Sunday, April 03, 2011


Scotch’ stands for Scotch whisky, which means a whiskey that has been made in Scotland. The production of Scotch follows very strict rules and is renowned for its very good quality.

There are five categories of Scotch, depending on what they are made of :

  • Single Malt (only water and malted barley)

  • Single Grain (water, barley and other cereals)

  • Blended Malt (blend of several Single Malt Scotches)

  • Blended Grain (blend of several Single Grain Scotches)

  • Blended (blend of Single Grain + Single Malt)

The term ‘Single’ refers to the fact that the whiskey has been produced in one single distillery, while ‘Blended’ means that the whiskey is a blend of several whiskeys from different distilleries. The words ‘Malt’ and ‘Grain’ refer to the type of cereal the whiskey contains: either malted barley or different (malted or unmalted) cereals, such as corn. Indications on bottles of blended whiskeys must always state the age of the younger whisky in the blend.

Scotch whiskey has to:

  • Be produced at a distillery in Scotland from water and malted barley (to which only whole grains of other cereals may be added) all of which have been processed at the distillery

  • Be wholly matured in Scotland in oak casks of a capacity not exceeding 700 litres for at least three years

  • Retain the colour, aroma, and taste of the raw materials used in, and the method of, its production and maturation

  • Have no added substances, other than water and plain (E150A) caramel colouring

  • Have a minimum alcoholic strength by volume of 40%

The law forbids to produce whiskies in Scotland that do not respond to these rules, in order to avoid people using the mention ‘produced in Scotland’ while their whisky has not the quality of a Scotch.

Even though Scotch is made of cereals, it can be consumed as part of a gluten-free diet! A standard 25 ml of Scotch nonetheless contains 55 calories. We use the spelling ‘whisky’ (which means ‘water of life’) for Scotch, but the spelling ‘whiskey’ also exists: the latter is mainly American and Irish, while the former is mostly used in Scotland. The Americans use rye, wheat and corn in their whiskeys rather than barley.

All around the world people are used to consume Scotch whisky differently:

  • In Shanghai the right way to drink Scotch is to blend it with ice en cold green tea

  • In Tokyo the bartender will propose you a whisky 'mizawari', i.e. diluted with a lot of water

  • In Madrid people add some ice and cola to their Scotch

  • Finally, in Scotland, Scotch Whisky is consumed with a little bit or without water

Some people find it strange to add some water in their Scotch, and we will end with a quote of Joe E. Lewis (American actor and singer) about the blend of Scotch with water:

Whenever someone asks me if I want water with my Scotch, I say I'm thirsty, not dirty".

Alabama Song:

How to drink whisky:

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