Single Malt Scotch is single malt whisky made in Scotland using a pot still distillation process at a single distillery, with malted barley as the only grain ingredient. As with any Scotch whisky, a single malt Scotch must be distilled in Scotland and matured in oak casks in Scotland for at least three years (most single malts are matured longer).
- "Malt" indicates that the whisky is distilled from a "malted" grain. Several types of grains can be malted (for example, barley, rye and wheat are all grains which can be malted); however, in the case of single malt Scotch, barley is always the only grain used.
- "Single" indicates that all the malts in the bottle come from a single distillery. Bottlings containing malt whisky from multiple distilleries are called "blended malt".
Until the Scotch Whisky Regulations 2009 (SWR 2009), the word "blended" only appeared (in the context of Scotch whisky) on bottles of whisky that contained a mixture of both barley and non-barley grain whisky, but this is no longer the case. Under the terminology established by the SWR 2009, a "blended malt Scotch whisky" is a mixture of single malt Scotch whiskies, not a mixture of malted barley whisky and non-barley whisky; those are called "[[blended Scotch whisky", without the word "malt". The term "blended malt" replaced "vatted malt" used under the prior labelling conventions.
The age statement on a bottle of single malt Scotch is the number of years the whisky spent maturing in cask. As very few whiskies are bottled from a single cask the age statement reflects the age of the youngest malt in the mix.
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