What is Malt Scotch Whiskey?

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  • Written By: Malcolm Tatum
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 04 March 2020
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Malt scotch whiskey is a form of alcoholic beverage that hails from Scotland. Considered to be one of the most ancient forms of hard liquor, the whiskey is produced in single malt and double malt formulas. The basic process for producing this type of scotch whiskey has remained virtually unchanged for centuries.

The process of making scotch malt whiskey begins with the acquisition of barley. After preparing the barley by drying the grain over peat, it is added to a specific amount of water. Yeast is then added to initiate the fermentation process. In order to achieve the distinctive flavor, the whiskey is distilled in a copper still only.

While today’s producers of malt scotch barley produce the product in larger batches than in times past, they still follow this same basic formula. Rather than employing distillation equipment made from steel or some other metal, copper containers still serve as the medium of choice. There are those that say any attempts to make malt scotch whiskey in any other type of still will result in the creation of some other form of whiskey, not a true malt scotch.


Once the distillation process is complete, the fermented liquid is stored in oak casks only. Like the use of copper containers during the initial stages, the use of oak containers is considered essential if the bouquet and the flavor of the scotch whiskey is to be perfect. The whiskey may remain in the casks for anywhere between five and fifty years, depending on the practices of the brewer. However, many brands of malt scotch whiskey are considered to be fully mature at around the ten year mark, and are bottled at that time.

Malt scotch whiskey can also be used as an ingredient is various types of blended whiskey products. The malt whiskey is blended with other whiskeys made with the use of multiple grains such as corn and wheat. The ratio of malt to grain whiskeys will vary depending on the color and taste desired by the manufacturer.

True malt scotch whiskey is not readily available in all parts of the world. However, that is slowly changing. Thanks to an increasing recognition of the superior quality of the whiskey, the beverage is beginning to make its way into North and South America as well as parts of Asia and Africa. Thanks to online shopping, it is also possible to direct order malt scotch whiskey, even when it is not carried in local liquor stores. However, import restrictions in some countries make it impossible to accept orders from all nations at this time.



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