Savouring the craft and heritage of Scotch

For people the world over, Scotch Whisky is synonymous with quality. Made from just three ingredients – water, cereals and yeast – and always matured in oak casks in Scotland for at least three years, it’s a spirit that has taken its time to find its way to your glass, says Sandy Hyslop, director of blending and inventory, Chivas Brothers
Sandy Hyslop, director of blending and inventory, Chivas BrothersSandy Hyslop, director of blending and inventory, Chivas Brothers
Sandy Hyslop, director of blending and inventory, Chivas Brothers

Everyone who helps to make Scotch Whisky, from farmers to distillers to master blenders like me, are holding up centuries of heritage behind this iconic product. We don’t rush the process. It’s that unhurried character that comes through in our spirit.

This renowned quality is what has helped Scotch become the world’s best loved whisky. Wherever you go, if you say “Scotland” to anyone overseas, they’ll often respond with “Whisky”. There are at least 11,000 of us working in the Scotch Whisky industry across the country and we’re all proud to play our part in crafting our national drink.

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There’s an art to blending whisky, which I’ve honed over the past forty years. It takes a good eye, or perhaps we should say “nose”, for detail: the subtle differences between various casks and ages of the spirit, what whiskies pair well in a blend and which casks are best left to be matured for a few more years. What any whisky blender is doing, however, is creating a product to be enjoyed by millions of people: it’s got to have that universal appeal, whilst emphasising the craft and heritage of the brand. It’s an honour to be part of the select group of master blenders in Scotland who get to do this with such an incredible high-quality spirit.

I love knowing that the products I help to craft are sitting on the shelves of bars, restaurants and homes not just here in Scotland but around the world too. Scotch Whisky can be a special gift, or simply a treat to share with pals. Scotch can sing in a cocktail and there are so many new and exciting mixology combinations out there that help the flavours of the spirit – all unique to the distilleries they’re from – to shine through.

What many people don’t realise is that Scotch Whisky must be bottled at a minimum of 40% ABV by law. At this alcohol strength, a dram of Scotch Whisky – that’s 25ml – will contain one UK unit of alcohol. In your average pint of beer or glass of wine, you’ll find upwards of two units. That’s because when counting units, it’s the alcohol content – both the size of the drink and its alcohol strength - that matters. Understanding the units contained in your drink means you’ll be better placed to stick to the recommended guidelines from the Chief Medical Officer to not regularly exceed 14 units per week. Plus it’s always good to consider having a few alcohol-free days during the week too.

However you enjoy your whisky, you’ll always appreciate it more when you sip and savour it (responsibly). The craft and heritage that goes into every drop of Scotch Whisky means that it deserves to be appreciated.

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