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Once you find something perfect, you lock it up and keep it forever. Fortunately, the Scottish government couldn't put a ring on the whisky they created. They did, however, create a bunch of regulations to ensure Scottish whisky retains its iconic status in the world of malted alcoholic beverages.
Each of the roughly 100 distilleries in Scotland must follow the rules of the Scotch Whisky Association. These rules dictate that:
- The entirety of production must occur within Scotland.
- The spirit must be aged for at least three years and one day.
- The result must be a product boasting a minimum of 80 proof.
Many scotches use barley that has been dried using peat smoke, which gives the whisky the earthy, natural finish so many people love. While most scotch whisky is aged in used bourbon barrels, some distillers use old sherry, wine or rum barrels for flavoring.
Scotch whisky (not whiskey) is crafted in six distinct regions, each with its own characteristics and tasting notes.
- Highlands — light-bodied and spicy with a drier finish and a hint of saltiness
- Speyside — sweet with a slight whiff of smoke
- Islands — soft and sweet in its peatiness
- Islay — the strongest of all with dry, peaty and smoky notes
- Lowlands — offers a mellow dryness perfect for an aperitif
- Campbeltown — full-bodied with a slightly salty finish
Single Malt Versus Blends:
Scotch comes in two varieties; single malt and blends. There's not a whole lot of nuance behind those names. Single malts are made from 100-percent barley at one distillery. Blended scotch combines single malts from multiple distilleries along with an aged grain whisky to create a new spirit that pulls together the elements of each variety. To discover the best scotch for you, try a variety of single malts and blends.
How to Drink It:
On. Its. Own. That's the best way to enjoy the peaty appeal of scotch! Adding a touch of water actually opens up some flavors and aromas. If anyone looks at you sideways for doing so, let them know that's exactly how most experts and master distillers choose to take their scotch.
So what are you waiting for? Buy scotch whisky online through Drizly at a great price and have it delivered directly to your door. Cheers.