What are the main kinds of Scotch Whisky?

There are two kinds of Scotch Whisky - Malt Whisky and Grain Whisky. The Malt Whiskies are divided into four groups according to the geographical location of the distilleries in which they are made. as follows:
  1. Lowland Malt Whiskies, made south of an imaginary line drawn from Dundee in the east to Greenock in the west.
  2. Highland Malt Whiskies, made north of that line.
  3. Speyside Malt Whiskies from the valley of the River Spey. Although these whiskies come from within the area designated as Highland Malt Whiskies, the concentration of distilleries and the specific climate conditions produce a whisky of an identifiable character and require a separate classification .
  4. Islay Malt Whiskies from the island of Islay.
Each group has its own clearly defined characteristics, ranging from the lighter Lowland Malt Whiskies to those distilled on Islay which are generally regarded as the heaviest Malt Whiskies.

Malt Whiskies, which differ considerably in flavour according to the distillery from which they come, have a more pronounced bouquet and flavour than the Grain Whiskies. The production of Grain Whisky has not been so influenced by geographical factors and it may be distilled anywhere in Scotland.

© SWA 1995