In distillery tasting rooms, Scotch whiskey is served "neat" (no ice).
Scotch whiskey (or
whisky, without the "e", as it's spelled throughout the world - except
for the U.S.A. and Ireland) has risen to become one the country's top industries
and a major tourist draw.
wonder, then, that among the dozens of scotch distilleries and tasting rooms dotting
the landscape, each tries its best to impress visitors with its own unique characteristics.
smooth, silken drink that is distilled from treasured water sources and traditional
malts will surprise the casual drinker and delight those who have already discovered
the wonders of fine Scotch whiskey.
may not be able to discern the differences between Speyside or West Coast at first.
Not to worry... rest easy knowing that after sampling a few of the world's finest
Scotch whiskeys, differences will be clear to all. It is definitely worth the
trip to mellow-out with a wee dram (or two) if only to sample an important part
of Scottish history and culture.
Blended scotch & single malts
Much like the blending of several grape varietals to create a unique wine, blended scotch is made up of malt and grain whiskey to arrive at a specific taste. The most famous of these worldwide brands include Chivas,
Dewar's, and Johnny
Walker, each with their own flavor and character.
Scotch purists will tell you that you really don't know scotch until you've experienced
the unique flavor and aroma of single malts found in local, less "global"
distilleries. Like wine aficionados, you can spend a lifetime of experimenting
to find your favorite taste. It may be sweet, smokey, oakey, dark, light - or
a combination of all of the above. If
you have never understood the attraction of scotch whiskey, be prepared for enlightenment!
With the tallest stills in all of Scotland. Glemorangie
boasts the best selling single malt whiskey.
Still one of the
best-selling single malts in Scotland and throughout the world is Glenmorangie,
located in the Northern Highlands with its own pure water source, distinct distilling
process, and laid back tasting room.
should especially note that scotch served with ice or "on the rocks"
is a foreign concept to most Scottish distillery tasting room hosts.
'tis true - as we followed their suggestion to add only a few wee drops of water
to release, as if by magic, the drink's true flavor and aroma, no chilling is
needed to savor the experience.
Touring Scotch whiskey distilleries
sample a variety of malt whiskey distilleries travel experts suggest that first-timers
follow mapped trails accommodating one or more days of traveling by car or arranged
tour. Try to find a native guide to point you to the best places to stop for a
tour and handle the driving so you can sample the whiskey free of worry. For independent
tourists on the Whisky Trails, each distillery has its own professionally-launched
mega tour, as well.
whiskey trail is probably the most famous and includes stops at Aberlour,
Balvenie, Glenfiddich, Speyburn, Glenlivet and Macallan.
drinking in incredible scenery as you sample the local scotch also try the West
Coast whisky trail, taking in Scotland's wild and wet seaside and the incredibly
beautiful Isle of Skye.
tourists plan a trip to Scotland around discovering the wonders of the water of
life, but if your Scotland trip is limited to Edinburgh,
you're still in luck. An entire education (as well as tastings) is available at
the Scottish Whisky Experience
where family-friendly audio-visual and interactive displays
tell the story of the national drink. To sample the genuine article in authentic
surroundings, plan a day trip to nearby Glenkinchie
Distillery which is only 15 miles southeast of the city.
Glasgow area also provides one of the best experiences for first timers at Glengoyne
Distillery, 12 miles north of the city center, surrounded by picture-perfect
surroundings while producing one of the more subtle tastes for scotch newbies.