Regional Designations for Scotch

29 Dec

On this blog, I try to present a complete list of regions, but not all of these are recognized by the Scotch Whisky Association, the industry body that manages the legal aspects of the Scotch whisky industry in conjunction with the UK government. Here is the list I have used to date:

  • Campbeltown
  • Highland
    • Central Highland
    • Eastern Highland
    • Island
    • Northern Highland
    • Western Highland
  • Islay
  • Lowland
  • Speyside

The five top-level bullets are the regional designations that are recognized by the SWA. Whenever a noted whisky writer (e.g., Michael Jackson) or other authority mentions a distillery more specifically as a member of a sub-region, I tagged that distillery with that sub-region as well as the parent region.

Here is a link to the SWA’s listing of all operational distilleries, including their regional designations. Note that they list “Grain Whisky” within the Lowland region, however not all single-grain distilleries are in that Lowland region (it’s true that most are, the exception being Invergordon). Click on “Single Grain” in the category cloud to see them all.

The maps on this post are only two of several maps of Scotch regions online. Again, remember that there are only five “official” regions: Campbeltown, Highland, Islay, Lowland and Speyside.

Caveats re: the second map:

  • Based on the official names given by the SWA, it is incorrect to label the Highland regions in the plural.
  • The “Island” region is properly part of the Higland region, and is no more “real” than any of the other Highland sub-regions on this map (I put all the “Island” distilleries in the “Highland” category, to conform with the SWA, and I also put them in the Island category, in case that label is more familiar to people).
  • Finally, I don’t know where the second map’s boundaries came from…they are drawn very precisely, but I don’t know if they are county or shire boundaries, or what.

What about Speyside?

According to Richard Patterson (Master Blender for Whyte & Mackay and Scotch Whisky icon), Speyside is in the Highlands so it’s also Highland.Who am I to argue? But I don’t have to pick and choose…I can have it both ways here: I categorized all Speyside whiskies as also being Highland whiskies. So you can click on Speyside and you’ll find all of those, or you can click on Highland and find a very complete list of whiskies covering all whisky not categorized as Campbeltown, Islay or Lowland.

1 Comment

Posted by on 29-December-2008 in Whisky2.0


One response to “Regional Designations for Scotch

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