Whisky Magazine Issue 122
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A region for delicate and triple distilliation whiskies
The image of Scotland has no doubt played a huge part in selling the wonderful spirit that flows from the stills located there. You just need to see the imagery used on bottles and adverts, let alone the bagpipes and tartan used on imitation ‘whiskies' to see this.
Much is focused on the rugged image of the Highlands and Islands though; shrouded in folklore and mystery, and stories of illicit distilling and hiding from excisemen. Of course, this is an honest account of the tales of whisky's history in Scotland, and the accounts from workers at the distilleries paints the much more colourful background of the spirit. Recently, talking with Dave Broom and Stephen Marshall at ‘Tales of the Cocktail on Scotch', and it was apparent that these stories are what makes the category so interesting, and ultimately what we buy into as consumers, suppliers and creators.
However, this is half of the story. In the same way that Scotch runs the flavour gauntlet from bold, brash and powerful, to light, delicate and floral, as does the Scottish countryside, and with it, the settings, people and tales that shape the local drams. This to me is the real motivation around terroir in Scotch. I've always argued that you can make any style of spirit in any region (note smoky Ardmore in Speyside, and lightly buttery Bunnahabhain on Islay), and it is more determined by a desire to create a certain spirit than it is the location. This is no detraction from the different regions, and as above, ...