What is Single Malt Scotch Whisky?

let’s begin

To give you the best experience of enjoying a fine malt, we like to make sure people know exactly what they’re drinking. So we’re exploring the definitions of different types of whisky. Let’s take a look at single malt Scotch whisky.

The legal definition of single malt Scotch whisky is pretty easy to understand. It is a whisky, made from malted barley, that has been distilled as a single distillery for 3 years or more and has an ABV of over 40%. And there you go. That’s the definition of single malt Scotch whisky.

But let’s delve a little deeper. Single malt Scotch whisky is probably the best known type of malt and if you ever see a movie where someone asks for a scotch, that’s most likely what they’re going to get (never do that though, bartenders will laugh in your face).

Single Malt Scotch and the Law

Single malt Scotch whisky has a market share in the whisky industry, standing at about 10%, which isn’t the biggest (compared to blends) but is significant considering single malts used to be dismissed in the 80s and 90s. The production of single malt Scotch whisky is very regulated in order to ensure that consumers are getting the best quality product at the end. As well as the stipulations we mentioned above, there are other laws in place that mean you get what you pay for when you buy a single malt Scotch.

These also include that it has to be made in pot stills and aged in oak barrels. Although this last rule is becoming a bit looser, with new guidelines being introduced about how you can mature malt, allowing whisky distilleries to be more creative in maturation. It also has to be made from malted barley, which refers to the process of soaking barley grains in water until the germinate and then drying them out.

GreatDrams has our own exclusive bottling of this style of Scotch whisky

What are your thoughts? Leave a comment below and let’s have a chat! 

Tags: fine maltScotch WhiskySingle Maltwhisky industry


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.

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