Last time, I talked about the more commonly used terminology for whisky, and I will continue the topic with a few follow-up articles on the characteristics of mainstream whiskies from different countries. Since the characteristics of different whiskies are pronounced, you will be able to tell where it is from just by taking one sip.

Let’s start off with the home of whisky―Scotland.

Scotch whiskey has a high production quantity and a long history. Not only is Scotland home to quite a number of world-renowned brands, it also has many boutique distilleries that produce distinctive whiskies―this is the impression most people have on Scotch whiskey.

Do you know that Scotch whiskies can be distinguished by terroir just like French wines?

Different terroirs yield different flavours of whiskey, just like in France, where red wine from Margaux differs in style and flavour from that produced in Châteauneuf-du-Pape.

Scotch whiskey is the same.

I believe that you have all heard of Highland Scotch Whiskey, well-known brands such as Glenmorangie have been a favourite with many drinkers. But there are other major whiskey terroirs in Scotland which include Lowlands, Islay, Speyside, Campbeltown, and Islands.

The Scottish Highlands is large in size, accounting for half of the entire Scottish whiskey terroir, and therefore, has a high production quantity with a great variety of style. If you wish to sub-divide the Scottish Highlands further, you can refer to Eastern, Southern, Western and Northern Highland but usually, it’s not necessary to be too specific. Highland whiskies are relatively heavy-bodied and structured with a pronounced aroma, and they often have a honey sweet flavour and carry a touch of peat smoke. There are plenty of good brands from the region but it is easier to get your hands on a bottle of Glenmorangie, Aberfeldy, Dalmore, Glen Garioch or Oban etc.

Compared to the Highlands, whiskies from the Lowlands are lighter-bodied and easier on the taste buds with a clear floral and sweet aroma and a not-so-obvious touch of peat smoke, making them most suitable for the ladies. Since most of the distilleries mainly produce blended whiskey, there are not too many single malt whiskey brands in the region but quite a few new distilleries have decided to settle there.

Famous brands from the Lowlands include Auchentoshan and Glenkinchie. Auchentoshan is the only distillery in the region that still produces triple distilled whiskey, which is rich in fruit flavour and worth a try.

Next time, we will talk about whiskies from Islay and Islands.

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