Scotland can be divided into six different malt making segments or regions; Islay, Campbeltown, speyside, Islands Lowlands and highlands. Each of these regions produce a different malt as the characteristics are different so too are the methods of distilling. Climate variations, raw materials, and production methods all play a roll in the differing of these malts.
This is a small island off the western coast of Scotland and is the site of many wonderful malt distilleries. They have many variations of malts however the most notable carry a tangy smoky peaty taste. The current number of running distilleries is at eight although at onetime there was said to be twenty-three, with the newest edition opened in 2005.
This mountainless and flat region is apparent by its name and is also in the most southern region of Scotland. This brew is contains less of the smoke, peat, and salt than most other malts coming from Scotland and it carries with it a mildly fiery yet smooth taste.
This is undoubtedly the center of the whiskey universe in Scotland. The Spey River runs directly through the area hence the name. A good majority of top distilleries use water from the river in their processes. Although some of the characteristics vary in speyside it is still a part of the Highland geographically speaking. Someone interested in trying a traditional Scottish malt for the first time would do well with this malt, as it is rich and relatively mild in taste.
The largest malt-producing region in Scotland is by far the Highlands. This brew is smoky and very rich. In comparison to malts from the lowlands, many of the different distilleries produce a different taste to their malts. This is caused by the varying microclimate differences. The use of many different raw materials and the inclusion of some changed production routines also contribute to these distinctions in taste
At one time Campbeltown was Scotland’s prime distillery site. Twenty-one distilleries were active in and around 1886 however only three are currently in business. This region is still considered a separate malt state for the value of historians.
Arran, Orkney, Mull, Jura, and skye make up the body of islands that sometimes get confused with Islay. This is in fact an entirely separate region. Those whom have some experience drinking malts generally enjoy the malts from this region.