Whisky Business: A Brief Guide to Scotch
While more and more drinkers are becoming better versed in the stories and processes behind their favourite libations, it’s still a very complicated world, and one where it’s easy to get left behind. When it comes to Scotch, there are centuries of tradition behind each dram, as well as a very strict set of rules that govern how they’re made and must be labelled. With that in mind, pour yourself a glass of the good stuff and prepare to brush up on the basics.
All Scotch must be distilled and aged in Scotland alone. No excuses, no variations. It’s all about protecting the brand of ‘Scotch’ and ensuring it’s controlled and actually Scottish!
It has to be distilled to a strength of less than 94.8%. But we reckon if you’re getting anywhere in the ballpark to that, you probably should call it a night and go home.
It has to be aged in Scotland for at least three years, in barrels up to a maximum size of 700 litres. This means there’s a standard age to all Scotch, and that there’s a minimum amount of whisky touching the sides of the barrel (because the larger the barrel, the less contact there is between wood and liquid, resulting in less of the character from the wood imparting on the drink).
When a whisky has an Age Statement on the label (ie. Glenfiddich 12 Year Old) that has to refer to the youngest whisky in that blend, even if it’s only a small amount. If it’s a ‘Vintage Whisky’, the whole amount has to have been made in that year.
If a whisky is labelled as being from a region (for example, Highland or Islay) then the whole whisky has to have been distilled there.
Easy enough? Stay tuned for another little masterclass - on the categories of Scotch - coming soon. Until then, cheers.
Don't forget, we offer whisky in all our showroom bookings as part of the InStitchu experience when going through our custom, tailored process.