Scotch whisky is a whisky that is distilled and aged for a minimum of three years in Scotland. Although three years is the minimum aging time required by the Scotch Whisky Act, most Scotches are aged for 5 to 12 years, sometimes even longer.
There are three types Scotch whisky:
Malt whisky is made from 100 percent malted barley (barley that has been sprouted and dried over peat fires), and is distilled in old-fashioned pot stills. A single malt is a malt whisky produced and bottled from a single distillery, without being blended with other whiskies.
Grain whisky is made from unmalted grains, primarily wheat and corn, mixed with malted barley. It is distilled in large industrial continuous stills. Grain whiskies have a neutral flavor and taste, and are primarily used in blends.
Blended Scotch whisky is a combination of grain whiskies and malt whiskies, sometimes as many as 50 different. Although single malts have become more popular lately, about 95 percent of all Scotch sold are blends.
In mixed drinks and cocktails Blended Scotch whisky should be used. Single malt whiskies are almost never used in mixed drinks. It should be enjoyed neat, perhaps with a little water.
Note that, like Canadian whisky, Scotch whisky is spelled without the "e".