Whisky, Scotland's national tipple has been expertly crafted throughout the country for centuries.
There are over 120 working distilleries operating today employing techniques unchanged for 100’s of years.
There are three different types of Scotch whisky: malt whisky (also known as single malt), grain whisky and blended whisky.
Malt whisky is made using malted barley, water and yeast. The liquid is distilled in huge copper pot stills (you’ll see them on most distillery tours) and is matured in whisky barrels for a minimum of three years (though most is matured for much longer than this). Single malt whisky is produced at one distillery while blended malt whisky is the product of two or more distilleries.
Grain whisky is made pretty differently. This time-malted barley is mixed with unmalted barley and other cereals (such as maize and wheat) before the whole mixture is combined with water and then yeast. The resulting liquid is distilled in a tall patent still (or Coffey still) which looks very different to the traditional pot still and yields more spirit at a much higher strength.
It’s a complex process – whiskies from different distilleries have characters all of their own...
Blended whisky involves an intricate process of mixing different single malts (anything from 15 to 50) with grain whisky. It’s a complex process – whiskies from different distilleries have characters all of their own and don’t always blend happily with certain others – which is why the art of blending is so skilled and recipes are a closely guarded secret. Many blended whiskies are now household names, including Bells, Dewars, Whyte & Mackay, Johnnie Walker and The Famous Grouse.