Scotch whisky, often simply called "Scotch", is malt whisky or grain whisky made in Scotland using processes as defined by law.
All Scotch whisky was originally made from malted barley. Commercial distilleries began introducing whisky made from wheat and rye in the late eighteenth century.
Scotch whisky is divided into five distinct categories:
- Single Malt Scotch whisky - produced usin only water and malted barley at a single distillery by batch distillation in pot stills.
- Single Grain Scotch whisky - distilled at a single distillery but, in addition to water and malted barley, may involve whole grains of other malted or unmalted cereals. "Single grain" does not mean that only a single type of grain was used to produce the whisky, the adjective "single" refers only to the use of a single distillery.
- Blended Malt Scotch whisky - a blend of two or more single malt Scotch whiskies from different distilleries.
- Blended Grain Scotch whisky - a blend of two or more single grain Scotch whiskies from different distilleries.
- Blended Scotch whisky - a blend of one or more single malt Scotch whiskies with one or more single grain Scotch whiskies.
All Scotch whisky must be aged in oak barrels for at least three years. Any age statement on a bottle of Scotch whisky, expressed in numerical form, must reflect the age of the youngest whisky used to produce that product. A whisky with an age statement is known as guaranteed-age whisky.