Scotch Whisky Regions

600px-scotch_regionssvg.png

There are five primary Scotch whisky production regions:  Campbeltown, Highland, Islay, Lowland, and Speyside.  The Island region(all islands but Islay) is a sub-region of the Highland region which is somewhat unfortunate because some fantastic scotchs come from these islands and I believe it should become a region by themselves. 

Campbeltown:  These whiskies are very distinctive, with a briny character.  Of the few malts produced here there are subtleties between the smokiness of each specific malt. 

Highland:  These whiskies are generally have  a rounded, firm, dry character, with some peatiness.  From the extreme heathery, spicy character of far North malts to the fruity whiskies of the “Southern” Highlands.

Islay:  These whiskies generally deep with peat, seaweedy, iodine-like, phenolic in character.  Very “tangy” and unique are Islay pronounced “eye-luh” malts.

Lowland:  These whiskies are generally have a softness to the malt itself because this region is untempered by Highland peatiness or coastal brine and seaweed of the Islay malts.

Speyside:   These whiskies are generally elegant and complex, and often have a refined smokiness.  This being said their are tow extremes to their varieties.  On one hand you have the big, sherryish type and on the other you have the lighter, more subtle style.

Island:  Though this is not yet its own region these whiskies all have a unique character.  Essentially the flavors of these malts are as if you mixed a Highland and an Islay whisky.

 

Published in: on December 17, 2007 at 6:49 am  Leave a Comment  

The Angels’ Share

whisky_islay.jpg

The angels’ share of a spirit is the liquid lost to evaporation during aging in casks.  In low humidity water is primarily  lost and the distillers don’t mind so much.  But in high humidity situations the liquid lost consists mainly of alcohol and no one wants that do they now?  So keep it cool and dry for heaven’s sake. 

Published in: on November 8, 2007 at 8:47 pm  Leave a Comment  

Oh the Kinds!

chivas_8.jpgardbeg.jpg

After industry-wide consultation in 2004 and 2005, it was proposed to formally define the following five categories of Scotch Whisky:

Single Malt Scotch Whisky: a Scotch Whisky distilled at a single distillery (i) from water and malted barley without the addition of any other cereals, and (ii) by batch distillation in pot stills. It is also proposed that Single Malt Scotch Whisky should only be bottled in Scotland.

Single Grain Scotch Whisky: 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.

Blended Scotch Whisky: a blend of one or more Single Malt Scotch Whiskies with one or more Single Grain Scotch Whiskies.

Blended Malt Scotch Whisky: a blend of Single Malt Scotch Whiskies, which have been distilled at more than one distillery.

Blended Grain Scotch Whisky: a blend of Single Grain Scotch Whiskies, which have been distilled at more than one distillery.

One of these terms would appear as the sales description on every bottle of Scotch Whisky sold.  More than likely you’ll see blended or single on the bottle you purchase.

The biggest distinction is tasted between single malts and blended scotches.  You should definitely taste a difference between these two kinds.

Published in: on November 8, 2007 at 8:44 pm  Leave a Comment  

The Glenlivet: Cheaper Hook(h)er

theglenlivet12box.jpg

Inexpensive and delicious.  Glenlivet is an excellent example of good quality and a “good” price.  Glenlivet, ‘glen of the smooth place,” and brother is it smooth.  If you can’t fit the bill of fancy old-age malt, by all means consider this as an option.  I am a huge fan of the Speyside scotches and will recommend many of these delightful malts. 

Published in: on October 24, 2007 at 3:49 am  Leave a Comment  

Why this one?

talisker_b_original_1.jpg

Recently a panel of “experts” named Talisker the “Best scotch in the world”.  What are these people thinking.  Many people do for some reason enjoy this Highland malt (should be Island malt), but I have yet to discover why.  I purchased a bottle of Talisker a while back and I was immediately dissappointed.  The best scotches in my mind are full-bodied, yes, but smooth at the same time.  This liquor grabs hold and never lets go.  There is an overwhelming taste of salt and pepper with this scotch (not uncommon with a number of Island scotches), but I’m not eating food I’m drinking Scotch.  I’m not totally dissing the distillers of this beverage because somehow they have found a market.  I will say though if you’re angry and need a slap in the face and a kick in the nuts by all means consume Talisker.  However, if you wish to enjoy a great, smooth, sipping Scotch choose something else, this one is not for you.

Published in: on October 15, 2007 at 8:33 pm  Leave a Comment  

My First Trip to Port

glenmorangie_port.jpg

 

 

 

Nose:  Crisp, winey

Palate:  Fruity, peaty balance 

Finish:  Lingering sweetness, floral

 

 

 

This was the first port wood finished Scotch I have had the pleasure to enjoy.  It was rather amazing and one of the smoothest 12 year olds I have had.  If you are a Scotch-hesitant fellow or lady, with this single malt there’s no need to worry.  This whisky was so great I believe I need to sample much more.

 

Published in: on October 11, 2007 at 6:42 pm  Leave a Comment  
Tags: ,

Slainte and Hallo Scotch Drinkers

 This being my first post, I thought I would share a bit about myself.  I’m proud to have Scottish heritage, Burns, through my Great Grand Father Edward Myron Burns.  I live in the great state of Indiana, yeah Hoosiers.  I have been drinking Scotch nearly 10 years now and began my libation gestalt began with this magnificent spirit.  It is not that I depise every other spirit (except Gin and Tequila), but I simply take great pleasure and satisfaction in enjoying a good dram of Scotch over any other liquor.  This is why I love informing  people about this Scottish “water of life” (whisky-[Scottish Gaelic-uisge-beatha/uisge-“water”, beatha(n)-“life”]).  If you have never experienced the splendor of a “good” Scotch, worry not there are plenty out there.  My goal with this site is to examine and explain Scotch varieties and tastings as well as give my own personal critique of particular single malts.  I say single malt because I will seldom examine blends, and if you’re unsure what the difference is between a single malt and a blend, don’t worry I’ll get to that.  Questions, comments, and opinions are welcome, but please be civil.  So whether an aficionado or newbie to the glorious realm of Scotch-dom,  read and enjoy.      

Published in: on October 11, 2007 at 5:50 pm  Leave a Comment  
Tags: , , ,