Rebelling against authority

A response (not too hasty but inevitable) to Lucas trying to defend the new regional classification of Scotch whisky here.

For me, I find this new classification a bit confusing. It begs the question, who is this new classification for? When I first saw the classifications (back in the day when all the Islands were classed as Islands, and for some reason Campbletown didn’t exist) I thought it was a reasonable guide for tourists and those that were just beginning their interest in whisky. There were problems- no Campbletown and a vast area of the Highlands being classed as one region (even though there are so many different flavours, styles and techniques there). But it is difficult to categorise whisky, right?

At the moment, there are over 90 different single malt distilleries in Scotland, and they have produced thousands of different bottlings of whisky between them. Each of these bottlings may have differing amounts of peat, a different age, different style of maturation etc.

The main thing that, in my opinion, any classification should be based on is geography. The reason I say this is where the distillery is based affects the Whisky in the most unique ways. The water is different, the peat is different and the people making it are different. The cultures for making whisky are different. The new classification suggests that Orkney, Skye, Arran and Jura are part of the Highlands. This suggests that Glengoyne (the furthermost south Highland whisky, based near Loch Lomond) is in the same classification as Highland Park on Orkney. The Geography classification is easier to explain to tourists and newcomers.

It’s easy criticise but not so easy to come up with ideas. What would I suggest? I would suggest the same classification as before (Lowlands, Highlands, Speyside and Islands) but also include Campbletown and Islay as specific regions.

I would be interested to read what everyone thinks.


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