The Origins of Scotch Whisky Brand Names

let’s begin

The Scots are fiercely proud of their heritage, and the same goes for Scotch Whisky brand names.

Being Scottish is at the very heart of what they do and it only makes sense that their names would reflect that heritage.

Let’s take a look at some of those brands and uncover exactly what they mean.

A lot of the whisky brand names we’ve noted here reference places where the distilleries are based. This makes a lot of sense, especially since many of them were founded in the days before Google Maps, and the names of places actually meant a lot more to inhabitants.

They are also anglicised versions of Gaelic words. This makes sense considering how English would have taken over as the native tongue. Take a closer look here at the history of some whisky brand names.

This means “Valley of the Deer”, which is reflected in their logo, which is a stag’s head.

This distillery was often confused with Knockando, as it was originally called Knockdhu, meaning Black Hill. They changed to AnCnoc in 1994, which simply means The Hill.

Based in the beautiful hills on the edge of Cairngorms National Park, Dalwhinnie, derived from the Gaelic “Dail-coinneeamh” means the meeting place. It references routes through the mountains where cattle drivers would often meet.

Found on the isle of Islay, Laphroaig comes from the Gaelic Lag Bhròdhaig, meaning “hollow of broad bay”. The distillery is actually called after Loch Laphroaig.

Instead of the anglicised version of a Gaelic word, Bruichladdich have stuck with the native tongue. The name means “stony shore bank”.

Based on the isle of Skye, which is the home of Clan Macleod, Talisker is named for Talisker House that was once home to the son of the Clan’s Chief.

The town of Oban is one of the few places that sprung to life after the distillery was built there. The name itself means “Place by the little bay”.

Meaning “mouth of the river”, Bunnahabhain is a small distillery and town on Islay.

From the Gaelic CarnDubh, pronounced Carn Dove, and simply means “black rock”

Another distillery on Islay, this name means “Sound of Islay” and is a reference to the distillery’s place on the island.

Know some interesting Scotch or Whisky trivia? Let us know in the comments!

Tags: OriginsscotchScotch Brand NamesScotch brandsThe Origins of Scotch Brand Names


My name is Greg, and I’m a brand strategy consultant, writer, speaker, host and judge specialising in premium spirits. My mission is to experience, share and inspire with everything great about whisky, whiskey, gin, beer and fine dining through my writing, my brand building and my whisky tastings.

You might be interested in

More from the blog

Leave a comment

Login / register