Geographical differences do often reflect traditional styles. Scotland can be divided into whisky regions that include (depending on who's doing the dividing) the Highlands, Lowlands, Islay and the Islands. Speyside is where most of the malts arise, but is sometimes considered a subset of the Highlands and not a separate region (though it clearly should be). Although the lines can blur, understanding the regions can be useful in buying whisky.
For the full article, check out the new issue of Wine Spectator, on newsstands September 13, 2010.
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