Like the fine wines of the world, the single malt whiskies of Scotland are grouped by region. Traditionally there were four whisky distilling regions; these regions have more to do with old regulations and taxation systems than anything else.
The four main Whisky Regions of Scotland are Campbeltown, Islay, Lowlands and the Highlands. Speyside and the Islands are generally accepted as sub-divisions of the Highlands region.
Each of these individual regional groups does to some extent produce many whiskies which are similar in their broad basic flavors, although there are certainly a few exceptions.
Whisky regional characteristics are not quite as clear cut as with wines. You will find that many whiskies from the same region have similar characteristics in taste and style, but this is more of a guideline rather than a set rule.
The final flavor of a whisky is determined more by the equipment used and the methods used to produce each whisky rather than by the geographical location of where the whisky is produced.
The Highlands is by far the largest of all the whisky producing regions and offers you the greatest variations of style. You will find some of the best known distilleries in this region.
The character of the far North Highland malts tend to be light bodied whiskies with a spicy character and a dryish finish, sometimes with a trace of saltiness.
Malt whiskies from the Central, Southern and Eastern Highlands are quite a mixed bunch. They are generally fruity and sweet but not as sweet as the malts found in Speyside. They are lighter bodied and sweet and just like other Highland malts they tend to have a dry finish.
Glen Garioch 1797 48% £4.50 £7.10
Highland Park 12yr 40% £4.50 £7.10
Royal Lochnagar 12yr 40% £4.50 £7.10
The Singleton of Dufftown 40% £7.00 £12.00
The Singleton of Dufftown 15yr 40% £7.00 £12.00
Glenmorangie Original 10yr 40% £4.50 £7.10
Glenmorangie Lasanta 46% £7.00 £12.00
Glenmorangie Quinta Ruban 46% £7.00 £12.00
Oban 14yr 43% £7.00 £12.00
Highland Park 12yr 40% £4.50 £7.10
Highland Park 18yr 43% £7.00 £12.00
Dalmore18yr 43% £10.00 £18.00
Dalmore 12yr 40% £4.50 £7.10
Aberlour 10yr 40% £4.50 £7.10
Glenfarclas 10yr 40% £4.50 £7.10
Glenfarclas “105” cask strength 60% £7.00 £12.00
The Balvienie Doublewood 12yr 40% £4.50 £7.10
The Dalwhinnie 15yr 43% £7.00 £12.00
Longmorn 16yr 48% £7.00 £12.00
Milroys of Soho Glen Ord 1999 11yr 46% £7.00 £12.00
The Lowland region lies south of an imaginary line that runs from Greenock on the West coast of Scotland to Dundee in the East. Most of the Lowland malts produced in this region end up in blends, but there are a still a few single malts available to try from this region.
Auchentoshan 12yr 40% £4.50 £7.10
Auchentoshan 3 Wood 43% £4.50 £7.10
Auchentoshan 18yr 43% £7.00 £12.00
Glenkinchie 12yr 43% £4.50 £7.10
Milroys of Soho Girvan 1988 21yrs 46% £7.00 £12.00
There are eight distilleries on the island of Islay (pronounced Eye-luh). Islay is located in the Inner Hebrides of Scotland. Islay’s surface is very flat and consists largely of peat, which has a huge influence on the flavor of the whiskies produced here.
The character of Islay malt whiskies are very often described as being very smoky and medicinal, salty and sea weedy with a dry finish and sometimes with quite a bite.
The smoky flavor of Islay malts can be an acquired taste, but if you have a taste for smoky dry malt then Islay malts are the malts for you.
Ardberg 10yr 46% £4.50 £7.10
Laphroaig 10yr 40% £4.50 £7.10
Bunnahabhain 12yr 46.3% £4.50 £7.10
Bowmore 12yr 40% £4.50 £7.10
Bowmore 15yr 43% £7.00 £12.00
Bruichladdich 12yr 46% £4.50 £7.10
Lagavulin 16yr 43% £7.00 £12.00
Speyside is not officially a whisky region but it is generally accepted as a subdivision of the Highlands Region. Over half of all Scotland's distilleries are located in Speyside. The huge selection of Speyside malts offer a variety of strengths and can generally be broken down into two categories, the heavy, rich sherry flavored malts and the more complex light floral flavored malts. Speyside malts are essentially sweet whiskies, although some can have a little peaty character with just a slight whiff of smoke.
Macallan 10yr 40% £4.50 £7.10
Macallan Fine Oak 10yr 40% £4.50 £7.10
Macallan 18yr 43% £7.00 £12.00
Glenfiddich Caoran Res 12yr 40% £4.50 £7.10
Knockando 12yr 43% £4.50 £7.10
Glenfiddich Solera Res 15yr 40% £7.00 £12.00
Glenfiddich 18yr 40% £7.00 £12.00
Chivas Regal 12yr 40% £4.50 £7.10
Chivas Regal 18yr 40% £5.00 £8.50
The Glenlivet 12yr 40% £4.50 £7.10
The Glenlivet Nadurra 16yr 55.1% £7.00 £12.00
The Glenlivet 18yr 43% £7.00 £12.00
The Glenrothes special reserve 43% £4.50 £7.10
The Glenrothes 1985 vintage 43% £10.00 £18.00
Cragganmore 12yr 40% £4.50 £7.10
Cragganmore 17yr 55.5% £7.00 £12.00
Like Speyside the Islands are not officially a whisky region, the Islands is another subdivision of the Highlands Region. The Islands region includes all of the whisky producing Isles of Scotland namely Mull, Skye, Orkney, Arran and Jura apart from Islay
Due to the location of the Islands distilleries their whiskies tend to have a coastal feel to them. They are slightly more peaty in character than most highland malts the peatiness is generally softer and sweeter than their stronger cousins from Islay
Isle of Jura 10yr 40% £4.50 £7.10
Isle of Jura Superstition 43% £4.50 £7.10
Isle of Jura Prophecy 46% £4.50 £7.10
Talisker 10yr 45.8% £4.50 £7.10
Talisker 57 Degrees North 57% £7.00 £12.00
Johnnie Walker Blue label 40% £10.00 £18.00
Johnnie Walker Green label 15yr 43% £7.00 £12.00
Johnnie Walker Red Label 40% £4.50 £7.10
Johnnie Walker Double Black label 40% £4.50 £7.10
Johnnie Walker black label 40% £4.50 £7.10
Johnnie Walker XR 21yr 40% £10.00 £18.00
Jonnie Walker Swing Superior 43% £7.00 £12.00
Ballantines 21yr 43% £7.00 £12.00
Royal Salute 21yr 40% £7.00 £12.00
William Grants 21yr 43% £7.00 £12.00
President Special Reserve 43% £4.50 £7.10
Old Par 12yr 43% £4.50 £7.10
Old Parr Superior 43% £4.50 £7.10
Monkey Shoulder 40% £4.50 £7.10
Bailie Nicol Jarvie 40% £3.00 £5.10
Crawfords 40% £3.00 £5.10
Bells 40% £3.00 £5.10
Milroys of Soho 40% £4.50 £7.00
(Irish: Fuisce or Uisce beatha) is whiskey made in Ireland. Key regulations defining Irish whiskey and its production are established by the Irish Whiskey Act of 1980 and are relatively simple (for example, in comparison with those for Scotch whisky or American whiskey). They can be summarized as follows: Irish whiskey must be distilled and aged in the Republic of Ireland or in Northern Ireland. The contained spirits must be distilled to an alcohol by volume level of less than 94.8% from a yeast-fermented mash of cereal grains.(saccharified by the diastase of malt contained therein, with or without other natural diastases) in such a way that the distillate has an aroma and flavour derived from the materials used. The product must be aged for at least three years in wooden casks. If the spirits comprise a blend of two or more such distillates, the product is referred to as a "Blended" Irish whiskey.
Creenore 8yr 40% £4.50 £7.10
Paddy 40% £4.50 £7.10
Bushmills White 40% £4.50 £7.10
Greenmara Peated Single Malt 40% £7.00 £12.00
Whisky production in Japan began around 1870, but the first commercial production was in 1924 upon the opening of the country's first distillery, Yamazaki. Broadly speaking the style of Japanese whisky is more similar to that of Scotch whisky than Irish whiskey, and thus the spelling typically follows the Scottish convention (omitting the letter "e").
There are several companies producing whisky in Japan. Perhaps the two most well known are Suntory and Nikka. Both of these produce blended as well as single malt whiskies.
The Yamazaki 12yr 40% £4.50 £7.10
Hibiki 17yr 40% £7.00 £12.00
Bourbon and rye whiskey
Bourbon, distilled from at least 51% corn, is noticeably sweeter, and tends to be fuller bodied than rye. The name of the spirit derives from its historical association with an area known as Old Bourbon, around what is now Bourbon County, Kentucky (which, in turn, was named after the French House of Bourbon royal family). It is strongly associated with Kentucky specifically, and the American South in general.
Rye, distilled from at least 51% rye, is known for imparting what many call a spicy or fruity flavour to the whiskey. Due to its distinctive flavour, American rye whiskey is sometimes referred to as America's equivalent of an Islay whisky. Rye whiskey was the prevalent whiskey of the northeastern states but largely disappeared after Prohibition. However, as bourbon gained popularity beyond the southern United States, bartenders increasingly substituted it for rye in cocktails like Whiskey Sours and Manhattans, which were initially made only with rye. All other things being equal, the character of the cocktail will be drier with rye.
Makers Mark 45% £3.10 £5.50
Wild Turkey 101 50.5% £3.10 £5.50
Woodford Reserve 45.2% £3.10 £5.50
Eagle Rare 10yr 45% £4.00 £6.00
Four Roses Single Barrel 56.1% £4.00 £6.00
Willett Straight Rye 54.8% £7.00 £12.00
WhistlePig Straight Rye 10yr 50% £7.00 £12.00
Rockhill Farms Single Barrel 50% £4.50 £7.10
Wild Turkey 101 8yr 50.5% £4.50 £7.10
Wild Turkey Single Barrel 50.5% £7.00 £12.00
RI 46% £4.50 £7.10
Jeffersons Reserve 45.1% £4.50 £7.10
Blanton 46.5% £7.00 £12.00
Sour mash is the name for a process in the distilling industry that uses material from an older batch of mash to start fermentation in the batch currently being made, analogous to the making of sourdough bread. The term sour mash can also be used as the name of the type of mash used in that process, and a whiskey made using this process can be referred to as a sour mash whiskey. Sour mash does not refer to the flavor of the whiskey, as is sometimes thought
Sour Mash Whiskey
Jack Daniels 40% £3.00 £5.10
Gentleman Jack 40% £4.50 £7.10
Jack Daniels Single Barrel 45% £4.50 £7.10
Roughstock Montana Whiskey 45% £7.00 £12.00