If you like whisky sure you have heard of the Highlands. This region of Scotland can be proud for having the highest concentration of distilleries together with Speyside. Single malt or blended are the two main types of whisky to be found in this region, although there are other varieties such as blended malt or grain, which however, are not as widespread as the first.
Why Highlands? Highland whisky does not really bring a special kind of features that contribute to homogenize the production. Moreover, whisky connoisseurs, those who are used to taste different brands, origins, vintages, etc. are probably well aware that the designation of origin may be something rather according to geographic criteria than to other characteristics in this particular case.
What this means is that in order to become an expert in the Highland whisky it is best to know little by little the different distilleries. Each one hides its own elaboration method, its whisky composition, alcoholic content (which should be over 40% in all cases), its time of maturation and a type of wood for the barrels where the aging process of whisky takes place (usually oak, although from different origins).
One of my favorite distilleries is Balblair Distillery. I love their whisky. Active since 1790 is one of the oldest of which files are preserved. Their single malt is noteworthy and you have the chance to buy it in seven vintages: 1965, 1975, 1978, 1989, 1990, 1997 and 2000. Each one of them has an individual and very exclusive character.
Glenmorangie Distillery is also noteworthy. Although a trajectory somewhat younger than the last one, its history is closely linked to the Scottish one and its products represent its origin as anyone. In fact, very often they have won prizes in distillate international competitions.
Today this family business it is not so. In fact since 2004, when it was acquired by the French group Moet Hennessy Louis Vuitton, its products continue maintaining the high quality that has made them famous, but its spirit has lost that Scottish essence in exchange for taking that step forward towards the luxury marketing in which this French company is an expert.
Those who still do not know the whisky of the Highlands and do not want to miss the opportunity, can take note of these two recommendations:
Balblair Elements, a good sample of this distillery knowledge
Glenmorangie The Nectar d’Or, aged in old sauternes barrels