What is in a name? When it comes to scotch whisky, quite a lot! Here we list 15 facts about how these famous whisky brands got their names.
What Does Glenfiddich Mean?
Glenfiddich is the most popular single malt scotch globally – at least if the total number of bottles sold is anything to go by. It’s located in Speyside, a region of Scotland known for its soft and fruity whiskies.
Glenfiddich means valley of the 'deer' in Gaelic. That’s why all bottles of Glenfiddich have a stag on them.
How Did Famous Grouse Get Its Name?
Famous Grouse is one of the most popular blends of scotch whisky in the world. Matthew Gloag, a grocer from Perthshire, started making Famous Grouse in 1896. He named his blended scotch after the red grouse, Scotland’s most popular game bird.
What Does Craigellachie Mean?
In Gaelic, Craigellachie means ‘rocky hill’. This is a reference to a famous cliff that overlooks the River Spey.
It’s probably worth pointing out that Craigellachie is another Speyside whisky. But, unlike other Speyside distilleries, Craigellachie uses a worm tub. Don’t worry; it’s not what it sounds like. A worm tub is a coiled copper tube attached to a pot’s arm still, which sits inside the vat of cold water used to condense alcohol vapour back into liquid.
How Did Mortlach Get Its Name?
Mortlach is, you guessed it, another Speyside whisky. Are you picking up a trend here?
Mortlach is in Dufftown, but it gets its name with the original name of the town. In the 19th century, James Duff, the Earl Fife, changed the town name from Mortlach to Dufftown.
The Mortlach distillery, which was established in 1923, honours the original town.
What does Ardbeg Mean?
Ardbeg gets it name from the Gaelic Àirde Beaga, which translates to ‘little height’. I’d like to think it’s a riff on that time Ardbeg sent a bottle of whisky into space.
Seriously, I’m not making that up. Ardbeg sent their whisky to space. That wasn’t such a little height.
Why Is It Called Highland Park?
Founded by bootlegger Magnus Eunson, Highland Park is the northernmost distillery in Scotland. Eunson, a church official, was renowned for his forays into the world of illicit whisky before switching to the legal route.
The distillery’s name comes from High Park, the elevated area on which it sits.
Where Does Talisker Get Its Name?
Talisker is the only distillery on the Isle of Skye. The areas was historically home to the Clan Macleod, and the distillery gets its name from the home of the son of the Macleod Clan Chief, Talisker House.
Where Does Lagavulin Get Its Name?
Lagavulin gets its name from the Gaelic Lag a’ Mhuilinn, meaning 'hollow of the mill'. I
ts nickname, ‘Laga’ is kind of obvious.
What Does Laphroaig Mean?
Laphroaig gets its name from Loch Laphroaig. The ‘loch,’ or ‘lake’ is on the southern coast of the island. It’s assumed that the name originally came from the Gaelic Lag Bhròdhaig or ‘the hollow of broad bay.’
Where does The Macallan Get Its Name?
The ‘mac’ of The Macallan likely comes from the Gaelic magh, which translates to ‘fertile ground.’ The ‘ellan’ refers to an Irish-born monk named St. Fillan who spent time in Scotland spreading Christianity in the eighth century.
The ‘the’ is just there. Not sure why it’s called The Macallan rather than just Macallan.
What Does Glenlivet Mean?
Another whisky with a ‘the’ in its name, The Glenlivet gets its name from the Gaelic liobh ait, which means 'smooth flowing one' in reference to the river that flows through the glen.
What Does Glenmorangie Mean?
Now, this is a controversial one! In 2003, Glenmorangie won against a formal advertising complaint that claimed the translation was incorrect and misrepresented the Gaelic language. Ouch.
Glenmorangie says their name comes from Gaelic Mòr na Sìth, which the company translates to ‘glen of tranquillity’. I’m certainly not in a position to disagree with them.
What Does Bruichladdich Mean?
Bruichladdich is Gaelic for ‘stony shore bank,’ a reference to the rocky beaches that surround the distillery. The distillery has an even more detailed translation of the name on its website.
Where does Royal Brackla Get Its Name?
Referred to as ‘the king’s whisky’ Royal Brackla was the first distillery to be granted a Royal Warrant. King William IV bestowed the honour in 1835.
This distinction is where the “Royal” part of the name came from. The “Brackla” portion is lost to time.
Royal Brackla is a whisky that’s very popular with independent bottlers. To find more whisky from single casks, check out the bottles we have available.
Thanks to MentalFloss for providing a lot of the information in this blog!