Whisky Regions

The regional discussions of appellations used to classify malt whiskies have been expanded in recent years. The basic division into Highland, Speyside, Lowland, Campbeltown and Islay has been augmented by sub-dividing Highland into sub-regions and districts. However,  according to the Society Whisky Map (http://www.smws.co.uk/) the following distinctions are most useful:

  • Highland
  • Speyside
  • Islay
  • Campbeltown
  • Lowland

Highland is sub-divided into Northern, Southern, Eastern, Western and Island; Speyside is subdivided into it’s four river valleys – Spey, Lossie, Deveron and Findhorn.We follow this division in our Bottling Lists. The Map in your membership pack illustrates the locations of all the distilleries. 
Highland Island malts can be hard to define as each has its own character. Typical island malts, however, with the exception of Jura are noticeably peaty but less so than the Islay malts.
Highland Northern whiskies are usually medium-bodied, quite complex and delicate.
These malts tend to have more of a peaty note than other mainland highland malts, with a firm rounded character.
Highland Eastern whiskies can be full to medium-bodied, smooth, sweetish with a dry finish. They are often malty and lightly smokey.
Highland Southern malts tend to be the lightest of the region. They can be quite fragrant but with a dry finish.
Generally, whiskies from this region are light in colour and weight and typically have a dry finish. Their aromatic intensity is low and tends to be grassy, green or herbal, with grainy and floral notes. Lowland malts are regarded by many as an excellent aperitif.
The heart of whisky distilling in Scotland, Speyside contains two-thirds of all malt distilleries in Scotland. These whiskies are quite sweet with estery tones. Known for being complex and sophisticated with great finesse, they are favoured by blenders. In general, but not always, Speyside whiskies are made from very lightly peated malt, so sometimes a whiff of smoke can be detected. Although lighter than Highland and Islay whiskies, Speyside whiskies matured in sherry wood can have a chocolatey richness.
This peninsula on the west coast of Scotland used to have around thirty distilleries. The Campbeltown single malts are very distinctive, tending to be full-bodied and pungent with a briny note.
At least a quarter of the island’s surface is covered with peat and Islay malts are renowned for their phenolic, iodine, seaweed-like qualities.
Scotland Map
Speyside Map
West Isles Map


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