Scotland’s whisky producing regions are a huge part of whisky history, heritage and for the types of whiskies created in respect to their location, climate and of course their own personal craftsmanship. Like the wine regions in France, Scotland’s own whisky regions serve up some incredibly diverse single malt whiskies. Here we take a look at those different regions and the contrasting conditions and styles.
The scarcest region by far, in relation to the number of active distilleries, with Springbank being the giant of Campbeltown. Springbank itself produces three whiskies using its own malt; Springbank, Longrow and Hazelburn. One other example of an active Campbeltown distillery is Glen Scotia.
Highlands & Islands
The Highland and Island malts are by far the largest region, meaning the styles are the most diverse. The more northerly the distillery, the more the whisky tends to be peatier, the more southerly, the more floral and sweeter they tend to be. Whilst Islands, such as Skye, Mull, Jura, Orkney and Arran also have their own unique flavours and characteristics, quite often rugged with peat, smoke and salty sea air.
The most active whisky producing Island, Islay malts are often described as being smoky and medicinal, salty and seaweedy – character derived from their coastal island roots. There are currently 8 active Islay distilleries; Ardbeg, Bowmore, Bruichladdich, Bunnahabhain, Caol Ila, Kilchoman, Lagavulin and Laphroaig, with the Port Ellen distillery now silent since 1983.
The Lowland distilleries tend to produce light and dry whiskies. Although there are not many active distilleries remaining, the quality in those left is still present. The Lowlands are also home to Scotland's most southerly distillery, Bladnoch.
The whiskies from the Speyside region tend to be the sweetest of the malts. There is a variety of strength from light, floral flavours to heavy, rich and well-sherried characteristics. Speyside is home to the most distilleries in respect to its square-mileage, including giants such as Macallan, Glenlivet and Glenfiddich.