International Scotch Day Date in the current year: February 8, 2024

International Scotch Day Scotch whisky lovers can celebrate three international holidays dedicated to their favorite drink: International Whisk(e)y Day (March 27) and World Whisky Day celebrate all kinds of whisky, whereas International Scotch Day is dedicated specifically to Scotch whisky, often simply called Scotch.

Whisky (spelled whiskey in the United States and Ireland) is a distilled alcoholic beverage made from fermented grain mash. The most common grains used to make whisky are barley, rye, corn, and wheat. The first recorded mentions of the beverage date back to the 15th century, but it is believed that whisky had been produced in Scotland and Ireland long before that.

The world’s four largest producers of whisky are Ireland, Scotland, the United States, and Japan. Other countries that produce whisky are Australia, Canada, Denmark, England, Finland, France, Georgia, Germany, India, Sweden, Taiwan, and Wales.

Scotch whisky, also simply known as Scotch, is whisky made in Scotland according to specific regulations. The regulation specify, for example, that Scotch whisky must be produced from water and malted barley and matured in oak casks for at least three years. The final product must comprise a minimum alcoholic strength by volume of 40%.

However, Scotch whisky doesn’t necessarily have to be produced by a company owned in Scotland. 40% of all Scotch is produced by Diageo, a London-based company whose brands include Johnnie Walker and White Horse. Another 20% of Scotch whisky is produced by the French company Pernod Ricard, including brands such as Ballantine’s, Chivas Regal and Glenlivet.

As we’ve already mentioned above, Scotch is traditionally made from malted barley, although grains of other cereals may be added to some types of Scotch whisky. Depending on whether Scotch contains other cereals and where it was distilled, there are five main types of Scotch whisky:

  • Single malt Scotch (distilled at a single distillery; made from malted barley).
  • Single grain Scotch (distilled at a single distillery; may contain cereals other than barley).
  • Blended malt Scotch (a blend of single malt Scotch whiskies from different distilleries).
  • Blended grain Scotch (a blend of single grain Scotch whiskies from different distilleries).
  • Blended Scotch (a blend of single malt and single grain Scotch whiskies).

International Scotch Day was launched by the Scotch Whisky Experience, the world’s largest Scotch whisky museum. It was founded in 1988 by nineteen Scotch whisky producers that jointly invested two million pounds to create a permanent attraction dedicated to Scotch. Originally named the Scotch Whisky Heritage Center, it received its current name in 2006.

Today, the Scotch Whisky Experience represents 90% of the Scotch whisky industry. Its unique collection comprises over 3,300 different bottles of Scotch, and its two bars offer over 450 different whiskies.

On the occasion of International Scotch Day, the Scotch Whisky Experience offers special guided tours dedicated to the history of Scotch whisky, whisky tastings, and other events for both Scotch whisky lovers and those who are just discovering this amazing beverage.

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