How to Pronounce Scotch Whisky Names

Do you know how to pronounce Lagavulin? Glenfiddich? Glenmorangie?

If you know those, you’re in pretty good shape. How about Bruichladdich? Caol Ila?

Now, visit this website and play all the names. They have an audio file for a lot of distilleries (many of the majors, most of the smaller ones too) in both .wav and .au, though some are only in .au file format.

How many did you get right? If you got the pronunciation right did you accent the right syllable? Glenmorangie is easy to say but I bet you accent the wrong syllable like I did. 🙂

Learn how to pronounce scotch whisky names from an expert.

What is a Vatted Malt?

Johnnie Walker Family of Whiskey

Photo: reutc

Now that you’re familiar with the differences between blended and single malt scotches, let me introduce a “third” type – vatted malt (or pure malt).

Despite my calling it a third type (see the quotes?), vatted malt is really a blended whiskey without the grain whiskey component.

Vatted malts, like blends, mix a variety of single malts together in an attempt to get a totally new flavor. With blends, grain whiskey can be used to thin out the flavors a little in order to achieve some balance, though many enthusiasts consider it to be cheapening the flavors.

Since no one publishes a list of what’s in a blend, it’s really tempting to put in cheap grain whiskey because… it’s cheap.

As for vatted malt, it’s somewhat confusing too.

Malt refers to the the mixture that will be fermented and vatted just means put into a big pot or container. Vatted malt would lead you to believe that malt from a variety of sources is put into a container and fermented together, but that’s not the case.

While much of the flavor is determined by the malt itself, there are flavors, mouthfeel, and other characteristics that develop in the cask while it matures in the warehouse. If you mix the malts and mature in the same warehouse, you lose a lot of that.

In reality, the vat refers to the blending process after the individual whiskeys have matured and would otherwise be consumed.

The Scotch Whisky Association recently renamed this category from vatted malts to “Blended Malt Scotch Whisky.”

Johnnie Walker Green Label, Eleuthera by Compass Box (vatted from Caol Ila and Clynelish), and Famous Grouse 10 yr. are among the few well-known vatted malts.