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Is it spelled Single Malt Whisky or Single Malt Whiskey?

Both versions are correct, but it depends on where the whiskey you are talking about is from. If it’s from Scotland, it’s Single Malt Whisky, or Single Malt Scotch Whisky to be exact. If it’s from Japan or the United States, it’s spelled Single Malt Whiskey.

Where does Single Malt Whisky come from?

The most famous Single Malt Whisky in the world is from Scotland, though Single Malts can be made anywhere Whisky is produced. Most Whiskies are blends, while a Single Malt is made from roasted malted barley, and it's produced at one distillery.

In Japan, distillers like Yamazaki, Hakushu and Nikka are following the Scottish recipe and using malted barley to make Single Malt Whiskies. They're also being made in India, Taiwan and New Zealand.

Historians believe that Whisky-making started with monks in Ireland, who began distilling the beer they made. They shared this distillation technique with monks in Scotland in the 13th or 14th century. Most distillers were small operations, quietly making spirits in pot stills to avoid paying taxes to the English monarchy. In the early 1800s, many Scotsman were imprisoned for illegally making and selling Whisky. By 1840, it was cheaper to get a distilling license, so more distilleries opened. Scotland has plentiful freshwater with low iron content, a key ingredient for making a smooth distilled spirit.

What does Single Malt Whisky taste like?

The flavor of a Single Malt can vary, depending on what country it was made in and where in the country it was produced. Single malts are a combination of sweet, fruity, nutty and spicy flavors, and specific notes can be more pronounced depending on where it's made.

Here are the Single Malt regions to know in Scotland:

  • Highland Single Malts can be distilled in a vast area of the country, so they vary from dry to sweet
  • Lowland Single Malts tend to be light with delicate aromas and flavors of herbs and malt
  • Speyside Single Malts, made near the Spey River in east-central Scotland, usually are sweet, fruity and smooth
  • Islay Single Malts are renowned for their smokiness that comes from toasting the barley over peat moss
  • Campbeltown Single Malts are varied and full of flavor, with hints of salt, smoke, fruit, vanilla and toffee

How is Single Malt Whisky made?

A Single Malt Whisky starts with malted barley. The grain is toasted, fermented into beer, distilled twice in a pot still and then aged for at least three years.

What is the difference between Single Malt and Scotch?

Single Malt and Scotch are the same things. Single Malt is a particular category of Scotch that's made from malted barley and double-distilled at one single distillery.

What is the best affordable Single Malt Whisky?

Single Malt Whisky is rare, representing just 5% of all the Scotch Whisky made in Scotland. The price you pay reflects that scarcity, as well the quality, though it's possible to find Single Malts from small distillers that are quite affordable, priced at under $25.

Some of the most affordable Single Malts at Total Wine & More include:

What does Single Malt Whisky mean?

A Single Malt Whisky is a spirit that is made from malted barley in a single distillery. Most whiskies are blends of spirits coming from several distilleries, but a Single Malt is all crafted in one place.

How do you drink Single Malt Whisky?

You can enjoy Single Malt Whiskies any way you like. The traditional way to drink it is neat with a splash of water or soda or with one large ice cube or ice sphere. The goal is to enjoy the complex aromas and flavors in the whisky without diluting it too quickly.

What is a good Single Malt Whisky?

There are so many excellent Single Malts coming from different regions of Scotland, as well as Japan. The word "best" is different for each person, and thus it is up to the individual to decide what they like best. We suggest trying a variety to find the one that fits your tastes!

Do you put ice in Single Malt Whisky?

Yes, you can put a little ice or a few drops of water in a Single Malt Whisky to open up the aromas and flavors. Adding a few drops of water to a Scotch is known as "releasing the serpent" in Scotland.

If you do choose to drink your Single Malt Whisky with ice, experts suggest using a large solid ice cube or sphere, which dilutes your spirit more slowly.

What are popular Single Malt Whisky cocktails?

Some Single Malt connoisseurs would frown on mixing a rare Single Malt with anything but a few drops of water or maybe a huge ice cube. But if you want to drink only the best, Blood and Sand, the Rusty Nail, Glasgow Mule, and Penicillin are some modern classic Scotch cocktails.

Here are a few more delicious Scotch and Whiskey cocktails to make with a Single Malt:

What are the popular brands of Single Malt Whisky?

You can find many of the most popular brands of Single Malt Whisky at Total Wine & More. Whether you're searching for an old favorite or looking to discover a new Single Malt Whisky, our wide selection of Scotch and Japanese Whiskey will help you find what you're searching for.

Some of the most popular Single Malt Whisky brands include:

Check out our full selection of Single Malts and take home a couple of bottles of the best Single Malts Whiskies from Scotland and Japan.

Want to learn more about Single Malt Whiskey?

Visit our Guide to Single Malt Scotch to learn more about all the best styles of Whisky from across Scotland.