Whisk(e)y

It’s been a long time since I posted here. I have been dabbling in facebook and twittering, but not blogging…until now. 😉

Over the last year and a half or so I have been getting into Scotch (and other) whisk(e)y. I really enjoy many kinds of alcohol (cognac, rum, gin, tequila, etc.), but this category is wonderful in its extreme variety. There is so much to learn. To me, I found whisk(e)y initially interesting because it is, in effect, distilled beer. There is actually a bit more to it than that, but I like beer, and it was a starting point.

I have to admit, many whiskies (especially those from Islay — pronounced “eye-lah”) are an acquired taste. What I learned was that people don’t make peaty scotch just because they like it that way. Islay water is peaty to start with. And it rains a lot there, so the malted barley has to lay on the smoke for a longer time in order to stop the malting process. So the smoke and peat are integral to the place. People I know who have been to Scotland and have stayed in pubs have told me that the peat smoke is everywhere, since it’s always cold and damp and the pubs burn peat for heat. When they smell that smell in the Scotch it immediately transports them back to Scotland. Conversely, the water in the highlands and along the river Spey is filtered through limestone, not peat, so any peat or smokey notes are from the malting process, not the water.

This is my admittedly weak understanding…but what I have managed to do is learn enough to know that I want to learn more. I read as much as I can about it, and of course talk to my man Ken at Beltramo’s, who handles my special orders. Also, a valuable source of information is the WhiskyCast podcast, as well as Malt Advocate magazine. These sources give me clues about what to taste next. I like to branch out and not stick to the same thing all the time.

I wanted to list what expressions I have tried to far. I’ll update this as I remember them. They are in no particular order. When it comes to whisk(e)y, what I love is the individuality of each expression, and the way each reflects the place from which it hails. The finished products are all wonderful, and each complements certain types of food (most of them are also very good by themselves!).

Macallan 18
Glenlivet 12
Highland Park 12, 16, 18, 21, 25, 30
Ardbeg 10, 16, Uigeadail

Laphroaig 10, 16, 20, 30

Port Charlotte PC5 Evolution (yes, only 5 years old!), PC6 Cuairt-Beatha (walk of life)

Caol Ila 14, 18
The Glenrothes 1972, 1987, 1991
The Dalmore (Cigar Malt) 12
Glenfarclas 105

Irish Whisky

Bushmills 16

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