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.