I remember when I was a whisky novice and I went with my wife to a whisky bar to "do some whisky-related research." I had never tried Glenmorangie, an excellent highland malt, so I asked the bartender for one...or I thought I did. He gave me a weird look. I tried again - maybe it was pronounced "glen-mor-AIN-ghee" instead of "glen-mor-AN-ghee."
Wrong on both counts.
It's "glen-MOR-an-jee." Accent on the second syllable, with a soft "g" sound. But who the hell would know that a priori, unless you're a native Scot? (If you are, you're wasting your time reading this blog. You should get back to drinking whisky.)
I got a call from a friend the other day who said he was interested in buying a cask of scotch directly from the distillery. So I asked him which distillery. "Uh, is it...Brew-itch-lad-itch?" Uh, no. Before you drop thousands of dollars on a cask of whisky, let's get the name of it down first. It's "brew-ick-LAHD-ee" or "the Laddie" for short.
Here are a few others that aren't intuitive. If you want a decent guide to pronunciation, try this site. I have heard other pronunciations for some of the distilleries (such as Caol Ila, which I hear as "cull-EE-lah" but this site says as "cool-EYE-lah"), but this will at least get you very close to the generally-accepted pronunciation.
Aberlour = "ah-ber-LOU-er" (the "ou" like in "couch")
Auchentoshan = "ock-en-TAHSH-en"
Glenfiddich = "glen-FID-ick"
Glen Garioch = "glen GEER-ie"
Glen Rothes = "glen ROTH-es" (you pronounce the "es" as a separate syllable)
Laphroaig = "lah-FROYG"
Lagavulin = "lah-gah-VOO-lin"
Ledaig = "LED-chig"
Pulteney = "PULT-nay"
Tomintoul = "TOM-in-towel" (I know this isn't correct syllabic breakdown, but it's because a Scot once told me he remembers it by thinking of a cat getting out of the shower...tomcat in a towel...I think he had too much time on his hands)
Some of these pronunciations make a lot more sense after you have ingested several glasses of their product.