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A guide to
Scottish whisky

Scottish whisky – otherwise known as Scotch – is one of life’s great pleasures. Smooth, sweet and aged to perfection, the national drink of Scotland is beloved across the world.

Our guide to Scotch shares everything you need to know about our whisky. Where it’s made, how it’s produced, and of course, how to drink it.


The first records of Scottish whisky date back to 1494. It’s here in the Exchequer Rolls that ‘water of life’ was first mentioned as ‘aqua vitae’. Over the next 200 years, whisky became pretty popular. Enough to attract the attention of parliament who began taxing the spirit in 1644. This led to a spike in illicit whisky distilling and smuggling for the next 150 years, with Scotch hidden in every nook and cranny of Scotland – even the clergy’s pulpit. 


By the 1820s, more than half of Scottish whisky was enjoyed illegally, including the first bottles of The Glenlivet whisky as made by our founder George Smith. Even the King enjoyed a dram, demanding a drop of the infamous Glenlivet whisky on a state visit in 1822. 


A year later, the Excise Act was passed which allowed sanctioned whisky making for a licence fee and payment per gallon. This saw George become the first legal distiller in the parish of Glenlivet and as the years went by, more and more producers started creating their own spirits, leading to Scotland becoming responsible for over £6 billion worth of Scotch each year.


Scotch is made from three ingredients: grain, water and yeast. First the grain is soaked, dried and milled to extract sugar. Then comes the water. Added in stages, it’s mashed and stirred to create a sweet, sugary liquid. Lastly yeast is added to turn the liquid into alcohol.


To legally be named Scotch, a whisky must be made in Scotland where it’s distilled and matured in oak casks for at least three years. Whilst other whiskies take inspiration from Scottish expressions, none have quite as much cachet as the original spirit.


There are many different types of Scottish whisky. Each of which depend on how the scotch is produced and the ingredients used. Malted barley creates a single malt. Grains such as rye or corn are used to make single grain scotch. And blended whiskies are made by combining two or more expressions from different distilleries.

Here at The Glenlivet, we create pure single malt Scotch using barley and wooden washbacks that impart a distinctive floral flavour. It’s been that way for almost 200 years using our time-honoured process that started with our founder George Smith.


There are more than 100 distilleries in Scotland, made in five Scotch whisky regions. Each uses the same underlying process but results in a range of flavours from floral herbaceous expressions to spiced, woody blends.

The differentiation is due to the unique characteristics of each region. The Glenlivet scotch is made in the remote and isolated Livet valley of Speyside. Here the rolling hills and crystal-clear waters of the River Spey serve our distillery, contributing to our sweet, light expressions.


When it comes to drinking whisky from Scotland, there’s no hard and fast rules. Do what feels right and tastes best to you. Whether that be neat, with ice or with a mixer. 

Learn how to drink scotch on the rocks and other popular whisky cocktails including classics such as an Old Fashioned and Whisky Sour. Or modern twists like The Glenlivet Royale.

El video de que es la pae quedó para el viernes 12 en la fila 14 y el video de las entrevistas quedó en la fila 20 para el viernes 19, los dejé marcados en rosado


Our collection of single malt whiskies celebrate the distinct, smooth, fruity taste that George Smith first envisioned in 1824. 

Our 12 Year Old whisky is our signature expression, a classic example of the soft, smooth spirits produced by Speyside. Our aged bottles including our 15 Year Old and 25 Year Old are equally enjoyed, providing a richer flavour for a special occasion. You’ll also find our heritage collection that includes tributes to the people we have to thank for The Glenlivet, including our Founder’s Reserve.