Some notes from this weekend’s ‘Virtual Cruise of Scotland
Single Malt Tasting’
Whisky or Whiskey?
- It’s called Scotch Whisky. Whiskey (with an e) is bourbon from the United States and Irish Whiskey- the process of making Irish Whiskey is awfully similar to making bourbon whiskey. I’m not sure why Ireland uses the e, but no matter, they don’t use it in Scotland and that is what you are here to taste!
- Whisky can be from Japan, France, America, India, Germany, Russia (it’s pretty darned good- I tried rye named Polgar) really all over the globe. The Japanese whiskies are beating the Scots at their own game to some palates. I find them too light and aromatic for this tasting (put that out of your head!) They don’t have any peat either in Japan. But that’s another story.
What is Single Malt Scotch?
- A single malt is one that is entirely produced from malt in one distillery
- Single Cask means the bottling comes from one, single cask
- Labels may read the region of distillation and is helpful to the consumer!
- Labels are permitted to show the various kinds of casks (also helpful)
- This is sometimes shown as wood finished or sherry/port finished, ex-bourbon aged, American Oak aged,… etc. etc.
- Age Statements on the label is the age of the YOUNGEST whisky in the batch (if blended)
- Distillation only takes place in pot stills, no column stills are permitted in Scotch Whisky (this is not vodka!) although some whisky distilleries do use column stills…
- Independent bottlers are not necessarily better- but it wouldn’t hurt to drink more spirits from independent (non-William-Grant, Diageo… etc.) companies.
McClelland’s Lowland Single Malt Scotch.
- Made by Bowmore-a distiller of fine measure-although this whisky is more of a private lable without a distillery of their own
- A good entry level dram- about $30 dollars
- Hardly a sophisticated dram- but a good intro to Single Malt Scotch
Hazelburn 9 year (Barolo Cask)
- Finished in a Cask that formerly held Barolo wine
- Spent the first six years in a used bourbon cask
- Spent three years in a used Barolo cask that previously held Springbank Whisky
- Malt is 100% barley done by the distillers themselves!
- Non-chill filtered nor caramel colored
- $ 64
Talisker 10 year Single Malt
- .Massive slurp of peat and iodine
- Made by the sea and you can taste every drop of the ocean in each sip
- Peated? Absolutely!
- Aged ten years in the Isle of Skye
- 45.8% ABV
- Ex-Bourbon casks make up the aging process in Hogsheads- (large casks)
Bruichladdich Classic Laddie Unpeated
- No peat to get in the way of the nose and your enjoyment
- Islay beauty!
- 100% Scottish Barley
- Produced by Jim McEwan and aged in American Oak (bourbon) Casks
- Bottled at 50% ABV
- Non-chill filtered, nor caramel colored!
Caol Ila 12 year Single Malt
- Brine Bomb!
- Islay (the other island in Scotland)
- Pronounced Cull- EELA.
- Peat Monster.. Earth. Smoke
- Salt.. Brine. Seaweed..
- IS Chill-Filtered
- Possibly caramel colored
- $ 64