The lowlands is an area that runs from the Scottish border up to Greenock, on the West coast and to Dundee on the East coast.
Most of the Lowland single malts are used in blended whisky, but there are a few notable examples worth trying from this region.
History of Lowland Whisky Production
150 years ago most lowland town had it’s own whisky distillery. Most of the distilleries produced whiskies from mixed grains, but a few produced good quality whisky using pure malted barley. Today there are only 3 distilleries still in operation. These are Glenkinchie (near Edinburgh), Auchentoshan (near Glasgow) and Bladnoch at Wigtown on the Solway Firth. It is sometimes still possible to find whiskies from the closed down distilleries – Rosebank, St. Magdalene, Littlemill and Inverleven
Characteristics of Lowland Single Malts
Generally, malt whiskies from the Lowlands are very mellow in taste and don’t have peaty flavours that are associated with other malt whiskies. Because of this these whiskies are referred to as the “Lowland Ladies”, or feminine whiskies. They can make an excellent aperitif.
Lowland single malts are quite dry because of using unpeated malt and are light in colour. This is because in the lowlands there isn’t a natural supply of peat. Most Lowland single malts are triple distilled. There is not very much salinity in lowland whiskies because most of the distilleries are located inland away from the coast.
If you are a beginner to Scotch whisky then a Lowland single malt is an excellent choice.
The Lowland Region Distilleries
There are three distilleries still producing quality single malt whisky.
Bladnoch Distillery. The most southerly distillery in the Lowland region, and therefore in Scotland. The distillery was built on the banks of the river Bladnoch in 1817. Although it has gone through changes in ownership over the years, it continues to produce some fine lowland whiskies.
Glenkinchie Distillery. Situated near Scotland’s capital, the Glenkinchie distillery produces a soft, sweet aromatic malt. It takes it’s water from the Kinchie Burn (small river). It is one of the six Classic Malts of single malt whisky. It produces 2 main whiskies – it’s standard 12 year old and a 14 year old, which has been matured in Amontillado sherry casks.
Auchentoshan Distillery. Near Scotland’s largest city is the Auchentoshan distillery. The whisky produced here is sometimes called the breakfast whisky because of it’s sweet and delicate palate. It is triple distilled and it has won some awards recently.
For a newcommer to Scotch whiskies, a lowland single malt whisky is a good place to start.