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This region lies on the Mull of Kintyre. It is small but not insignificant in style and was a major producer in the Victorian era. Whiskies tend to exhibit a mix of characteristics from both the Highlands and Islands Fine examples include Springbank and the slightly softer Glen Scotia.
The Highlands are covered with a variety of rock including granite, sandstone and limestone. Snow melt seeps into the rock and emerges in the mountain springs, running through the heather covered ground. Common flavours are floral and heathery with low or no peat content. Culturally peat is not commonly used, although there are always exceptions, i.e. Clynelish is mildly smoky. For a really classic Highland Malt try Glengoyne.
Surrounded by sea, briny, seaweedy winds add saltiness to the peaty soils. Heather completes the picture. Try sweet and salty Arran, smoky Talisker from the Isle of Skye or Highland Park from Orkney.
Here lays the oldest rock in Scotland and from it runs water to the distilleries of Bowmore and Bruichladdich. Culturally whiskies from this region are malty and peaty, peat being the traditional and plentiful fuel used in the kilning process. Seaweed lends a medicinal quality to Laphroaig and bog myrtle gives the whiskies a sweet nose and a bitter flavour.
The Lowlands region is mainly covered in carboniferous rock. This tends to give the whisky crisp, dry flavours. Unusually for Scotland they are often triple distilled which adds a smoothness and lightness to the whisky. Examples of Lowland whiskies are Auchentoshan and Glenkinchie.
The Speyside Region
Here, most distilleries began as illicit stills, hidden in isolated locations, drawing water from the mountain springs that feed the river Spey. It is commonly held that the perfect factors exist to make the perfect dram. Hard granite rock, reluctant to release minerals into the water and hillsides covered in peat and heather contribute to soft acidic water, perfect for making whisky. Try Glenfarclas, Aberlour or Craigellachie