Single malt Scotch whisky consumption has been increasing constantly since 1990’s. Distillers and distributes have been struggling with the sagging popularity of blended whiskies in the 1980’s, and saw an opportunity to specialize in more upscale products.
Baby boomers looking for new taste sensations proved to be an appreciative market segment, ready to part with significant funds to buy a bottle of well-aged single malt.
For most people, single malt and often single cask and single matl, cask strength malt are as precious as a grand premier cru chateau wine from a good vintage. However, blended whiskies can be a rewarding. They are blended to meet the needs of the majority of whisky consumers in mind – smoothness and consistency. Single malt whiskies differ from batch to batch to batch.
In fact single malts are also blended amongst the category to achieve uniqueness.
In Scotland there are five regions that stand out – Highland, Lowland, Islay, Speyside and Orkney Islands.
Highland single malts tend to be fruity to floral with a hint of peat smoke.
Lowland whiskies are gentle and soft, light-bodied with lemony and herbal notes.
Islay malts are salty, peaty, robust, and for those who like strong flavours.
Orkney Islands in the Atlantic Ocean are known for their honey/heather accents, toned-down peatiness, smooth and elegant mouthfeel.
Speyside whiskies are similar to Highland products, but possess more pronounced heather tones with less peatiness.
Most North Americans enjoy their whisky on the rocks diluted with a soft drink or water.
Scots on the other hand like it neat with a glass of water on the side to cleanse the palate now and then. Distillers recommend adding just a little Scottish water or distilled water to their whisky to unlock the aroma.
It is bets to hold the specially designed whisky glass under your nose and just breathe while swirling the whisky.
Imagine how much blenders and distillers labour to put the whisky together, and you, by adding a lot of water or ice cubes are undoing their efforts within seconds.
By law Scotch whisky
must age for a minimum of 36 moths, but those aged 10, 12, and more years are smoother. Tastes differ according to the origin of aging barrels – oloroso sherry, port, Madeira, Bordeaux, Burgundy, Bourbon are some distillers use to distinguish their products. Some even blend whiskies aged in barrels of different provenance
However, there is an upper limit to aging, it being 18 years. Additional aging may make the whisky in question smoother, but diminishes special characteristics. The best and least expensive way to experience with single malts is to get 10 – 15 aficionados together and ask each to bring a bottle.
After tasting you can ruffle partially consumed bottles to participants.
For more information log on to www. Malts.com
The L.C.B.O. offers a wide selection and the following are highly recommended Scotch Whisky:
Edradour 10 years, Highland, 904995, $ 77.95
Glen Garioch 15 years, Highland, 446310, $ 60.95
Glengoyne 17 years, Highland, 306233, $ 89.95
Macallan Fine Oak 15 years, Highland, 620229, $ 114.95
Highland Park 18 years, Orkney Islands, 500231, $ 117.95
Aberlour 16 years, Speyside, 000224, $ 89.95
Ardbeg “Uigeadail “ Islay, 660860, $ 124.95
Arran Malt 10 years, 005090, $ 59.95
Lagavulin 12 years old Single Malt $ 110.50
Bowmore Tempest No.2 10 year old $ 73.95
Benromach 10 year old Single malt $ 74.95
The famous Grouse Gold Reserve 12 year old $ 39.95
The Spice Tree Malt Scotch Whisky $ 67.25