The Whisky Tasting Guide - A beginners guide to the single malts of the UK and Ireland

The beginner's guide to scotch whisky
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These whiskies are often full of fruity, nutty flavours, and tend to be less peaty in character than other scotches. It may come from one of the smallest Speyside distilleries, but this single malt is a classic. Sherried, rich and oaky on the nose, it gives way to cream, almonds and spice on the palate.

Expect extra notes of vanilla and toffee in this sweeter-than-usual scotch from world-famous distillery The Balvenie — this limited edition was finished in casks which previously held rum. A huge region that covers most of the Scottish mainland north of Glasgow and Edinburgh, you can expect subtle, oaky drams that express the dramatic coast and moorland, while still leaving from for rich fruitiness, honey and occasionally a little bit of peat and smoke.

Glenmorangie's original and most affordable single malt is an accessible, medium-bodied scotch with little to no smoke, making it a true staple of any drinks cabinet. With notes of citrus, spice, light smoke and treacle tart, there's nothing not to enjoy about this vintage whisky from Balblair. Just above England, the Lowlands are famous for gentle, triple-distilled malts and lighter notes of grass, ginger, cinnamon and toffee with the occasional citrus edge.

Made just 20 miles outside of Edinburgh, Glenkinchie is one of the few remaining Lowland distilleries.

Composition of Whiskey

Expect biscuity cereal and a fruitiness that's led by flavours of apple and grass. An approachable whisky but by no means a simple one , American Oak builds on a rich, smooth flavour profile by further resting in barrels formerly used to age bourbon , giving it warming hints of vanilla and spices. A great gateway scotch for bourbon drinkers.

Thinking Drinkers: a beginner's guide to single malt whisky. Struggling to get a Raise a glass to the UK's craft beer heroes. 02 Oct Our guide to whisky for those who are curious about Scottish whisky but don't Blended Malt – This is a combination of single malts from different distilleries Thought to originally have begun in either Scotland or Ireland (there is still and began to sell whisky with the blessing of the British government.

The exposed island of Islay is pounded by the elements all year long, but on a good day, it's beautiful. Distilleries on the south coast of Islay tend to be more intense than those distilled elsewhere on the island. It helps to use top-line descriptors to find what you fancy, so here are four with some examples of brands to try:. Light — predominant flavours are fruits, nuts, light grassy notes with a fresh finish: Delicate —subtle nuts and floral aromas with sweet grains and light wood: Rich — bold but warm, chocolate, fudge, spiced fruits and biscuit: Smoky — spices like ginger, heat and smoke with long finishes: The Lagavulin distillery on the island of Islay.

The casks previously contain other booze, usually sherry or bourbon. Bourbon barrels are white American oak and give whisky notes of pine, cherry, vanilla and spice. Sherry is European oak and imparts dried fruit, clove and orange. The wood allows oxygen in, which rounds off harsh notes in the whisky, at the same time the whisky takes on the characters of the wood such as valuable vanillins.

The Beginner’s Guide to Types of Whiskey

Barrels can be filled more than once, the first fill whisky takes on more wood character, less in the second fill and eventually the wood gives no more and is re-charred for new use. Age is just a number, right? Except that number is a crucial identifier in determining how old something is. So, really, the number is rather important. That said, approach an age statement with caution. Besides, anything from around 10 to 15 years for single malts gives you great complexity and a fine understanding of the distillery that produces it.

Our advice for beginners is to start at this level and explore older age statements as you learn to appreciate a distillery style.

Top 10 whisky education books

Amongst the best are the recently launched Glenlivet Alpha or Talisker Storm. The Glen Ord distillery, home of The Singleton single malt. Just a few drops can open up aromas and soften a dram. As a warning though, ice chills the drink and dulls some of the aromas and flavours. Cask strength whiskies might be your next step. Finish — how long the flavour sticks around in your chops.

The Beginner’s Guide To Drinking Whisky

It arrived in Scotland and Ireland sometime between the 11th and 13th century and was beloved by the royals ruling the British Isles. Grapes were not readily available in Scotland, which led locals to focus on perfecting the art of distilling what they had in abundance, which was grain.

In the 18th century, a tax was imposed on alcohol production, leading distillers to come up with creative ways to avoid detection. Many would work only at night when the smoke from the fires would be less visible. Whiskey made its way to the new American colonies when Irish, English, and Scottish immigrants made the journey west. In the newly formed United States, distillers again faced backlash from the government and a heavy tax was imposed.

Beginner's Guide To Scotch Whisky

The level of anger escalated into the Whiskey Rebellion, and the tax was eventually discarded in Around the same time, in , the English government also eliminated bans, which led to a period of increased whiskey production. The Prohibition era and the year-long Scottish ban on alcohol drove whiskey underground until the tides changed in the midth century.

Light spirits took over American bars in the s causing established distilleries like Jim Beam and Jack Daniels to focus on international sales. Single barrel and small-batch offerings were a tremendous success in Japan where a unique whiskey market quickly grew.

Scotch, like other whiskies, is not something consumed for intoxication. Scotch drinkers savor its potency, rich history and tradition.

Like wines, the regions of Scotland produce unique varieties and flavors. To receive the honor of being called Scotch, the drink must be made from malted barley, be aged for no less than three years and made in Scotland. Lowland — Only three distilleries are still in operation in the Lowlands. Glenkinchie, Bladnoch, and Auchentoshan produce the lightest and most mild-bodied scotch. Highland — The Highlands cover the largest geographic area of the five sections.