Highland Malt Whisky
Highland malt whisky is part of a long tradition of malt whisky making in Scotland. Malt whisky in this country was reputedly introduced from Ireland in the 5th century after legend has it that St Patrick introduced it to that country in the same century.
He is supposed to have learned the skill while travelling in France and Spain where it was long established. The boom in the whisky industry followed the Excise act of 1823 which legalised whisky production and there was also a steep decline in the brandy industry following the failure of many french vineyards due to a virus. Whisky took over as the tipple of choice.
Making Highland Malt Whisky
Unlike Irish whisky scottish highland malt whisky is double distilled not triple distilled (there are exceptions eg Auchentoshan Lowland Malt).
Whisky is produced from what is essentially strong beer, using only malted barley not the other ingredients that give beer its unique flavour. The malted barley is dried using a combination of different fuels and it is these that contribute a lot to the unique flavour of each individual whisky.
Less peat (if any) is used in the drying process for highland malt whisky so the strong peaty flavour associated with the likes of the Islay malts is not as common in these whiskies.
They do tend to be smoother as a result but of course it all depends on individual taste.
The malted barley is then ground and in water (the water used also affects the flavour) is heated to convert the rest of the starch to sugar. The water is drained into a large fermentation vessel and the grain is washed several times to extract as much as possible from it.
The resultant liquid has yeast added and is allowed to ferment. It is after this that it is distilled, usually twice.
The resultant whisky is then stored in old wooden barrels. The previous occupant of the barrel such as sherry gives each brand another distinct flavour and it is during this aging that the final maturing takes place. It must be for at least 3 years to be called whisky and of course many are left for much longer.
Once it is transferred into bottle and sealed then that is the finished product and no further changes take place.
Highland Malt Whisky Distilleries
These are the Highland malt whisky distilleries still in production. I think the list is up to date but would appreciate an e-mail if anybody has more information.
ABERFELDY, AILSA BAY, ARDMORE, AUCHROISK, BALBLAIR, BEN NEVIS, BLAIR ATHOLL, CLYNELISH, DALMORE, DEANSTON, EDRADOUR, FETTERCAIRN, GLENCADAM, GLENESK, GLENGARIOCH, GLENGOYNE, GLENMORANGIE, GLEN ORD, GLENTURRET, GLENUGIE, LOCH LOMOND, OBAN, OLD PULTENEY, ROYAL BRACKLA,
I have sampled quite a few of the highland malt whisky brands mentioned above and look forwards to trying many more. It is possible to find almost any malt whisky at Buy Whisky Online and more specifically Highland Malt Whisky at http://buywhiskyonline.info Click the link.