Scotch Whiskey 101

I have posted on Whiskey, many times and a good review blog would be
In a Word Whiskey.

With a new year of drinking upon us and many great Whiskeys to drink I thought this would be a good time to review. I was recently at a Cigar and Scotch Tasting event at Kellys Westport Inn for the Toast Across America (and yes I did buy one of the Toast Packs)and had the opportunity to meet Jeff from one of the local distributors. Jeff and I talked Scotch for sometime and he provided me with the following:

The origin of the word Whiskey comes from the Gaelic word "uisge betha" which when translated is water of life. English speakers pronounced it as uishgi, which then became Whiskey.

Requirements to be called "Single Malt Scotch Whiskey"

1. Must have only three ingredients, water, yeast and barley.
2. Must be distilled and aged in Scotland
3. Must be aged for a minimum of 3 years
4. Must be aged in oak barrels
5 Must be bottled at a minimum of 40% ABV or 80 proof

There are two types of Scotch Whiskey, single malts and blended malts.

A single malt Scotch is a marriage of different ages of Scotch all from a single distillery.
The Balvenie
The Macallan

A blended Scotch is a marriage of different ages of single malts from a variety of different distilleries, plus a neutral grain spirit.
Chivas Regal
Famous Grouse

The age statement on a bottle of Scotch signifies the youngest in that bottle. For example a 12 year old Scotch may be a marriage of 12 year and older Scotches.

Significant influences contribute to the flavor of each Scotch. The include the ground from which the barley is grown, how much peat is used to smoke the barley, the characteristics of the water used, the shape and condition of the stills, the type of wooden barrel that the Scotch is aged in, the amount of char/toast used on each barrel, the length of time in the barrel and the craftsmen involved in various processes to name a few :)

Scotch Whiskey Regions

Speyside - Glenfiddich, Balvenie, Macallan, Glenlivet
Highlands (my favorite) Glenmorangie, Highland Park, Dalmore Glenfarclas
Islay - Lagavulin, Laphroaig, Bowmore, Ardbeg (one of my favorite Islay Scotches)
Lowlands - Auchentoshan, Glenkinchie (one of my favorite lowland Scotches)

Now with all that in mind I need a drink.
The Professor


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