The term Single Malt Scotch inspires reverence throughout the world as a drink imbued with history, character and complexity. It has few ingredients, being produced from malted barley, water and yeast and is usually distilled twice in copper pot stills of varied sizes and shapes. The distillate must be matured for a minimum of three years in oak, produced in a single distillery and bottled within Scotland. The vast majority will be matured in American oak bourbon barrels or re-made hogsheads while a smaller quantity finds itself slumbering in Sherry butts, puncheons and the occasional wine barrel.
A remarkable amount of variety exists within the distilleries of Scotland and while most reject the idea that terroir, in the traditional sense, has a great part to play in this, it is clear that regional differences in production choices have a profound impact upon a distillery’s Single Malt. There are many possibilities and variables open to the distiller, be it length of fermentation, still shape and size, choice of condenser, the points at which the spirit is cut and the choice of cask employed in its maturation. The choices made here form the distillery’s character, making their Single Malt truly individual.