>Single malt scotches are often classified according to the region in which they were distilled. Scotch-wise, Scotland is basically divided up into four regions: Highland, Lowland, Speyside, and Islay.

Each region produces scotch with different characteristics. We will describe them below and you can select the region that sounds most appealing to you and choose from a list of recommended scotches from that region.
  • Highland: The Highland region is the largest by far, and the single malts produced there vary widely. It can be further subdivided into the Northern, Eastern, Western, and Central Highlands.

  • Lowland: There are not many Lowland distilleries, but they have always been known for making single malts much lighter and mellower than other Scotch whiskies. Lowland whiskies used to be very popular with the English, who found the light flavor more suitable for their delicate palates. The most recommended Lowland brands are Auchentoshan and Glenkinchie.

  • Speyside: This region boasts the highest concentration of distilleries, and the whiskies they produce are known for their sweetness and their complex and elegant flavors and aromas. The "Top Class" Speyside whiskies include: Aultmore, Benrinnes, Cragganmore, Glen Elgin, Glen Grant, Glenlivet, Glenlossie, Glenrothes, Linkwood, Longmorn, Macallan, and Mortlach.

  • Islay: Islay (pronounced "eye-la") is a small island off the western coast of Scotland, and it is home to the heaviest, strongest-flavored, smokiest, and most challenging of the single malts. These whiskies might not be good for neophytes, but if you are already sure you like the flavors of single malt scotches in general it is probably worth your while to try some of these. Some recommended brands are: Bowmore (one of the milder Islays), Caol Ila (pronounced "cal-eela"), Lagavulin, and Laphroaig (pronounced "La-frayg").

SoYouWanna know more? Check out our full-length article SYW clean your home-made beer equipment?