By far the largest of the whisky producing regions, the Highlands offers the greatest variations of style and some of the best known distilleries are located here. On the mainland, in the Western Highlands, there are only a few and the malts from these West Highland distilleries are much less peaty than those found in the Islay region, although you can often detect a slight smokiness. A common characteristic shared by West Highland whiskies is a sweet start and dryish finish. The character of the far North Highland malts is greatly influenced by the local soil and the coastal location of the distilleries. They tend to be light-bodied with a spicy character and again a dryish finish, sometimes with a trace of saltiness. Malt whiskies from the Central, Southern and Eastern Highlands are quite varied. They are generally fruity and sweet, but not as sweet as malts found in Speyside. They are lighter-bodied and like other Highland malts tend to have a dry finish.