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Scotland

Scotland

Scotch whisky is malt whisky or grain whisky (or a blend of the two), made in Scotland.

All Scotch whisky was originally made from malted barley. Commercial distilleries began introducing whisky made from wheat and rye in the late 18th century. As of 2020, there were 134 Scotch whisky distilleries operating in Scotland.

All Scotch whisky must be aged in oak barrels for at least three years. Any age statement on a bottle of Scotch whisky, expressed in numerical form, must reflect the age of the youngest whisky used to produce that product. A whisky with an age statement is known as guaranteed-age whisky. A whisky without an age statement is known as a no age statement (NAS) whisky, the only guarantee being that all whisky contained in that bottle is at least three years old. The minimum bottling strength according to the regulation is 40% alcohol by volume. Scotch whisky is divided into five distinct categories: single malt Scotch whisky, single grain Scotch whisky, blended malt Scotch whisky (formerly called "vatted malt" or "pure malt"), blended grain Scotch whisky, and blended Scotch whisky.

There are two basic types of Scotch whisky, from which all blends are made:

·         Single grain Scotch whisky is a Scotch whisky distilled at a single distillery but, in addition to water and malted barley, may involve whole grains of other malted or unmalted cereals. "Single grain" does not mean that only a single type of grain was used to produce the whisky—rather, the adjective "single" refers only to the use of a single distillery (and making a "single grain" requires using a mixture of grains, as barley is a type of grain and some malted barley must be used in all Scotch whisky). Malt whisky is distilled as a batch process in pot stills, whereas grain whisky can be distilled continuously in Continuous Stills or Column stills.

·         Single malt Scotch must have been distilled at a single distillery using a pot still distillation process and made from a mash of malted barley.

Excluded from the definition of "single grain Scotch whisky" is any spirit that qualifies as a single malt Scotch whisky or as a blended Scotch whisky. The latter exclusion is to ensure that a blended Scotch whisky produced from single malt(s) and single grain(s) distilled at the same distillery does not also qualify as single grain Scotch whisky.

Nearly 90% of the bottles of Scotch sold per year are blended whiskies Three types of blends are defined for Scotch whisky:

·         Blended grain Scotch whisky means a blend of two or more single grain Scotch whiskies from different distilleries.

·         Blended malt Scotch whisky means a blend of two or more single malt Scotch whiskies from different distilleries.

·         Blended Scotch whisky means a blend of one or more single malt Scotch whiskies with one or more single grain Scotch whiskies.

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