There is no denying that whisky is the spirit of Scotland. It is our biggest export with just under 38 bottles being exported from Scotland every second. And we certainly enjoy a wee dram at Geraldo’s!
As accredited ‘Whisky Ambassadors’ we like to think we have the ‘nose’ for it. The month of May is officially whisky month, so go and pour yourself a wee dram while we tell you a bit more about our national drink.
Similar to fine wine regions in the world, malt whiskies in Scotland are grouped by regions.
Highlands and Islands
This region, which encompasses the highlands and all the islands, probably has the greatest range of flavours given that it covers such a vast area.
The Arran Distillery at Lochranza is one of the closest whisky distilleries to us and also our best selling range to visitors looking for something local. Arran enjoys a warm micro-climate which is ideal for the maturation of single malts. Each of their whiskies has a unique personality and they distill a wide range of single malts, limited editions, blends and the most delicious cream liqueur, Arran Gold, voted number 1 cream liqueur in the world.
Arran's Machrie Moor Single Malt has the classic fresh Arran Malt character with a puff of peat smoke. Named after the windswept and mystical peat bog of Machrie Moor on Arran, surrounded by Bronze Age stone circles and standing stones, this whisky captures the rugged beauty of the landscape. If you like peated whiskies, you'll love Arran's Machrie Moor and, with the recently opened new distillery at Lagg on the southern tip of the island, there'll be much more to follow from Arran in that much loved peated style.
Campbeltown lies across the water from us on the Mull of Kintyre peninsula and has traditionally been the home of many distilleries. It's the smallest region of all but definitely not to be underestimated. Campbeltown malts, such as those from Springbank Distillery tend to be robust, complex whiskies that are full of flavour with hints of sea salt and mild peat.
Springbank’s 10 year old is a rich whisky, awash with scents and flavours that will definitely delight. It smells of stewed pears and baked apples, followed by honeycomb and fudge notes. It is a lovely whisky with vanilla and honey flavours and a refreshing zestiness.
Often considered the creme de la creme of whiskies, Speyside is the home to the greatest number of distilleries, representing two-thirds of all whisky production, Traditionally rich and fruity but, recently, more peated whiskies are being produced in this region harking back to the traditional distilling methods favoured by many.
The Benromach 10 year old is a popular Speyside whisky among our customers. It's great value given its complexity and is distilled by Gordon and MacPhail who own the Benromach Distillery. This gorgeous classic Speyside malt is beautifully balanced with a light touch of smoke. It has a taste of juicy raspberries and brambles, sherry, creamy malt and a light peat. Absolutely delicious and one of our all time favourites.
The island of Islay lives and breathes whisky and is home to many very well known whisky distilleries. Although an island in itself, Islay's style is so distinct it's classed as a region on its own. It has excellent soil (for growing barley), peat (for fuel) and a regular source of pure water. Its typical whisky style is smoky with an abundance of peat and sea salt spray.
The Kilchoman distillery is a fine example and is still the only independent farm distillery on the island. All parts of the production process for the Kilchoman malts have taken place at the Kilchoman Distillery – from barley to bottle. Their Machir Bay Single Malt has a beautiful balance of vanilla, smokey butterscotch and rich fruitiness each contributing in complexity and combining to create a truly unique Islay dram.
This region is known for producing lighter, smoother, non-smokey style of whiskies. Lowland malts tend to be excellent introductory whiskies and can be appreciated by beginners and experienced whisky drinkers alike.
At one of our recent whisky masterclasses, attendees were surprised at the light, easy drinking taste of the Epicurean from Douglas Laing. This whisky is a blend of some of the finest Lowland Malts; a marriage of the best that the East and the West of Scotland have to offer.
The Epicurean is part of their 'Remarkable Regional Malts' range which includes Timorous Beastie from the Highlands, Scallywag from Speyside, Rock Oyster from the Islands and Big Peat from Islay. All of which contain a carefully selected blend of the finest single malts from their respective regions.
We have a wide range of whiskies online and in our shop in Largs. Often we receive small allocations of limited edition releases from Scottish distilleries and host a range of whisky masterclasses throughout the winter months. To be the first to hear about them, sign up to our newsletter and select 'whisky' as your interest.
Whether you are a whisky connoisseur or recently discovered the joys of 'the water of life', we hope you enjoy a few wee drams this whisky month and try something different.