky. Speyside are typically the sweetest of the malts, with a variety of strength from light, floral flavors to heavy, sherry flavors. Location wise, its the triangular pieces of land at the eastern part of the highlands, facing north into the Moray Firth and the North Sea. Its home to about sixty distilleries, with enough variety to make the whole premise of terroir seem a bit tenuous.
On the whole, however, these are fuller, sweeter Scotches, with barrel-aged flavors of caramel and nuts; lighter, drier versions often sport floral and citrus notes. Their richness makes them easy to like, so Speyside malts are often the first stop for someone new to single malts, coming perhaps from an appreciation for Cognac or cordials. Nevertheless, the best should not be dismissed as beginnerís quaffs, and show great complexity.
Don`t forget to see The Cheese and Wine Shop Whisky tasting guide here, and our guide to whisky and Cheese matching here!