Together with the Royal Family, Scotch whisky is probably the most successful advertisement for the British way of life. It is unquestionably Scotland's greatest gift to good living. For Scotch whisky is an international drink, sold in every corner of the globe, bringing pleasure to millions.
The image of Scotch whisky is of a 'cottage industry' - that of the careful art of the distiller nurtured in the lonely glens and hillsides of the Highlands and Islands. Of course, with single malt whiskies, this is, broadly speaking, the reality. But Scotch whisky is also very much a product of the Scottish Industrial Revolution of the 19th century, and the big grain distillers and blenders who have helped the drink to gain a worldwide reputation, are to be found mainly in or near the major cities of the Lowlands.
That is not to say anyone anywhere can make whisky with the distinctive quality of Scotch. It is unique.
Even the Japanese, as well as being enthusiastic whisky drinkers themselves, apparently feel it necessary to import Scotch malt whisky to mix with their own spirit.
Perhaps there is something about the Scottish climate, its water and its peat, not to mention centuries of experience of distilling, that makes it well nigh impossible for those outside Scotland to unlock the secrets of Scotch whisky.
Scotch whisky is a drink of such variety that it is capable of suiting most tastes. As well as telling the story of Scotch, these pages will, I hope, be of some practical use. A directory of brands is provided to help both the enthusiast and the occasional tippler to find out more about their favourite drink and to select suitable new ones.
Everyone will have their favourite Scotch whiskies, particularly the malts. If you can't find your favourite tipple, please feel free to contact us with the details and we shall try and find a place for it.