Why so many scotch whiskies are glen-something

Why are there so many whiskies called glen-something

I love that scotch. You know, that whisky we had. It was, erm, glen -something.

Why are there so many scotch whiskies called glen-something? We’ve all been there, struggling to remember what that great whisky was.

One of my favourite lines in “Swingers” is when Jon Favreau orders a scotch on the rocks.

I’ll have a scotch on the rocks, please. Any scotch will do, as long as it’s not a blend, of course. Single malt, Glenlivet, Glen Galley, perhaps, any Glen.

Jon Favreau, Swingers


But why so many?

The reason for so many glen-something whiskies is because ‘glen’ means ‘valley’ in Gaelic.

There are a lot of hills in Scotland, so there are lots of glens. Distilleries are built in glens because:

1. You need a lot of water to make whisky, so the bottom of a valley is an excellent place to be.

2. It’s easier to build a distillery at the bottom of a hill than on top of one.

A lot of distilleries take their name from their location. It isn’t a surprise there are so many scotch whiskies that have glen in their name.

Does having glen -something on the bottle mean it is scotch whisky?

The Scotch Whisky Association (SWA) argued there is something unique about the word ‘glen’ when it relates to whisky.

In fact, The SWA even brought a legal challenge to the European Court of Justice when a German whisky used the word ‘glen’ on their label,  arguing that the word ‘glen’ is linked to Scotch in people’s minds. Courts across many jurisdictions have ruled that names, such as ‘highland’ and ‘glen’, and images, such as bagpipers, are so strongly associated with Scotland and Scotch Whisky that their use on whisky of another origin is misleading.

In the case against the Germany whisky, the European Court of Justice agreed with the SWA. The Germany whisky couldn’t include the word ‘glen’ on their the bottle because the word is so strongly associated with Scotch whisky

Our glen whiskies.

We send fantastic whiskies to our members every month.

This month we delivered a whole box of special Glen-somethings, since April’s box was The Glen Collection.

It was our way of celebrating many people’s favourite whisky: the erm…know what was it called again? Glen-something.

The Dram Team's Glen-something Collection

Our six special Scotches this month were:

The Glenrothes Soleo Collection 10 Years Old. An easy-sipping, light & floral introduction to this distillery’s sherry-driven style.

The Glenturret Peated Edition. An unusual combination of unpeated and heavily peated spirit that’s released in very small batches.

Douglas LaingOld Particular Glengoyne, Aged 14 Years. An indie bottling of this Highland favourite, from a batch of 337 bottles.

Douglas LaingProvenance Glen Moray, Aged 12 Years. A single cask indie release of one of the Dram Team’s most-loved Speysiders.

GlenfarclasAged 18 Years. A travel-retail exclusive from what might be Speysides most iconic distillery.

The Single CaskGlentauchers 1996 Sherry Cask, Aged 22 Years. A very special, well-aged Sherry bomb from a distillery that is rarely seen as single malt. What a treat!

We’re not the only people who love glen-something whiskies. We quickly sold out of all of The Glen Collection. If you want to make sure that you don’t miss out on any of our future whisky boxes, you can join the team here.  

Warmest whisky wishes,

(Founder, The Dram Team )

P.S. I write to our members a few times a month, and I try to make the emails interesting for any whisky fan. You can get those emails by signing up here.

P.P.S. Please don’t forget to confirm your registration to our email newsletter, and to whitelist my email so it doesn’t get lost 🙂