Scotland, the home of whisky and the leading producer of single malt in the world. In these lands, whiskey is not merely a drink; but more akin to being a religion and something formidable and sacred. No wonder it’s called the water of life!
Let’s backtrack. As I said, Scotland is the home of the single malt. Last year, 2.1 million people visited Scotland to sample single malt whiskies at the famed whisky distilleries across the country. Or, more specifically, across the six different whisky regions—each unique and brimming with malts to sample.
Unfortunately, not all of us have the time or the money to travel to the fabled land for the whisky lover; but, don’t distress! The team at Tipple and Dram has designed a personalised tour of each of the regions for you. Let us introduce you to a range of distilleries and their beautiful array of whiskies across the country. You even taste a dram or two of that single malt whisky right here in sunny Singapore. You know what they say—keep the family and the wallet happy!
Today, we’ll be exploring the six whisky regions of Scotland: Speyside, Highlands, Lowlands, Islay, Campbeltown, and Islands. Each region has their own general style and type of whiskey, which we’ll be covering, and some amazing distilleries. We will be discussing the landscape, general style, and a few notable distilleries of each region.
Let’s begin with Speyside, the most densely populated whisky region. Housing half of Scotland’s distilleries amongst lush rivers and glens, this fertile valley is a favourite amongst whisky lovers. The name owes its genesis to River Spey, which runs through the region. Another key hallmark of the mildness, smoothness and sweetness of Speyside whiskies is the quality of water, which is mineral free.
Speyside malts generally are non-existent with peat and generous for fruity flavours. Apple, pear, honey, and vanilla shine in these whiskies. As a whole, however, the whiskys oscillate between two main camps: light and grassy and rich and sweet.
Check out Glenlivet for a classic grassy, floral malt that will perfectly compliment your lunchtime meal. If you prefer something richer, why not head to Glenfarclas or Macallan? Other popular but less well known type of whiskies are Glen Spey, Glen Keith, Glen Elgin, Glen Lossie and Dailuaine.
Welcome to the Highlands, Scotland’s largest whisky region, which covers the northern
Two – thirds of Scotland, where wild seas meet endless moors and is known for its spectacular out of the world scenery with combinations of lochs, glens, rivers and mountains.
Here, variety truly is the spice of life with almost every style imaginable featured. Whether you want rich and textured whiskeys, rounded with a rich spiciness tinge, or a fragrant floral spirit, you’ll find it within this changing landscape. Some of whisky’s most famous names and remarkable bottlings await you—dive right in!
Travel to the north to experience some of that remarkable individuality we mentioned. Indulge in the fragrant spiciness of a Glenmorangie whisky. After that, experience the signature waxiness of a Clynelish whisky—as Aladdin once said, it’s a whole new world.
Why not head east next? Head into a foray of smoky delights with Glen Garioch and Ardmore, the latter of which marries fruit and smoke masterfully within this pocket of wildly differing distilleries.
One of the most amazing well-kept secrets of a Highland whisky, which was discovered by Tipple and Dram was the magnificent splendour of Fettercairn single malt whisky or the gentle soft, creamy sweetness of having a wee dram of Braeval.
Next stop: the Lowlands. Right now, we’re perched just above England in historic region that was once amongst the most prominent producers of single malt.
You can’t leave the Lowlands without trying one of their signature triple family of independent distilled malts. Known for their delicate, gentle, floral and elegant palate, these whiskys feature light notes of grass, honeysuckle, cream, ginger, cinnamon, and toast. Lovers of the mellow malt rejoice here as they sample the region’s famous “feminine whiskies”.
Pay a visit to Auchentoshan, Bladnoch or Glenkinchie to try the region’s signature style.
Another distinguishing feature of the Lowlands is their distinction in producing some outstanding grain whiskies such as North British, which is Scotlands oldest and largest grain whisky producers. Another amazing grain whisky was Caledonian, which is now a closed distillery. The Maltman SG found a few bottles at the Tipple and Dram.
We’ve arrived at Islay, alternatively known as the home of peated, smoky whiskies. Rugged and windswept, the eight distilleries on this island have secured quite the fan following for their rich whiskys.
Islay malts are marked by their peatiness, smoke and salinity. Each sip unravels yet another layer of complexity, lending to an experience unlike any other.
Between the nine distilleries, if you count the newly opened Ardnahoe from the illustrious family of independent bottlers, Hunter Laing. The other eight being Ardbeg; Laphroaig; Lagavulin; Kilchoman; Caol Ila; Bunnahabhain; Bruichladdich; Bowmore—you’ll be greeted with everything from carbolic to floral palates and pepper to purity. Take it in and enjoy the sensory adventure.
Look around. Home upon the few inhabited islands amongst the eight hundred scattered off Scotland’s coast, these distilleries are may be the most scattered, but they are also the most versatile. Here you will encounter drams brimming with maritime notes of brine, black pepper, oil, heather, and honey. Untamed and exciting, these malts will revitalise your tastebuds.
Head to Jura, which is a stone throw away from Isaly to sample a good middle ground for these unyielding brews. Nutty and oily, it will be a dram to remember. Then, visit Tobermory at the Isle of Mull, where water is in perennial short supply for a taste of a signature Island whisky that offers fruity comfort while retaining its individual character. The Ledaig whisky produced at Tobermory is legendary for its subtle touch of introducing a hint of peatiness to the rich and well-rounded flavours.
Our last stop has come: Campbeltown. In stark contrast to its peak (which featured over thirty distillers), this tiny region upon the beautiful Kintyre peninsula is currently only home too three coastal whisky producers. Don’t underestimate Campbeltown, though. The region produces beautifully distinctive and enduring whiskys that you’ll savour long after your last sip.The region’s general style features notes of sea salt on the nose while smoke, wet wool, fruit, vanilla, and toffee linger on the tongue.
The Springbank, Glengyle, and Glen Scotia distilleries are all worth a visit as they produce very different whiskies. Try Springbank to experience their three wildly different whiskies that range from richly peated to clear or Glen Scotia for a light, grassy whisky. Either way, you’re sure to leave satisfied.
That brings us to the end of our tour. We hope you enjoyed the ride through Scotland from the comfort of Tipple and Dram, one of the only places where you’ll be able to find limited release whiskies in Singapore.