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5 Things to Know About Buying Scotch Whisky That You Probably Got Wrong

Discussion in 'TUG Lounge' started by MULTIZ321, Nov 7, 2018.

  1. MULTIZ321

    MULTIZ321 TUG Member

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    5 Things to Know About Buying Scotch Whisky That You Probably Got Wrong
    By David Hammond/ Chicago Tribune/ Dining/ chicagotribune.com

    "It’s the season for a warming dram of scotch, but if you’re unfamiliar with the storied spirit, the thousands of brands might be a bit off-putting. So here are some guidelines for getting the best scotch for your money and the most enjoyment from every drop you sip.

    1. There’s much to be said for blended Scotch whisky....."

    [​IMG]
    A single malt Scotch whisky is not necessarily better than a blended one. Blends enable "drinkers to experience a complex array of aromas and flavors crafted by expertly blending together single malt and grain whiskies," says Tristan Campbell. (Ken Hively / Los Angeles Times)


    Richard
     
    DrQ and plpgma like this.
  2. DrQ

    DrQ TUG Member

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    Agreed, my favorite is Grants. It is from the same distillery as Balvenie. If they are blending those whiskies, what's not to like?

    A single cube of ice in your scotch neat. :thumbup:
     
  3. taterhed

    taterhed TUG Member

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    These articles are so contrived.

    Not to be argumentative.....but there is no blend that can compare to certain (majority) single malts.
    It's like saying "Jack Daniels is the best Whiskey"

    Well, maybe to you.

    There's a few blends I like......but my only motivation in buying a blend is $$$$$

    Here's my 5 points:
    1. There are 'good' blended scotches and 'good' single malts. There are LOTS of bad whisky's and whiskeys too! Explore. Explore. Explore. Buying the same old blend is like being married. (Scratch that, JK).
    2. Sherry? Bourbon? Beer? What's the 'best' cask for Scotch?: The answer is....the one you like the best. To each his/her own!
    3. Paying more money for Scotch or buying 'older' Scotch doesn't necessarily mean you'll enjoy it more..... AGE
      1. Older, more expensive Scotch requires MORE. More time to enjoy (never rush old scotch). More experience to appreciate (if you've only tasted 3 Scotches, can you really appreciate a 25 y/o?). More palate experience to appreciate subtle differences and a less aggressive attack on your palate. More money.....
      2. Instead, consider buying a wider variety of Scotch and determining the flavor profile(s) that suit you best. Then, with some experience in your 'favorite' profiles (mine is Sherry Monster), consider acquiring a more expensive or aged scotch to appreciate the specific effect of aging (or cask etc...).
      3. No Age Statement: All Scotch is a minimum of 3 years aged. Scotch with a listed age (e.g. '12 year old') contains spirits no-younger than the stated age (but may contain older spirits). In the annuls of Scotch, there have been many fantastic long-aged Whisky's....age can produce a finer spirit. But, there have also been remarkable 'young' whisky's of a mere 7 years.... In any case, consider this: NAS whisky is a marketing play that addresses the consumer preference for 'older Scotch.' This is big split issue. Only personal taste can critique the quality of NAS Scotch.
    4. Dark or light Scotch? Color is not a valid indicator or age or quality, it's a reflection of the production, distillation and aging. But know this: adding ARTIFICIAL color is an indication of marketing and a poor reflection on the Distillery in general (IMNSHO). Consider avoiding companies that add artificial color to their whisky.
    5. Marketing: Three things stand-out that you should consider (IMO)
      • NAS: The cost of Scotch Whisky has risen drastically...in part by certain 'unnamed parties' randomly purchasing vast amounts of premium Whisky based largely on name, age, color and allure. In response, the industry is attempted to release high-quality age blends at a reasonable price.....but without revealing the age of the youngest whisky in the bottle. Sometimes it produces a fantastic product at a better price...sometimes its just marketing. Only you can judge.
      • Artificial color: As stated above, distilleries are adding color to whisky to match consumer expectations that good Scotch should be: dark brown, long aged, expensive and begin with the letter Mc. This is bad practice to say the least. AVOID
      • Chill filtering: Distilleries claim that consumers prefer and expect their Scotch to be: Crystal Clear, 'smooth drinking', extremely (moronically) uniform in taste. Thus, the perfect solution: remove some of the 'scotch whisky' essence, replace it with water (40% ABV) and sell more of it. This is sad. It is the equivalent 'processed cheese.' Again, you are being 'marketed' and will know the difference if your palate is sufficiently educated (educate your palate today!). Avoid if possible.
    My ramblings.
     
  4. MULTIZ321

    MULTIZ321 TUG Member

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    I decided to revive some previous posts about Whisky (Whiskey) so information would be in one spot for those interested:
    Is It Whisky or Whiskey and Why It Matters
    By Joseph V. Micallef/ Food & Drink/ Forbes/ forbes.com

    "The Irish spell whiskey with an e between the k and the y while their Scottish counterparts leave out the e. The distinction, in addition to being the bane of proof readers, also offers some important insights into the evolution and history of whisky.

    Canada, India and Japan, the three other major whisky producers, also follow the Scottish spelling. Most of the rest of the world has followed suit. The US follows the Irish example and spells whiskey with an e, although there are a number of major exceptions. George Dickel, Makers Mark and Old Forester all follow the Scottish spelling.

    There are any number of theories to explain the alternative spelling of whiskies, from differing translations of uisge beatha, the original name for whisky, between Irish and Scotch Gaelic to myopic typesetters or personal taste. The reality, however, is far more complex.

    Until the late 19th century, most of the world spelled whisky without an e. Even the major Irish distillers, then the biggest in the world, followed the practice, as did American distillers.

    In 1860, the Gladstone government passed the Spirits Act. The act allowed whisky blenders, for the first time, to create blends consisting of grain whisky and single malts. At the time, Ireland was the center of the world’s whisky production.

    Irish distillers were producing around 70% of the world’s whisky. Irish whiskey was the most popular in the world, even out selling its Scottish rivals in England and Scotland....."

    [​IMG]
    A 19th century advertisement for Cork DistilleriesPhoto, J Micallef


    Richard
     
    Last edited: Nov 8, 2018
  5. MULTIZ321

    MULTIZ321 TUG Member

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    9 Whisky Distilleries You Must Visit in Scotland
    By Alexander Crow/ See & Do/ Europe/ United-Kingdom/ Scotland/ Culture Trip/ theculturetrip.com

    "Ask anyone around the globe what springs to mind when you mention Scotland and — as well as shortbread, tartan kilts, and bagpipes — you can bet they will mention whisky. The country is split into six distinct whisky producing regions and, in total, there are over 125 different distilleries. Many of these allow visitors a glimpse at their creative process through tours, which usually end in sampling their wares. This guide shares nine of the best to visit....."

    Richard
     
  6. MULTIZ321

    MULTIZ321 TUG Member

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    The Best Scotch Whiskies Under $100
    Editors Picks/ Gear Patrol/ gearpatrol.com

    "This definitive guide to affordable Scotch explores everything you need to know about the world’s most popular single malt whisky, including important regions and the best bottles you can buy under $100...."

    [​IMG]


    Richard
     
  7. dougp26364

    dougp26364 TUG Review Crew: Veteran TUG Member

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    I don’t drink very much or very often but, as cooler temps hit, I generally find a nice adult beverage enjoyable. To that end I’ve found Scotch whiskey and bourbon’s to offer a wide array of choices to explore with scotch having a much wider range of tastes to either like or dislike (hate). Holiday season brings out the small sample packs I love to try for both cost and range in sampling.
    Over the years I’ve found I either enjoy a scotch or hate it. Those I really like have been Belvenie (except for their Caribbean cask) and Glenlevet. I can enjoy Dewars white label in a pinch. Those I really don’t like have been Glenfidich and Glenmorangie.
     
  8. taterhed

    taterhed TUG Member

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    Thanks, Richard @MULTIZ321, for capturing these in a single spot.

    @dougp26364 , your comments are telling.....

    Many of the Scotch Whisky's you've listed have over-lapping profiles; depending on the specific bottle/flavor/vintage etc....
    Several of the Glenmorangie's and Glenlivet's would be extremely difficult to identify 'which is which?' unless you're a frequent sipper of both (or one only).

    Of course, taste and choice are what it's all about. I frequently dislike a particular bottling even though I may adore certain vintages/brands. It's the mystery of the chase.

    If you've never tried them, consider trying a Scotch conditioned in Sherry casks.....of course, based on your statements, you may already have...
    I'd suggest Aberlour A'bunadh (sherry monster, cask strength, add a bit of water), GlenDronach 12, or even a Macallan 12.
    Since you like Balvenie, you could try the 15 Year Old Single Barrel Sherry Cask, but it's a bit dear and harder to find. Somewhat less distinctive as well.


    Cheers.
     
  9. MULTIZ321

    MULTIZ321 TUG Member

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    6 Tips For Learning to Love Single Malt Scotch
    By Courtney Schiessl/ Lifestyle/ Forbes/ forbes.com

    "Single malt Scotch: it’s a symbol of style, class, and sophistication. Fine-suited gentlemen order it at the bar, and professors sip it alongside a cigar and a hearty fire. It’s a go-to gifting option, and no bar cart is complete without a bottle or two. It almost feels like those who don’t drink single malt Scotch are unrefined in a way, their palates not yet attuned to the nuances of this high-class beverage.

    Upon asking several friends and colleagues – some well-versed in the world of alcoholic beverages, some not – what they thought about single malt Scotch, the responses were similar. “I want to love single malt Scotch,” they said, “but I just don’t know how!” This seems counterintuitive – if so many people revere single malt Scotch, why it it so difficult to learn to love? Luckily, Lorne Cousin, national brand ambassador for The Balvenie, a Scotch distillery in Speyside, was eager to share some of his tips for single malt Scotch newbies. As he demonstrated (and as this non-single-malt-drinking author experienced firsthand), any person can learn to enjoy single malt Scotch whisky.

    First things first: what is Scotch, and what makes it different from other whiskeys? Whiskey, spelled “whisky” when relating to Scotch, is a distilled spirit made from fermented grains. Scotch whisky falls within this greater category of spirits, but it must be produced, aged, and bottled at a distillery in Scotland. The legally-enforced 2009 Scotch Whisky Regulations also outline other specifications for any spirit labeled as Scotch, including types of grains permitted, maximum strength, and aging time and vessel. Unlike most American whiskeys, Scotch must be aged in used barrels for at least three years, so those sweet vanilla and caramel flavors imbued from new oak barrels are often less present in Scotch whiskies.

    Within the Scotch whisky spectrum, there are five legal categories for Scotch: Single Grain Scotch Whisky, Blended Malt Scotch Whisky, Blended Grain Scotch Whisky, Blended Scotch Whisky, and what most consider to be the holy grail, Single Malt Scotch Whisky. All single malt Scotch whiskies must be distilled from water and malted barley – other categories may use other whole cereal grains – in a pot still at a single distillery. This is why each single malt Scotch has a distinctive character, the different distilleries across Scotland garnering loyalists to individual house styles.

    But despite – or perhaps because of – single malt Scotch’s complexity, many imbibers have a difficult time falling in love with this beverage. Whether it’s the strong alcohol or intense flavors that make the novice Scotch whisky drinker automatically wince upon taking a sip, there are ways to learn about, understand, and ultimately enjoy this deservedly renowned spirit. While it may be easier to graduate from a friendlier blended Scotch whisky to a single malt, with these tips from Cousin, there’s no harm in diving right in, either...."

    [​IMG]
    The Balvenie malt master David Stewart dilutes cask samples with water to enhance the Scotch whisky's aromas.The Balvenie



    Richard
     
  10. taterhed

    taterhed TUG Member

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    I seem to have no problem making friends with single malts.....:) I simply have problems affording them! :eek:
     
  11. MULTIZ321

    MULTIZ321 TUG Member

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    Hi Rob,

    Here's some that won't totally empty your wallet.

    The 10 Best Scotch Whisky Presents under $50
    By Felipe Schrieberg/ Food & Drink/ Forbes/ forbes.com

    "As Christmas approaches, you are probably being bombarded by constant reminders around you about the presents you are going to need to buy soon.

    I’m willing to bet that there’s someone on that Christmas presents list that would appreciate a good bottle of whisky. Perhaps it’s your father in law, your boss, or a whisky-loving buddy. Perhaps it’s your significant other, and by buying them a bottle it means that you can get a cheeky swig on a regular basis.

    In any case, there’s loads of great whisky that is easy to find and you can buy for less than $50. It doesn’t matter if they are a whisky novice or top level expert, I can guarantee everyone who might like whisky will be quite happy to get one of these bottles listed below.

    I’ve listed the whisky here alphabetically, with prices quoted from The Whisky Exchange. However, if you look online or call your local whisky store you might be able to get it cheaper than what I've quoted below.



    Here we go:...."

    [​IMG]
    This is one of the first whiskies to move the contents of a cask into a different one.Balvenie

    1. Balvenie 12 Doublewood - £37.95 ($48)

    Richard
     
  12. taterhed

    taterhed TUG Member

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    Most of the Whisky on the list is a quite good and a good value.
    But, the prices she posted seem quite low for my neck of the woods.
    Glendronach is well over $60 in Virginia....
    King Street (Compass Box) is well out-classed in this list.


    Thanks Richard.
    It's almost like you speak in Clichés....

    upload_2018-11-23_2-5-21.png
     

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