Having recently attended Whiskey Live, I was exposed to a few international whiskey brands that I had not had the pleasure of trying before the show. Some of the brand representatives were local for the show while others were actually from Scotland or Ireland. Maybe it was just me but when the brand ambassador can say the name of the brand with a Scottish accent it just made the Scotch taste better. It’s all about a sensory customer experience from the site, sound, smell and of course the taste.
Here’s a helpful cheat sheet that explains how many of the Irish and Scottish whiskey brand names were derived. Once you know a few of the basic Gaelic words, you’ll be able to translate many of these brands. And if you’re having having a hard time pronouncing some of these name then check out the video at the bottom of the page to learn the proper way to say them with a quick lesson from whiskey sommelier Heather Greene. Good luck.
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Get to Know Some Basic Gaelic
Abhainn or Allt = Stream or River: As in, Abhainn Dearg, Allt-a-Bhinne, Bunnahabhain
Ard = Heights or Promontory: As in Ardmore, Ardberg
Ben = Mountain: As in BenRiach, Benromach, Ben Nevis and Benrinnes
Cnoc, Tam or Tor = Hill: As in anCnoc, Knockdhu, Tandhu, Tormore
Craig = Rock: As in Craigallachie, Craffanmore, Craigduff
Dal (or dail) = Meadow or field: As in The Dalmore, Dailuaine
Debh or dhu = Black: As in Cu Dubh, Dallas Dhu, Knockando, Tamdhu
Glen = Valley: As in Glenfarclas, Glenfiddich, Glen Garioch, The Glenlivet and Glenmorangie
Inch = Island: As in Inchmurrin, Inchgower
Lock = Lake: As in Lock Lomand, Glen Talloch, Glenlochy
Mor (or mhor) = Large or Tall: As in Ardmore, Mannochrome, Glen Mohr
Vulin = Mill: As in Lagavulin, Tamnavulin
Click on the Scottish & Irish Whiskey Brand Names Explained infographic to see it full size.
Resources: Infographic courtesy of Whisky Suggest, a website created by Dutch whisky enthusiasts who enjoy learning about whisky and discovering new bottles.