Single Malt Whisky comes from just one single distillery. It must be made from 100% malted barley and aged for a minimum of three years. If even a teaspoon of whisky from another distillery is added, it can no longer be called a single malt!
Often considered a superior product to blended whisky, single malts account for only 10% of all Scotch Whisky exports. Each distillery has its own house character, often characterised by unique production methods such as Glenmorangie’s 20ft high stills or by selective maturation methods such as Glenfarclas’ insistence on only using Spanish sherry casks.
Most single malt distilleries were built with the purpose of producing whisky for blends. Lagavulin was the main ingredient in White Horse, GlenAllachie the ‘top dressing’ for Chivas and Ardbeg was one the of the key components of Black Bottle! At the start of the 20th century Single malts were very rare, and only during the 1960s and 70s did famous brands such as Glenfiddich and Glenlivet become household names. The Milroy’s brothers were among the first proponents of Single Malts, introducing a new level of diversity and an unheard-of range of styles.