In the wine industry, the word terroir is extremely common in describing the entire natural environment in which a specific grape is grown, whereas in the whisky industry, the concept is rarely used

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For whisky, it is much more important where the production took place, because the microclimate in situ has an influence on the maturation process.

Scotch whisky, for example, doesn’t have to be distilled from grain grown in Scotland. The market price is usually a deciding factor when sourcing the grain. Much of the barley used in Scotch whisky comes from England and even from Canada and Australia.

However, a few distilleries do produce whisky that is partly made of barley grown on their own estates, such as The Macallan and Bruichladdich in Scotland, and Eastmoor in The Netherlands.

This is an edited feature provided by SMWS ambassador Hans Offringa from his comprehensive A Field Guide to Whisky: An expert compendium to take your passion and knowledge to the next level which you can purchase by clicking on the link.