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Scotch Single Malt Whisky

Single malt Scotch whisky is Scotland's original whisky. It was traditionally made in the Highlands in the 18th and 19th century only from malted barley. In contrast, Lowland whisky was often made from other grains including oats, wheat, and later maize (corn). Until the Excise Act of 1823, much single malt Scotch whisky would have been made and sold illegally. The passing of this act paved the way for the commercialisation of the industry when famed illicit distilleries like George Smith's Glenlivet went legal.

This led to a boom in distillery building that continued until the 1890s. A series of regions emerged which produced whiskies in a distinct style: Islay, Island, Speyside (previously known as Glenlivet), Campbeltown, Highland and Lowland. Much of this character came from the fuel used for malting the barley. In the case of Islay, it would have been the island's plentiful peat, resulting in a smoky, medicinal taste, whereas Speyside's good railway connections would see it adopting anthracite, a kind of smokeless coal.

By the 1870s, however, most Scotch whisky for export would have been a blend of characterful Highland single malts and Lowland grains. These were pioneered, aged and marketed by shopkeepers like John Walker of Kilmarnock, Chivas Bros of Aberdeen and Arthur Bell & Sons of Perth. These merchants also imported rum, Port, sherry, Madeira and other wines, and had discovered that single malt Scotch whisky did something extraordinary when aged in seasoned wood. In whisky's illicit years, it would have been drunk unaged or even flavoured with herbs and spices but eventually whisky came to be generally regarded as an aged product. Since a court ruling of 1909, Scotch whisky, both malt and grain, has to be aged for a minimum for three years.

Now to be labelled as a single malt Scotch whisky, the spirit has to be made only from malted barley, batch-distilled in copper pot stills (usually twice though there are some triple-distilled single malt Scotch whiskies), aged for a minimum of three years in oak casks in Scotland, and bottled at no less than 40% ABV. The industry is governed by the Scotch Whisky Association (SWA). Within these strict parameters, however, each distillery produces a unique style through differences in fermentation techniques, distillation, wood ageing etc. On the whole, the regional styles like Islay or Speyside owe more to tradition than anything intrinsic to where they are made.

While for much of the 20th century, Scotch whisky drinkers would have drunk blends, often mixed with soda water, single malts were highly prized by aficionados, though usually only seen as independent bottling from merchants like Gordon & MacPhail of Elgin. In the 1960s, however, Glenfiddich in Speyside began bottling and marketing its single malt Scotch whisky internationally. Its success led to others making this leap such as Glenfarclas, Macallan and Glenlivet. Single malt Scotch whisky as we know it had arrived.

Many of the distilleries built during the boom years of the 19th century have since closed down but in the 21st century Scotch whisky grew rapidly once more and there are now more than 130 malt distilleries in operation. These range from tiny farm operations to vast factories of whisky. Despite the global fame of single malt Scotch whisky, however, the majority of production is still used for blends which make up around 85% of global sales. The success of single malt Scotch whisky has inspired distillers all over the world with countries such as Taiwan, Japan, Australia and America all making single malts that, while distinctive, owe much to the original.

In the 19th century, characterful malt whiskies would have often been drunk mixed with hot water, honey and spices in the form of toddies. Nowadays, most are drunk neat or with a little water but we're starting to see a return to mixing with certain malt whisky cocktails like the Smokey Cokey, a blend of Lagavulin and Coca-Cola, gaining a cult following.

Glenfiddich Experimental Series - IPA Cask Finish

70cl, 43%
Glenfiddich

Part of Glenfiddich's Experimental Series comes a single malt which was finished for three months in casks which previously held IPA! Created collaboratively by Glenfiddich Malt Master Brian Kinsman…  More info

Glenfiddich Experimental Series - IPA Cask Finish
46
$46.87
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Filthy Smoke 10 Year Old

50cl, 42.8%
Filthy Smoke

Different people like a lot of different qualities in their whisky. Perhaps you know someone who likes honeyed Speysiders, or grassy Lowland single malts. However, what you've done here is click on a…  More info

Filthy Smoke 10 Year Old
20
$35.62

Ledaig 18 Year Old

70cl, 46.3%
Tobermory

Ahh, Ledaig! A cracking single malt that proves Islay isn't the only place to get your hands on splendidly peaty whisky - the Tobermory distillers on the Isle of Mull also know their way around…  More info

Ledaig 18 Year Old
32
$86.54
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Arran 10 Year Old

70cl, 46%
Arran

Officially launched in 2006, this 10 year old lies at the heart of the Isle of Arran range and exudes all the honeyed richness we have come to associate with the island distillery.  More info

Arran 10 Year Old
86
$39.48

Linkwood 11 Year Old 2008 (Master of Malt)

70cl, 46.7%
Linkwood

Classic Speyside goodness from Linkwood distillery in Elgin, aged for 11 years between April 2008 and August 2019. These 358 bottles make a fine addition to our very own Master of Malt independent…  More info

Linkwood 11 Year Old 2008 (Master of Malt)
4
$35.62

Tamdhu 12 Year Old

70cl, 43%
Tamdhu

A fabulous Tamdhu, matured exclusively in a combination of first-fill and refill Oloroso sherry casks for 12 years. Sherried Speyside whisky is always a winner, with oodles of fruit and spice. Check…  More info

Tamdhu 12 Year Old
23
$44.82
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Balvenie 25 Year Old - Rare Marriages

70cl, 48%
Balvenie

An excellent 25 year olds single malt here from the Balvenie Distillery up in Speyside, released as part of its Rare Marriages series. Having been matured in a combo of European and American oak…  More info

Balvenie 25 Year Old - Rare Marriages
3
$601.16
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Roasting Chestnuts & Peat Fire Embers & Mince Pies & Hygge 10 Year Old

70cl, 48%
Roasting Chestnuts & Peat Fire Embers & Mince Pies & Hygge

Chestnuts roasting on an open fire, and the look of ampersands on a label. It makes us feel all warm and fuzzy, because it means the &Whisky folk have been up to their usual, delicious tricks. Here,…  More info

Roasting Chestnuts & Peat Fire Embers & Mince Pies & Hygge 10 Year Old
7
$50.90

The Macallan A Night On Earth In Scotland 2022 Release

70cl, 43%
The Macallan

The 2022 release of The Macallan A Night on Earth in Scotland. Full of symbolism linked to Scotland's Hogmanay celebrations on the 31st of December and the 'first footing' tradition, where it's good…  More info

The Macallan A Night On Earth In Scotland 2022 Release
1
$101.84

Ledaig Rioja Cask Finish - Sinclair Series

70cl, 46.3%
Tobermory

The Tobermory Distillery has kicked off its Sinclair Series of bottlings with a brilliantly flavoursome Ledaig single malt, which has enjoyed a finishing period in Rioja wine casks! The series is…  More info

Ledaig Rioja Cask Finish - Sinclair Series
25
$34.59

Seaweed & Aeons & Digging & Fire & Sherry Casks 10 Year Old

70cl, 40%
Seaweed & Aeons & Digging & Fire

Peat and sherry is a great combo, though sometimes it can be a bit like a shouting match between a foghorn and a washing machine full of pots and pans. Thankfully, this one shows off a welcome…  More info

Seaweed & Aeons & Digging & Fire & Sherry Casks 10 Year Old
2
$40.70

Secret Speyside Distillery 24 Year Old 1998 Single Cask (Master of Malt)

70cl, 55.3%
Master of Malt

While taking a hike around the Speyside region, we came across the strangest thing. A high-security distillery! There were watch towers, some serious looking personnel in dark shades and suits, all…  More info

Secret Speyside Distillery 24 Year Old 1998 Single Cask (Master of Malt)
2
$101.84

Glenfarclas 40 Year Old

70cl, 43%
Glenfarclas

A much adored expression here - 40 year old single malt Scotch whisky from the legendary Glenfarclas, offering up generous helpings of Sherried notes that the distillery are famous for. Bottled at…  More info

Glenfarclas 40 Year Old
3
$1,273.65
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Seaweed & Aeons & Digging & Fire & Cask Strength 10 Year Old (Batch 05)

70cl, 57.2%
Seaweed & Aeons & Digging & Fire

Feast your eyes on the fifth batch of Seaweed & Aeons & Digging & Fire & Cask Strength 10 Year Old! If Islay single malt is your thing, then you've uncovered a cracking whisky right here. There are…  More info

Seaweed & Aeons & Digging & Fire & Cask Strength 10 Year Old (Batch 05)
3
$71.27

GlenAllachie 15 Year Old

70cl, 46%
GlenAllachie

A 2019 addition to the GlenAllachie core range, this 15 year old single malt was treated to a finishing period in sherry casks before bottling. The casks in question were a combination puncheons and…  More info

GlenAllachie 15 Year Old
46
$68.21

Port Charlotte 10 Year Old

70cl, 50%
Bruichladdich

Introduced as the flagship Port Charlotte expression produced by Bruichladdich in 2018, this 10 year old single malt from the Isle of Islay is a lip-smackingly smoky number indeed. It's peated to…  More info

Port Charlotte 10 Year Old
66
$50.84
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Caol Ila 12 Year Old

70cl, 43%
Caol Ila

Caol Ila 12 year old is the entry-level bottling from the Caol Ila distillery, launched in June of 2002 this expression is light and fresh with that distinctive Caol Ila smoke.  More info

Caol Ila 12 Year Old
164
$47.84
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Laphroaig 34 Year Old - The Ian Hunter Story Book 4: Malt Master

70cl, 46.2%
Laphroaig

The fourth installment of the Ian Hunter Story series of rare and well-aged Laphroaig whiskies. Distilled in 1987, Book 4: Malt Master sees this impressively aged 34-year-old Islay single malt…  More info

Laphroaig 34 Year Old - The Ian Hunter Story Book 4: Malt Master
$1,324.59

Glenfiddich Grand Cru 23 Year Old

70cl, 40%
Glenfiddich

The folks at Glenfiddich clearly enjoy exploring new cask types for their whisky. Whether it's peaty whisky in rum casks, or making good use of icewine casks, the distillery certainly has some…  More info

Glenfiddich Grand Cru 23 Year Old
20
$208.31
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Balvenie DoubleWood 12 Year Old

70cl, 40%
Balvenie

Balvenie DoubleWood is, to not much surprise, aged in two kinds of oak casks! It was firstly matured in refill American oak casks before it was treated to a finish in first fill European oak Oloroso…  More info

Balvenie DoubleWood 12 Year Old
242
$46.32
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Christmas Cake & Dark Chocolate & Medjool Dates & Cinnamon 8 Year Old

70cl, 48%
Christmas Cake & Dark Chocolate & Medjool Dates & Cinnamon

Festive flavours like Christmas cake, dark chocolate, medjool dates, and cinnamon are the name of the game here. And by "name of the game", we of course mean that Christmas Cake & Dark Chocolate &…  More info

Christmas Cake & Dark Chocolate & Medjool Dates & Cinnamon 8 Year Old
26
$40.70

The Macallan 15 Year Old Double Cask

70cl, 43%
The Macallan

Another stellar addition to the Double Cask range from Macallan, it's a 15 Year Old expression! The single malt spent its years in a combination of American and European oak, both of which were…  More info

The Macallan 15 Year Old Double Cask
3
$137.50

Glen Scotia Victoriana Cask Strength

70cl, 54.2%
Glen Scotia

Glen Scotia's Victoriana sees the Campbeltown distillery's single malt drawn from casks with a particularly heavy char profile, imparting plenty of rich, roasty-toasty notes. This, however, is the…  More info

Glen Scotia Victoriana Cask Strength
21
$73.30

Glen Scotia Double Cask

70cl, 46%
Glen Scotia

Ooh, looks like the Glen Scotia range has had a bit of a redesign! They've gone for quite a classic, refined design this time, and have even introduced a selection of new expressions, including the…  More info

Glen Scotia Double Cask
68
$40.70
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Glenfarclas 30 Year Old

70cl, 43%
Glenfarclas

Superb single malt from the Glenfarclas distillery, aged for 30 years. Three decades of maturation have resulted in a fantastically full-bodied, satisfyingly Sherried and all-around awesome flavour…  More info

Glenfarclas 30 Year Old
8
$662.30
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