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The Whisky Regions of Scotland

Article by James Macintosh

Some countries excel at growing different types of crops – tomatoes in Guernsey for example, or apples in England. The most delicious apple I ever ate was one I picked from a tree growing at Kew Gardens in southwest London, England. Even the thought of that makes my mouth water now, some 7 years later.

Anyway, the point being that Scotland not only excels for its potatoes – yes, potatoes tend to like the cold, wet conditions that Scotland is known for. But Scotland also also excels at whisky making and has many different whisky regions, just as France has many different vine growing regions used for wine production.

Each different whisky possesses a noticeable difference to the next one. Aroma, colour, taste. Each distillery in Scotland has its own way of production and its own natural water supply, gained from the hills or mountains nearby.

Lets have a brief intro to just a couple of the whisky-producing areas of Scotland.

Lowlands:This area takes into account from the borders between England and Scotland up the coastal areas on both east and west – Edinburgh, Glasgow, Dundee and more. Because there tends to be less peat in these areas and also due to the lighter lowland barley that is used in the distilling process, lowland whisky tends to be light, both in colour and in flavour. They are somewhat sweet to the palate and thus can be a super introduction to some one who is new to the delights of whisky. Among the favourite lowlanders we have: Glenkinchie, Inverleven, St Magdalene (don’t know the last one, personally).

Highlands:The largest region in Scotland stretching from the boundary of the lowlands to the north coast, up past Inverness. There are different regions within the highland area to consider:

Northern Highlands: tends to be stronger in flavouring and complex in aroma. Smokey and lightly peaty producing a medium bodied whisky. Among the favourites are Glenmorangie, Dalmore, Ben Nevis (yes, named after the famous mountain).

Southern Highlands: very gentle flavouring as the soils in the southern highlands are light which thus produces a light tasting barley. Sweet, fragrant and also somewhat flowery. Drams to be sampled are – Dalwhinnie, Glengoyne.

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