Scotch Whisky, known worldwide as "Scotch" is an umbrella term for any of the following whisky varieties produced in Scotland; Single Malt, Blended Malt, Single Grain, Blended Grain and Blended (Malt & Grain) Whisky.
In terms of an official definition, Scotch Whisky must be at least 40% ABV, it must be distilled to a maximum strength of 94.8% ABV, it must be wholly matured in an excise warehouse in Scotland for at least 3 years and the cask that the whisky is matured in must not exceed a capacity of 700 litres. In addition, if an age statement is present on the bottle or label, every spirit within that bottle must be at the very least, the age stated. This is the case with all varieties of Scotch Whisky.
Traditionally, Scotland was divided into four distinct whisky producing regions, each with their own characterisitc styles and flavours.
The Scotch Whisky Association now recognises an additional region which lies within the Highland region, called Speyside. It is an area that encompasses the Spey river valley in the north east of the country and is home to just under half of Scotland's working distilleries.
In addition to this, a further but unofficial region exists in the form of "The Islands" with whiskies such as Scapa, Highland Park, Talisker, Arran and Tobermory hailing from this region. Technically however, The Islands are part of the Highland region.
Therefore the regions are as follows;
- Islands (Unoffical, part of the Highlands)