A bit of a mouthful: how to pronounce whisky names

4th of December, 2015 | Posted in Features | Email Article | Print Article

There are 100’s of whiskies to choose from in bars and pubs across the country. If you are one of the many, who are not quite sure how to pronounce the whisky you want to order, here is the second part of our guide to how to pronounce and a bit of background regarding what the names actually mean.

Of course you might have to master what is known as the Scottish ‘uvular ficative’ which is a ‘ch’ sound. Think of ‘It’s a braw bricht moonlicht nicht the nicht.’

At Wee DRAM’s regular ‘Make A Date With Whisky’ tasting event the most common barrier to people ordering whisky at the bar is that they don’t know how to pronounce the name. So, here we go…

Ledaig – LEADaig

The Norse origin means “A bay which is difficult to enter”. This is a peaty whisky from Tobermory on the Isle of Mull, which has been named after a previous incarnation of the distillery.

The Macallan (Mah-CAH-len)

The Macallan distillery is a single malt Scotch whisky distillery in Craigellachie, Moray. The Macallan Distillers Ltd, is owned by the Edrington Group. The Macallan was one of the first distilleries in Scotland to be legally licensed in 1824, and its spirit stills are the smallest on Speyside.

Miltonduff (Mill-ton-duff)

Miltonduff is a light, sweet, fragrant malt with very little peat. Miltonduff’s legal distillery was built on the site of a illicit distillery, and for the following 60 years used the tools abandoned by the old whisky smugglers. The distillery was originally water-powered with several waterwheels driving its machinery.

Mortlach (Mort-lack)

The Mortlach distillery is located in Dufftown, and was the the first legal distillery to be built there. It was founded in 1823, and is now owned by Diageo. Mortlach Single Malt Whisky is affectionately called ‘The Beast of Dufftown’.

Oban (OH-b’n)

The Oban distillery is one of the oldest in Scotland. It was established in 1794, on the site of an old brewery, and the town of Oban grew up around the distillery.

Old Pulteney (Pult-nay)

Old Pulteney Single Malt Whisky is the flagship whisky of Inver House Distillers and it has a very nautical theme due to its location near Wick. Whisky has been produced at the distillery since 1826.

Port Askaig (Ass- kaig)

This is a range of malts that has been developed to appeal to the novice whisky drinker while meeting the demands of the most discerning of whisky connoisseurs too. It is a ‘mystery malt’, because there is no Port Askaig Distillery on Islay.

Royal Brackla

The Brackla distillery dates from 1812. It was built by Captain William Fraser of Brackla House on the estate of Cawdor Castle in Nairn.

In 1833 Brackla Distillery became the first whisky distillery to be granted a Royal Warrant by order of King William IV. In 1985 it closed, re-opening in 1991. It is now operated by John Dewar & Sons Ltd for Bacardi.

Royal Lochnagar (LOCHnagár)

Royal Lochnagar distillery is situated on the south side of the River Dee close to Balmoral Castle. It is a historic distillery and only produces a small amount of whisky. Most of which is released as single malt, but as it is owned by Diageo, it is also one of the malts used in Johnnie Walker blends.

Scapa (SKAA-pa)

Scapa distillery is situated on Orkney, on the shore of Scapa Flow near the town of Kirkwall. It is the second most northerly whisky distillery in Scotland, being half a mile from Highland Park. Dating from 1885 the distillery was mothballed in 1994, but re-opened a decade later.

Springbank (Spring-bank)

Springbank in based in Campbeltown and was established in 1828 on the site of Archibald Mitchell’s illicit still and today the distillery remains in the hands of the same family. Current Chairman is Hedley G. Wright, Mitchell’s great, great grandson.

Strathisla (Strath-eye-la)

This historic and ancient distillery has been operating since 1786. Strathisla is the spiritual home of one of the most famous whisky brands in the world – Chivas Regal and is the oldest operating distillery in the Highlands. Originally it was founded as the Milltown Distillery by George Taylor and Alexander Miln.

Talisker (TAL-isk-er)

Talisker distillery is the only whisky from the Isle of Skye. This Island single malt, based in Carbost, has a strong tangy taste that reminds you that is Scotland’s only malt made by the sea. It was founded in 1830 and is now owned by Diageo. Experts say, “Its smell and taste instantly connect the drinker with the rugged environment – like a warm welcome from a wild sea.”

Tamdhu (Tam-DOO)

Tamdhu distillery is in Speyside. The distillery is located in the town of Knockando in Banffshire. Tamdhu comes from Gaelic for little dark hill. In 1897, a consortium of merchants and gentlemen of the whisky trade raised today’s equivalent of £20 million to construct the distillery. Designed by Charles C. Doig it was the most pioneering distillery of its age.

Tamnavulin (Tamna-VOO-lin)

means ‘mill on the hill’ in Gaelic. This Speyside distillery was only built in 1965 due to the growing demand for malt whisky by blenders. It’s a modern distillery, built on the banks of The Livet, that can produce four million litres a year. Although it was mothballed in1995 it re-opened in 2007.

Teaninich (Tee-an-inich)

Teaninich is a whisky distillery in Alness in the Highlands. It was founded and built in 1817 by Hugh Munro on his estate of Teaninich Castle. Teaninich produces four million litres a year and is used by Diageo to produce malt for its blends – mainly Johnnie Walker, but also Haig and Vat 69.

Tomintoul (Tomin-towel)

is located near the village of the same name, which is the highest village in the Highlands. It lies at the very heart of the Speyside region on the Glenlivet Estate. It was built in 1964 and is now owned by Angus Dundee Distillers. In 2009 Tomintoul entered the Guinness Book of World Records by producing the largest bottle of whisky in the world, containing 105.3 litres of 14-year-old Tomintoul malt whisky. It currently resides at the Whisky Castle Shop in Tomintoul.

Tullibardine (Tully-bard-eye-n)

The name in Gaelic means ‘lookout hill’, and was taken from the small medieval chapel built in 1446, which is close to the distillery. The Tullibardine distillery is fairly modern. It was built in 1949 and was obtained by Brodie Hepburn a few years after it was founded. Located in Blackford, the gateway to the Highlands, it is now independently owned.

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