On the 25th January, Scots everywhere will be celebrating ‘Burns Night’ in commemoration of their most celebrated poet and bard Robert Burns, most famous for penning that New Year favourite ‘Auld Lang Syne’.
We thought it apt, to look at Scotland’s favourite tipple, no not Buckfast, Whiskey - the drink most will toast with on Burns Night over a plate of neeps and tatties.
Whisky is a type of distilled alcoholic beverage made from fermented grain mash. Various grains (which may be malted) are used for different varieties, including barley, corn, rye, and wheat. Whisky is typically aged in wooden casks, generally made of charred white oak, some barrels are recycled from Sherry or Port industries and impart their flavours into the whisky.
Not all whiskies are the same. There are five distinct whisky producing regions in Scotland, some you may of heard of, and others possibly not, but each offers a different perspective on Scotch Whisky.
Speyside The most densely populated Whisky region in the world, famous for fertile glens
and, of course, the River Spey. Speyside whiskies are known for being frugal with peat and full of fruit. Apple, pear, honey, vanilla and spice all have a part a role in expressions from this region, which are commonly matured in Sherry casks. The two best-selling single malt whiskies in the world, The Glenlivet and Glenfiddich, come from Speyside.
Lowland Soft and smooth malts are characteristic of this region, offering a gentle, elegant palate reminiscent of grass, honeysuckle, cream, ginger, toffee, toast and cinnamon. The whiskies are often lighter in character and perfect for pre-dinner drinks. Some you might like to try: Glenkinchie, Auchentoshan and Ailsa Bay.
Highland This region, which also takes in the islands, has a huge diversity of flavours and characters. From lighter whiskies all the way through salty coastal malts, the Highlands offers a Scotch for all palates. Some popular brands include Ardmore, Glenmorangie and McClelland
Campbeltown Campbeltown whiskies are varied and full of flavour. Hints of salt, smoke, fruit, vanilla and toffee mingle in whiskies of robust and rich character. Only three distilleries continue to produce whisky in Campbeltown: Springbank, Glengyle, and Glen Scotia.
Islay Islay (pronounced ‘eye-luh’) is a magical island where the majority of its population are involved in whisky production. Famous for fiery, heavily peated whiskies. Today, the three most famous brands are Laphroaig, Lagavulin and Ardbeg.
If you’re interested in learning more about Scotch Whisky, why not join: www.scotch-whisky.org.uk