Whisky has been made in Scotland for hundreds of years. It is generally agreed that the monks introduced distillation at some point during the 4th or 5th centuries. The main difference between Scotch whisky and other whiskies (besides the spelling) is that whereas other whiskies are the product of a single distillery, Scotch whisky is generally made from several different ones, and from both malt and grain whiskies, depending on the style.
Types of Scotch Whisky:
- Blended whisky: A combination of different whisky expressions from various distilleries diluted with grain whisky under the direction of a master blender. Examples include Johnny Walker, Cutty Sark, Chivas and Dewars.
- Vatted whisky: A combination of different single malt whisky expressions with no added grain alcohol. Examples include Compass Box and J.W. Green.
- Single malt: The product of a single distillery, often aged considerably before release. The product is 100% malted barley. An example is Bruichladdich.
All Scotch whisky must be aged a minimum of three years in Scotland, any distillate released prior is labeled British Plain Spirits. The traditional cask used for aging were freshly emptied sherry butts, but now Bourbon casks are more widely used, which impart a more subtle effect on the flavor. Any age statements on label must refer to the youngest aged portion of whisky in that bottle.