Whiskies Of Scotland
One of the most famous Scottish products & enjoyed across the world by millions, whisky is very much a national treasure. With over 120 active distilleries in Scotland we’re spoilt for choice with each boasting different flavour profiles, characterised by the region it was made. There are five undisputed whisky regions in Scotland - Speyside, Lowlands, Highlands & Islands, Islay & Campbeltown. The Islands are considered a part of the Highlands however they too boast their own flavour profiles & can be considered as the 6th region. Let’s take a whistle stop tour of each….
Speyside is the most densely populated whisky region in the world & sits in a fertile valley of rivers & glens. Home to over half of Scotland’s distilleries, Speyside malts from these fifty or so distilleries are known for being light on peat but lavish with nutty fruit flavours. Speyside whisky also knows its way around a Sherry cask, hence the variety between light & grassy malts such as The Glenlivet, & the rich & sweet likes of The Macallan. The area is traditionally split into 8 defined towns & areas: Rothes, Strathisla, Lossie, Liver, Fridhorn, Dufftown, Deveron & Speyside Central.
Fruitcake & oak flirt with heather & smoke in Highland whiskies. Wild seas & impenetrable moorland dominate the landscape, creating powerful peaty drams with a floral, silky elegance. Northern Highland whiskies, such as Glenmorangie are particularly spirited, with some relief in the cereals & honeys of Dalmore. Alternatively, for enduring whisky, which has been matured for six years in oak casks, try the fruity Glengoyne. Fruit marries smoke in Ardmore’s east, whilst Dalwhinnie offers syrupy indulgence in the Central Highlands. The West Highlands harbour full-bodied peat whiskies smothered in smoke; Oban is top of the class in the ranks of audacity.
Spanning the south of Scotland, the Lowlands are characterised by soft & smooth malts offering a gentle & elegant palate. The Lowlands produce drams doted on by lovers of aperitif & mellow malt. Auchentoshan still triple distill their whisky to this day, bringing a bracing citrus edge to the table. Often referred to as the ‘Lowland Ladies’ due to their lighter, floral tones, the region's famous feminine whiskies include Glenkinchie, Linlithgow, Girvan & Strathclyde.
Islay might be the southernmost island of the Inner Hebrides, but it’s no less rugged, windswept or barren than it’s isolated counterparts. Islay malts are bold with peat, smoke & salinity, revealing their complexity layer after layer. Laphroaig, Lagavulin, Kilchoman, Caol Ila, Bunnahabhain, Bruichladdich, Bowmore & Ardbeg make up Islay’s 8 distilleries. Between them, they evoke anything from linseed or moss, pepper to purity, carbolic to floral palates. The southern, or Kildalton, distilleries are responsible for the full bodied, briny malts. Meanwhile the northern distilleries offer dry, but far less peaty drams.
The versatility of the Islands accommodates both feathery citrus flavours & smoking peaty noses. Between them, Arran, Mull, Jura, Skye & Orkney champion brine, oil, black pepper, heather & honey. Though most of Island whiskies are salted by the sea, some are sweet & herbal. Talisker’s potent malt hails from the largest distillery of all the islands, whilst Tobermory offers fruity relief & Jura a detectable, nutty, oily middle-ground.
The unspoilt peninsula of the Campbeltown region, contrary to its prolific history, now boasts only three coastal whisky producers. However, despite the region’s contraction, the malts produced are fiercely enduring & distinctive. By 2010 only three distilleries continue to produce whisky in Campbeltown: Springbank, Glengoyle, and Glen Scotia. It's single malts boast unique characteristics that are considered by serious malt lovers to represent a distinct region in its own right.
Such diversity in flavours offers fantastic parings with fresh oysters. The natural salinity of oysters is complimented by the peat & smoke of Islay whiskies such as Ardbeg & Laphroaig whilst the fruity & sweet profiles of certain oysters pair perfectly with the smoother drams of the Highlands.
At the White Horse bar you will find a great selection of whiskies from across Scotland as well as our range of Caledonian, Lindisfarne, Loch Fyne & Carlingford oysters. Join us a embark on your own whisky & oyster tasting tour.