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Scotch whisky

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Scotch whisky is whisky made in Scotland. In Britain, the term whisky is usually taken to mean Scotch unless otherwise specified. In other English-speaking countries, it is often referred to as "Scotch".

Left: Various Scotch Whiskies.

Whisky has been produced in Scotland for hundreds of years. The first written mention of Scotch whisky is in the Exchequer Rolls of Scotland, 1495. A Friar named John Cor was the distiller.

To be called Scotch whisky the spirit must conform to the standards of the Scotch Whisky Order of 1990 (UK), which clarified the Scotch Whisky Act 1988, and mandates that the spirit:

  1. Must be distilled at a Scottish distillery from water and malted barley, to which only other whole grains may be added, have been processed at that distillery into a mash, converted to a fermentable substrate only by endogenous enzyme systems, and fermented only by the addition of yeast,
  2. Must be distilled to an alcoholic strength of less than 94.8% by volume so that it retains the flavour of the raw materials used in its production,
  3. Must be matured in Scotland in oak casks for no less than three years and a day,
  4. Must not contain any added substance other than water and caramel colouring, and
  5. May not be bottled at less than 40% alcohol by volume.

There are two major categories, single and blended. Single means that all of the product is from a single distillery, while Blended means that the product is composed of whiskies from two or more distilleries. Traditional practices define five types:

 
  1. Single malt whisky is a 100% malted barley whisky from one distillery, distilled in batches in pot stills
  2. Single grain whisky is distilled at a single distillery from water and malted barley, with or without whole grains of other cereals; it must not meet the requirements of a single malt whisky
  3. Blended malt (formerly called Vatted malt) whisky that is a blend of single malt whiskies, from more than one distillery
  4. Blended grain whisky is a whisky created by mixing grain whiskies from more than one distillery
  5. Blended Scotch whisky is a mixture of single malt whisky and grain whisky, distilled at more than one distillery

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