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Demystified » Single Malt

What’s in a name? - The story behind your favourite Single Malt

The Name Glenlivet origins from the word Livet, which is the name of the river in the valley (Glen), where Glenlivet is produced because according to the founder George Smith it was the perfect location for production of whisky. The place had all of nature’s essentials for making the finest malt whisky – barley, peat and a copious supply of good, clean water – were all abundant.

GLENMORANGIE (Glen-Moranjee)
The whisky was named after the peaceful land; William Matheson (the founder) loved. In Gaelic, the ancient language of Scotland, ‘Glenmorangie’ means ‘Valley of Tranquility’.

The Distillery of Glenfiddich was started in 1886 in the valley of the River Fiddich. The glen of the river Fiddich gives its name to the biggest-selling single malt whisky in the world. The Glenfiddich distillery is on the small river whose name it bears. In Gaelic it means ‘Valley of the deer’ and indeed a stag is the company's emblem.

In 1811 John and Helen Cumming sited their first still at Cardow Farm on Mannoch Hill, high above the River Spey. At this location, spring water, naturally softened by rising up through a layer of peat, bubbled from the ground. Cardhu has made a unique contribution to the success of Johnnie Walker Blends. In 1893 when the Walker family wanted to guarantee the quality of their Blends, at a time of rapid growth, they negotiated the purchase of Cardhu Distillery from Elizabeth Cumming to secure supplies for blending.

Talisker- the inimitable Island malt whisky. It is the only distillery on the Isle of Skye, and takes its name from a farm some miles away near the village of Carbost.

The distillery was founded in 1798. The name of this whisky does not refer to the area of Scotland known as The Highlands, from which the Orkney Islands are excluded, but rather to the fact that the distillery was founded on an area distinguished from a lower area nearby. It was originally known as High Park, later officially renamed Highland Park as we know it now.

Foremost among the distilleries along the banks of the chill, clear waters of the Spey stands Knockando. Built by John Thompson in 1898 the Knockando distillery lies in the village of the same name, derived from the Gaelic ‘Cnoc-an-dhu,’ meaning ‘little black hill.’

ROYAL LOCHNAGAR (pronounced “loshnagar”)
Distillery was actually established in 1845 by a man who may have originally been involved in illicit whisky. In fact, the prefix "Royal" was added after a visit to the distillery by Queen Victoria and Prince Albert in 1848. During this visit and tour, the owner, John Begg, persuaded the royal couple to try a dram. They apparently were very impressed and awarded Mr. Begg a royal warrant and permission to use the name Royal Lochnagar. It was named ‘Lochnagar’ after a mountain in the Grampians of Scotland, located about five miles south of the River Dee near Balmoral where the distillery is located.

The Singleton single malt is distilled at Auchroisk Distillery. The malt was given the "Singleton" name because the anticipated difficulty, on the part of the consumer, of pronouncing the name of the distillery. Auchroisk, pronounced "orth-rusk," means "ford of the red stream" in Gaelic.

Ben Rinnes (simply known as "The Ben" by locals) is a mountain in the region of Moray, Scotland. The beautiful and distinctive outline of Ben Rinnes (840m, 2775ft) is one of the best loved landmarks in Banff shire. Benrinnes Distillery was established in the 1820s and was built 700 feet (213 meters) above sea level on the northern slopes of the mountain of the same name which dominates eastern Speyside.

Caol Ila (pronounced "cull-eela") was built in 1846 by Hector Henderson and lies peacefully in the Port of Askaig overlooking the Sound of Islay on the Northeast shore of Islay. Caol Ila means "Sound of Islay," in Gaelic, which is the body of water that separates Islay from the Isle of Jura.

Some 400 years after the name Bowmore first appeared in history books, the jury’s still out on its origins. Some would have it that the name refers to the little black reef just outside Loch Indaal, the scene of so many shipwrecks over the years. Others believe the place was originally called Poll-mor meaning great pool, which incoming Lowlanders corrupted into Bowmore - or perhaps it derives from the Norse Bogha Mor, meaning sunken rock. If truth be told, we’ll probably never know.

Bruichladdich (try ‘Brook-Laddie’) is a Gaelic reference to the ‘raised beach’ upon which the distillery is sited, on the Hebridean Isle of Islay, on Scotland’s Wild West coast. Built in 1881 by William Harvey and his brothers.

Situated in the heart of Speyside – malt whisky country – Glenfarclas, translated from the Gaelic as “Glen of the green grassland”, nestles at the foot of the Ben Rinnes Mountain. The distillery is owned by the Grant family since 1865, making it truly independent.

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