Irish Whiskey The author does not understand his intended audience. Or in other words, how do you talk about Scotch and not sound like an idiot, even if you are? At the price point and due to its rarity it’s not worth the cost. Also, several distilleries are now selling small quantities of “new-make”, which is what we call the spirit fresh from the still (since it can’t be called “whisky” until it’s been aged for at least 3 years). Thanks for this interesting article and for mentioning the Caol Ila Moch which was my “biginner’s favorite”. Now that the barley is properly malted, it gets ground until it resembles something like flour. other articles in our spirits and cocktail guide. A splash of water is all that is needed to elevate your dram. The Hokey Cokey and Knees up Mother Brown would seem to be the strongest contenders until one considers the Virginia Reel which has a caller so that no previous instruction is required and already has royal connections being named after Good Queen Bess, or Good Queen Liza as her father seemed to have preferred. I apologize for missing the first to say that I really enjoyed your article The reason for diluting the cask strengths, to me, has less to do with the flavour profile and more to do with the strength of the alcohol numbing my palate, drastically reducing my ability to enjoy the dram as I get several sips into it. This is an aged whisky made by a single distillery using only malted barley and water. While there is no direct evidence to suggest this natural peat effects the flavor of the whisky, many distilleries believe it to be special, and for that reason, they are very protective of their water supply. Distilled in Scotland, Scotch is divided into five distinct categories that include single malt, single grain, blended malt, blended grain and blended scotch whisky. Unless a recipe calls for a certain scotch … Be sure not to bring the glass too close, as the strength of the alcohol can often numb a novice’s senses. While you are correct as it applies to some of the other whiskies around the world, the Scotch Whisky Regulations 2009 define single grain whisky as “A Scotch Whisky distilled at a single distillery (i) from water and malted barley with or without whole grains of other malted or unmalted cereals, and (ii) which does not comply with the definition of Single Malt Scotch Whisky.”, As for single cask whisky, the reason double cask whisky was mentioned was simply because the term “double malt whisky” is so often, and yet inaccurately used. I’ll stand by my original assertion that Mr Shapira missed the mark on his intended audience. It turns out that a lot of people in the industry started out distilling illegally – they just don’t like to talk about it. To do this, the distillery will elect to use hot air or peat smoke to dry out the grains which stop further growth of the shoots and prevents it from rotting. I by no means suggest that one spirit is better than the other, I simply wish to point out the fact that, exquisite as it may be, it is rather adventurous to say that Scotch is the most perfected spirit on the planet. The Scotch whisky is divided into two major categories, single and blended. Used to drink it at a restaurant I represented, and enjoyed it because it certainly was different than any other single malt I tasted–not better–usually not as good–but different. The Scotch Whisky Association: the name says it all – contact them if you want to find more sources to buy, Master of Malt: UK based online store, ship to many countries, The Whisky Exchange: UK based online store, ship to many countries, The Whisky Barrel: U.S. based ships worldwide, Love Scotch: U.S. based online store specialized in Scotch, Scotch Whisky Auctions: the name says it all, Alexander & James: German online store with gift service. I’m very pleased you enjoyed the article. My preferred order would be Oban with a side of water, and I mix to my own preference. In the majority of them we go into great detail about how the whisky […], […] our introduction to Scotch Whisky a few weeks ago where we primarily focused on single malt spirits, it has come time to further that […], […] Scotch Whisky is in many ways the liquid manifestation of the dual power and elegance of the countryside in which it is carefully crafted. Like scotch, Canadian whisky must be barrel-aged for at least three years. For the average gentleman who doesn’t drink Scotch on a regular basis, just a sip of an undiluted Scotch can quickly numb the senses making the enjoyment of the dram disappear. As I said though, I am with you (on a personal level) and often will try my dram neat before adding anything to it. Considered the most innovative whisky glass on the market, the crystal Glencairn glass is an official product specifically designed for Scotch whisky. I do, however, need to clarify that when I defined “single grain whisky” I was strictly speaking single grain Scotch whisky and not including other whiskies in that definition. Scottish Whisky 'Scotch' is renowned around the World; Scotch Whisky is produced all over Scotland and can be broken down into 6 regions, Highlands, Speyside, Lowlands, Campbeltown, Islay and Islands. Canadian Whisky. While a taste for it can be developed over time, typically the most common palate development occurs amongst gentlemen who already enjoy the taste and simply grow to appreciate the varieties. Perhaps one would argue that the article isn’t intended for beginners (although it is tagged as such) but why write an article preaching to the choir? Somehow I didn’t see your comment until just now. With those two main types, there are three subcategories of Scotch: blended, blended malt, and blended grain. The distiller now chooses whether or not to remove the liquid or let it sit for up to another 70 hours which produces a fruitier flavor. For real, how do you pronounce the names of the distilleries? Shapira loves Whisky and never drinks it with ice. Agave production takes about seven years to yield a plant that can be used to produce tequila, it then goes through several stages of production (the plant is cut until its heart is bear and then baked, then its juices are extracted, fermented and distilled) and finally, depending on the type of Tequila, it may rest in wooden casks, made from different kinds of wood, for months or years. Is that not a fair question? … Loch Dhu, now there’s an interesting whisky. It’s almost black in color (brown if you hold it under a light), and if you ask me that’s due in part to fairly substantial amount of caramel coloring that was added – but I don’t know that to be factual – just my opinion. Those categories are blended Scotch, blended malt Scotch, and blended grain Scotch. was King of England but James the Sixth of Scotland became James the First of England when Queen Elizabeth (who was simply Queen Elizabeth at the time and did not become Elizabeth the First until Elizabeth the Second, or my mum, came along some 350 years later) died which makes the numbering confusing enough without Queen Mary of England (Henry the Eighth’s eldest child) and Queen Mary of Scotland at the same time being different ladies, and Henry the Fourth having come in two parts. It may not contain any added substances, aside from water and plain (E150A) caramel coloring. Maybe your tastes will change over the years, and it is good to try new things but I don’t think one should drink whisky without ice because the majority of people does it or because it is the traditional way to do so. Malted barley is required in grain whisky because it provides the diastatic enzymes which turn the starches in the cereals into fermentable sugars. Most grain whiskies are produced predominantly from grains other than malted barley, while your description seems to imply that malted barley is still the main ingredient. Garbage I suppose. because they know that people will buy more if they get a higher Parker rating. Today, Scotch whisky is tasted and enjoyed in a variety of ways. The fact that it’s so unique and different is what attracts me to it. He lists some favorites, but why? Bladnoch Flora and Fauna beats all lowland whiskies into a cocked hat,I’ve had the benefit of having 2 bottles of said whisky,not tonight ,mind,and it’s a glorious amalgam of all scotch,quite simply one of the best. Types of Scotch Whisky. With alcoholics around the world craving a substitute, the doors to the global marketplace opened wide for Scotland’s distillers and Scotch whisky became the world’s new popular drink. Scotch whisky has been around for centuries, far longer then that of most other spirits. While people like you and I may easily be able to enjoy a dram undiluted, this article was intended as a primer to introduce newcomers to the world of Scotch whisky. I find, however, that it is too general a statement. Although single grain and blended grain Scotches are primarily for blending with malts, there are some quality Scotches in those categories. The popularity of whisky swelled again in 1831 with the invention of the column still. For the distilleries located on the west coast of Scotland, particularly on the islands, the water has a much higher peat content due to the water running through peat bogs, which cause it to have a slightly brown tinge. Scotch comes in two types. The King of Scotland in 1495 to whom you refer was James the Fourth while Henry the Seventh, who was the father of King Henry the Eighth (he who wrote: In case you shop at amazon and we refer you, prices are the same as normal, as an amazon associate we earn a commission from qualifying purchases. Just try to drink it in all the ways possible and then decide what you like. Highland – The Highlands cover the largest geographic area of the five sections. Peat Monster, for example, is a Compass Box whisky that emphasizes the rich, smoky flavor of peat. Or am I wrong? 1. I’m thrilled that you enjoyed the article. Previously called a “vatted malt” or a “pure malt” it is when the blender takes two or more single malt Scotch whiskeys from at least two separate distilleries and blends them together to create one batch of whisky. I am no expert in the matter of spirits but I would like to put forward a few arguments of my own, using Tequila as an example -a spirit I am familiar with-, to illustrate what I mean. What do they mean? The single Scotch whisky means the product is from a single distiller and blended is a product that contains whiskeys from two or more distilleries. The majority of scotch sold is blended and it is preferred for scotch cocktails. Tequila has also been around for centuries, it can certainly be dated as far back as the introduction of alembics to America by Spanish conquistadors. Most critics don’t enjoy it, however, I don’t like to think of myself as a critic. I would also suggest mentioning the distinction between a “regular” single malt and a single cask whisky. If you are convinced that I will be Charles the Third of the whole of the UK I will take your word. It would be stirring to hear the Royal Enclosure at Royal Ascot singing I’m Henry the Eighth I am and perhaps even more so to hear the men singing There’s a Hole in my Bucket with responses from the ladies. The production of Scotch whisky begins with water. On what grounds can one say that “Scotch whisky is the most perfected spirit on the planet”? As an example, while bourbon casks are commonly used for aging, so are sherry casks. It’s quite peaty and has a very smoky earthy aroma to it on the first and second nose. Scotch whisky: Scotch must be distilled, aged, and bottled in Scotland. A blended Scotch whisky is made from at least one or more single malt Scotch whiskeys that are blended together with a single grain Scotch whisky. Islay is home to a current eight distilleries which include Ardbeg, Bowmore, Bruichladdich, Bunnahabhain, Caol Ila, Kilchoman, Lagavulin, and Laphroaig. Single malts are made from a pot still distillation process using 100% malted barley, and come from a single distillery. By 1823 Parliament realized that in order for the legal producers to be able to compete with the pirates, they would have to ease restrictions and this decision is what gave birth to the famous ‘excise act’. The next step in whisky making is called the Fermentation Process. The History of the Independent Bottlers. Obviously if you store it in a warm environment that can affect the taste as well, but probably not for the better. George Washington. Glenkinchie, Bladnoch, and Auchentoshan produce the lightest and most mild-bodied scotch. A perfect introduction to Scotch whisky), The Macallan 12 Year (while there are many incredible, older bottles, the 12 year is my nightly dram), Scotch & Cigars go well together  – although most scotch enthusiasts won’t drink it with ice, some prefer it that way, Aberlour 12 Year (probably the best bottle in its low price point), The Balvenie Doublewood (the first Scotch I ever tried and one I keep going back to), Lagavulin 16 Year (one of my favorite bottles from Islay). What typifies the relative styles of each region? Regardless of this matter, I would like to compliment you on a very thorough and well written article. Malt Whisky ranks among the best whiskies and is predominantly produced in Scotland. Japanese whisky was created to taste as close to the scotch style as possible and uses similar distilling methods. A blended malt Scotch is actually one of the most uncommon types of Scotch that can be found today. Scotch whisky is generally made from malted barley or grain with the spirit aged in oak casks for more than three years. What about blended scotch? Scotch has and I presume will always be a spirit that one either loves or hates. This list, while partial, are a few of my favorite whiskeys, all of which I highly recommend. Glencairn glass is an official product specifically designed for Scotch whisky, buy it here – a set of 4 costs less than $30. has given a good way of doing it; on the other hand, if you want to appreciate and understand why whisky is loved and adored the world over, there is the alternative…. As they are not really a separate category of whisky, I can understand if you do not want to include it, but I just wanted to mention it, to make your guide more complete. It’s lighter and smoother than other types of whiskey because it contains a high percentage of … blended Scotch, blended malt Scotch, and blended grain Scotch. There are two main categories that encompass every type of scotch on the market: single grain scotch whisky, and single malt scotch whisky. My point is simply this: it is well known, tried and tested – chilling whisky kills all its character and flavour. While it may seem like a waste of good Scotch, and it is (unless you use it for cooking), it also will act as a purifier eliminating any odors or flavors already in the glass that could alter the taste or aroma of your dram. It is old world craftsmanship at its finest and treating it as you would vodka, tequila or gin is an insult to those who spend their lifetimes pursuing the perfect dram. As I’m sure you know by now, anything that is geared towards a younger “bar” crowd and meant to be trendy is generally something I will abstain from recommending or even supporting. In order to legally use the name Scotch whisky, they need to abide by the constraints of the regulations. Tour the Virtual Distillery. It’s also fascinating to experience just how much the addition of water can change the flavour profile. Yes, I’m very familiar with the bootleg operations in Scotland, however, just because they make their product in Scotland does not allow them to call it “Scotch whisky”. Nothing drives me more crazy than a pseudo-sophisticate ordering a premium Scotch “on the rocks”. 2. Over time, the process has been refined and since each distillery follows the same methods in the production process, the only way to truly compete against each other is by attempting to elevate their product and push the limitations. I very much agree with your tasting advice. I’m not sure if there is any historical truth to that or it this does make a difference while tasting Scotch, but I found it a rather interesting concept. The latest Scotch whisky boom started around the year 2000. Of course, if you like many things Parker likes, then you can buy wine unseen and that is certainly nice. Swirl and pour down the drain? Scotch whisky must retain the color, aroma, and taste of the raw materials used in, and the method of, its production and maturation. One glass costs about $28 shipped. Barely a mention of it in the article. Where to wear, etc.. As you know, your thoughtful comments are always appreciated, and we welcome your challenge. Unfortunately, despite the government’s attempt to regulate and draw income from such a popular drink, distillers began to sell it illegally and sales flourished across Scotland. I apologize for not getting back to you sooner. Scotch whisky is the most popular spirit sold worldwide. Next, pour yourself a glass of whisky. You should replace it with something more lively like “I’m Henry the Eighth I am” or “There’s a hole in my bucket” which Henry the Eighth also wrote, as a duet for himself and his daughter Elizabeth whose name he abbreviated to Liza. On the islands, you can find Arran, Jura, Tobermory, Highland Park and Scapa, as well as Talisker still operating today. Here is a quick guide to help differentiate between all of these different categories of Scotch. Single grain scotch whisky is also produced at a single distillery, but despite what the name might suggest, … Tour the Loch Lomond Distillery. So long as it’s being enjoyed and savored, who am I to argue with the way it’s done? What’s interesting to note is that the stills used are often a variety of shapes and sizes. Chilling whisky or drinking it ‘on the rocks’ is a capital crime in many eyes. Adding water is a question of personal preference, not only in general but for any specific whisky. Since wine and brandy were considered two of the most popular drinks of the day, when the phylloxera bug began to destroy vineyards across France, wine and brandy production came to an almost immediate halt. Be careful to hold the glass from its base and not the bowl to ensure your hand doesn’t warm the spirit as it’s poured in. Great timing with Robert Burns dinners on the horizon. Let it touch your cheeks, the roof of your palate and the bottom of your mouth under your tongue. Please let me know if you have any questions. If you want your dram dead and tasteless, J.S. It has the aroma of citrus fruits, chocolate and notes of aromatic spices. My respect for Remy Martin Cognac was lost almost entirely after they changed their marketing campaign to focus on a younger demographic. I’m so pleased you enjoyed the article. One final tip for the Scotch connoisseur is to always keep a few basics on hand. Single malt Scotch whisky is today, the most popular choice in North American homes. Four Types of Scotch. From those two types, three subcategories are formed. This way should you have company over, if they are inclined to try a dram of Scotch but don’t have the appreciation for it, rather than wasting a remarkable whisky on a plebeian’s palate, I always keep a bottle of 12-year-old Glenlivet and Glenfiddich in my bar. . I’d like to think these are good questions, common to scotch “beginners”. While double and triple wood whiskies are very common, you are correct in mentioning that single cask whiskies are also incredibly popular and that, yes, while a good percentage of single cask (or single wood) whiskies are from the best casks, unfortunately, that isn’t regulated, so to state such a thing could potentially be viewed as inaccurate since there are some distilleries that just simply don’t use the “best” casks for it. Scottish law mandates that scotch be aged in oak casks for a minimum of three years. Thank you, Duncan, for clarifying my rather unclear description on grain whiskies, and filling out my knowledge. Are they really better? The true term for this is double wood or triple wood. Barrel aging is usually the single largest flavor contributor to scotch, but there’s hardly a mention of it. Cheer Just because many people like something one way, does not mean it’s good for a specific person. This is when the alcohol is poured into a copper pot still to undergo a series of two distillations, or in some cases, three. Nice article though. Then in 1880, Scotch whisky became a global phenomenon thanks to a new microscopic insect that preyed on the grape vines in France. He’s keen to mention things like acceptable glassware, swirling, tossing scotch down the drain, and then make lists of malts some of which are not commonly available and costing hundreds of dollars. Companies such as Compass Box purchase whiskies and blend them to create new products with certain characteristics. Scotch is like Wine in that the location of where it's produced makes a big difference to how it tastes, looks and smells even though it's produced in the same country. I drink two drams just about every evening and I enjoy a wide variety of whiskies from all of the various regions in Scotland. Trying to list a reliable whisky source in every country would be impossible because there is no way for me to test all of them. Time was when whisky was drunk simply as a warmer – wine and beer were the social drinks until marketeers took over. The SWR is a complete replacement of the previous regulations which focused exclusively on the production process. Anyway, those are my suggestions and also justification for some of my gripes. Evolving from a Scottish drink called uisge beatha (meaning “water of life”), whisky began to circulate throughout the country, causing policymakers to begin taxing it come the year 1644. The regulations does seem to require that a single grain whisky include some malted barley. Where in the article so you find J.A. Often labeled as “Whisky Stones”, these small cubes are nothing more than a gimmick that will again alter the spirit, rather than elevate it. As far as an investment, I like to be liquid in my investments, but not that liquid. As for single cask (or single barrel), I am referring to whiskies bottled from a single batch. The finish is gag worthy but somehow packs a punch that’s inspired at the very end. By the time this part of the production process is completed, the hot sugary liquid, called the Wort is ready to continue being turned into whisky. Dear Trinity, I look forward to your article submissions. While the majority of Scotch drinkers use a rock glass, in my opinion, there are only two glasses that are acceptable if you actually plan to enjoy your dram in all its glory. As such, I have come to not only appreciate the complexity and intricacies of a fine bottle of Scotch, but I’ve developed an adoration, nay, an obsession with Scotch whisky and its continual pursuit of perfection. It is mostly imbibed in mixed drinks or with a splash of soda. It may only be made from malted barley and has to be distilled in pot stills. Malt Whisky. It’s as much about spirit as science, and one of the most romantic epicurean experiences out there. This in probably a beginner question: for aging whisky can be considered the time spent in the bottle or it is irrelevant ? Then, the process is repeated and the spirit is re-distilled until it reaches approximately 70% alcohol. This meant that the more ‘exotic’ whiskeys from Australia or Taiwan simply didn’t appear on the shelves of retailers in most … We can see the legacy of this with whisky chasers, drunk alongside a pint of ‘heavy’. While transportation is far more effective today, when the vast majority of Scottish distilleries were erected, having to transport large quantities of fresh water proved to be difficult, thereby requiring the distilleries to be built near a plentiful source. It shouldn’t be confused with the concept of double wood, which as you state is a whisky that has been stored in more than one barrel. Chilling whisky is mass murder – it kills all the character, the flavours, the aroma, the lot, stone dead, and to treat a whisky that has taken skilled hands ten, 15, 18 or more years to perfect in that callous, thoughtless way ought to earn a lifetime ban. Regarding the addition of water: The lady who guided us through the Edradour distillery (Highlands, near Pitlochry) advised us to add a wee bit of water, but keeping in mind that “it took us 18 years to get the water out, so please don’t drown it!”. The copita was traditionally used by the Distillery Manager while nosing new make spirits and the Master Blender when nosing a mature whisky that is being considered for use in a blend. reading it really revives memories of smelling the barley and tasting the whisky in various distilleries on the Islands, in the Highlands and Speyside Mr Shapira is undoubtedly passionate and well versed on this matter, but a better approach might have been to split this into a two or three part article focusing on the beginning scotch drinker and then progressing to more advanced “techniques”. Next, the best cuts of the spirit are slightly diluted with more water and poured into wooden oak casks (usually from bourbon whiskey or Spanish sherry) where the whisky will sit and mature for at least three years, developing a complex range of flavors and aromas as it soaks up the hidden spirits still buried deep in the wooden casks. By 1780 there were eight legal distilleries in all of Scotland competing against more than four hundred bootleg operations. A regular single malt is made through blending the whiskies from a number of different casks from the same distillery, while a single cask whisky, like the name suggests, is bottled from just one cask. While enjoying many drams, I’ve heard on numerous occasions that for every year a Scotch has been aged/matured, one should keep the Scotch in their mouth to fully taste all the flavors and complexities the spirit has to offer. Might that not be a starting point for beginners? In this article you can learn about the different types of Scotch. Thanks again for a very informative article–and a tip of the Trilby to Sven for continuing to provide a great forum for the better things in life. Scotch Whisky A-Z Of Scotch Whisky New Scotch Whisky Special Offers Exclusive Bottlings Top 10 Whiskies. I highly recommend Indian whiskey (I know, it requires a leap of faith) particularly Paul John Brilliance – it’s beautiful, smooth and not harsh at all. It should be noted that these do not actually exist. Tequila is also a spirit which has a strictly regulated and controlled place and process of production, especially when labeled 100% agave (three of its main characteristics are that it can only be produced in the state of Jalisco in Mexico; using only a special kind of agave plant, the so called “agave tequilana”; and that it always goes through two and sometimes more distillations). I suggest however that we should opt for a national anthem to which we can also dance. As a regular Scotch drinker myself, I agree with both of you when it comes to first trying the dram neat. As blades mix the yeast into the wort, over the next 48 hours, the yeast begins to devour the sugars turning the wort into alcohol. And when you drive past many Vineyards that advertise Parker 95 points.! 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Lovely article ( and am very glad I found this website ) then take a big breath! Malt ), blended malt grain whisky Organic whisky distillery Bottlings Independent.. And then decide what you like with those two types, there is no whisky... Traditionally operate in five specific scottish regions: the Highlands, the roof of your.... Commonly available, that ’ s quite peaty and has a very good introductions to the subjects spirits worldwide!

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