A while back we had some interest in bottling practices behind certain scotches. Please see: White Labeling Single Malts for the original article.
I contacted the Vintage Malt Whisky Company Limited and they were extremely gracious in their response to some of my quesitons:
“Many thanks for making contact with us and for your interest in our Ileach Islay Single Malt Scotch Whisky. I am delighted to hear that you are writing an article on Ileach for your website.
The distillery of origin of Ileach is a closely guarded secret and known only to a select few people within our company. We are in a very fortunate position to have a consistent source of supply of top quality malt whisky from one of the very best distilleries on Islay. I can tell you that Ileach is bottled at a minimum of 5 years old and the spirit is matured in a mixture of ex sherry butts and ex bourbon wood.
We currently bottle Ileach at 40% vol and Cask Strength (58% Vol) and occasionally we will produce limited volumes of a 12 Yrs Old.
The Ileach has won a gold award at the International Wine & Spirit Competition and in 2008 the Cask Strength version was named World Whisky of the Year runner up in Jim Murrays Whisky Bible.”
I’m sure that you’ve noticed that many of the famous scotch distilleries follow the same naming convention: Glen as a prefix then something behind it. Someone asked me this very thing last month; Why do all of the scotches start with Glen?
Well, not all of them start with Glen, but a large number of the most successful ones do. Glenmorangie, Glenfarclas, Glenlivet, Glen Garioch, Glenfiddich to name a few. So why is this term used so often in the name of distilleries. Glen does not mean “scotch” and it does not mean “distillery”.
I’m sure you know that the definition of glen is a narrow valley. It can also be a general term to refer to an area of countryside. So, since scotch is often classified by and is often so diverse by the region in which it is produced, it’s not in surprising that the distilleries are named after the rivers they sit beside.
Glen Morangie sits near the Morangie Forest, Glen Livet is on the Livet River, Glen Garioch is with in the committee area of Garioch in Aberdeenshire and so on.
It seems that, within these distilllery names, Glen is just a general term used to identify the area of land being described. I’m sure it’s also a convetion that was just adopted early on when scotch distilleries, as we know them today, were first coming to fruition.