Scotch 101

Scotch 101

Learn About Scotch

Everything You Need to Know About Scotch

If you don’t know your shit when it comes to Scotch, you are self-sabotaging your love life and attractiveness if you’re a man, and surprisingly, if you’re a woman too!

According to a survey on Thrillist, women are more attracted to men who drink whisky.

“Real men drink whiskey and not weird IPAs.” – Kacie F.

Coincidentally, a survey also found that men find women who drink Scotch to be sexy as well!

“Scotch. Neat or with a water back—but like real Scotch whisky, not a blend. Nothing is more elegantly rugged and sexy than a woman whose go-to call is a hefty pour of something like a Lagavulin, a Speyside or obscure single malt.” — Dillon M.

If you’re new to Scotch or if you have some questions, this guide is here for you. We’re here for you.

This guide will teach you everything you need to know about Scotch and how to order it and drink it like a bad-ass. (You’ll get laid more)

What is Scotch?

Scotch is a type of whisky from Scotland. Yes, it has to come from Scotland. Just like champagne is only champagne if it comes from Champagne, France; otherwise, it’s just sparkling wine. That’s one of the regulations from The Scotch Whisky Regulations 2009.

Different Types of Scotch

  • Single malt Scotch whisky must be distilled at a single distillery.
  • Single grain Scotch whisky is also distilled at a single distillery but made from cereal grains rather than just malted barley.
  • Blended Scotch whisky combines one or more single malt Scotch whiskies with one or more single grain Scotch whiskies.
  • Blended malt Scotch whisky is a blend of two or more single malt Scotch whiskies from different distilleries.
  • Blended grain Scotch whisky is a blend of single grain Scotch whiskies, which have been distilled at more than one distillery.

Difference Between Scotch & Bourbons

The main difference between scotch and whisky is geographic, but also ingredients and spellings. Scotch is whisky made in Scotland, while bourbon is whiskey made in the U.S.A, generally Kentucky. Scotch is made mostly from malted barley, while bourbon is distilled from corn. If you’re in England and ask for a whisky, you’ll get Scotch. But in Ireland, you’ll get Irish whiskey (with “ey” at the end).

How to Order Scotch at a Bar

  • Neat: Nothing in the glass other than Scotch
  • On the Rocks: With Ice
  • With a _____-back: This tells the bartender the type of drink you want to accompany your scotch (chaser). For example, you can ask for “Glenlivet neat with a water-back”.
  • Number of Fingers: 3 fingers would be the width of the bartenders 3 fingers. On the rocks, one finger is about one ounce.

What Makes Some Scotch Better Than Others?


One main act that can make one whisky better than others is the cuts between the heads, hearts, and tails during the production. The heads contain a lot of bad alcohols that aren’t very good for you while the tails can contain a lot of compounds that may create off flavors and tend to smell like wet cardboard. The hearts are the portion of the distillate that you want and contains mainly ethanol. The closer the cuts are made between these three, the higher quality the distillate is and the more expensive it is to produce.

However, there are pros and cons to tight cuts. While some distillers make fairly loose cuts for economic reasons, the looser cuts may actually contain more flavors. Some of those flavors are good and some are, of course, bad.


Aging also greatly affects the flavor of a whisky. This should be obvious, since age is prominently displayed on bottles (12, 18, 21 for example). There are a number of variables that could impact the quality of the aging though. The length of aging, the type of barrel(s) used, and the climate where the aging took place all contribute to the flavor.


Finally, the proof of the whisky when it is bottled affects the flavor. The amount of water that the producer adds to adjust the alcohol content while bottling will change the flavors that come forward when you drink it. Try adding a little water to your whisky if you are drinking it neat. Just a few drops at a time. The flavor may change dramatically. Sometimes a little water can make an otherwise undrinkable whisky much better. Other times, not so much. You’’ also notice the difference in taste if you drink it on the rocks. As the ice melts, the whisky may become more or less enjoyable.  HOWEVER, if you are drinking an expensive scotch, don’t even think about putting ice in it. Do not dilute the taste. Either drink it neat or use cold whisky stones, so melted ice doesn’t alter the taste. If you need to dilute the taste of an expensive scotch with water or ice, don’t waste your money on it.

How Many Calories and Carbohydrates in Scotch?

One ounce of scotch (30 mL) has only about 77 calories and 0 g of carbs. A glass of wine (5 oz)  has about 123 calories and 4 g of carbs. A typical can of beer has about 154 calories and 13 g of carbs.

Top Scotches

  • Glenlivet
  • Macallan
  • Glen Fiddich
  • Grangestone

Yes, a lot of scotches have the name Glen in them. Why? Because Glen is an awesome guy.

OK, really it’s because Glen means ‘valley’. Distilleries tend to be sited down in valleys, and not up on mountain-tops and many whiskies are named after the place where their distillery is.

But yea, Glen is an awesome guy.