Scotland is undoubtedly the nation of whisky with a hundred or so distilleries in operation... Read more

Scotland is undoubtedly the nation of whisky with a hundred or so distilleries in operation... Read more

Scotland is undoubtedly the nation of whisky with a hundred of active distilleries. If it keeps its advance on the other nations (historical or emerging), it continues its modernization operation while calling upon the traditions.

Scotland: a whisky culture

The first evidence of whisky making in Scotland dates back to 1494. Indeed, an accounting note of the brother John Cor of the Abbey of Lindores establishes the reception of malt to manufacture brandy.

In 1707, when Scotland joined the United Kingdom by the Treaty of Union, whisky was already strongly anchored in the national culture. The industry starts to emancipate itself at the end of the 18th century and then settles down durably after theExcise Act (1823), the combined decreases of the farmers' rents and the taxes allowing to limit the interest of smuggling.

A few decades later, around 1860, the appearance of the phylloxera causes the decimation of the vines and thus the spirits depending on this raw material. Thus, the whisky has the free field to develop. It is in particular the blends which are used as launching pad.

However, until the 20th century, Irish whiskey reigned supreme. Various historical events allowed the Scotch whiskies to become the reference in the eyes of the world.

Scotland: Scotch and regions

Whiskies from Scotland have their interests protected by the Scotch Whisky Association and are called Scotches.
Generally speaking, a distinction can be made between the various producing regions: Lowlands, Speyside, Highlands, Campbeltown, the Islands and Islay.


The Lowlands is a central region in the national history. Indeed, it is here that the first Scottish whisky empires were born. While in the 18th and 19th century, it is one of the leading Scotch regions, its influence decreases afterwards in an ostensible way. The phenomenon becomes more pronounced at the end of the 20th century, leaving mainly grain distilleries and two malt distilleries, Auchentoshan and Glenkinchie.
However, the region is now in full resurrection with the planned return of the mythical Rosebank and the opening of many distilleries.


Speyside is not an official geographical name and corresponds to a region with a unique density of distilleries. The region has the traditional image of the great houses that have made the reputation of Scotch. We can think for example of Aberlour, Balvenie, Glen Grant, Glenfarclas, Glenfiddich, Glenlivet, Longmorn, Macallan or Mortlach.


The Highlands are the largest whisky region, so much so that it is often subdivided into several parts. Historically, the quality of their distillates was often contrasted with the nascent industry in the south of Scotland.
If the styles are very varied, some distilleries have stood out such as Dalmore, Glenmorangie, Clynelish, or Glendronach.


Campbeltown has the particularity of being a port town, which played a central role during the blossoming of whisky in Scotland. Although the number of distilleries has been greatly reduced and the regional appellation has almost disappeared, it is still home to some fine houses: Glen Scotia, Glengyle(Kilkerran) and Springbank.

The islands

Secondly, the islands are often considered to be united. There is often only one distillery on the smallest of them, which has not prevented them from emerging from anonymity. We can mention Jura, Talisker Tobermory or Arran as the ambassadors of these island productions.


Finally, there is a very particular region, which is not distinguished by its number of distilleries but by its cultural power. Indeed, Islay is the island whose emblem is peat, although its use is not automatic. It remains to this day one of the best ambassadors of the Scottish whisky culture.

Ardbeg, Bowmore, Caol Ila, Bunnahabhain, Bruichladdich, Lagavulin or Laphroaig are the secular forces and we can add the recent Kilchoman, or Port Ellen, the famous distillery that will rise from its ashes. Read less

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