Before you can taste it, though, you’ve got to know how to pick a whisky to try! This post will focus on single-malt scotch, which I think is the best possible place to get your bearings in the wider world of whisky.
Right now, like it or not, we are experiencing a boom. Distilleries are opening or ramping up production, prices are ratcheting higher, and limited-edition bottles are making headlines with record prices at auction. Many distilleries are riding the boom by releasing special bottlings and limited-editions at inflated prices because they know there’s consumer demand for them. So what’s to be done?
For all the other newbies (noobs!) who come across my site, here’s some scotch 101. What scotch is, and how to smell and taste it.
With a little research, a little organization, and a little dedication, you can avoid paying ridiculous prices for good whisky.
I keep hearing two phrases around the whisky and whiskey community these days. One is “Blends can be excellent!” (Of course, one can also say “Fast Food can be excellent!” but it rarely is. That aside…) The other is “90-95% of the whisky sold internationally is in blends.”…
My best advice is to experiment: try different glasses, different amounts of water, taste and smell before and after the addition of water. Figure out what method best allows YOU to enjoy your whisky. Whether it’s a cut-crystal Glencairn glass and a carefully-arranged ritual, or a brown paper bag and a bunch of friends, drinking whisky should be about fun and enjoyment. Do whatever maximizes both.
When your liquor cabinet is bursting at the seams, maybe consider winnowing your bottle count down by “covering the bases” of all the major types of malt whisky, and keeping just one bottle in each category: Peated, Sherried, Lowlander, Wine Finish, Talisker (Skye), Cask Strength, Heathery, World (Irish).
I swear that a good Scotch, purchased at a great price, tastes even better! Here are some pieces of advice on how to enjoy Scotch without breaking the bank.