Lying on the North West of Europe rugged, wild and remote the Scottish Highlands can be a formidable place with overbearing mountains and weather which can change without notice. Created by massive volcanic shifts and carved by glaciers into the now famous lochs and glens the Highlands is one of the most beautiful places on earth. From 170mph wind gusts to 30 degree centigrade heat the Highlands can get it all however it is not the extremes of weather which aid the whisky making process but the fresh air blowing in from the Atlantic Ocean and warmed by the Gulf Stream which makes Scotch whisky unique. Another factor is the emptiness of it all there is little to pollute the air blowing through this wilderness.
The fresh water runs down from the mountain tops into fast flowing streams (called ‘burns’ in Scotland) through an untouched landscape covered in purple heather, from there the water is taken to make Scotch Whisky. The water is clear the air is clean and once the whisky is made it is left to mature in the Highland mist. The Highland Distilleries are located away from civilisation with only the red deer and wildcats for neighbours and the Golden Eagle overseeing the maturing process. This stunning landscape of lochs, rivers, mountains, waterfalls, moorland and wild beautiful flowers has been the backdrop to Scotch whisky making for hundreds of years and without doubt for hundreds to come.
This being the largest region it has the most diverse range of whiskies with fruity coming from the South, a peaty taste in the west, the northern ones often have a spicy taste and the eastern smooth and sweetish. However there is one characteristic that can cover the all four parts of the Highlands and that is dry. Highland whisky in the main has a dry aftertaste. It is of course dangerous to generalise as with whisky the range of tastes is infinite.
Of the Northern part of the highlands the more well-known distillers are Glenmorangie and Dalmore. The Western area (excluding Campbeltown) has Oban and Ben Nevis, which is more famous for mountain which shares its name. Along the river Tay the Southern area of the Highlands whiskies include Aberfeldy, Blair Atholl and Dalwhinnie to name but a few. In the East which of course does not in include Speyside the Royal Lochnagar, Macduff and Glen Garoich distilleries can be found.
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