The most celebrated of all the world’s whisky producing countries, Scotland is synonymous with whisky. The Irish and the Scots fiercely contest the claim to having invented the water of life but what is clear is that, while Ireland may boast the oldest surviving licensed distillery, the Scots have the greatest number of very old distilleries and, arguably, the most mature whisky industry.
The Scots were also the first to embrace continuous, or column, stills for the production of grain whisky and pioneered the production of blended whisky - a mixture of grain and malt whiskies.
All Scotch whisky must have been distilled in Scotland, then matured for a minimum of three years in oak casks stored in Scotland and be bottled at a minimum of 40% ABV. In 2011 UK government regulations came into effect defining in strict legal terms five categories of Scotch whisky. These are Single Malt Scotch Whisky, Blended Scotch Whisky, Blended Malt Scotch Whisky, Blended Grain Scotch Whisky and Single Grain Scotch Whisky.