Scotch whisky, also commonly known as “scotch”, is a very familiar term referring to a type of alcoholic beverage that originated from Scotland. That explains why it is called “scotch”. This type of beverage is made from malt barley, but nowadays, a lot of scotch is already made of other types of grains as well such as wheat and rye. Scotch is a very popular beverage and it is even mentioned in the movies.
This Scottish drink is actually called “uisge beatha” and this means “water of life”. The basic but most important fact about the scotch is that is distilled from Scotland. It can no way be called scotch unless produced from Scotland.
THE HISTORY OF “SCOTCH”
Scotch is not only popular because of its unique taste among other drinks, but it is also popular because it is one of the oldest drinks in history. The history of scotch can be traced back in 1494 where distillation in Scotland was known to be popular. When distillation was introduced to Scotland, it was never for the process of creating drinks and spirits. Distillation during that era was mainly used for perfumes.
When the process of distillation was used for wines, the discovery of using this process for grains like cereals and malt came next. This is where the discovery of scotch started. However, the discovery of this drink was primarily for medicinal purposes. It was not meant for pleasure drinking but for curing several illnesses. It was King James IV, Scotland’s great Renaissance king, who first started drinking scotch for pleasure. This is where scotch started to gain popularity as pleasure drinks aside from simply being a medicinal drinks.
However, scotch distillation was deemed illegal at first because of possible harm it could cause. It was during the year 1823, when the Excise Act was passed that the scotch industry was started. And now, the popularity of the scotch no longer ceases to decrease. In fact, scotch distillation is just getting better and better.
TYPES OF SCOTCH WHISKY
Speaking of scotch, there are different types of whiskies such as the single malt, the single grain, the blended scotch and the pure malt whiskies. What makes these types of scotch whiskies different from each other?
• The single malt whisky – This type of scotch refers to scotch that uses only one grain ingredient, which is the malt barley as well as malt that comes from a single distillery. This is the most common type and probably the original type of scotch distilled using pot distillation process. This type of scotch is mostly produced in several regions in Scotland such as in the Highlands such as in Speyside, the Lowlands, Campbeltown and in Islay.
• The Single Grain whisky – Basically, this type of scotch refers to whisky that is made from other grains aside from barley like rye, corn, or wheat. This type of whisky is produced at a single distillery but with the use of one or more grains, unlike the malt whisky that uses only malt barley. This type of whisky is also one of the most produced types of scotch whiskies. Scotland regions with distilleries that produce this type of whisky are Fife, Edinburgh, Gorbals, Alexandria, and Livingston regions. These regions are usually where the most popular scotch distilleries are located.
• The Blended Scotch whisky – This type of scotch refers to either blended malt whisky or blended grain whisky. The point here is that blended whiskies are those that contain different grain and malt whiskies from different scotch distilleries in Scotland. Blended whiskies are usually the most popular scotch nowadays because of its uniquely combined taste. Manufacturers gather various grain whiskies and malt whiskies aged about 5 years already but other manufacturers of blended whiskies use higher aged grain and malt whiskies. A lot of distilleries in Scotland from several scotch producing regions already produce this type of scotch.
• The Blended Malt or Pure Malt whisky – This is also a combination of whiskies from different distilleries but the only difference is that this contains no combination of malt and grain whiskies. This combination only consists of pure malts from various malt distilleries. Unlike other types of whiskies, this is one of the most uncommon but it is also one of the most popular types. Not many distilleries in Scotland produce this type but distilleries in the Highland regions usually produce this.
POPULAR SCOTCH WHISKY BRANDS
Nowadays, there are several popular brands of scotch you may be familiar with. They are either blended, single grain, single malt, or pure malt types of whiskies. But no matter what type they are, these brands have made a name in the scotch industry because of their excellent taste.
The top 5 brands of scotch whiskies in the world are:
1. Johnnie Walker Green by Diageo
2. Balantine’s by Pernod Ricard
3. Grant’s by William Grant & Sons Ltd.
4. J&B Rare by Justerini & Brooks
5. Chivas Regal by Chivas Brothers