Although most adults have enjoyed Scotch whisky at least once or twice, many couldn’t tell the difference between a single malt and a blended grain. Even if your palate can’t tell the difference, you can learn a few tricks that will help you identify and differentiate between the various bottles of Scotch whisky. Whether you are looking for a great Scotch whisky for a gift, a party or just to enjoy with a friend, this can help you to look like a professional and make the right choice.
Know the Difference Between Blends and Single Malts
First of all, it is important to know what Scotch whiskey is made out of. Single malts are made entirely from malted barley, which results in a strong and oftentimes smokey flavor Blended malt whisky, on the other hand, is made from a number of grains and malted as well as unmalted barley. The vast majority of Scotch whisky sold around the world is blended, and many casual drinkers prefer the taste of blended whisky over a single malt. If you are trying to make a great impression, however, nothing will take the place of a single malt.Serious Scotch lovers won’t drink anything else, despite its often hefty price.
Brush Up On Your Scottish Geography
To most people, simply knowing that their whisky came from Scotland is enough. If you want to look well- versed on the tipple, however, you will want to learn a little about the various whisky-producing regions in Scotland. Most single malt whisky will come from either the Highland Region, the Lowland Region, Islay or Speyside. Whisky from the Highland is considered among the best in the world, and it includes varieties like Glenmorangie, Clynelish and Talisker. Single malts from the Lowlands are harder to come by, but they are mellower in taste and can be a great introduction to single malts. Speyside malts are known for their sweetness, and you may have already tried some of the more popular brands like Glenlivet or Cragganmore. The smokiest and most interesting single malts come from the island of Islay, and favourites from this region include the peaty Laphroaig and Bowmore.
Celebrate Your Scotch’s Birthday
Even if you know what type of Scotch to look for and you have narrowed down the region where you want it to come from, there is one final thing that you need to look for on the label. Most Scotch whiskys, and arguably all that are worth buying, will have a large number clearly printed on the label or the bottle. This signifies how long the Scotch was aged in barrels before it was bottled. Once the Scotch leaves the barrel and gets put into a bottle, it no longer technically ages. Legally, all Scotch whisky has to be aged for a minimum of three years before it can be sold commercially, but Scotch fans will usually want to wait for something that is at closer to 10 years old. Typically, Scotch that has been aged longer will also have a steeper price, and drinkers will have to decide when they need to save and when they can splurge on a more mature drink.
How To Drink Your Scotch Whisky
If you have spent money on a high-quality single malt Scotch, you will probably want to enjoy the taste without a lot to distract your taste buds or your sense of smell. You might want to have it neat, over ice or with a splash of water to mellow out some of the stronger attributes. Blended Scotch whiskeys, which are almost always the more affordable versions, are often mixed with club soda or even cola and then served over ice as a mixed drink. Although some Scotch enthusiasts might look down at a younger blend, many others enjoy the harsher taste, appreciate the lower price or prefer to enjoy it in a mixed drink or cocktail. If you are presenting the bottle as a gift, sticking with single malts is a great choice, and your only limitation should be whether the recipient appreciates a smoky and peaty drink from Islay or a mellow Scotch from the Lowlands.