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The Glen Of It All

Updated: Mar 5


Whiskies with glen prefix

When getting into Scotch whisky, it might be confusing to see the word "Glen" everywhere - or so it may feel. Glen is the most common prefix in whisky distillery names, but why?


Some assumed misconceptions include Glen as a man's name, the same company ownership, or even the same region. In fact, distilleries with the prefix "Glen" can be found in any SWA-recognized region in Scotland except Islay. And no, there is no God-like guy called Glen who named all the distilleries, nor does every family in Scotland have someone called Glen.


Man saying Hi, I'm Glen

Image by Freepik


In reality, it has to do with geography, marketing, and language. 'Glen' in Scottish Gaelic translates to 'Valley', and since Scotland is a mountainous country, there are several valleys to go around. Therefore, many distilleries are named after a nearby stream, burn, river, or town.


Some of the first legal Scottish distilleries like Glenlivet and Glenfiddich became so well-known and liked for their quality spirits, that any association (even by name) was seen as desirable.



 

Single Malts


In 2022, there are 26 whisky distilleries in Scotland using the glen prefix - 14 in Speyside, 9 in the Highlands, 2 in Campbeltown, and 1 in the Lowlands. Some of the most well-known closed Glen whisky distilleries with the limited stock still available in speciality retailers and auctions include Glen Albyn, Glenesk, Glen Flagler, Glen Mhor, Glenugie, and Glenury Royal.

List of Scottish whisky distilleries with Glen prefix and their meanings

Image by The Whisky Ardvark



 

A Glen For All?


The prefix is mostly reserved for Scottish whisky distilleries, producers, and brands. Over the years the Scottish Whisky Association SWA has been known to step in if whisky distilleries from other countries have tried to adopt the name, Glen. They've argued that companies are misleading consumers by using the Glen prefix due to its association with Scottish Whisky. So far, some attempts of intimidation have worked while others still stand.


Glen distilleries and brands worldwide include Glenora (Glen Breton) in Canada, Glen Buchenbach in Germany, and Glendalough in Ireland.


world whiskies with prefix Glen

Image by The Whisky Ardvark

 

Supermarket Brands & Export Blends


It's also worth noting that not all Glen-whiskies are bottled as single malts. In the past, there have been several blended whiskies, including.

List

Glenalba - Blended Scotch Whisky - Lidl - Introduced 2015

Glen Aln - Blended Scotch Whisky - Lindisfarne - Introduced 2018 Glen Alpin - Blended Scotch Whisky - MacKay & McDavitt - German Market Glen Ayrmore - Blended Scotch Whisky - DLM - Italian Market - Discontinued Glen Catrine - Blended Scotch Whisky - Glen Catrine Bonded Warehouse - Discontinued Glencoe - Blended Malt - MacDonald's (Ben Nevis Distillery) - Introduced mid-60s Glen Crinan - Blended Scotch Whisky & Blended Malt - Edrington and ITM Ltd - Exclusively for French supermarket group Intermarché - First Introduced 1930s Glen Dhu - Blended Scotch Whisky - Spar Glendower - Blended Malt - John MacLaren Glen Drummond - Blended Malt - Hankey Bannister & Co - Discontinued Glen Eagle - Blended Scotch Whisky - Kintocher Whisky Co - Discontinued the late-70s Glen Eagles - Blended Malt - Alvisa Alcohol Group (Russia) Glen Forest - Blended Scotch Whisky - Polini Distillates & Beverages - Introduced 2016 Glen Grigor - Blended Malt - Ciba-Geigy Industrial Chemicals - Discontinued Glen Mac Clay - Blended Scotch Whisky - Les Bruleries Modernes - French & Norwegian Market Glen Morgain - Blended Scotch Whisky - German Market Glen Orchy - Blended Malt - Lidl - Introduced 2015 Glen Orrin - Blended Malt - Aldi - Introduced 2010 Glen River - Blended Scotch Whisky - Tatspirtprom - Russian Market Glen Rosa - Blended Malt & Blended Whisky - Arran Distillers - Discontinued Glen Rossie - Blended Scotch Whisky - Glen Rossie Distillers - Discontinued 2014 Glen Scanlan - Blended Scotch Whisky - Slaur International of Le Havre Glen Scott - Blended Scotch Whisky - Cohen Brothers Glen Silver's - Blended Malt & Single Malt - Beveland Distillers (Spain) Glen Sloy - Blended Malt & Single Malt - Rutherford & Boyd - US Market - Discontinued Glen Stag - Blended Scotch Whisky - Glen Talla Ltd. - Japanese Market - Later for Morrisons Glen Talloch - Blended Scotch & Blended Malt - R. Carmichael & Sons Ltd - Dutch Market Glenwood - Blended Scotch Whisky - Accelerate Brands - Norwegian Market


Supermarket brands and export whiskies with Glen prefix

Image by The Whisky Ardvark



With single malt from undisclosed distilleries, the name Glen is sometimes used for the brands, even if there are no working distilleries in Scotland by the name. Some of these include


Glenandrew - Highland Single Malt - Vintage Malt Whisky Co Ltd

Glen Marnoch - Single Malt - Aldi - Introduced 2011

Glen Turner - Single Malt - La Martiniquaise

Whisky brands with no distillery Glen prefix

Image by The Whisky Ardvark



 

Imaginary Glen Whiskies


Some TV shows and movies have chosen to invent a whisky brand to be featured in their products instead of advertising an existing one. These fantasy whiskies often resemble a real whisky brand by using the prefix 'Glen' or combining well-known brands to create a named hybrid. Here are some of our favourites.


Fake prop single malt whisky brands for movies and television

GlenCallan is an imaginary Scottish malt whisky created by Independent Studio Services as a prop for several TV shows. These include Bones, Lucifer, Sons of Anarchy, The Shield, The Office (US), Pretty Little Liars, and Modern Family.


GlenMcKenna is a fictional Scottish whisky brand featured in the How I Met Your Mother series. The brand does not exist, but labels are sold on Etsy and can be applied to bottles of whisky for HIMYM fans.


Glengoolie is a whisky brand featured in the animated series Archer. The name is a combo of Glen and the English slang word for testicles.


GlenKnolls can be spotted in the TV series Modern Family, The People vs. OJ Simpson, and Scandal.



 

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