When you decide to buy whisky to stock up your home bar you need to know a few basics as it will reflect on your tastes. As a novice you will probably not know the difference between lowland scotch and highland scotch and therefore allow us to tell you all you need to know before you spend your hard earned money.
There are mainly four types of Scotch whisky they are grain whisky, malt whisky, blended whisky and blended malt whisky. A whisky is called scotch only when it is matured for a period of three years or more.
When you read blended malt whisky know that is pure malt. It is a mixture of several single malt whiskies. When you hear single malt whisky, understand that it means that the whisky is produced from one pot still distillery. However, many times a single malt will come from the same distillery but will be a mix of several batches made over the years. Single grain whiskies are produced from one patent still grain distillery.
One thing common in all malt whiskies is that they are all matured in American oak casks. These casks are not new and have been previously used to store bourbon. It is due to this fact that the whisky has the golden color and a slightly different flavor. The whisky that is matured in Spanish sherry butts has a fruity color to it.
Traditionally Scotch whisky is produced in Scotland as the name suggests but there are six different regions where scotch is produced. One such region is the Islay region. This region is on the western side of the island of Scotland. The Speyside region is located around the river Spey and hence takes it name from there.
Highland scotch is made or produced in the largest region of Scotland that can be considered as mainland Scotland. The lowland whisky comes from the southern part of Scotland. There is an imaginary line that separates the north and southern region of Scotland. The imaginary line runs from Forth to Loch Lomond.
As is expected each region has its unique and distinctive taste. For example whisky from the Speyside is medium bodies, sweet and has rich fruity flavor. While the islay is powerful, peaty, and has hints of seaweed and a smoky flavor. The lowland whisky on the other hand is delicate, and light.
Scotch can be had neat, that is without mixing anything or with ice, water or cola. What you add to the scotch gives it a distinct flavor. However, if you add Scottish mineral water then you will be able to fully appreciate its real taste. Some use ice and make a refreshing drink. But when you add cola to your scotch then hidden flavors get masked and you will not be able to really appreciate it.
If you are a novice then as a thumb rule you should start with the lighter lowland scotch or Speyside whisky. Since the lighter whisky is somewhat sweet it makes the drink more pleasurable to the first time drinker. As you get used to the taste of Scotch whisky you can then graduate to the high end versions. No matter what whisky you are drinking make sure you add a little water to bring out the true flavors that are unique to that brand.
Now that you have some basic information go ahead and buy whisky at your nearest store.