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1. the UK degree Proof being different from the US degree proof. (e.g.

, 100
UK degree proof = 104 US degree proof =57% ABV
2. In this case, the (brand) name corresponds to the name of the distillery.
3. Islay Single Malt Scotch Whisky. Scotch whisky is defined by law,
indicating that the product is distilled in Scotland and matured at least for 3
years in Scotland. For more details on the definition of Scotch whisky,
see Whisky. Single Malt indicates that this whisky is made exclusively of
malted barley and it is the result of 1 distillery. Islay corresponds to the
geographical area of production. Scotland is traditionally divided in 5
production regions: Campebltown, Lowlands, Highlands (including
Speyside), Islands and Islay.
4. 2001 23.10.01 . The date and year corresponds to the start to the date of the
reopening of the distillery. In this case, the whisky was distilled in 2001 as
mentioned in the back label (not shown) and 2001 thus corresponds to the
vintage. It does not mean that this whisky was distilled on the 23rd of
5. Distilled, Matured and Bottled at Bruichladdich Distillery Islay Scotland: it
indicates that all the production steps (distillation, maturation and bottling)
were performed by the Bruichladdich Distillery on Islay in Scotland.
Nowdays, in many distilleries the maturation is not anymore done at the
distillery but on the mainland, and the great majority of the whisky is bottled
the big Scottish cities (Glasgow, Edinburgh or Perth).
Summary: This label is relatively succinct, providing only information about
the distiller, the location of the maturation and its bottling, as well as the
strength of the whisky. No information concerning the age of the whisky is
provided. You have to go and search on the web (e.g.,
at to find out that this Bruichladdich was indeed
distilled in 2001 and that the malt used for this whisky is unusually peated at 10
ppm instead of 5 ppm as for most Bruichladdich bottlings. With a phenolic
level of 10 ppm, the whisky is likely to be medium-lightly peated.
Label N2:

1. and 2): See label 1.

3) Age: The age indicates the age of the youngest whisky present in the
bottle. In this case, the youngest whisky is a least 12 years old.
Glen Lairg: this is a trade name and does not correspond to the name of a
distillery. This whisky could have been produced by any distillery(ies) in
5) Pure Highland Malt Scotch Whisky: this information is rather vague and
Pure is unspecific. This might be the product of 1 or several distilleries (most
of the time). Malt indicates that only malt whisky was used. Highland indicates
the whisky has been produced anywhere in the Highlands (including Speyside).
Since about 90% of the distilleries are located in this area, this does not help
very much to identify the distillery(ies). In addition, different styles of whiskies
are produced in this region, so the whisky can be anything from malty to peaty,
with or without sherry influence.
6) Distilled, Matured & Bottled in Scotland by Clydesdale Scotch Whisky Co.
Edinburgh. In this case, the only information provided is the name of the owner
of the brand. In this case, a blender in Scotland based in Edinburgh. All the
production steps, distillation, maturation and bottling could have taken place in
3 different locations in Scotland.
Summary: This is a typical label to be found on the shelves of a supermarket,
with information made to confuse the consumer about its provenance. At the
exception of the volume and strength, the only information valuable found on
this label is that this whisky is at least 12 years old and that it is made
exclusively of malt whisky. However, no information about the distillery(ies) is
provided, nor the place of maturation and of bottling. Needless to say, you can
only guess at the flavour profile of this whisky.

Label 3:

1) See label 1.
2) Strength: whiskies are traditionally bottled at 40, 43 or 46%. When the
strength is different from these values, it might suggest that the whisky is cask
strength, or directly bottled straight from the cask.
3) Brora: This is the name of the distillery
4) Age: Age of the whisky.
5) Distillation: This label is very precise, with the exact date of the distillation
and cask filling.
6) Bottled: Exact date when the content of the cask was bottled.
7) Maturation in a sherry butt. This provided information on the type of cask
used for the maturation of this whisky. Sherry: indicates that the oak cask used
for the maturation has previously contained sherry. Butt indicates the size of the
cask used for its maturation. See Cask for the respective volume of this type of
8) Cask: Indicates the number of the cask in which the whisky was matured.
9) Natural Colour: Indicates that the colour of the whisky is natural. In most
whiskies bottled at 40-43%, caramel is usually added to the whisky in order to
obtain consistent colour between the different batches.
10) Cask individually selected and bottled by Signatory (). No information is
provided about the maturation, but this cask was selected by the company who
bottled this whisky. This also indicates that the company which bottled the
whisky is probably not the owner of the distillery.
Summary: this label provides almost all possible technical details about the
whisky, the place of maturation being the only missing information.

I have selected 3 labels, rather different from each other to illustrate the variability
of information that a label can carry. Some do only carry the strict minimum
(volume, strength and brand name), while some are more exhaustive, even