In the 1800s, this was once a boom town for whisky distilleries, hosting 34 in total. Its distinctive style was critically acclaimed across the world. However, these glories were not to last, as rail infrastructure across Scotland improved allowing Highland distilleries easier access to ports. Meanwhile many distilleries began to focus more on quantity over quality. This all led to a decline in the public perception of Cambeltown whiskies.
After the First World War and Prohibition in the US, Campbeltown whisky was nearly extinct. This was not to last as in 1934 Springbank and Glen Scotia reopened and production commenced. It wasn’t until 2004, that a third Campbeltown distillery joined the pair, Glengyle. Nowadays, Campbeltown is enjoying a rebirth with many new distilleries looking to open over the next few years. For whisky investors, the Campbeltown whiskies are at the forefront of the whisky renaissance, with Springbank, Glen Scotia and Glengyle being trailblazers.
The largest region in terms of geographical size, the Highlands are often seen as the rugged counter-culture to the softer spirits of the Lowlands and Speyside. The truth is that much like the vast diverse region the Highlands occupies, the whisky is just as diverse.
Accounting for a quarter of the entire scotch whisky market, the Highlands contains many of the world’s most famous whisky distilleries. The emphasis on the unique and rebellious personality of many of these distilleries has led to enormous commercial and critical success, investors would be remiss to pass up on such whisky investment casks.
While not an officially recognized whisky producing region by the UK government, instead falling under the Highlands region, we would be remiss for not giving a special mention to these distilleries.
While it would be difficult to make a general statement about their character, due to each island producing a very different spirit. As a whole they reflect their maritime heritage, often containing briney and smokey notes with peat being a key ingredient in the malting process. When a cask of these rare whiskies comes onto the market, whisky investors tend to take notice as Island whiskies form a rare addition to any discerning portfolio.
With nine active distilleries across the island, and more under construction, Islay represents a haven for lovers of strongly peated whisky. The island of Islay lacks strong forest coverage meaning that rotting wood is absent from its peat bogs, lending to a unique flavour.
Meanwhile the freshwater sources are all mineral soft creating a stark contrast with the peaty flavours, resulting in rather unique expressions found nowhere else in Scotland. A cask of Islay whisky is a popular choice for anyone interested in whisky investment, due to the prevalence of Islay’s spirits being used for both blends and single malts.
Being located in the heart of Scotland’s most productive agricultural lands, the easy access to both grain and barley has meant that most of the Lowlands whisky is used in blends. This has resulted in many of the largest beverage producing companies in the world investing heavily in these distilleries.
Many of Scotland’s larger distilleries are located here, going into the most popular blends on the planet such as Johnnie Walker, Grant’s, Bell’s and Famous Grouse. Lowlands casks represent excellent starter casks for new whisky investors, and a key asset in any well rounded whisky investment portfolio.
This region accounts for 50% of all scotch produced each year, with over 50 distilleries nestled in its rolling hills. There is a balance between the distilleries, with a mixture of single malt and blended focused whisky producers. But the main distinguishing characteristic is the prevalence of lighter, more fruity notes due to a lack of peat bogs in the region.
This has led to global acclaim as Speyside whiskies can be seen as more accessible for non-whisky drinkers. In fact many of the most prestigious brands in the world such as The Macallan, hail from Speyside. Speyside whiskies are extremely popular among whisky investors due to their broad appeal and popularity in both blends and standing alone as single malts.