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Scotch Whisky Region

Within Scotland, there are five different production areas, each with its own flavor characteristics. If you are in Edinburgh, visit the Scotch Whisky Heritage Centre at the top of the Royal Mile on Castlehill. The centre offers a range of tours, films and interactive exhibits showing the 300 years of whisky history.

Highland
An enormous area which is home to some of the world's most famous drink names as well as others that are worth taking the time to discover. In Speyside alone are more than 40 distillers with names recognizable from any liquor store shelf. This is also the place to come if you want to visit lots of distilleries: several in the Spey valley are on the Whisky Trail and open to visitors. Varieties of whisky produced here range from mellow and sweet to aromatic and flowery, with every shade of flavor between.

Distilleries in Highland:
  • Glenfiddich Distillery
  • Speyside Cooperage
  • Glenmorangie Distillery
  • Strathisla Distillery
  • Aberlour Distillery

    Lowland
    There are the whiskies produced in the southern half of the country, below the Highland line that runs between the rivers of Tay and Clyde in the center of Scotland. These whiskies are mellower and gentler than their northern neighbors, and much of their produce ends up in blends. Ironically, their subtleties of taste are appreciated by both newcomers to malts and by more experienced malt drinkers.

    Cambeltown
    Once Scotland's most famous whisky town and home to more than 20 distilleries in the 19th century. Their number has dwindled to two, only one of which is currently operating. Its whiskies are more distinctive than those of the Lowlands, with peat lending more of a hint of the flavors of Islay to the north.

    Islay
    The most distinctively flavored of all whiskies come from this island, where the endless supplies of peat are put to use in the malt kilns The resulting 'peat reek' gives Islay whiskies a small and taste that has variously been described as 'iodine', 'seawater' and even 'kippers.' Islay malts are undoubtedly an acquired taste, and their presence adds instant depth of character to a blend. (Islay is pronounced "isle-aah")

    Islands
    Strictly speaking an area of Highland, this is a sub-grouping based on geography rather than flavor characteristics. From Arran, Jura, Mull and Skye in the west to Orkey in the north, the whiskey flavors here are wide-ranging as any in the Highland group.

    (Source: The Official Visit Scotland, National Tourism Board)

    Related:
  • Scotch Q&A
  • Tasting Scotch Whisky
  • Scotch Whisky Cocktails

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