Scotch Terms

Scotch Terms / Scotch Terminology

Like wine, there are scotch terms and scotch terminology that you’re going to need to know if you want to, well, be in the (scotch) know.  With that in mind, here’s a list of the most common scotch terms that you’ll encounter.

Dry – a feeling of astringency on the tongue.

Full-bodied – strong tastes and smells and heavy on the tongue.

Rich – high intensity with sweet flavors and aromas.

Thin – lacking aromas and flavor and watery in characteristic.

Green – clear marks of grass or moss aromas.

Mellow – aromas and flavors are smooth. Usually from maturing longer.

Robust – strong aromas, flavor and personality.

Neutral – lacks any aromas and has little flavor.

Light – delicate intensity of aromas and flavors.

Round – well-balanced aromas and flavors.

Heavy – high intensity and flavor.

Sharp – prickles the nose and tongue.

Clean – free from most smells and tastes.

Bland – lacks personality.

Soft – pungent alcohol yet light aromas.


A Little Extra Scotch Terminology…

Dram – Scottish for a wee drink. It basically means the amount that is normally served in a drink, approximately one and a half ounces. Now, awee dram would be one ounce. A dram is an old unit of measurement in Scotland.

Angel’s Share – the amount of scotch that evaporates while it is aging.

Slàinte mhath (slawn je vah) – Scottish for CHEERS! It translates to “good health”

Uisge Beatha (oosh-ka bay-ah) – Scottish for “water of life”, similar to Latin’s “aqua vitae”. The word ‘whisky’ is derived from ‘Uisage’.


Those should be all the scotch terms you need to know to start enjoying some great scotch (well, to be honest, you didn’t really need to know all this scotch terminology just to try some nice single malts – but you should if you plan on making it a habit.)




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the Barman

Reese Richards aka "the Barman" is a 20-year veteran of the bar industry and founder of His goal is to bring the joy of bartending to as many people around the world as possible. He accomplishes this by producing high quality content in the form of articles, interviews, infographics, recipes, videos and training courses as well as through his bar consulting business. You can find him online here or connect with him on Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, Pinterest & Instagram