Single Malt Scotch Drinkers?

Discussion in 'The Refreshment Lounge' started by Lars 241, May 20, 2015.

  1. Lars 241

    Lars 241 Registered User

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    Anyone out there? Likes, dislikes? Is there a reason you drink SMS? Do you also drink blended?

    Neat, water, ice? Please don;t say mixed! /grin

    What about "American" Whiskey, Rye, Bourbon. It doesn't do well with me. I'd guess its the corn...but no proof. SMS on the other hand, no issues, not yet.

    Anyone had anything rare or special? Glenmorangie Signet is as fancy as I've gone.

    I aim to try something from each distillery in operation today. The goal of trying every type of Scotch is beyond realistic, but there are only 99 current distilleries, and I can do that. Living in Midwest Ohio, it's not easy to come by.

    A local brother and business owner, has recently gone from serving only Johnnie Walker, to now a variety of 8 single malts at his establishment.

    Just looking for some open talk.
     
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  2. Roy_

    Roy_ Registered User

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    I drink whisky alright, mostly Scotish single malts and then mostly Islays. I like the Port Charlotte line, Laphroaigs with a finish (not the standard 10 and 18 year olds, but more like Quarter Cask, Triple Wood and the like), a few Ardbegs (again not the profile whisky), Caol Ila, that sort of stuff. My favourite, special and most expensive whisky so far (but with $ 100,- that is very relative to more 'serious' whisky drinkers!) is the Ballechin Madeira, a 60 ppm smoke canon ripened on Madeira casks, not a finish. I have tried my share of more experimental whiskys, too many for a forum such as this (that is why I am also on a whisky forum!).

    I am no fond of American whisk(e)y(-like) drinks. I have tried a couple of the Hudson Whiskeys (of the wonderfull Tuthilltown distillery in the Hudson Valley, worth a visit!). I do not pour away Jack Daniels (like I do Johnny Walker), but if I can help it, I do not drink Jack's, Rye's and especially no bourbons. I do know that I do not dislike each and every bourbon. Once I was in a restaurant in Rhinebeck, NY and they offered a bourbon tasting of local bourbons and some were not that bad. The thing I mostly dislike about American products is that until recently only brand new barrels could be used (I heard this was changed recently), so all products have an overwhelming wood/vanilla taste that is simply too much for me (I also dislike too much sherry in a whisky, which excludes a lot of Scotish too).

    I usually drink them straight. Anything up to 45/50% of alcohol is acceptable. A drop of water sometimes helps the development of the tast. Cask strengths (which go upto 63% or so) of course need to be watered down to somewhere between 40 and 50%. Ice I consider a sin, Coke even more so. (Heck, I have have Scotish water for my whisky!)

    I seldom drink blends. Not because I think they are inferior, simply because I do not like the grain-taste (most blends are for the largest part grain-whiskys) and I simply have not found a blend that I really like. The same with other countries. I have a Swedish whisky, a few Dutch, a few Belgian, a Canadian and a French, but save from one particular Japanese whisky, I have never tasted a whisky from outside Scotland that I like.

    I have visited Scotland twice now. After the first time my girfriend also found the taste for the drink of life. The first time we were in the Western coast were we visited the Oban distillery and that of Ben Nevis and the Killmartin area with its prehistoric remains. On the way back we spent a few days in Edinburgh's whisky bars and, of course, visited the Glenkinchie distillery. Last year we were at the Eastern coast near Aberdeen (actually nearer to the Fettercairn distillery which we of course visited) and took a day's ride through the southern part of Speyside where distilleries are scattered all around. We visited the lovely Strathisla, the wonderfull Aberlour, took a quick look at Glenfiddich and did the tour of the cooperage.
    This year we plan to visit Islay.

    So indeed, I drink whisky alright :)
     
  3. Lars 241

    Lars 241 Registered User

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    Roy_, sounds like you've had quite the experience.

    I started neat, told myself it was the proper way. I have a lot of friends that felt single malt was too much, I should go blended. I'm still to this day not sure why, but I went for a Glenlivet 12. It was a random choice, a brand I had seen most often in places I visited. I found it to be a bit sharp (my word choice). Sharp to me is when the Scotch has more of an alcohol aroma and burn.

    Judging based on your access to, or visitation of, Scotland, I'm going to guess you are UK based? So, you may have the same opinion that others have shared with me that my Scotch palate it too new, and will grow and develop over time. I find I enjoy the more subtle varieties of Scotch. By this I mean, less sharp. So I deal more in the Macallen, Glenmorangie, Aberlour. I have yet to quite figure out what makes one Scotch sharper than the next, but its clearly something I've enjoyed discovering.

    I also went peat, dove into an Ardbeg. It was more than I could handle at that point. A year later I took a softer approach and went with Laphroaig 10 and Lagavulin 16. Both I found to be quite good, still peaty, but not so much that I could not enjoy them. To be honest, I very much enjoyed both and asked Ben, the gentlemen that owns our local bar/restaurant, to add them to his menu.

    We do have (within 2 hrs) a great Scottish-American restaurant, that I love to visit called MacNiven's. Not only for their food, but also their good variety of single malt. I however often have to visit general "chain" locations The Pub, etc. to find places that serve Scotch.

    OK, so why no ice? I understand the mix. I do however love a good Tully or Jameson and ginger, but that's a different animal. More of a question on why you do not like it, or what you find wrong with it. Open conversation, so no judgement either way. Serving note, two places (the two I linked) unless you specifically ask for it neat, will serve your Scotch in a "rocks" glass, with a side glass of ice (5-8 cubes) and a mini pitcher (best way to describe it) of water from Scotland. When neat, its served in a glencairn whisky glass.
     
  4. Roy_

    Roy_ Registered User

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    Quick note from holidays in Germany. No I'm actually Dutch, but we've got a lively 'whisky scene'. Try for once to drink a single grain and you will know the major flavour of blend. Personally I think blends are often sharper than single malts for two reasons: young whisky and grain whisky. The older a whisky, the smoother. Of course this is not always true, but this is the reason why many people drink their whisky as old as its gets and pay hundreds of dollars for a single bottle.

    Room temperature water in room temperature opens the nose and taste of the whisky. Ice shuts all doors. Once you add ice, you will no longer be able to distiguish different flavours.

    Yep, a Glencairn, but there also also other good "nosing glasses".

    The Laphroaig 10 and 18 are 'medicinal', like the Ardbeg 10. Try the Laphroaig Select (quite young, but affordable), Quarter Cask or Triple Wood for a softer, more woody flavour. I do not like many Ardbegs, but the Galileo is good and the Corrywreckan too.
    There's a diffence between peat and smoke, but you'll get to that should Islay become your taste. There are heavy peated whiskies (40 or 50 ppm), heaver (60 particles of smore per milion) and there are things like Octomore, the last of which is at 170 ppm I believe.

    That's it for now. Enjoy.
     
  5. dfreybur

    dfreybur Premium Member

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    The word comes from the Celts but we use the word anyways. It translates to "water of life". Rather like aquavit comes from the Romans meaning the same thing. Fun with languages.

    Single grain and single malt are not the same. With a single grain it all comes from one grain but it might be blended. Being American I rather like an occasional tip of American Rye whiskey made from all one grain, but the brands I know are blended batch to batch, year to year to achieve a consistent flavor. With single malt it all comes from the same batch but it might be made from a mixture of grains. Many top notch American bourbons are mixed grain single kettle.

    It's my understanding that Scotch is all single grain from barley, so single malt Scotch is both single grain and single kettle. All that barley that could have been made into delicious ale. ;^)
     
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  6. Lars 241

    Lars 241 Registered User

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    Single Malt Scotch is just barley. Blended Malt Scotch, is a mixture of blended single malts, but it still can only contain barley. Blended Scotch, is a mixture of single malts and cereal whiskey. Single and Blended Malt must all be from the same distillery, but I'm not sure it requires all the barely come from the same place.

    Single grain whiskey is a bad term, as it implies only one grain. But it is in reality any number of an assortment of cereal grains.

    That said, thank god for Single Malt Scotch, cuz I'll pass on the ale! :)
     
  7. Roy_

    Roy_ Registered User

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    It sounds like I have to educate you guys a little :)

    Single malt: made with malt and from one distillery. It can contain as many years and casks the distillery finds necessary.
    Single grain, the same, but then with grain. Yes there are single grains, but they are not popular.
    Blend, a whisky that usually contains the larges part grain whisky (which is much cheaper) and then different malts from different distilleries, these can be hundreds.(Look up Johnny Walker for an example.)
    Single cask, a single malt from one cask. Exclusive and expensive, but more interesting, since not every cask gives the same result.

    Blends are usually made by separate businesses who create their own blends. 90% of all whisky made in Scotland is sold to 'blenders' (by and far the biggest market). Many distilleries produce exclusively for blends. There is not one distillery that produce its own blend, for the simple reason that making malt whisky and making grain whisky are two different things and both are required to make a blend.

    What discussion on a Masonic forum, eh?

    Sincerly,

    Roy
     
  8. Lars 241

    Lars 241 Registered User

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    I'd rather learn and know. No better reason to reach out to other brothers around the world and share topics of interest and education!

    So, on that topic, let's also touch on being Dutch. I mistakenly asked if you were from the UK, my apologizes. Again, my ignorance will show, please forgive me, and correct me. While I have a mixed ancestry, one of the largest parts in Danish (and Norway). (I know, no connection to Dutch) Northeast of the Netherlands, both bordering Germany. I am technically 4th generation (immigrant of Denmark). I can stand at the graves of my ancestors, including the first that came to America. I find that very cool.

    Without specifics, where in the Netherlands do you live? Do you ferry over to Scotland, or flight?

    Back to Scotch. My oldest son graduated HS this weekend. Next weekend we have a graduation party. Along with some beer and other mix style drinks, I have the choice to serve (to the parents not the kids) Macallan 12, Glenlivet 12, and I'm looking for a third. Suggestions?
     
  9. otherstar

    otherstar Registered User

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    I enjoy blended Scotch and single malt Scotch on occasion. I'm also a fan of one American whisky: George Dickel (the only American whisky the only American product that uses that spelling).

    Corn whisky/corn liquor is another favorite of mine, but it's a different beast altogether since it is made with at least 80% corn and it has a very distinct taste and is clear (unless mixed with something else). Corn whisky is usually marketed as moonshine because that's what it is! It needs no aging and often tastes "raw" in compared to bourbons and other whiskeys. You can also get corn whisky that has been mixed with cherries, or other flavorings and it's quite delicious as well.
     
  10. Roy_

    Roy_ Registered User

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    Lars, from an American view, it does not really matter where I live, since the longest distance in my country is about 300 kilometers. Compare that to an American driving hundreds of miles just to get to an Ikea! Anyway, I live in the south, Eindhoven, famous for Phillips. There is a more southern part of my country, but when I go south from where I live, I'll be in Belgium, so I have to go East and South to get to Maastricht for example. Living relatively close to the Belgium border has the great advantage of easy access to my other malt 'hobby;: Belgian beer.

    From my country there's a ferry from IJmuiden to Newcastle (not yet Scotland). A good way to travel. It departs on 6 pm and at 9 am you're on the other side and have slept a night as well. Flying is 'doable', but then I'd have to rent a car. We're planning to visit Islay this fall, the famous whisky island. It is possible to get there by plane, but it takes 26 hours and three flights. By that time I'm also there with two ferries and my own car, so I guess that's going to be it.

    Your question then. Macallan is pretty much a 'sherry whisky', Glenlivit more fruity, so I'd go for smoke for the third, just to show three different kinds of whisky. Bowmore if you don't want to overdo the smoke, something like Lagavullin, Caol Ila or Talisker if you want something seriously smokey, or Laphroaig or Ardbeg if you want to scare the youngsters away from whisky.
    Btw, have them taste the Glenlivit first, the Macallan second and the smokey one third.

    Jeff, there are also whisky liquors and other experimentations. We have a bottle of Säntis cherry for example, a Swiss whisky from cherrywood casks. Technically this is no whisky, since whisky comes from oak barrels, but for the rest the product is the same. Not my whisky though!

    There is a Scotish distillery, BenRiach, who offer a massive line of finishes, from Madeira, different kinds of sherry to different kinds of rum. I am no big fan of BenRiach (all too sharp), but it does give a good comparison of different finishes.
     
  11. Lars 241

    Lars 241 Registered User

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    Roy,

    Great advice, thank you.

    Our local distributor has Glenmorangie (my second favorite), Glenlivet, Balvenie (Double Wood) and Macallan. I asked him to grab either a Lagavullin or Laphroaig, depending on which he feels may sell better in our area. I should have it before the weekend. I also see he had a bottle of Gragganmore and Glenfiddich on the store shelf. He's recently expanded his store (size), and has promised to expand his Scotch options. Ben, the local bar owner, has promised to stock whichever they get.

    As for your location, that's more of curiosity thing on my part. In addition to knowing your distance from Scotland! I love to Google Map the world. When my oldest had a German exchange student, we took a tour of his hometown (Wiesbaden). I've seen a decent amount of the America's, so a chance to look in on a new place is always fun. I enjoy looking at local landmarks, the architecture of the buildings, residents, roads (paved, stone, etc) and I also try to find the Blue Lodge if I can.
     
  12. Roy_

    Roy_ Registered User

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    Most whiskies your shop sells are relatively easy/fruity, so when he wants to give his customers a choice, he should pick his whiskies from all over the "flavour map". An easy way to do this, is by just buying all whiskies from the Diago company (oh, I just see they've expanded their range, it sure is a sell-out in whisky land). However I have some pretty amasing whisky shops in the neighbourhood having upto 1000+ different bottles available, restaurant and bar-wise things are less interesting. Usually I'm moderately happy when a restaurant serves Glenfiddich, the first and biggest single malt (which I wouldn't buy for myself). Better it is when there are 'the eight Diagos' and even better when there is something else to try than the "profile" whiskies since I'm pretty much past the point in which I drink "Lagavullin" or "Laphroaig" since there are many different of them, often more interesting than the "priofile" whiskies. I'm also looking at independant bottlers who usually sell "single cask" bottles from casks they bought themselves. That way there are differences per cask and hence per bottle which makes things more interesting (and more expensive).

    I'm currently sitting on a cough in the Sächsische Schweiz, a mountainy part of German, after having spent the weekend in Leipzig, the former Eastern Germany. There's something to 'google'! We've only got a few days so we won't see a percent of everything there is to see here (and a local "Freemasons castle" is only accessible by groups....), but we'll make a start. We're in Germany a lot They've got culture, history and nature (too bad about the awfull beer).
    This weekend we'll be back in Eindhoven. From there to Scotland is a trip by car to IJmuiden, take the ferry to Newcastle and start driving on the wrong side of the road. Me and my girfriend fell in love with Scotland, also for its culture, history and nature and last but not least, they speak a language we master ourselves too. We've been to Scandinavia a few times and people there also speak English as an extra language, but when it is neither ours nor theirs first language, that's not always easy.

    Scotland is an interesting option to expand your view on the world. Their history is also Masonically interesting and of course there's the Rosslyn Chapel that Dan Brown made so famous. A friend of ours (Mason) went there with some local Masons. That's supposedly even more interesting than just the visit.

    (Oh as a sidenote, you may have noticed in other threads, but my girlfriend is also my sister, so there is no Masonic visiting, should you get the idea (but you are welcome in our lodge).
     
  13. Lars 241

    Lars 241 Registered User

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    I took a loot at Sächsische Schweiz, beautiful. I am not sure how the whole area looks, but I saw a stone bridge over a mountain gorge. I could not cross that. My fear of heights would over come me, I'd pass out.

    As much as I'd like to pretend I will, my assumption is, I'm stuck with the profile whiskies in the US. But, I continue to search and sample.

    OK, so to derail, I took some time to read other threads based on your sidenote. I am a new Mason, as in under 5 years. So, not having enough knowledge, or understanding, if I followed the threads you are an "irregular" mason. Which best I can tell means that technically the F&AM that I belong to does not recognize you as a Mason.

    When I was in college I was also part of a social fraternity called Sigma Pi. That simply meant that the other fraternities at Ohio State, nor the girls we were dating, were allowed in our meetings or to know our "secret secret" things! Beyond that, we still hung out with them, invited them to parties and had a good time. Unless you're telling me if we crossed paths on a Scotch tour, we couldn't share a dram, then it really doesn't matter.
     
  14. Roy_

    Roy_ Registered User

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    We're actually off to that bridge this morning! Yesterday we crept through some cages. Yep, it sure is beautifull out here.

    I've just turned FC, so I've been a Mason for a year (actually, my initiation was a year ago three days from now). Before I joined a mixed lodge I was very aware of the regular/irregular issue and some members of this board like to keep making a point of it. It's just the way it is. I won't lose a night's sleep over it. No problems from my side, especially not outside the lodge of course.

    So you can't get your Ardbeg Galileo, Ballechin Madeira or independant bottlers like The Ultimate or Compass Box from you regular store? All the better for us :) Perhaps on your quest you'll run into a more specialised whisky shop some time.
     
  15. KSigMason

    KSigMason Traveling Templar Site Benefactor

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    I'm a big fan of Balvenie 15, Macallan 18, and Glenlivet 18 (and those of a higher age as well). Two fingers (from the top) and neat. If the Scotch is smokey I like to cut it with a little water. I never mix Scotch. I've had Johnny Walker Blue, but that was a gift...a really, really delicious gift. For my 30th birthday, my friends took me to a whiskey bar and bought me expensive glasses of scotch all night.

    Bourbon wise I like Jefferson Reserve, not too expensive, but delicious. Bourbons I usually mix with cherry coke, but not always.
     
  16. Lars 241

    Lars 241 Registered User

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    KSigMason, you've got good friends; likewise, congrats on your KTCH.

    Well the party was a big success. When it all came down to it, we served Macallan 12, Dalwhinnie 15, and Laphroaig 10. A friend requested the Dalwhinnie, which I already had. At the end of the night, the Laphroaig was the most consumed, followed by the Macallan and Dalwhinnie. And while I had it before, this was my first purchase of a Laphroaig bottle. I was very entertained by the offer to sign up for a life-time lease of a 1' sq plot of Islay. I told my wife, now I have to plan a visit.
     
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  17. jvarnell

    jvarnell Premium Member

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    It is all about where the flavors come from. The sprouted barley (malt), Corn, rye, used chard oak, new chard oak or what ever. The sprouting (malting/amylase enzyme production) is what causes the sugars to ferment. The carbine of the oak is a filter that captures the methanal and acetone made during distillation to go away. The Barley, Corn or Rye give the main flavors. It is all about copyright of a taste.
     
  18. BodhiD

    BodhiD Registered User

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    Ohio here as well! I like my Islays (Caol Ila most), neat.
    I like to try anything, though; blends, bourbons, ryes.
    I HAD to get some of this (found online) when I discovered it. Saving a few for gifts for brothers, a few for myself. Haven't tried it yet, but I've heard it's similar to JW Red, which I like for a blend.
    Old Masters2jpg.jpg
     
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  19. Fiat Justitia

    Fiat Justitia Registered User

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    Hi brethren,
    I am glad that I spotted this thread, I do love my whisky, but of course I would as I am Scottish, and I live in Edinburgh. I am also a big fan of the Ilay malts, the smokey/peaty flavours work for me, but I also highly recommend Talisker which is from the Isle of Skye, and if you can get your hands on a bottle of the distillers edition, for me is the perfect whisky .

    And for the hard core, you can koi the Scotch Malt Whisky Society (I am a member) www.smws.co.uk. They have selected single cask malts (all cask strength) of various prices to suit most budgets


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
     
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  20. Brother JC

    Brother JC Vigilant Staff Member

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    And since we're speaking of the wee islands, let's not forget Jura.
     
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