Provenance is at the core of Scotland's single malts which are grouped within a number of regional categories – Speyside, Highland, Campbeltown, Islay, Islands, and Lowlands. Each single malt has its individual characteristics, emanating intimately from the surrounding landscape, vegetation and water supply which, in turn, is influenced by the manufacturing process and the wood of the casks in which the spirit is stored for maturation. In this manner, the astonishing variety and versatility of Scotland's single malts have become a connoisseur's delight. Every single malt is subtly different, spawning an entire road show of expert analysis, consumer information and publications on the subject.
In Edinburgh, the 5-Star Scotch Whisky Experience on Castlehill which opened in 1987 houses the Diageo Claive Vidiz Collection which features 3,384 individual bottles of Scotch.
In recent years this showcase building has been attracting over 300,000 visitors per annum.
Braes of Glenlivet
The Singleton of Auchroisk*
The Singleton of Dufftown
The Singleton of Glendullan
Isle of Arran
Isle of Jura
Spirit of Loch Ewe
* Distilleries mothballed at time of writing.
To name every blended Scotch Whisky on the market is a near impossible task. Above is a selection of malts to be found in most UK retail outlets.
Global influences and the escalating demands of overseas markets have inevitably played a critical role in attracting investment, but, despite the majority of distilleries being nowadays controlled by large, powerful international conglomerates, the iconic brand names and their unique historical provenance remain at the core of the Scotch Whisky Industry's ideology and they are therefore fiercely protected by the Scotch Whisky Association.
Although a similar trade organisation existed as early as 1917, the Scotch Whisky Association (SWA) in its current manifestation, was founded in 1942. With its headquarters in Edinburgh and offices in London, the SWA today comprises 50 members who represent more than 90 per cent of the industry's companies. Its role is to protect its member's products against imitation and exploitation through employing the legal definition that Scotch Whisky can only be designated as such if it is produced exclusively in Scotland, thus differentiating it from American and Irish whiskeys, or Japanese and other whiskies.
Scotch Whisky stands alone in having a legal status and a rigid code of definitions which remain uncompromising and unimpeachable.
In 1989, an exclusive society was also formed by the major companies within the Scotch Whisky Industry to build upon the image and worldwide prestige of their products. With its headquarters at Blair Castle in Perthshire, and a membership that is by invitation only, the Keepers of the Quaich has to date achieved a roll call in the region of 2,000 with a membership in 86 countries.
Today, Scotch whisky, blended, de luxe and single malt, is Scotland's largest export earner, bringing in the region of £4 billion annually into the British economy.
View our range of Whisky glasses here and our Whisky quaichs here.