Scotland’s ex-industrial heartland - and site of most of the country’s urban cores - continues to produce whisky in greater quantities than any other region, but very little of it is bottled as single malt today. The remaining Lowland distilleries are mostly enormous grain spirit factories, churning out millions of litres to feed the world’s insatiable demand for blended Scotch. Only a handful of smaller enterprises maintain the classic Lowland malt style - soft, sweet and grassy. Lowland malt whisky was traditionally triple-distilled, in the Irish style, creating a very gentle spirit and reducing the need for exceptionally clear water sources…but as urbanisation and industrialisation spread it became harder and harder to maintain standards and compete with the bolder, more characterful Highland styles. Those that remain have proved themselves with their quality and are particularly appropriate starting points for those looking for a softer way into the world of Scotch.
Those Lowland malt distilleries which were forced to close their doors during the whisky industry’s nadir in the 1980s are now among the most sought-after of collectibles, as their supplies dry up: Rosebank, St Magdalene and Littlemill enjoy devoted cult followings and often command enviable prices at auction.