What Is Scotch Whisky?
As the name suggests, Scotch is whisky made in Scotland. As you may have noticed, whisky is spelled with no 'e'. The 'e' in whisky was put in by the Irish for market differentiation.
There are five different types of Scotch: Single Malt, Single Grain, Blended Malt, Blended Grain, and Blended Scotch. The words "Single" and "Blended" refer to how many distilleries the spirit came from.
Single and Blended Malt mean that the whisky is made from 100% Malted Barley. While Single or Blended Grain mean that the whisky is made from a proprietary composite of grain.
A special part of the whisky making process in Scotland is the use of Peat Moss. Peat Moss is a decaying plant substance that is used in the Malting process. Barley is dropped in a large container of warm water to being the growing process. This allows the shell to crack and release the fermentable sugars. The issue is distillers can't let the plant continue along that path because it will use up those sugars. To prevent this, the barely is placed in a kiln. Peat Moss logs are set on fire and the smoke produced dries the barley back out.
Scotland has strict laws for whisky production. The spirit has to be made into a mash, distilled, aged for a minimum of three years, and bottled in Scotland to legally be Scotch.