A single cask whiskey has been in one cask and not transferred to accommodate other blends. This whiskey, when full strength, can exceed sixty percent alcohol by volume.
Most single malts are bottled at between forty and forty-six percent as the legal limit is set at a minimum of forty percent. Ask strength is a term used when the alcohol level is still relatively high and the brew has not been watered down or if it has been the addition of water was low. Cask strength is not always merely one cask it can be from several casks inclusively.
Given that there is approximately six to nine different regions in Scotland that actually have proven distilleries, the characteristics of the malt can vary considerably. They all have their own unique techniques and style to producing their malts and each produce a flavor all their own.
The Great Debate: Single Malt vs. Blended
Many people get confused and the difference between single malt and blended scotch. The blended variety consists of approximately fifty different grains, and single malts, sent from many different producers. The term single malt refers to one single distiller, and therefore what is produced, is indeed not the product of blending.
They say that every 50 years is the leveling out point on scotch, as it will no longer get better with age. Prior to that point it is like wine and will continue to produce a better taste. The differences in many of the distillers of fine scotch in Scotland can be very noticeable, as the geography lends to different techniques.
Each region of the Scottish territory yields a different product due to varying methods of development. Many methods can be employed, right down to the grains and water used. Some distilling companies even use certain peat mosses on the grains for added flavor. One would assume you must try them all, to consider yourself a true aficionado.
There is a very small portion of fine scotch that actually makes it out of Scotland and into other countries. Matured whiskies as well as fresh fillings are an enticing profit grabber; however the time it takes for this product to turn over and give way to said profit makes this a risky endeavor. It is very hard to determine whether or not the products value will hold in the future.