Thursday, October 12, 2006

Nice little whisky collection you got there

Since my trip to Scotland, I have amassed a nice little collection of fine single-malt Scotch whisky. So it was a neat coincidence, yesterday, when I notice the wikiHow tip of the day for How to Taste Single Malt Scotch. I mostly agree with the wikiHow, but since anybody can edit these things, there are recommendations in there that I would never recommend personally. For example, it is considered improper to put ice cubes in good whisky. It's a bit like putting ice cubes in wine or champagne. You can do it, but if you do, you may as well drink wine out of a box in the fridge. It's cheaper, and the end result will taste the same.

My collection now includes the following bottles, which I've placed in order from best to "bestest." (For they are all excellent!)

Benromach "Traditional" (aka 8 year) - This is a very good "starter" Speyside single malt scotch. The distillery had been shut down for a number of years, but has reopened recently and is producing some very nice scotch which they market heavily through Gordon and MacPhail's.

Glenmorangie 10 year - This is a very special whisky, brewed in the tallest distilling towers in Scotland. This means that only the lightest vapors pass into the whisky, yielding a very light, floral whisky which is not at all acidic or harsh. It stands in very sharp contrast to the Glenlivet. Both are good, mind you, just completely different.

Glenlivet 10 year - This is a very common scotch found in America, one of the most common "mid-high end" imports over here. It was once the defining Speyside malt whisky. It's a very full, earthy and robust scotch. This was my first single malt scotch.

Glen Moray 16 year - This is also one of my favorites. The Glen Moray distillery was such a fun experience, and this, one of their mid-level whiskies, is excellent. It is smooth, with hints of caramel, embers and fruit, and a bit of a barky aftertaste.

Aberlour 15 year - This is one of my favorites. I picked this one up after a tasting at Gordon and MacPhail's, and it has become much beloved. It is very smooth, easy drinking and reminds me of Cardhu.

Ardbeg 10 year - Ardbeg is one of my Campbell Clan's whiskies, the familial drink, so to speak. Made in Islay, its barley is fired and dried with peat, which imparts a very unique smokiness to this whisky. Just pouring the glasses at poker the other night, everybody at the table could smell this whisky. To nose it and then to drink it, your senses are transported to the side of a roaring campfire. Some will love this whisky, and others will not. For me, it's a good test whisky to see how much my guests really enjoy good whisky.

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