The labels of most single malt whiskies provide a lot of information, but that
isn’t (usually) the case with blended whiskies like Johnnie Walker or J&B.
The naming conventions for so-called 'vatted malts' and 'bastard malts'
(single malts from an undisclosed distillery) are also notably less strict.
The good news is that most malt whisky producers provide a lot of details on the label of a bottle.
The bad news is that the amount of information can be overwhelming - and sometimes a tad misleading.
For example, a novice picking up a bottle of Stronachie single malt whisky might assume that the whisky
was distilled at the Stronachie distillery - but that distillery was closed in 1928. All that’s perfectly legal.
And the fact that an independent bottler provides a cask number on a label does not necessarily mean
that a whisky has spent its entire life in that cask. It may have been refilled not long before bottling.
So, the saying ‘Caveat Emptor’ also applies to the whisky world...
So, these pages about Scotch whisky bottlers and their brands will focus
mostly on MALT whisky - and not so much on grain and blended whisky.
Even if we dismiss all other whisky types, the list of Scotch whisky brands
is so long that I couldn’t even fit the complete list on two whole webpages.
Check out the Whisky Lexicon for a larger overview with more brands.
The differences between the whisky types are explained in the Beginner’s Guide; this
page focuses on Scotch malt whisky in particular. That means I’ll be mostly ignoring
two ‘inferior’ types of whisky: grain whisky and blended whisky - this is all about malts.
The 'brand' name on a bottle of single malt whisky is usually the name of the distillery
where that whisky was produced. However, this is not always the case. For example, the
Tobermory distillery on Mull produces the ‘Tobermory’ single malt, but ‘Ledaig’ as well.
And some independent bottlers print their own names much larger than the distillery’s.
Apart from the brand, the label of every bottle of Scotch whisky is legally
required to contain some other information as well - including the alcohol
percentage (ABV), the contents of the bottle and (if the bottle is given
an age statement) the age of the YOUNGEST whisky inside the bottle.
The wild, wide world of whisky can be a little intimidating - especially for (relative) novices.
There are thousands of different Scotch whisky brands from many different countries,
not to mention the fact that there are different whisky categories and types. Furthermore,
most of those whisky and whiskey brands offer several different ‘expressions’.
If an age statement is not provided on a bottle of Scotch, it may not have
matured for much longer than the legally required minimum of three years.
The name Hart Brothers was already well established in the 19th century.
The Hazelburn whisky is a triple distilled variety produced at the Springbank distillery.
Helen Arthur wrote books and released a handful of fairly poor independent bottlings.
The fairly new brand ‘High Spirits’ belongs to Italian bottler Ferdinando Fiori.
Highland Park is one of only two distilleries located on Orkney; the other is nearby Scapa.
The name Hillside mis an alternative for 'Glenesk' - an Eastern Highland distillery.
The independent bottler Hunter Laing broke away from Douglas laing a few years ago.
Ian Macleod owns the Glengoyne distillery and brands like Chieftain's and Dun Bheagan.
Imperial distillery was mothballed as recently as 1998, so theoretically it could be revived.
The Inchgower distillery was built in 1871 to replace the Tochineal distillery.
Inchmoan is one of the names used for recent releases from the Loch Lomond distillery.
Inchmurrin is one of the main single malt brands produced at Loch Lomond distillery.
In the past Inverleven was a malt whisky distillery within the Dumbarton distillery complex.
Jura distillery used the name Isle of Jura in the past - like the island of their location.
A. D. Rattray had to change their name from Dewar Rattray after Dewar’s objected.
Aberfeldy is a malt whisky distillery in the 'Midlands', not far from Edradour and Blair Athol.
The Aberlour distillery (in the heart of Speyside), was founded in 1879 by James Fleming.
The brand new Abhainn Dearg distillery was constructed recently on the isle of Lewis.
Bottler Acorn bottled Scotch malt whisky exclusively for Japan.
The company 'Adelphi Distillery Ltd' is actually an independent bottler, not a distillery.
Ailsa Bay distillery was founded in 2007 by William Grant & Sons (Balvenie & Glenfiddich).
Gordon Wright bottled whiskies under his 'The Alchemist' stage name.
Pernod Ricard closed Allt A' Bhainne when they bought it in 2002. It re-opened in 2005.
An Cnoc is the name that was used in the 1990's for the OB's from the Knockdhu distillery.
The Angus Dundee company owns the Glencadam and Tomintoul distilleries.
The Ardbeg distillery is located on Islay. The owners claim Ardbeg was founded in 1815.
The current Ardmore distillery in the Grampian mountains was founded by Adam Teacher.
Arran distillery is located on the 'Isle of Arran' - just East of Islay and Campbeltown.
The Auchentoshan distillery is one of the very few remaining Lowland distilleries.
Bottles of the Auchroisk single malt whisky were sold as 'Singleton' in the 1990's.
Aultmore started producing whisky in 1897, but was forced to close shortly afterwards.
Braes of G'livet
The drink conglomerate Bacardi owns John Dewar & Sons to deal with whisky stuff.
Balblair distillery was founded in 1790, making it one of the oldest operating distilleries.
The Ballantruan single malt is a more heavily peated variety from the Tomintoul distillery.
The name Ballechin is used for peated whisky produced at Edradour in the Midlands.
Ballindalloch is the name of a part of Speyside and 'bastard' bottlings of Glenfarclas.
The Balmenach distillery (1824) was also known as 'Balminoch' and 'Cromdale'.
Balvenie distillery started out using second hand stills from Glen Albyn and Lagavulin.
The Banff distillery (located in Banffshire) was actually the second distillery by this name.
Bartels Whisky is an independent bottler and an online whisky shop at the same time.
Beam Global is a large company, but still a subsidiary of the larger ‘Fortune Brands’.
Ben Nevis was built as a malt whisky distillery in 1825, but they also had a Coffey still.
The Benriach distillery was fairly obscure, but the new owners built a fine reputation.
Benrinnes distillery (Diageo), also producing the 'Stronachie' bastard malt whisky.
Gordon & MacPhail bought Benromach distillery in 1992 and took six years to rebuild it.
The Ben Wyvis distillery is very 'obscure'; it operated between 1965 and 1977.
Berry Brothers is an esteemed name in the whisky industry with centuries of history.
Independent bottler Blackadder carries several brands, including Clydesdale.
Blackwood is the name of an ambitious 'project' that seems to have crumbled.
Bladnoch is one of a few surviving distilleries in the Lowlands (once a premier area).
I visited the Blair Athol distillery near the charming town of Pitlochry in the Midlands.
Bowmore is one of the oldest distilleries in Scotland, supposedly founded in 1779.
The Brackla distillery (a.k.a Royal Brackla) is one of only three 'royal' distilleries.
Braes of Glenlivet is the old name of Braeval (re-opened in 2008 by Chivas Brothers.)
The Braeval distillery was re-opened in 2008, after Pernod Ricard mothballed it in 2002.
Brechin is an alternative name for the North Port distillery in the Eastern Highlands.
Why did they close the Brora distillery? Just like Port Ellen, it built a large fan-base.
The Bruichladdich distillery on Islay was reopened in 2001 and quickly became a hit.
The reputation of Bunnahabhain has improved steadily since Burn Stewart took over.
The name Burnside is used for a vatted malt of a lot of Balvenie and a little Glenfiddich.
In 2009 Burn Stewart owned 3 distilleries; Bunnahabhain, Deanston and Tobermory.
Cadenhead's (owned by Springbank) is one of the oldest independent Scotch bottlers.
The Caol Ila distillery is named after the canal between Islay & Jura; 'Sound of Islay'.
Caperdonich started its life as 'Glen Grant #2' at the end of the 19th century.
The mundane Cardhu single malt became famous when Diageo made it a vatted malt.
The Càrn Mòr brand is used for whiskies bottled by Morrison and Mackay.
The Celtic Whisky Company ('Celtique Connection') is an independent bottler from France.
Chieftain's (formerly known as Chieftain's Choice) is brand from Ian Macleod & Co. Ltd.
Chivas Brothers is a subsidiary of industry giant Pernod Ricard, owner of Glenlivet.
The Clan Denny wasn't an actual distillery. It's a sub-brand from bottlers Douglas Laing.
The name Clynelish is much older than the current distillery - it was the name of Brora.
The Coleburn distillery was founded during the 'whisky boom' of the late 19th century.
Technically speaking, Compass Box is more of a 'boutique blender' than a 'bottler.
Convalmore was closed in 1985, but a few years ago Diageo release a wonderful OB.
The Cragganmore malt whisky that was part of Diageo's original six 'Classic Malts'.
Craigduff was a 'bastard malt' from Signatory Vintage. Some claim it was Glen Keith.
The name Craigellachie means 'rocky hill'. It's located near the 'Speyside Cooperage'.
Craiglodge is the name of one of the many brands from the Loch Lomond distillery.
The heavily peated Croftengea was the first Loch Lomond whisky that became popular.
Gordon & McPhail
Isle of Jura
This small American bottler in San Fransisco occasionally bottles club bottlings.
The Daftmill distillery is a 'micro distillery'; the annual capacity is 20,000 liters of alcohol.
Dailuaine bottled only 2% of its output as a single malt whisky around 2005.
When the Dallas Dhu distillery was built in 1899, the whisky bubble started to burst.
I used to love Dalmore in the 1990's, but they pay more attention to PR these days.
The Dalwhinnie distillery is on the border between Speyside and Western Highlands.
Deanston used to be a cotton mill until 1966. I can't say I often enjoy their single malts.
Dewar Rattray had to change their name to A. D. Rattray after a lawsuit from Dewar's.
Although Diageo owns over two dozen distilleries, they release great malts now & then.
Douglas Laing released a bunch of affordable beauties around the year 2000.
They used the name Drumguish for a young bottling from the Speyside distillery.
Dufftown used to be one of Diageo's most obscure distilleries, but now it's a 'Singleton'.
The Dun Bheagan range is one of the brands from Ian Macleod & Co. Ltd.
Independent bottler Duncan Taylor built a business & reputation on a private collection.
The name Dun Eideann is used for IB's by Andrew Symington and / or Antonino Donato.
Dunglass (unpeated) and Dumbuck (heavily peated) were made at Littlemill distillery.
After Andrew Symington bought Edradour, he launched stuff like 'Ballechin'.
The Edrington Group owns (part of) the Macallan and Highland Park distilleries.
David Stirk learned the whisky trade at Cadenhead’s before launching EM.
The Fettercairn distillery was known as the "Old Fettercairn" distillery in the old days.
Finlaggan is the name of a 'bastard malt' (distillery identity not revealed) from Islay.
Fortune Brands is the name of the large corporation behind Ardmore and Laphroaig.
The Garnheath grain distillery was located in the 'Moffat' complex, East of Glasgow.
Glen Albyn is a Highland distillery, but writer Michael Jackson considered it a Speysider.
The Glenallachie distillery in Banffshire (est. 1967) is one of the youngest in Scotland.
Glen Avon is a brand of malt whisky; bottled by Gordon & MacPhail for Samaroli.
According to the Scotch Whisky Association, Glen Breton pretends to be Scotch.
Glenburgie was also known as Glenburgie-Glenlivet, Glen Burgie, Glenburry and Kilnflat.
The Glencadam malt whisky was hard to find in the 1990's, but now it's readily available.
Glencraig was the name of the 'Lomond' whisky distilled at the Glenburgie distillery.
The name Glen Deveron was used for the MacDuff distillery and some of its malts.
Why did Glendronach ever close? Well, they're open again - and working better than ever!
The Glendullan distillery is Diageo's second largest whisky distillery.
Production at Glen Elgin distillery started officially on May 1, 1900.
Glenmorangie-15-AGlenesk is an alternative name for the Hillside distillery from 1897.
Half of the Glenfarclas distillery was once owned by the Pattisons.
The Glenfiddich distillery has the largest (malt) capacity in Scotland.
Glen Flagler in the Lowlands was also known as Killyloch.
In the past Glen Garioch has also been known as 'Old Meldrum'.
The Glenglassaugh distillery has been silent for most of its life.
Ian MacLeod revitalised Glengoyne when they bought it in 2003.
Glen Grant distillery in Speyside is named after one of its founders.
Is Glengyle actually a seperate distillery from Springbank, I wonder?
Glenisla was a peated whisky that was made at Glen Keith distillery.
Glen Keith operated for only 3 decades; between 1960 & 1999.
Diageo considered Glenkinchie the quintessential Lowland distillery.
These days Glenlivet matches Glenfiddich's massive capacity.
The Glenlochy distillery was closed, but the buildings remained.
At the Glenlossie warehouses some 200,000 casks are stored.
Glen Mhor was one of several distilleries located in Inverness.
The Glenmorangie distillery was the first to market finished malts.
After Glen Moray got a new owner in 2008 we've heard very little.
The Glen Ord brand is now a secondary brand to 'The Singleton'.
I've visited the Glenrothes distillery in 2003 - and enjoyed it a lot.
Glen Scotia was one of the few surviving Campbeltown distilleries.
Both spirit stills at Glen Spey have purifiers for greater reflux.
The Glen Talloch brand of whisky is only available in Holland.
Glentauchers distillery has an annual capacity of 3,400.000 litres.
The name Glentromie was used for some crappy Speyside bottlings.
The people of Glenturret falsely claim it's Scotland's oldest distillery.
The Glenugie distillery is fairly obscure, but it still has many loyal fans.
When Glenury Royal was founded in 1825, they were true whisky pioneers.
Gordon & MacPhail could very well be the oldest whisky blender & bottler in scotland.
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