Scotch is broken into five regional parts; the reason why we have 5 regional areas in Scotland is due to distilleries wanting to cut an imaginary slice of the Scottish landscape for marketing purposes and individuality. Whiskey is a term, not a style. Whiskey covers a broad range of spirits, including Scotch. Scotch is a kind of Whiskey. Trust me when you go to a bar and order a whiskey, your bartender has already figured out that you have no idea what you are actually drinking.
The Fundamentals of Whiskey – Scotch has to be made in Scotland to be called Scotch. Single malts are a liquid product that is made at one distillery. Scotch has to be made of 100% malted barley. Okay, I believe that just covers the easy stuff now into the reason why you’re reading this article.
The majority of the flavor characteristic that single malts takes on comes from the peat process in toasting the barley. Peat is a semi coal vegetation product that grows all over Ireland and Scotland. The region of the peat is very important to the production of the Scotch. For instance, the peat that grows in the Highlands of Scotland where there is heavy forestation, causes the peat to burn with a wood smell to it. The peat that grows on Islay has lots of Marine type vegetation which causes it to smoke with more of a seaworthy quality. This causes a majority of the island distilleries to have a much smokier and rich flavor.
Pretty much covers every other distillery that is not island or lowland. One of the fictitious areas is speyside near Dufftown in Scotland. This is the largest concentrated area of distilleries in Scotland. Highlands style Scotches make up the most of the mid range flavors.
This area was given a distinct pleasure of not being taxed on the amount of product it was making, but the size of its stills. So Lowlands distilleries started making product in large quantities very quickly. The result was a very light product with very little flavor. Today the lowlands style whiskeys are very closely associated with Irish whiskeys. Lowlands whiskeys are the very lightest and most floral of all the Scottish whiskeys on the market.