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Single Malt Scotch


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#1 MrGreenGenes

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Posted 31 March 2011 - 09:03 PM

My wife recently came back from a visit to her parents with a bottle of a rare, hard-to-get single malt Scotch. I'm not that experienced with Scotch, and until now have only tasted cheaper multi-malt Scotches of which I will say must an acquired taste I have not acquired. (Someone used to give my dad a bottle of Chivas Regal every Christmas).

So what is the difference between single malt Scotch and cheaper Scotches with multi malts?

What is the best way to drink & appreciate this single malt Scotch? Neat? On the rocks? With a fine cigar? Any other suggestions?
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#2 baubel

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Posted 31 March 2011 - 09:14 PM

Jules would say with a can of coke and a straw. Where is that pirate winking and waving emoticon? :pirate: :wave2: ;)

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#3 brewmaster

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Posted 01 April 2011 - 02:16 AM

I probably would sip it neat, but there are a lot of folks out there that sip it on the rocks. I must warn you though don't let any scotch enthusiast know you mix it with coke, they would consider it blasphemy! :laugh:
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#4 AiO

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Posted 01 April 2011 - 03:55 AM

So what is the difference between single malt Scotch and cheaper Scotches with multi malts?

What is the best way to drink & appreciate this single malt Scotch? Neat? On the rocks? With a fine cigar? Any other suggestions?


"Single malt" means that all malted grain from which the whiskey in that bottle was made came from the same distillery. Cheaper scotch is often made with malt from different distilleries or with a blend of malt and grain whiskey.

I'm still a scotch newbie, but I like drinking single malt scotch neat, with just a splash of water to open up the flavors and bouquet.

Enjoy!
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#5 Brian Robinson

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Posted 01 April 2011 - 04:03 AM

A common misperception is that a single malt comes from a single cask. Not true. Here are the major types of whiskies:

Single Malt: A bottle made up of malted whisky from ONE distillery. Most single malts are blends of several casks from that one distillery.

Single Cask Single Malt: Single malt Whisky bottled solely from one cask. No blending at all.

Vatted Malt: Malt whiskies from several distilleries that have been blended and then bottled. These used to be called Blended Malts or Pure Malts, but that was a bit confusing, since most Single Malts could also be classified as blended malts.

Blended Whisky: A blend of both malted whisky and non-malted grain whisky.

Grain whisky: Made from grains, usually wheat, corn or non-malted barley produced in a continuous still as opposed to a pot still. Typically produced in the Lowlands.


Good whisky can be enjoyed neat or with a splash of water to open it up. Many single malts are cask strength, so it's a good idea to add a bit of water.
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#6 Absomphe

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Posted 01 April 2011 - 04:03 AM

Neat, but perhaps with a drop of water to open up the aroma and flavor.

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#7 jcbphd

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Posted 01 April 2011 - 06:04 AM

Although some will doubt the veracity of Reidel's claims that glassware makes a noticeable difference, in my experience using the proper glassware (pictured below) adds to my enjoyment of a good Scotch.

Attached File  Riedel_Glass.JPG   6.59KB   5 downloads
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#8 Brian Robinson

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Posted 01 April 2011 - 06:32 AM

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#9 Derrick

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Posted 01 April 2011 - 07:06 AM

What is the best way to drink & appreciate this single malt Scotch? Neat? On the rocks? With a fine cigar? Any other suggestions?


I drink my Scotch like the Scott's: neat with a bit of water. By adding water you release more "nose" and flavor from the drink. If you do decide to add water, make sure that it's at room temperature and that it is filtered.
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#10 techdiver

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Posted 01 April 2011 - 07:19 AM

I usually use the Reidel glass for single malt. Cask strength gets a splash of water or a little ice. But for some reason I still tend to drink blended scotch the same way I did when I turned 21, on the rocks.

#11 Ron

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Posted 01 April 2011 - 08:09 AM

Although some will doubt the veracity of Reidel's claims that glassware makes a noticeable difference, in my experience using the proper glassware (pictured below) adds to my enjoyment of a good Scotch.

Pretty much any aromatic drink can benefit from a tulip shaped glass, in my opinion.
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#12 T.C.

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Posted 01 April 2011 - 09:01 AM

I got a bottle of 15 yr old Dalwhinnie for my retirement and frequently trade off absinthe nights with either that or the Bruichladdich Peat ( what the distiller calls a “single malt / multi-vintage”) I don’t quite understand the description but it’s just as wonderful as the Dalwhinnie.

Both work great neat, with a drop a water (which I picked up on from this post, thanks goes to Absomphe for that a while back).

But, don’t be afraid to try it on the rocks. If you get a better experience over ice do it, it’s your mouth after all. Depending on what I’m eating or drinking with the scotch, ice can keep it from overpowering my mouth.

Coke is perfectly appropriate, just save it for Jack Daniels.

As for glassware, I learned from watching my old-man (not what you'd call a connoisseur) to use a highball glass, so I defer to the more cultured.

Regardless of your choices, enjoy!!!!!

Edited by T.C., 01 April 2011 - 09:49 AM.

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#13 baubel

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Posted 01 April 2011 - 09:38 AM

I once heard two of the employees at a local liquor store talking about a regular who would always buy a six pack of coke, and the $100 a bottle scotch they have behind the counter.

I haven't had any I wanted to try a second time, but if I were to get into it I think I'd usually enjoy it on the rocks.

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#14 Père Ubu

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Posted 01 April 2011 - 11:02 AM

Only way I know to enjoy Aquate Vitae, is with a splash of cool spring water. During my short ten day stay in Aberdeen, I never did see an Aberdoonian do else.

#15 Père Ubu

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Posted 01 April 2011 - 11:18 AM

Coke, is what limes and sugar cane based booze are for. Venado firewater from Zacapa works great for me.

#16 jcbphd

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Posted 01 April 2011 - 11:25 AM

Pretty much any aromatic drink can benefit from a tulip shaped glass, in my opinion.


I attended a tasting led by George Reidel, during which we sampled Cognac, tequila, and Scotch, each out of the nine glasses before us (3 spirits X 3 types of glasses) and a traditional brandy snifter. The snifter was useless, which was Reidel's point; however, the tequila glass, shaped like a small Champagne flute, the Cognac glass, more tulip shaped with a bigger bottom "bulb", and the Scotch glass, pictured above, each were spot on for bringing out maximum nose, flavor, and enjoyment of the spirit for which they were intended. In fact, we didn't need Reidel to tell us the correct glass for each spirit as upon sampling it was readily apparent. As a woman of science I went into the seminar a skeptic, and left a convert. :cheers:
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#17 Absomphe

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Posted 01 April 2011 - 12:04 PM

The heck with them high fallutin' spirits, any craft beer zealot knows the drinking enhancement offered by choosing a glass appropriate to style. :rolleyes:

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#18 jcbphd

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Posted 01 April 2011 - 12:37 PM

Plus it's fun to collect cool glassware of all shapes and sizes.
Temperance, like chastity, is its own punishment. ~Four Vines "The Peasant"

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You may be deceived if you trust too much, but you will live in torment if you do not trust enough. ~Frank Crane

#19 Ron

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Posted 01 April 2011 - 01:15 PM

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#20 Jack Griffin

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Posted 01 April 2011 - 01:37 PM

I have a nice bottle of Highland Park 18 year single malt. Smooth, complex, with just the right touch of peat. Neat, with a few drops of water open it up... wonderfully good stuff.

#21 Larspeart

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Posted 01 April 2011 - 03:07 PM

Although some will doubt the veracity of Reidel's claims that glassware makes a noticeable difference, in my experience using the proper glassware (pictured below) adds to my enjoyment of a good Scotch.

Attached File  Riedel_Glass.JPG   6.59KB   5 downloads


I will absolutely second that. Georg Reidel made me a glass-snob, and I fully believe his glasses do make a difference.

The glass she is showing up there is the exact one I use for single malt scotch. Also, and more people disagree with this one as well, Reidel himself abhors people usingt water when using his glasses, as his glassmakers/scientists feel the shape of the glass, and the 'channeling' of the liquor into your mouth, palette, and throat all serve the purpose of the water- to open it up, release the bouquet, etc. I've added water to scotch in his glasses a few times, and I frankly have to agree with him. It did little good, and even made a few of them 'flabby' (to quote a term Audrey Saunders got me using).

Neat. Room temp. In the above glass. That is my vote for 'no better way'.

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#22 Larspeart

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Posted 01 April 2011 - 03:11 PM

Pretty much any aromatic drink can benefit from a tulip shaped glass, in my opinion.


I attended a tasting led by George Reidel, during which we sampled Cognac, tequila, and Scotch, each out of the nine glasses before us (3 spirits X 3 types of glasses) and a traditional brandy snifter. The snifter was useless, which was Reidel's point; however, the tequila glass, shaped like a small Champagne flute, the Cognac glass, more tulip shaped with a bigger bottom "bulb", and the Scotch glass, pictured above, each were spot on for bringing out maximum nose, flavor, and enjoyment of the spirit for which they were intended. In fact, we didn't need Reidel to tell us the correct glass for each spirit as upon sampling it was readily apparent. As a woman of science I went into the seminar a skeptic, and left a convert. :cheers:



He has a brilliant way of showing this effect. He challanges folks to pour the various spirits from glass to glass. Take it from a glass you just drank it from and HATED, and pour into the proper glass- all of a sudden, brilliant. It's no trick. There is real science, anatomy, and biochem going on there, as Dr. noted.

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#23 bksmithey

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Posted 01 April 2011 - 03:48 PM

... Reidel himself abhors people usingt water when using his glasses, as his glassmakers/scientists feel the shape of the glass, and the 'channeling' of the liquor into your mouth, palette, and throat all serve the purpose of the water- to open it up, release the bouquet, etc.

Reidel needs to find himself a bit of cask strength whisky ;)

Seriously though, this is like trying to find the right dilution for a glass of absinthe. Yes, you can overdo it, and the drink will fall apart at that point. But there's no "one right answer", and at different dilutions, you're going to get different experiences. There are plenty of whiskies out there that can benefit from a bit of water, regardless of glass.

#24 billnchristy

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Posted 08 February 2012 - 10:12 AM

Scotch used to be my drink of choice.

I still have a wee bit of 25yo Macallan in the cabinet in fact. When I bought it they were under $400 a bottle (I paid 275 and 350 for mine I believe) It is well over 600 a bottle now.

And we thought absinthe was pricey!!

#25 OMG_Bill

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Posted 08 February 2012 - 01:07 PM

Well, you get about the same amount of drinks per bottle don't you?



Buy some pre-ban absinthe and watch the price jump. :devil:
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#26 Absomphe

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Posted 08 February 2012 - 01:52 PM

He ain't just whistlin' Dixie, neither. :twitchsmile:

Of course, some single malt scotch can end up in the stratosphere.

I remember ordering shots of Black Bowmore at $56 a pop at the Westchester Brewing Company in 1997.

The stuff is now selling in excess of $7,000-$9,000 a bottle, if you can find it.

And then there was that bottle of 1926 Macallan selling for $26,000 (or so) on Liquorama, a few years back. :blowup:

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#27 billnchristy

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Posted 08 February 2012 - 02:18 PM

I used to like 18yo Macallan. It was the best "regular" stuff you could get. Last bottle I bought was 87 bucks.

Look at it now...yeesh.

At least the 25 comes in a nice box.

Yeah scotch can get silly. There is stuff that is more expensive per shot than a whole bottle of really good absinthe.

As for pre-ban, naw...not interested. I would never turn down a drink but I'm not buying a bottle that cost as much as a used car.

#28 Ambear

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Posted 08 February 2012 - 02:40 PM

Bottle-schmottle...3cl (about an ounce) will run you around $300. :twitchsmile:
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#29 Absomphe

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Posted 08 February 2012 - 03:55 PM

I feel you two loud and clear, but I have to say, my bottle of Pernod Fils 1914 was an amazing series of drinking profundities that I managed to stretch into just over a year of special occasions. Considerring all the joy it brought me, I think the price (and, yes, for what it was, it was reasonable) was cheap.

As for samples, all of those were acquired through some sort of barter, so (being an antiques dealer) I considered them the next thing to free. :laugh:

Edited by Absomphe, 08 February 2012 - 03:57 PM.

Yes, I'm Krinkles the Clown on an absinthe a beer bender.

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#30 billnchristy

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Posted 08 February 2012 - 05:05 PM

I'm sure if I tried some my attitude would change. :twitchsmile:


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