As the standard in characteristic flavours, rich, storied histories, and superior quality, the Scots have the closest ties to the whisky distilling of any region. From the best single malts to the most interesting blends, our tasting panel will help you find your next dram.
Whisky vs Scotch: What is the Difference?
Expert distillers worldwide produce many great whiskies, but only those produced under a tight set of legal definitions may be labelled Scotch. Foremost, all Scotch must be distilled and aged for a minimum of three years within the five whisky regions of Scotland: Lowland, Highland, Campbeltown, Speyside, and Islay.
Among other requirements, the whisky must contain a minimum ABV of 40%, crafted from malted barley, with whole grains of other cereals only added under strict conditions. Interestingly, the features of any material used, including ingredients or equipment such as casks, must be notably present in taste, smell, and colour.
Scotch whisky holds a cachet of quality above whiskies in other regions, and due to the storied history of whisky-making, that mark is severely protected.
The Glenlivet and Other Premium Scotch
To a typical individual, quality and price are all that matter. Connoisseurs of Scotch whisky understand the benefit of a more rounded experience.
Premium and often pricier Scotch whiskies like The Glenlivet and Glendronach promise more than the standard liquor; they provide a rich history of distilling, blending, quality, and innovation over centuries of craft. With every bottle, the accompanying tales of whisky-making under interesting and sometimes controversial conditions elevate the experience and make the first dram shared a time for great stories.
Old Scottish distilleries like Bunnahabhain, Glen Scotia, Cragganmore, and Glendronach make their Scotch inside the context of Scottish history and culture, enriching the experience.
Scotch Whisky Brands at AWAS
You will find no shortage of excellent Scotch whiskies, full of bold notes and everlasting heritage, to taste and add to your collection.
The Glenlivet Single Malt Scotch Whisky
The range of single malt whiskies carefully distilled at The Glenlivet Distillery includes some of the most impressive Scotch whiskies you could get your hands on. From the 15, aged in French oak, to the 21, double-barrelled in American and ex-sherry oak, they deliver on luxurious fruity flavours and bold statements.
The Glendronach Original
As a trailblazer in the use of sherry casks, The Glendronach Distillery produces a dram rich in flavour and prestige. Their Original, aged for a minimum of 12 years, is a silky-smooth whisky with a warm, smooth feel. The Highland water is drawn from underwater springs and incorporated into their traditional process, true since 1826.
What is Scotch whisky made from?
Traditionally, Scotch was made only with malted barley in a pot still, now labelled single malt. Scotch, today, allows for four additional categories:
Single grain, which also incorporates various whole grain cereals like corn or wheat, is often cheaper and quicker to batch produce than single malt with a Coffey or column still.
Blended malt whisky, made with multiple single malt products from different distilleries, is aged according to the youngest whisky in the blend.
Blended grain whisky is the same but uses only single grain whiskies. And blended Scotch whisky includes both single malt and single grain whiskies in the mix.
What is the “correct” way to drink Scotch whisky?
As closely as tradition and history are tied into the rich culture of whisky distilling and drinking, innovation also has a role. So, there is no “wrong” way to drink Scotch.
Typically, distillers recommend sampling the nose of the whisky (meaning to smell) before tasting it neat, without any addition. Then, to enjoy the complete profile with all its complexity, add a few drops of water to your glass to open it up. If circumstances allow, water from the source used in distilling is ideal.
Scotch can be enjoyed on the rocks - with ice, although reducing the temperature of your dram can dim the flavours. Many Scots enjoy a whisky base for cocktails, and some fantastic recipes have spawned from the region.
How do you know when a Scotch is good?
How long is a piece of string?
Scotch tasting is a subjective experience, but quality, history, and enjoyment can be measured to some degree. The unique flavours, complexity, drinkability, and the experience of sharing the dram should all factor into your assessment, and many experts have a keen sense when finding the best bottle.
You can have your own opinion on the quality of any given bottle, but also consider the enjoyment you derive from sharing a dram and trading notes.
Is it okay to freeze Scotch whisky?
With its high ABV, Scotch will not freeze solid in your freezer, and the glass is inert so that no chemical reaction will spoil your whisky. Scotch can last unopened for decades, and once opened, it will remain in excellent condition for many months.
Scotch from the freezer may appeal to you; if so, it is valid. However, cold temperatures are known to dull the flavours, especially the nose of the whisky.