The Scots are justifiably proud of their whisky-making tradition. Many of the world's most popular brands can trace their origins back to simple Scottish distilleries originally founded in the early 1800s. While these brands have increased in size, reach and reputation, their commitment to quality and whisky-making tradition remains as strong as it ever was.
According to independent research carried out by Euromonitor International, Johnnie Walker was the most popular Scotch whiskey in 2009. The research, published in the annual Drinks International Millionaires Club listings, found Johnnie Walker to be some way ahead of the competition on a global level. The brand has been produced in Kilmarnock, Scotland, since the mid-1850s.
The George Ballantine & Son distillery in Dumbarton, Scotland, has been producing whisky since the 1820s. Almost 200 years later, Ballantine's is one of the most popular Scotch whiskeys in the world. The brand has a selection of standard Scotch whiskeys ranging from 12 to 30 years of age.
Forty-two different whiskys are carefully blended together to create the subtle, smooth and complex flavour of J&B Rare, says the brand's official website. The blending has certainly been a success. J&B Rare is one of the most popular Scotch whiskys in Europe, and a major player on the global market.
According to the Millionaire's Club 2009 listings, 4.97 million cases of Grant's Scotch whiskey were sold internationally in 2008. Those figures place Grant's firmly in the top 10 most popular whiskeys worldwide. Grant's owns a number of distilleries in Scotland. The grain distillery at Girvan, on the west coast of Scotland, is the world's second largest, says the official Grant's website.
Chivas Regal is owned by a French company, Pernod Ricard, but maintains all the desirable characteristics of a fine Scotch whisky. Chivas is popular throughout Europe and enjoys a strong following in Asia.
The glen of the river Fiddich gives its name to the biggest-selling single malt whisky in the world, says the University of Edinburgh website. The Glenfiddich single malt is bottled at 12, 15, 18, 21 and 30 years old. Rare Glenfiddich whiskeys of greater age can be bought at the Glenfiddich distillery in Dufftown, Scotland.
According to ScotchWhiskey.com, Famous Grouse has been the best-selling blended whisky brand in Scotland since 1980. Famous Grouse is also exported to more than 100 other countries, making it a major brand on the world market.
Bell's has been one of the most popular Scotch whiskys in the United Kingdom since the late 1970s. Like Johnnie Walker and J&B Rare, the Bell's brand is owned by Diageo, the world's largest producer of spirits.