Where do different Scottish whiskies come from

Scottish whisky has carved a niche for itself in the world. More popularly known as Scotch, whisky lovers from across the world swear by a fine Scottish whisky. Scottish whisky is unlike any other whisky that one can ever taste. The flavors are well rounded and very distinct. In fact a Scotch lover can even distinguish the area from which a particular scotch comes as each scotch is defined by the area it is produced in.

The classic example being the whiskies which are made in distilleries located in Islay. Scotch whiskies from this region are distinctly peaty in taste because of the topography here. In fact, it can easily be said that the central character of all Islay malts is peat. There are eight active whisky distilleries present in this region. This area is also often referred to as the centre of whisky tourism in Scotland.

The main Scottish whisky producing regions are Islay, Lowlands, Speyside, Highland and Island regions. Each of these areas has their individual distilleries and specific whisky characteristics. Out of these areas the Highland region is one of the largest whisky producing areas of Scotland. The whisky which comes from this area is very rich, seems very powerful, and has a rich and smoky flavor. Despite having very similar characteristics you will find each Highland whisky very different from one another. The difference in flavors comes mostly from the grain mix variation and from very different production techniques.

Speyside whiskies are also extremely popular and host a number of premium distilleries. This area could easily be called the core of the whisky producing region. Speyside has the largest number of distilleries in the whole of Scotland. Speyside gets its name from the river Spey which flows through this region. This river is also one of the main water providers to distilleries located in this area. While geographically, Speyside is a part of the Highlands, this area is separately categorized as it has very different characteristics. Another reason behind this distinction is the sheer size of the Speyside region. Whiskies from this area have a very mild character but have a rich flavor and complex taste. Some of the whiskies that have taken the world by storm from this area are Glenlivet, Macallan and Glenfiddich.

Lowland whiskies come from the southernmost part of Scotland. This is a flat region sans the mountains. The whiskies made in this area are very smooth but are a little fiery as well. As opposed to many other Scottish whiskies, whiskies from this region are very light in peat, salt and smoke.

The next Scottish whisky producing region is the Islands. While this area is mostly confused with the Islay region, it is in fact a separate region consisting of the islands of Orkney, Arran, Shetlands, Jura, Skye and Mull. Whiskies from this region are often described as milder versions of whiskies coming from the Islay region. The most well known whisky that comes from this region is Talisker. One of the most recent additions to the Scotland’s distilleries is the Blackwood distillery which is being built on the Shetland Islands.

What is the reason behind the popularity of red label whisky

Red Label whisky is a part of the Jonny Walker series. It is a scotch whisky and is currently owned by Diageo which is a global alcoholic beverage company and is located out of London. Diageo has been touted to be one of the largest producers of spirits and is one of the major beer and wine producers. Under its umbrella it produces the Jonnie Walker series which is one of the world’s largest selling whiskies. This whisky originated in Scotland in the Kilmarnock region in Ayrshire. Jonny Walker is one of the most distributed brands of blended scotch whiskies and has a huge market reach leading to annual sales of over a 130 million bottles.

Jonnie Walker brand cannot be considered anything less than a legacy. The brand was first sold out of a small grocers’ store by John Walker popularly called Jonnie Walker. He continued to sell his whisky until his death in 1857. It was then that his son and grandson took over and started to work towards making this brand as popular as it is today. The iconic Jonnie Walker square bottle was introduced for the first time in 1870. The angled label was also introduced around this time. It was finally between 1906 and 1909 that the color names were introduced to Jonnie Walker.

The jonnie Walker Red label is one of their most selling blended whiskies. This whisky is a perfect and harmonious blend of around 35 malt and grain whiskies. It was originally intended to make mixed drinks but is also amazing to be drunk alone. However, the red label whisky does seem to taste a little maltier than the other colors in the Jonnie Walker series. This drink had many illustrious takers. It is alleged that Winston Churchill favored the Red Label and Soda and called it his favorite drink.

Red Label whisky has a distinct favor and taste of its own. It is no wonder that this blend can be found easily in over two hundred countries across the globe. It is meant to be a long drink with flavors that are exuberant and warm. It is an everyday drink and was originally positioned as an Extra Special Old Highland Whisky. It is made of a powerful mix of a wide variety of aromas that come from combining lingering light grains with spicy and smoky malts. It is this robust quality of this drink which makes it so perfect as a long drink enjoyed at a leisurely pace.
When you take a sip of the Red Label whisky you are greeted by intense flavors that are zingy, spicy and edgy all at the same time. This burst can be best described as a fresh spray that comes from the crashing of waves which is followed by the noted of spices culminating in a long and smoky finish. ‘Sweet chili’ is the term that best describes the drink. So versatile is this whisky, that not only can you enjoy it the traditional way and have it neat or over the rocks, but you can also revel in its flavors by combining it with your favorite mixer.

What are the reasons behind the popularity of Macallan whisky

Owned by the Edrington Group, Macallan whisky was distilled for the first time in 1824. This whisky previously belonged to Highland Distilleries until 1999 and was then purchased by the Edrington Group. Currently this whisky is distilled from the Macallan Distillery which is located Craigellachie. Macallan single malt was reported in The Herald in 2009 as the third largest selling single malt in the world. This whisky comes third only after Glenfiddich and Glenlivet. This whisky sells almost 500,000 cases of single malt in a year.

The Macallan whisky was earlier known as a Highland single malt. It is also labeled so since the Scotch whisky regulations came into effect in 2009. However, the official website of Macallan lists it as a Speyside single malt and calls the area near Strathspey as its original home. In fact, Elchies House, which is also kwon as the spiritual home of the Macallan is an integral part of the landscape on the banks of the Spey. It is a huge estate that spans many miles. Farming still continues on the lands of the manor producing the barley that is used in making this fine spirit.
When the Macallan whisky was first given to age it was done so in matured oak sherry casks which were brought in especially from Spain from the Jerez distillery. It continued to be matured in these casks but beginning in 2004, Macallan introduced the Fine Oak series. In this series the whisky was matured in bourbon oak casks as well as in sherry oak casks.
The most easily available Macallan whisky is the twelve year old. The Macallan twelve year old single malt has a beautiful amber color and a smooth and full body. It has a nose of sherry, flowery notes and a bit of honey and has a rounded finish.
The Macallan eighteen year old single malt is the most distributed whisky from the company. This eighteen year old malt has a pleasant light mahogany color. The palette is of rich dried fruits married beautifully with flavors of orange, cloves, spice and wood smoke. The nose speaks of ginger and dried fruits and have a subtle hint of vanilla, citrus and cinnamon. The drink has a full and lingering finish with notes of sweet toffee, dried fruits, ginger and a slight hint of wood smoke.
The Macallan whisky Fine & Rare range is one of the most sought after for the collector. The best of the oldest in the Macallan stock is taken to release this line of fine single malts. Hundreds of casks are assessed and the diversity of color, aroma and taste are considered before releasing. It is this which makes the Fine & Rare one of the most sought after collectibles for the whisky connoisseur. You can get to taste a whole gamut of flavors each diverse from the other. From light peat vintage to fresher floral aromas or more sherried flavors, this collection can easily be labeled as a fine journey making it one of the most precious single malts that has been ever released.

What distinguishes lagavaulin whisky from other single malts

If you want to taste a robust whisky then you have to try Lagavulin whisky. This whisky has a peat smokeked powerful aroma and flavor, is extremely flavorful, well rounded and smooth and leaves behind a slight sweetish taste on the palette.

The Lagavaulin whisky is a single malt that comes from the island of Islay. This part of Scotland has a deep history and is also considered to be the cradle of early Christianity. However, malt whisky distilling has given this extremely fertile land a new vocation. Most of the areas around this part are still Gaelic speaking and tirelessly produce one of the best sprits there is.

The sea has played a great role in shaping much of this area and giving it its romantic setting. Islay means peat when translated. It is the endless miles of peat in the western part of the island which provide most of the raw materials needed to make many of the single malts that come from this area and one can safely say that Lagavulin is the best known.
Water plays a very important role in whisky making and the previous owner of Lagavaulin made sure that the Lagavaulin distillery does not share its water with anyone. This is despite the fact that the distillery shares one coastline with two other distilleries as well. Achieving this result was definitely not an easy task but Peter Mackie made sure that he gets what he wanted for his distillery and secured the legacy of Lagavaulin.
Barley used in the distillation process of Lagavaulin whiskey comes from the neighboring area of Port Ellen. This malt has a very strong peaty aroma as this region gets twenty times more peat smoke exposure. In order to get the full rich peat aroma the fermentation process is made to be a slow one. It usually takes fifty five to seventy five hours to get this malted barley to come through.
There are four stills at the Lagavaulin distillery out of which two are pear shaped. These stills also play a crucial role in the distillation process and give this whisky the unique flavor it has. In time with its original distillation practice, Lagavaulin whisky today continues to receive the slowest distillation process in comparison to any other Islay single malt. It takes around five hours to complete its first step of distillation and more than nine hours for the second round of distillation.
Much like the entire motion of Islay, there is nothing which is rushed about Lagavaulin whisky. This whisky is aged for a minimum of sixteen years in European casks made out of oak. These oak casks are kept in white painted warehouses and lie breathing in the sea salted air of Islay as the storage areas are all located near the shore.
It is the time consuming and time giving process of a long distillation, fermentation and long maturation that give the Lagavaulin its length and great depth of character and body.

What makes j&b whisky so versatile in nature

J&B whisky is essentially a blended Scotch whisky. It is a blend of 42 Scottish grain and malt whiskies. The history of this whisky is very colorful. This whisky brand was made by an Italian Giacomo Justerini and the very British George Jonson. Justerini had come to England in pursuit of the opera singer Margherita Bellino. While the love affair was not as successful, his wine business flourished with his English partner.

The brand continued to grow from strength to strength winning many accolades. It was in 1831 that the business was bought over from the third generation of the Johnson’s and renamed Justerini and Brooks. It was only in 1930 that the J&B label was born. Mainly created for the time when the Prohibition was lifted in the United States, the J&B Rare was perhaps the first palatable whisky that the Americans got to drink post the trying times.

J&B continued to grow from strength to strength over the years. By 1958, it was one of the most fast moving drinks in Las Vegas. Dean Martin. Frank Sinatra and Sammy Davis Jr were some of the big fans of the drink and even enjoyed it unabashedly on stage during a performance. This whisky was introduced to Spain in 1962. From here on this drink progressed to becoming one of the best drinks in the world becoming the number one whisky. In 1963 J&B sales took off in the United States reaching one million cases. By 1970, J&B had found a firm footing in the European market as well.

Blending forty two whiskies perfectly cannot be an easy job but J&B seems to have mastered this art perfectly. The flavors that you get in a sip of J&B are warm, smooth, subtle and yet complex. It is this delicate balance created by carefully blending all these whiskies that gives J&B its exceptional character.

The main flavor of the J&B whisky comes from the Speyside Single Malt whiskies. The malt from this region gives the drink its fresh and fruity quality and sparkling light color. Apart from this you have some other fine malt whiskies which blend harmoniously and give the special flavor to this drink.

The best thing about J&B whisky is its versatile nature. You can drink and savor a J&B straight or on the rocks. Not only that, this whisky goes exceptionally well as the base drink of many cocktails as well. The J&B blending makes it ideal for many cocktails as flavors such as cola, lemon, ginger ale etc complement the drink wonderfully. If you are in the mood to experiment with a J&B cocktail, you must try out the J&B Manhattan. To make this drink you will need 60ml of J&B, 15ml of dry vermouth and sweet vermouth each and a single dash of bitters. Mix all these wet ingredients together in a cocktail shaker with some ice. Try swirling the ice around to give the drink the chill it needs without disturbing the balance of the spirits. Strain and then serve in a cocktail glass decorated with a maraschino cherry.

What makes highland park whisky the best whisky is the world

Highland Park whisky can easily be called one of the best single malts in the world. Since 1798, this whiskey has been maintaining its exacting standards and has earned the title of “the Best Spirit in the World”. The Highland Park distillery is located in Orkney and is a northerly whiskey manufactured in Scotland. Unlike the name suggests this whisky was not named after the area in which it is manufactured but is actually named so as it was located on an area which was distinguished considerably from a nearby lower lying area.

Highland Park whisky aims at maintaining its exact flavor. To do so they make sure that they even malt their own barley. They do so using locally cut peat from the Hobbister Moor. The history of Highland Park whisky is also very colorful. It was Magnus Eunson who established this distillery in the late eighteenth century. Mansie Eunson, as he was more popularly called, was a beadle by day and a successful smuggler at night. What added to his colorful nature was his humor and resourceful disposition.

Highland Park distillery has been functioning in pretty much the same manner over the years. Rather than management, they believe in custodianship and have been able to maintain their traditional approach in keeping their business very successful. It was only in 1969 that the first bottling of Highland Park was officially released. Until this time there was only third party bottlings that were being sold. After this the next thirty years saw an increase in the number of bottlings from the distillery itself.

The core of the Highland Park whisky range is formed by their Core whiskies. You can explore sprightly 12 year old whiskies to the more majestic and mellow forty year old ones in this range. Then you have the Orcadian Vintage Series. This is a limited edition series and is inspired by the legends and myths that surround Orkney.

One of Highland Parks most reputed whisky maker hand selects the casks based on their maturity and age from specific years and these are then married together to produce an exceptional balance specific only to Highland Park. Not only is the taste if these blends exceptional, the bottling is exceptional as well. This vintage whisky is presented in a bell bottomed night black glass bottle shaped much like a decanter with the intricate embossed detailing of the ‘knot work’ and ‘the distinct ‘h’ symbol. Not only that, the bottle is then sat in an oak box that has been hand crafted and decorated with Viking inspired design.

Along with these you can also take a look at the special editions of Highland Park whisky. The whiskies in this range cannot be slotted into any other category of whiskies manufactured by them. But each of these whiskies is spectacular in taste and stunning in its bottling. Of all the bottlings in this special edition series, the Bicentenary 1977 Vintage Repatriation is the one which steals the show. Hand wrapped in specially printed Japanese Washi paper, this whisky managed to wow the international market and gain the appreciation of whisky connoisseurs across the globe.

What are the popular whiskies in the glen whisky range

If one is a whisky connoisseur then you have to love the glen whisky series. While most of these brands are not produced by a single distillery the one thing that they have in common is the “glen” name and a passion for great whisky making. Some of the most popular whiskies from the Glen series can be listed as Glenmorangie, Glenlivet and Glenfiddich.

Glenmorangie is a Highland Scotch whisky and is touted to be one of the finest scotch whiskies that is produced in Scotland. This scotch is produced in the Glenmorangie distillery located in Tain in Scotland. The main product of this distillery is single malts and this distillery boasts of the tallest stills in the whole of Scotland. In fact, the manufacturers of this single malt believe that these tall stills have a big role to play in giving the spirits made here their superior and well rounded light taste.

In order to maintain the quality of the whiskies that they make, the Glenmorangie Company has purchased the whole of the land surrounding the distillery so that they can maintain the standard of the mineral rich water that they use. Along with this they also make sure that the barley grain used to make these single malts is sourced from a specific Scottish cooperative. The distillery is run by an extremely qualified staff of sixteen, who are called “the sixteen men of Tain” who work tirelessly to make sure that that the standard and quality of whisky produced here is never compromised.

Glenfiddich is one of the whiskies that is most in demand across the world. This whisky is classified as a Speyside single malt. The Glenfiddich distillery was established in 1886 and has since been producing some of the finest single malts. The Glenfiddich single malts use a single source of natural spring water in their manufacturing process which is sourced from the Robbie Dhu spring.

Once the process of distilling the whisky is complete they are left to age in special oak casks for a minimum period of ten years. The more the age of the whisky the more premium it becomes. In the Glenfiddich series you can get whiskies which are aged for almost forty years. Their single most premium whisky is the Glenfiddich 1937 that has been aged for sixty four years.

Finally amongst the glen whisky series is the Glenlivet. This whisky is legendary in taste and aroma and was established in 1824. Since its inception this distillery has been producing some of the finest scotch whiskies being made. In fact even during the time of the Great Depression this distillery continued to manufacture its premium scotches. It was only during the World War II that the distillery had to be closed. However, soon after the war was over this company went on to contribute significantly to help UK clear its war debts. This distillery was established by George Smith but later changed hands and was passed on to Pernord Richards Company.

Out of the 5,900,000 proof liters of whisky that is produced in this distillery, most is used to make the Glenlivet whisky. The rest of the whisky is used to make other superior blended whiskies such as the Chivas Regal.

The art of making whiskey

Making whiskey at home is now a cinch for most enthusiasts. Nowadays people are making their own whiskey at home because they have found it to be easy and light on their wallets. If you have the right equipment and ingredients you can distill your own whiskey at home.

The ingredients needed to make whiskey are simple. All you need to do is a little bit of cooking and have a bit of knowledge as to how to go about it. You will need the following ingredients. Rye (7 pounds), Barley (2 pounds), Malt (1 pound), yeast (3 gms), water (6 gallons), a food processor or mill, an airtight container for fermentation, a still, pillowcase, cooking thermometer, a steam kettle/rice cooker, or pressure cooker with steam valve, a large tub (metal) or a cooking pot, plastic tubing, glass or whiskey bottles.

The first step would be to crush the rye and barley into a coarse grain powder in the electric food-processor or food mill. You can also crush the grain by hand using a clean brick or stone in order to process it manually. Next, keep the large tub or the cooking pot on the stove and pour in the six gallons of water (bottled spring water will be ideal) into the container. Suspending the cooking thermometer into it will help you to measure temperature and keep the heat to 70 F.

Mix the crushed grains and malt into the water and stir the mash continuously slowly raising the temperature to 160F. It is important to maintain the temperature while stirring the mixture for around three hours. This will convert the starch into sugar. After you have cooked the mash for many hours, remove the container from heat and allow the mash to cool to 70F. This is the time to add the yeast and stir it thoroughly to make sure it combines well.

Next you have to pour the mixture into the airtight container for the fermentation process. It is essential that the container is sealed well. The mash inside the container should ferment for around a week. At the end of the week, you can open the container and pour out the liquid through the pillowcase so that you can filter out the solids.

You can buy a still from a brewery supplier. The liquid should then be poured into the still. Incase you want to make your own still you can do that with the help of the steam kettle, rice cooker or the pressure cooker with steam valve. All you have to do is connect the plastic bag or hose to the valve and heat the liquid so that the steam escapes through the valve into the plastic bag or hose. Once these vapors are cooled the whiskey is automatically drained into glass bottles or whiskey bottles. In order to have its own distinct flavor, the whiskey can be set aside to age for several weeks.

Why is glenmorangie whisky one of the finest single malts available

If you are a whisky lover then you cannot be unfamiliar with Glenmorangie whisky. Owned by the Glenmorangie Company Ltd, Glenmorangie means the ‘vale of tranquility’. This name is derived from Gaelic. The main product of the Glenmorangie Company is the Glenmorangie single malt whisky. The Glenmorangie distillery is categorized as a Highland Distillery. Highland distilleries are located around the Scottish perimeter. This area is also called the Island of Single Malts. The highlight of this distillery is its stills as they are perhaps one of the tallest stills in the whole of Scotland.

Glenmorangie whisky is one of Scotland’s favorite whiskeys. So what is it that gives this whiskey this title? To begin with they use the best from the choicest of all ingredients. In order to make sure that the quality of the water that they use is not compromised this company has bought the land surrounding the distillery. Along with that they make sure that they use the finest of barley produced in Scotland. They have a very scientific yet age old malting process which begins with forcing the barley to germinate and then be ground into a powder called grist. This makes sure that they can access the sugar produced during germination easily.

Then comes the fermenting process where the grist and hot water are mixed together to covert to sugar. Following this, yeast is added to the sugary liquid to begin fermentation and eventually turning this sugary liquid into alcohol. This spirit is then distilled by heating, condensing and then reheating to gradually separate the alcohol from the water.

Once the distillation process is complete, the spirit is left to mature in white American oak casks for a minimum period of ten years. Once the whisky has completed its ten year stint in the white oak casks it is finally ready to be labeled as the Glenmorangie Original. At this stage most of the whiskeys is bottled. However, there is some part of the spirit that is transferred back into specially selected oak casks to get an extra mature taste. As the whisky matures it is believed that 2% of the whisky contained in each barrel evaporates. The Scotts call this the ‘angles share’. This percentage equates to almost 120 million bottles of whisky that are supposedly lost around Scotland.

The makers of Glenmorangie whisky are nothing less than craftsmen who have worked with determination and dedication to maintain the exacting levels of this whisky. These are the men who are well versed with all the secrets of the distillery and are exceptionally skilled and have an amazing eye for detail.

Each Glenmorangie whisky has a special flavor and aroma. The three whiskies from their extra mature range are the Glenmorangie Quinta Rubina, Glenmorangie Lasanta and Glenmorangie Nectar D’Or. The whiskies featured in their private collection are Glenmorangie Astar, Glenmorangie Sonnalta PX and Glenmorangie Finealta. Their rich eighteen year old whisky is the Glenmorangie 18 year old and has a rich, full and rounded flavor. The Glenmorangie 25 year old is one of the rarest of single malts along with the Glenmorangie Signet which is made with high roasted chocolate malt.

How you can make bourbon at home

Make bourbon and get it right and you will want to repeat the process over and over again. There is nothing better than sipping your own smooth bourbon especially at the end of a hard day’s work. Many people are attempting to distill their own bourbon because of the cheaper costs involved and also because it is challenging to get it jut right. In order to make your bourbon you will have to relocate to Kentucky where it is not illegal to make the genuine stuff.

The simple ingredients are Corn, Barley, Rye and Wheat. The ratios are as follows: Malted barley (10%), corn (70%), wheat (10%) and rye (10%). The addition of wheat causes the whiskey to become more supple and soft on the drinker’s tongue. Next you have to grind together the four grains mentioned above into a rough mixture (something like coarse sand). Add the water which should be of good quality and it will become a slurry.

You have to cook this mixture of water and grain slurry for about 30 minutes and this will now become a mash. It is important to cool this mixture down so that yeast cells are not killed. Put in the yeast after the mash has cooled to 25-30 degrees C and pour this into a fermenter in order to develop into a 9-10% ABV beer.

At this time, during the alcoholic fermentation, the yeast will do its job in converting the sugar into an alcohol and carbon dioxide. Heat is also produced at this time. This fermentation process lasts for three days and the strength of the alcohol is about 10% at this time. This beer-type brew should now be distilled.

The use of a column distiller is ideal. It will help achieve alcohol content that is approximately 60 Vol% alcohol. Alcohol content can be raised further if the columns in the distiller are higher.

The next step is toasting your bourbon barrels. This is what gives the Kentucky bourbon a unique and special taste. This “toasting” is done by holding the white oak barrel on its side over a tiny fire. This leads to “caramelizing” of the wood-sugar present in the staves. This procedure usually lasts for around 6 -12 seconds. After this the white oak barrel is burned with huge flames on the inside for another 12 seconds giving it a nice charcoal layer.

Fill this toasted white oak barrel with your liquor and store it at a temperature that is controlled for at least two years. After this you can bottle it and sell it. The fact remains that not all types of whiskey are bourbon but all bourbons are in fact whiskey! Almost all types of bourbon whiskey is produced in the USA – Tennessee and Kentucky. Limestone spring water and plenty of oak is available in both these states.
Make bourbon at home using the simple recipes and instructions that are available online or even in books. Bourbon’s character stems from the 50-79% of corn. This alcohol can be double distilled and is aged for 2 years at least in toasted/charred barrels. Nothing beats the taste of the woody and mellow blend of bourbon flavors.