July 27th is National Scotch Day. It’s a reason to pour yourself a dram (or glass, as we say in the U.S.) of your favorite amber libation.

We’ve got some Scotch-infused fudge for you, below. But first, a bit about the whisky itself.

While alcohol has been distilled since the eighth century, the first known written mention of Scotch whisky is in the 15th century.

The Exchequer Rolls of Scotland of 1494 note that Friar John Cor distilled Scotch whisky at Lindores Abbey.

While whisky became a palliative and an enjoyable spirit, inevitably, it became a new source of revenue for the government.

Whisky production was first taxed in Scotland in 1644, causing a rise in illicit whisky distilling. In 1782, more than 1,000 illegal stills were seized in the Highlands—a fraction of those in operation.

Originally made from water plus malted barley (as is beer), commercial distilleries began introducing whisky made from wheat and rye in the late 1700s.

Scotch is still made from these three grains; the different types of Scotch follow. Here’s more about the history of Scotch.
 
 
THE DIFFERENT TYPES OF SCOTCH

Scotch whisky is divided into five distinct categories:

  • Single malt Scotch whisky, produced at one single distillery by using malted barley.
  • Single grain Scotch whisky, a blend of different batches of single malt Scotch whisky from different distilleries.
  • Blended malt Scotch whisky (formerly called vatted malt or pure malt), made with malted barley as well as whole grains of other malted or unmalted cereals, and distilled at one single distillery.
  • Blended grain Scotch whisky, a blend of single grain Scotch whiskies, distilled at more than one distillery.
  • Blended Scotch whisky, a mixture of malt Scotch whisky and grain Scotch whisky, distilled at any number of distilleries.
  •  
    Single malt brands are considered to be the highest expression of the spirit (photo #5), although blended whiskies such as Chivas Regal 18-Year Old, Dewars 25-Year-Old, Johnny Walker Black Label (photo #2), and The Famous Grouse are well-known examples of the best in the blended category.

    At the end of the day, the best Scotch is the one that tastes best to you.
     
     
    THE FIVE SCOTCH-PRODUCING REGIONS

    Modern Scotch must be aged for at least three years in oak barrels, in one of five areas in Scotland:

  • Campbeltown, on the Campbeltown Peninsula in the southwest.
  • Highland, in the north.
  • Islay, an island in the southwest, north and west of Campbletown.
  • Lowland, in the south.
  • Speyside, carved from the northwest of Highland.
  •  
    See the map of the regions below.

    As of 2020, there were 134 Scotch whisky distilleries operating in Scotland.

    Each region delivers different flavors and aromas, from light and fruity to rich and spicy to powerfully smoky (like the peaty Scotches of Islay, our personal favorite style).

    In each region, several natural elements (the terroir, a French word pronounced tur-WAH) have an impact on the final flavors and aromas of the spirit.

    These range from the minerals in the local water, to the composition of the peat that smokes the malted barley, to the general climate and the seasonal weather that affects aging in the barrelhouses, to the wood of the barrels themselves [source].
     
     
    HAVE A DRAM

    In Scotland, you’ll be served a dram of Scotch. What’s a dram?

    It depends on who’s pouring, but it refers to a single serving of whisky.

    There is no official definition of a dram in Scotland. You can have a wee dram—just a taste—or a hearty dram.

    The U.S., however, does have a precise definition in the United States Customary System, the set of rules that defines the length, size, and volume of units like foot, acre, and cubic inch.

    In the U.S., a dram refers to one-eight of a fluid ounce, less than a teaspoon. That’s hardly enough for the mouse immortalized in a poem by Scotland’s national poet, Robert Burns (1759 – 1796).

     
    FUDGE WITH SCOTCH WHISKY

    Now, you can enjoy that dram of Scotch with a piece of Scotch-infused fudge. Scotch with chocolate is a good pairing, so why not a good piece of fudge?

    The Mill Fudge Factory in Bristol, New Hampshire makes a Scotch-infused fudge that has many fans.

    With a uniquely complex flavor far beyond taste of sweet fudge, there’s the sweet taste of malted barley, followed by the warm and spicy experience of a good Scotch.

    The silky, melt-in-your-mouth fudge has just the right blend of sweetness with the subtle flavor of whiskey, and is the favorite flavor of many customers.

    Order a box for yourself or for a Scotch-and-sweets lover. It’s on our holiday gift list.

    You can also find limited-edition chocolates with whiskey-infused ganache from two of our favorite chocolatiers, Burdick and Delysia.

     
    WHISKY VS. WHISKEY

    Whisky is the Scottish spelling of whiskey, the earlier, Irish spelling.

    The alternative spelling was chosen to differentiate the national product from Irish whiskey, the production of which preceded Scotch whisky.

    The “whisky” spelling is used in Canada, Japan and Wales, as well as Scotland.

    In the United States, a 1968 directive from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms specifies “whisky” as the official U.S. spelling. However, it allows the alternative spelling, “whiskey.”

    Most U.S. producers prefer to include the “e,” as do we. Without it, it looks like something is missing.

    And another reason to keep the “e”: the production of Irish whiskey predates that of Scotch whisky.

    Check out this brief history of whiskey.

    Ironically, distillation was discovered in the 8th century in Persia—a country that has not permitted the sale and consumption of spirits since the 1979 Islamic revolution.
     
     
    > THE DIFFERENT TYPES OF WHISKEY
     
    > THE HISTORY OF WHISKEY

     


    [1] Treat yourself to some Scotch-infused fudge, a fan favorite (photo © The Mill Fudge Factory).


    [2] Enjoy the fudge with a dram of Scotch. Johnny Walker Black Label is one of the world’s favorite blended Scotches (photo © Brian Jones | Unsplash).


    [3] Chocolate also pairs nicely with a snifter of Scotch (photo © Burdick Chocolate).


    [4] Monkey Shoulder, an acclaimed blended Scotch, is a small-batch brand made from different batches of Speyside single malts (photo © Zhivko Minkov | Unsplash).


    [5] Talisker is an acclaimed single-malt Scotch from the Island of Skye in the Islay region (photo © Jacek Dylag | Unsplash).


    [6] Pour yourself a dram and toast to National Scotch Day (photo © Eva Elijas | Unsplash).


    [7] The five Scotch-producing regions (illustration © Wikipedia).

      

    The post Scotch Whisky Fudge & Types Of Scotch: It’s National Scotch Day first appeared on The Nibble Webzine Of Food Adventures.
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