What’s the difference between single malt scotch and other whiskies?

Single Malt Scotch means it comes from a single distillery and that it is made from a majority of malted barley unlike other whiskeys made from grain like maze (corn) or cereal blends.

In order for a scotch to be named scotch it must be made in Scotland and barreled for at least three years.

Single malt scotch is aged much longer which allows the flavors and bouquet to mature and is only made from one distillery and not mixed and carries the name of its origin.

There are many differences between Scotch whiskey and Irish whiskey. There are many types of whiskey but only around four different areas where they make scotch whiskey.

These types are named:

  • Highland single malts
  • Islay single malts
  • Lowland single malts
  • Speyburn

Many highland single malt scotch includes brands like:

  • Clynelish single malt
  • Oban single malt
  • and Glenmorangie.

Lowland single malts include brands like:

  • Glenkinchie single malt 10 yr
  • Auchentoshan single malt 10 yr.

Islay single malts consist of brands like:

  • Bowmore
  • Laphroaig
  • Ardbeg
  • lagavulin.

Speyburn makes a single malt which carries the same name Speyburn.

Islays is known for their peaty smokey heavy taste while highlands are lighter. Single malt scotches are considered more earthy and peaty because they add peat and smoke the barley before making the mash.

Many people have different experiences with each but no matter what there is something different about scotch whiskeys as compared to other whiskeys. Maybe it’s the Scotland waters or the air and climate but they all are great to experience.

Now Irish whiskies differ from Scotland in technique and production. Whereas scotch single malts are pot still, Irish single malts are considered pure pot still.

Most Irish whiskies are distilled three times and are considered smoother than the Scotch who distill twice and have more smokey overtones from the peat added. Both the Scotch and the Irish are credited with bringing this spirit to North America.

Beside single malt there is also vatted malt which is a blend from different distilleries.

In America during the revolutionary war whiskey was used as currency. Whiskey was eventually taxed and during prohibition many whiskey makers would distill at night to avoid getting arrested which led to the practice of making moonshine.

Moonshine contains the spirit that is used to make whiskey and is sometimes referred to as white lightning and was clear like water. Moonshine contained a higher alcohol content and was rumored to quench even the devils thirst.

In Scotland they pronounce the drink as whisky as compared to Irish and America who pronounce it as whiskey. Canadian Whiskey is different as they use a majority of rye in their mash which makes for a lighter smoother whiskey.

In order to be classified as a Canadian whiskey it must be aged for three years in wooden casks. It is not dictated that Canadian whiskey contain rye but a majority of Canadian whiskeys do.

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