Scotch and whisky explained

two glasses of scotch with a black background

Let’s start with whisky. At a very basic level, whisky is a distilled spirit produced by fermenting a mashed grain, or sometimes corn, which is then aged in a wooden barrel. The grains used, the distillation process and the kinds of barrels the whisky is aged in all play a role in its flavour. This style of whisky is produced around the world.

For a whisky to be called Scotch, it must be produced in Scotland. Although malted barley was the first and still a popular ingredient for whisky making in Scotland, other grains such as wheat and rye are also used. By law, all Scotch whisky must be fermented in an oak barrel for at least three years and a day.

With single malt Scotch, the process is slightly more exacting. The Scots are quite particular about their single malts. To qualify, a Scotch must be made exclusively with malted barley and be distilled at a single distillery.

It may seem like a lot of rules, but the results speak for themselves.