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How to: Order a Whisky in Scotland

Posted by IH Aberdeen on 22nd April 2016
How to: Order a Whisky in Scotland

Aberdeen is the perfect destination to try Scotland’s most famous drink – Whisky!

The Aberdeen region is home to many whisky distilleries, and there are loads of different whiskies to try in Aberdeen’s bars and pubs.

But if you’ve never been to Scotland before, what do you ask for when you see the huge choice of whiskies behind the bar?  

Here’s what you should know:

1. Types of whisky

There are many different types of whisky, but the two main differences you should know about are:

Single Malt Whisky

A single malt whisky is a whisky that has been produced from only water and malted barley at only one distillery.

Blended Whisky

A 'blend' or blended whisky means the whisky is a blend of two or more different whiskies produced at different distilleries.

What’s the difference?

Generally speaking, Single Malts are better quality and have more complex flavours than a Blended whiskies. Also Single Malts are usually more expensive than Blends.

If you are a whisky beginner, it probably won’t make much difference, but Single Malts are more special!

2.Which whisky is best to try?

Every whisky tastes unique – try some different ones and see which one you like best.

It all depends on what you like. Don't be afraid to ask the bar tender for recommendations!

Here are some recommendations:

Lighter flavours

If you are a whisky beginner you might want to start with something light and easy to drink. Some recommendations of whiskies to try are:

  • Glenmorangie /glen'mɒrənʤi:/
  • Glenfiddich /glen'fɪdɪx/
  • Macallan /mak'ælən/
  • Glenlivet /glen'lɪvət/
  • Auchantoshan /ɒxən'tɒʃən/ (not always easy to find, but a great choice if you can!)

Stronger flavours

If you would like to try something with a stronger taste, lots of whiskies from the West of Scotland have a distinctive ‘smoky’ or ‘peaty (/'pi:ti/)’ flavour. Be careful – the taste is very strong! But they are really interesting to try and a very special, unique flavour.

  • Highland Park (this is a lightly smoky whisky, good if you haven’t tried smoky whiskies before)
  • Ardmore /'ɑ:rdmɔ:r/
  • Laphroaig /læ'frɔɪg/
  • Ardbeg /'ɑ:rdbeg/ (very peaty, strong flavour!)
  • Talisker /'tælɪskər/ (very peaty, strong flavour!)

What does ‘peaty’ mean? And what is ‘peat’? – Read more here

3. How to drink whisky

How is it served?

A true whisky connoisseur does not drink whisky with ice! It should be served at room temperature, and it is also perfectly acceptable to add a little water if you like. However, if you want it with ice, just ask. If you are not Scottish, they will forgive you!

How to drink it?

Whisky is not vodka or tequila. Don’t just down the drink in one go. Whiskies have complex, rich flavours and you should sip and savour the whisky. Take it slowly, breathe the aroma and enjoy the flavours.

So now you know some basics about ordering a whisky! Here’s some useful vocab:

‘I’d like a whisky please’

‘Can I have a _______ (Glenmorangie) please?’

‘Can you recommend a whisky please?’

‘Do you have something quite light? Nothing too smoky please’

‘Do you have something smoky?’ / ‘Can you recommend a smoky whisky?’

‘No ice please’

‘Can I have some water to go with the whisky’


...And if you don’t like whisky, you can always order a Jack Daniels and coke!

4. Where to drink whisky in Aberdeen

Any pub in Aberdeen (or Scotland) will have a good selection of whiskies to try. The pubs and bars on Belmont Street are a good place to start.

1. Ma Cameron’s – Little Belmont Street

One of the nicest pubs around Belmont Street. They have a good selection of whiskies and it’s a good place to start. They also offer ‘Whisky of the month’, so there’s always something new to try.

2. CASC – 7 Stirling Street

CASC is a great independent bar, with over 500 whiskies to choose from, including some very unusual or rare varieties. If you don’t like whisky, there are also over 250 varieties of craft beer to choose from.

3. The Grill – 213 Union Street

For an old-fashioned, authenitic Scottish pub experience, try The Grill. It was established in 1870 and is has a fantastic selection of whiskies. Don’t be put off by the exterior – it’s really nice inside!

Where to buy whisky in Aberdeen

Aberdeen Whisky Shop, 474 Union Street is the place to buy whisky. Drop in to see their selection of whiskies and they might allow you to try some too. 

So... now you know. Go out an try some whisky in Aberdeen today. Enjoy! Cheers!

Find out more about experiencing Scotland and learning English at IH Aberdeen:  Contact us or visit our page here


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