Scotch Whisky: On top of the world. In terms of export, Scotch whisky amasses approximately 90% of all export sales combined in England and is a principle export commodity. This income is in great part foreign currency. This trend has been followed since the turn of the 19-century as the value of overseas marketing was discovered. Between 15-20% of all scotch whisky consumed in Scotland is first purchased in Britain. Although the reason for this is unknown, they do not dwell on it since their Scotch seems to be more popular in other countries. This is proven by the fact that scotch whisky is within the top five export earners and makes a considerable profit while making very large contributions to Britain's foreign exchange. Approximately 200 markets are in the exchange for Scotch whisky with the European Union being in the forefront vying for top spot with the United States, Japan and other Asian markets following suit. The European Union is accountable for at least 50% of all Scotch whisky sales with the other countries rounding up another 40% or so. A nine-year sales projection is in reserve of scotch stock maturing or already matured. In 1996 the stock of matured scotch was sitting at 2,741 million liters up a tenfold from 1945 at 247 million liters. The stock was higher in 1939 at 374 million liters. Obviously the Scotch whiskey market is predicted to grow based on the amount of maturing stock. It is a difficult trade dealing in stocks with a scotch manufacturer as they sit and wait on maturing product, they cannot accurately gather information on what the market years down the road will be for their product. This is a commercial problem. The most significant undertaking is the capital investment of maturing stock. There is a very small portion of fine scotch that actually makes it out of Scotland and into other countries. Matured whiskies as well as fresh fillings are an enticing profit grabber; however the time it takes for this product to turn over and give way to said profit makes this a risky endeavor. It is very hard to determine whether or not the products value will hold in the future. In closing the value of these company's finely distilled products is not likely to lose appeal any time soon, although one never knows what the future will bring. For Scotch lovers, another drink is always in their futures. A Manly Drink When you think of a man's drink, what comes to mind? Baileys? Vodka? To many, scotch seems to be the drink of choice for grown men and seemingly this choice has been made for many, many years. There is most probably not a spirit, more endeared by men than scotch. Scotch is made here in America, but the finest scotch is made in the Isles of Scotland. Scotch from Islay Scotland, can cost you a pretty penny. The scotch mentioned here from Scotland is from the Bruichladdich distillery in Islay Scotland, which is at the most southern of all Hebridian islands. The scotch made there is so rare that it can only be purchased at the distillery. Here in America, scotch is not so hard to come by. A bottle of Wild Turkey costs, on average, about $22.00. Whereas a high end whiskey can cost up to $50.00 a bottle. Compare that to a fine scotch from is isles at around $120.00 per bottle and you will see the difference isn't so much in the bottle, but in the spirit itself. Scotch: a Mature Blend It is said that you can tell the quality of scotch by its age, this is in every count of the word maturity. Law states that all blends must indeed "mature" for a minimum of three years, however for a great many years, these blends have been idling for approximately eight years. The distillers have found the longer it sits and matures, the better the product. As this scotch sits in its casks, it is constantly changing. The alcohol level drops for every year that it sits in its cask, and what is know as Angel's share is developed, where the alcohol is absorbed into the oak casks pours. The casks that we speak of are of the used variety, due to the fact that new casks would change the taste of the scotch dramatically, hence altering its character. A law in the US states that for the production of Bourbon, or Tennessee whiskey, only new casks are to be used. The use of these new casks introduces a vanilla taste into the blend. There are some blends as old as 30 years or more, happy hunting for that elusive and pricey item. Scotch Whisky to America As new Irish and Scottish immigrants tried to settle on the American continent they brought with them the distilling methods of scotch whiskey. Finding the new raw materials different that what they were accustomed to, they lead the way for an evolution of new scotch now known merely as whiskey. Today if you can find a similarity between Irish and Scottish whiskey, and its now American cousin you would be further ahead than the experts and connoisseurs. The stronger, fuller and sweeter taste found in the American whiskey if a result of the lack of smoke in the drying process of grains and/or corns. The six different categories that American whiskey is divided into is a direct result of the different aging times and adjusted amounts of grains used in each batch of whiskey. The six different American brews are as follows: * Bourbon * Tennessee * Rye * Wheat * Corn * Blended whiskey Bourbon Bourbon Is believed to be produced solely in Kentucky, which is a myth it has been produced in many states. Stipulations for bourbon are very simple. It must be made in the United States, should only be made from fifty-one percent corn, and can only be stored in charred oak barrels for a term no shorter than two years. The spirit in its raw form may not exceed eighty percent alcohol by volume. Tennessee There are a few differences between Tennessee and Bourbon. They are very closely related. Tennessee must always be filtered through sugar maple charcoal, and can only be produced in the state of Tennessee, hence its name. Currently there are only two brands of Tennessee whiskey available; George Dickel and Jack Daniels. Rye and Wheat whiskey Generally rye whiskey is blended with other products to create other types of whiskeys. Only a very small portion of this whiskey is actually bottled. It must be made of at least fifty-one percent rye in order to be deemed rye whiskey. The distilling and storing conditions meet the same requirements as in Bourbon. Mostly made in the states of Indiana and Kentucky it is quite uncommon it has a slightly bitter and more powerful taste. Corn Due to the overwhelming surplus of corn, this was an obvious choice and is the predecessor of Bourbon. As assumed corn is the main ingredient with about eighty percent. The difference between corn and Bourbon is that corn does not have to be stored in wood. If it is to be aged it must be done in previous Bourbon barrels or barrels that have been uncharred Blended American Whiskey You should not be confused by the differences in Scottish whiskey and American blended whiskey. American whiskey only contains approximately twenty percent of rye and bourbon whiskey, a mass product industrial spirit, makes up the other eighty percent. This makes the product very cheap and much lighter than it's American cousins. Understanding a Scotch Label To grasp the understanding of a scotch label takes the ability to understand many things. National laws, marketing, tradition, as well as whim are placed on the label of this fine product. This simple guide can get you through the confusion of what's inside the bottle. If you are looking for a true scotch whisky then the label should say exactly that, if the spelling is different, than that it is not made in Scotland rather it is made elsewhere. Look for the words single malt they can be broken up yet they will say single malt if that is what it is. The only way to identify a true single malt whisky is to do research, never take the name as it's word on quality; many names have been forged to hide the identity of the true distiller. If the alcohol content per volume reads more than fifty percent then it would be best to water down this malt as it is rated by cask strength and will be stronger please do not mistake percentage with proof. And finally check the date of bottling it does not age once bottled. Whisky 101 Scotch has undoubtedly been elevated to the top spot of most popular spirit however it is said that if that spirit was not made in Scotland then it has no right baring the name. The land itself lends to this spirit and what is taken s naturally replenished. Scotch whisky is said to be a nobleman among spirits brought about primarily by what mother earth has to offer. This makes it a popular drink for the naturalist among us. Scotland is so abundant in natural recourses from the moors of peat to the endless flowing fields of barley and wheat which is why it is the perfect place for brewing this tasty drink. The fine art of distilling has traveled generations; each step of the way gaining knowledge and refinement as distilling and maturing the fine malt gives way to what it is now. There are two kinds of whiskies in production in Scotland today thanks in part to the creation of the still in 1831. One of those is the single grain variety and the other is the blended malt variety. In the past there was only single malt whisky. Now there is malt whisky made from several grains which are blended to create the final product. This malt is bottled in select quantities which are referred to as single malt. Some of the more famous blends are now blended with what's known as a grain whisky. Distilleries are in the heart of the country side and use the ingredients of the land. Some grow their own wheat and barley to control what they use in production. Some use reputable farmers to which give great service for a good cause creating some of the finest spirit in the world. The use of natural springs and rivers is very common practice as well. As a matter of fact the Skye River runs right through the region that holds the title of malt capital of Scotland. Once the mashing process is complete, the drying starts. There have been bottles of fine scotch coming from Islay in the very south of Scotland's shoreline going for as much as $7,000.00. A very select liquor store in Rhode Island placed this product on the shelves and within 24 hours 20 bottles where snatched up. This is a definite indication of the sheer quality that the company stands buy and promotes with pride. The Gold is in Scotland It is said that the acquisition of knowledge on any subject that you are interested in only increases your appreciation for it. This can easily be said about the finest of scotches as well. There seems to be a trend building with aficionados flocking the rolling country sides in Scotland just to sneak a sample of the gold they seek. As one must experience to appreciate, it appears that this is a task for the strong willed in this subject. One could imagine many trips booked from abroad flocking Scotland's coastlines in search of the malt that has only been heard of and not been tasted. This is not merely just a trend, to Scotch enthusiast, it is rather a mission. To be experienced in the fine subtleties of these malts and blended scotch whiskies is to many a dream. Some could not even imagine the soft roll that many of these great spirits have to offer to the tongue. Spending time with true connoisseurs of scotch and single malts gives you valuable insight as to what to look for in a full bodied fine scotch. They have made it a life ambition to seek out and test what the worlds finest has to offer. Many of these great spirits of course are not easily obtainable some run very steep in price and are on the wish list of some of the great testers of fine scotch everywhere. Generally they have first dibs, as the company will wait in anticipation for a vote of confidence and endorsement. So too are the batches that are still maturing that so many people are waiting for with absolute excitement. Given the time it takes for some of these blends to reach an acceptable maturity where it will be appreciated it is only natural that many testers keep close tabs on the process and look for hints of up and coming blends that can be comparable. As many professional testers will state, the best of the best still and most likely will always come from Scotland as they have mastered this art with a precision and dedication second to none. Testers will admit when they have stumbled on a gem from another country but honestly have not found that diamond in the rough all that many times. So instead they give honest and professional opinions to the public, the benders, and distillers themselves, taking into account how harsh possible poor media coverage can be. The First Bottle: History of Scotch Scotch is one of the most consumed alcoholic beverages of all time, after all it has been around for hundred of years however, little thought is usually given to the actual origin of this popular drink. As the name suggests, Scotch was originally produced in Scotland by Friar John Cor. After distillation was introduced by Scottish monks in 1494, fine scotch became a popular drink. To the dismay of Scotch and other whiskey drinkers, whiskey was first taxed in 1644. This caused a rise in the number of what we would today call "bootleggers" who made and sold Scotch whiskey illegally. Later in 1823, the Scottish Parliament made it easier for one to own a licensed distillery and harder for illegal whiskey stills to stay in business. This began the modern production of Scotch whiskey. Today, fine scotch whiskey production is much more technologically advanced: It has to be in order to keep up with the demand for this popular drink. However, you won't find fine Scotch made here in the U.S, in order to adorn the name "Scotch" the whiskey must be distilled and matured in Scotland. Bourbon In The Making It is a well-rounded argument that the Scottish has the market sewn up as far as making the best product on the planet; however there are a few studs in other stables worth a mention. Bourbon has long been associated with Kentucky and for good reason as it is the state where this craft was first developed. Elijah Craig a Baptist minister in the late 18th century in Georgetown Kentucky unveiled to farmers and townsfolk alike the first Bourbon whiskey where the trend just took off. It is said that even the father of the great Abraham Lincoln got into the action. European settlers brought this trade secret with them to North America and in turn shared it with their new neighbors. Giving way to a boom in production. 1791 was the timeframe for the whiskey rebellion that took place in Pennsylvania where the government elected to impose tax on whiskey and whiskey sales. This did not sit well with distillers so they made their way to the Kentucky Mountains to avoid the collectors of said tax. Eighty percent of all Bourbon today is distilled in the state of Kentucky. A royal family of French decent carried the name that now brandishes the bottles of this Kentucky gold. The name was introduced in 1758. The attempt of American independence from British rule saw the French giving support so as the independence grew new land developments in America were named in French as tribute. In the year 1785, Kentucky was known as the Kentucky district of Virginia and not a separate state. Through some of the river ports in Kentucky the whiskies were shipped down the Ohio River to New Orleans. Northeastern Bourbon county and Limestone county combined in 1789 to forge Mason county Virginia. Although Bourbon is less restricted than Scotch, there are some regulations in place today. State regulation on Bourbon distilling requires the brew to be made from 51% corn; however barley wheat and rye may be used for blending purposes. It must be between 80-160% proof. The soft texture and sweet taste come from the corn itself. After it is distilled in a continual still, it is then filled to casks made of oak for maturing for a much regulated minimum of no less than two years. These regulations make Bourbon what it is today, a very popular whiskey among all who drink. A Timeless Secret It is said that the art of distilling was discovered somewhere in Asia in approximately 800 B.C. The assumption was that this technique was merely used to make perfumes, however this has been refuted. The method by which the processes found its way to the British Isles is uncertain; however we do know that the Moors brought the art of distilling to Europe. It is believed that the art was then refined in monasteries throughout central Europe. Apparently the patron saint of Ireland, St. Patrick, carried this trade into the monasteries in 432 AD on a Christian mission. Regardless, the Celts did attain the secret eventually and made their water of life that in Gaelic is pronounced "Uisge Beatha". This simple yet not well-known name is how the scotch whiskey came to be, as Uisge means whiskey. The millstone year for whiskey in history would have to be 1494 as a Sir Friar John Cor of Scotland ordered eight bolls of malt. It was reportedly to be used for aqua vitae which is the first accountable proof of production of whiskey in Scotland. The skill of distilling soon left the monasteries for the farms where just about everyone was making whiskey up until about 1820 this is when the government decided they were going to shut down personal and private distilleries making them illegal. The rough and sometimes brutal taste differs greatly from today. It was not until the eighteenth century that it was discovered that with aging came a mellower brew. The findings of the aging process was practically tripped upon when an old cask long forgotten was found full of the good stuff. The uniting of the two parliaments one from England and one from Scotland in the year 1707 is what drew into effect the Union Act. Realizing that it would pay off for both sides, they came up with an unheard of plan for making the malt. By the year 1725 the English malt tax was forged however not without bloodshed. At this time every second bottle of malt distilled in Scotland was of the illegal kind due to roving excise men, illicit distilleries, and the fashion of smuggling. In 1820's much trouble arose in the form of crime and tough taxing policies which eventually became completely unmanageable. To solve the problem, the government ordered the Excise Act which allowed the government to track which distilleries were legal and those which were not by using labels. Whisky started out as a product for the British market in the 1820s, but today it has become a drink that is appreciated and loved around the world. Much of this incredible development is the result of the introduction of blended whisky. Even today approximately 90 percent of all whisky that is produced in Scotland is used in blended whisky. However the interest of single malt whisky has increased in recent years and this development is likely to continue. Production of scotch The production of Scotch whisky takes time, a lot of time. It is a tedious process that can take years. However when it is done correctly, the product is one worth waiting for. Barley is placed in deep tanks of water for approximately three days. As the moisture increases it promotes the germination process. After the germination process, the barley is then moved to the malting segment of the distillery where it will go into drums sometimes known as the malting floor. The entire purpose of the germination process is to convert the starch in the grains into fermentable sugars. This will feed the yeast in the fermentation stage. Turning the barley frequently ensures the temperature will remain consistent. Sheils, another name for a wooden shovel, are used to turn the grains, on a traditional malting floor. The grains will die if the temperature reaches above 22 degrees, and will the stop the entire process as the starch will not be converted to sugar. The grain is then kilned as to halt the continuation of sugar consumption the kiln will dry up any moister. Generally a kiln is a building standing two stories in height with the top perforated to allow all heat to leave. The lower floor contains peat bricks that are heated. During this process the grain is dried and takes on that peat like reek. The pagoda style roof on a distillery is the most noticeable characteristic. The malt must not be heated above 70 degrees or it will surely be damaged and unusable. Most of the distilleries in this day and age buy all their malt from a centralized malting company. However there are still a select few that remain traditional and do it all themselves. The grain is milled into grist and combined with water in mash tubs to be heated to sixty degrees. During the mashing period the water is changed at least four times to remove sediment. The bi-product of this mashing is called wort. The wort must be cooled prior to mixing with yeast in what is called a wash back. This large container is never filled to the top as the wort froths a lot due to carbon dioxide. After two or three days all the yeast is killed by the alcohol. The end product of this cycle is called wash. It contains an alcohol percent of five to 8 percent. The stills in which the wash is placed are made of copper and are regulated to a certain shape allowing for proper distillation to occur. The still method is usually ran twice yet some companies do three or more. After all this is complete the brew is then placed in casks made of usually oak, for a period of eight to twelve years minimum.
Old Drink, Young Crowd Why is it that scotch always seem to be left alone in the bar scene? It is understandable that most people find scotch to harsh to drink while dancing the night away but could it not be introduced in some mild cocktails? Generally it is assumed that the sweeter drinks tend to give you the staying power on the dance floor as it is usually loaded with sugar. Sugar is not an ingredient that one would associate with scotch and many of the clubbers will shy away from the so called old mans drink. Yet they really do not understand the potential that scotch in small doses in sweet drinks can have. It can liven up the party in a relatively short amount of time. Of course there are the few drinks out there that may inspire a look into by the up and coming yuppies that are trying to mature. One of these mild scotch drinks is the Rusty Nail. This wonderful drink contains 1 1/2 oz of scotch 1/2 oz of Drambuie And a twist of peel from a lemon This drink forgoes the common rule of no ice with your scotch, as the glass should be filled almost to the brim with cubes. Then the Drambuie and scotch are poured in together stirred vigorously and garnished with the peel. This makes a delightful small mixed drink that is much easier on the throat as well as the stomach that straight scotch. Another popular drink is the whiskey sour. This drink is open to enjoyment by all classes and generations. This drink contains 2 oz of blended whiskey, the juice of half a lemon, 1/2 tsp of powdered sugar, one cherry and half slice of lemon. Again this drink is easy to make. Shake the blended whiskey, the powdered sugar and the lemon juice with ice then strain into a whiskey sour glass. Lastly, top with the cherry and garnish the drink with the lemon slice. Another great drink that the younger crowd may enjoy is the Rob Roy. This is a very simple drink that is relished by many and is very short on the prep time so you can be back on the dance floor in no time flat. This drink contains 1 1/2 oz of scotch whiskey and 1/4 oz sweet vermouth. You merely stir contents with ice and strain into a cocktail glass. Walk in Red or Walk in Black In the year 1820 sir John Walker had a vision. To create one of the finest single malt blends the world has ever known. Enter the 2006 trend and apparently his vision turned to gold, as it is the most consumed scotch in the world. At over 120 million bottle sold annually, it is estimated that four bottles per second are enjoyed in 200 countries around the world. So what color do you walk with? That is a matter of personal taste. You can go with the vibrant blend of the red label, which tends to be the most common for everyday celebrations. Or choose the complex and deeply mellow black label, used throughout time as experience malt. The choice is yours as both are a wonderful scotch whiskey and will prove to be enjoyable whatever the toast. If the moment proves to be one that you will want to remember for a lifetime, try the rare and expensive blue label scotch. No matter which Walker you walk with surely you will not be let down. The True Single Malt A true single malt whiskey is a brew that is distilled in one place. There is no inclusion of any other blends of grain whiskey in this product. A single cask whiskey has been in one cask and not transferred to accommodate other blends. This whiskey, when full strength, can exceed sixty percent alcohol by volume. Most single malts are bottled at between forty and forty-six percent as the legal limit is set at a minimum of forty percent. Ask strength is a term used when the alcohol level is still relatively high and the brew has not been watered down or if it has been the addition of water was low. Cask strength is not always merely one cask it can be from several casks inclusively. Given that there is approximately six to nine different regions in Scotland that actually have proven distilleries, the characteristics of the malt can vary considerably. They all have their own unique techniques and style to producing their malts and each produce a flavor all their own. The Six Scottish Malt Regions Scotland can be divided into six different malt making segments or regions; Islay, Campbeltown, speyside, Islands Lowlands and highlands. Each of these regions produce a different malt as the characteristics are different so too are the methods of distilling. Climate variations, raw materials, and production methods all play a roll in the differing of these malts. Islay This is a small island off the western coast of Scotland and is the site of many wonderful malt distilleries. They have many variations of malts however the most notable carry a tangy smoky peaty taste. The current number of running distilleries is at eight although at onetime there was said to be twenty-three, with the newest edition opened in 2005. Lowlands This mountainless and flat region is apparent by its name and is also in the most southern region of Scotland. This brew is contains less of the smoke, peat, and salt than most other malts coming from Scotland and it carries with it a mildly fiery yet smooth taste. Speyside This is undoubtedly the center of the whiskey universe in Scotland. The Spey River runs directly through the area hence the name. A good majority of top distilleries use water from the river in their processes. Although some of the characteristics vary in speyside it is still a part of the Highland geographically speaking. Someone interested in trying a traditional Scottish malt for the first time would do well with this malt, as it is rich and relatively mild in taste. Highlands The largest malt-producing region in Scotland is by far the Highlands. This brew is smoky and very rich. In comparison to malts from the lowlands, many of the different distilleries produce a different taste to their malts. This is caused by the varying microclimate differences. The use of many different raw materials and the inclusion of some changed production routines also contribute to these distinctions in taste Campbeltown At one time Campbeltown was Scotland's prime distillery site. Twenty-one distilleries were active in and around 1886 however only three are currently in business. This region is still considered a separate malt state for the value of historians. Islands Arran, Orkney, Mull, Jura, and skye make up the body of islands that sometimes get confused with Islay. This is in fact an entirely separate region. Those whom have some experience drinking malts generally enjoy the malts from this region. The Great Debate: Single Malt vs. Blended Many people get confused and the difference between single malt and blended scotch. The blended variety consists of approximately fifty different grains, and single malts, sent from many different producers. The term single malt refers to one single distiller, and therefore what is produced, is indeed not the product of blending. They say that every 50 years is the leveling out point on scotch, as it will no longer get better with age. Prior to that point it is like wine and will continue to produce a better taste. The differences in many of the distillers of fine scotch in Scotland can be very noticeable, as the geography lends to different techniques. Each region of the Scottish territory yields a different product due to varying methods of development. Many methods can be employed, right down to the grains and water used. Some distilling companies even use certain peat mosses on the grains for added flavor. One would assume you must try them all, to consider yourself a true aficionado. The Certified Scotch Malt Bar: Worth the Trip An establishment that is spending the time and using funds to maintain after qualifications for a Doc certified scotch malt single bar that carries a distinction is definitely a wonderful place. Just how wonderful is it? It seems that the options are endless for novice malt drinker's right up to the aficionados to have the truest sample of what the Spirit Gods intended. A place to conjure for this treat is surely something to be revered and in all accounts worthy of an award of this stature. Every couple of weeks a new nectar seems to be hitting the market and this will definitely confuse the new malt sipper yet will send the old time connoisseurs into fits of glee all the while preserving single malt's status as the true nobleman among spirits. Of course not all follow this robed king of beverage but it does have a strong standing. Oddly enough they say that the taste of fine single malt an be influenced by the environment you sip in that is subjective at best as the finest single malt will always taste like the finest single malt. It is extremely important that the tender at the bar know what he is talking about when it comes to giving you what you want or in many cases what he can suggest. Most aficionados are not unintelligent and have been around the malt block a few times. An award worthy bar would surely have someone at the helm whom knows the ins and outs of fine single malt and is ready, willing and able to give sound advice and help the newcomers feel at home. To these engaging individuals that enjoy this spirit, hearing of a malt pounding fest at the local frat house or biker bar is an arrow to the heart. This is not a drink to become inebriated on instead it is a testament to absolute fine distilling craftsmanship. To appreciate the subtle character differences in regional malts of Scotland is not for the impatient as there are many blends and malts to be had. If you have the time and are seeking the sheer enjoyment of this spirit you should find your own bar that is Doc certified to sell the select brands of fine scotch single malts; as an establishment such as this is worth its weight in gold. The Art Of Drinking Whisky There is no true rule of thumb when drinking whisky but there are a few things to keep in mind to make the experience a lot more enjoyable. It should be pointed out that if the general rule of thumb is not observed there is still no reason not to enjoy this wonderful spirit. You should never put ice in a great dram as it kills the taste and aroma, however, some do prefer it this way. The glass that is originally designed to accept a fine malt whisky is very wide at the top and gently slopes in for the very reason of not comfortably accepting a bed of ice, as the intention is to steer away from this practice. This glass is by most called a tumbler. When purchasing great malt the price, like many things, will indeed reflect the quality you get since with scotch, you tend to get what you pay for. There are a variety of alcohols available for a cheap price in which you can get a buzz, however, fine scotch should be sipped and enjoyed. Good malt is not an appropriate mate for a mixing party and does not really take kindly to a soda. It tastes much better with simple bottled water. The best pairing with great malt would be of the mineral water variety bottled water is tolerated by malt without hesitation. At 40-60% alcohol, whisky is indeed a strong spirit and will definitely get the attention of the less than experienced in drinking it. Throwing in a dash of mineral water will soften the blow so to speak and calm its aggressive nature. The term "the whisky will open itself" is in reference to the aroma being released when water is added so a few drops will surely bring even the most experienced of malt drinkers to bliss. The wonderful thing about cask strength is that at approximately 60% alcohol per volume rate, this is one strong drink in turn allowing the drinker to tone it down to an appropriate alcohol level to suit personal taste making this an ideal drink to customize. The makers of these fine spirits advise that you take a small mouthful and hold it in your mouth swish it around your tongue giving it time to settle. Only then will you get the true nature of this fine malt. Finally on a closing note, after a swallow, it is said that you can get a good read on the maturity of the malt by how long it stays with you in you mouth. A Bottle of Their Own The majority of fine scotch distillers sell casks of their product as a whole for blending purposes as well as to private buyers. Usually the distiller name will be placed on a blended product however not the logo. This is an indication that the product is indeed blended and not single malt. Most independent bottling companies will bottle products from single casks and may or may not be from the original bottling source. At this time many renowned distillers are trying to end the open market of bottling operations as it is infringing on their overall sales. Some malt companies will incorporate more than one batch of their scotch into the cask selling to ensure the independent bottlers from selling it as a single malt product. Many independent bottlers will use merely a geographical region or an alias of the distiller, as to avoid any legal repercussions. This method of legal sneakiness is known as "bastard bottling". Either way the society of scotch malt whiskey can still track the product by the distiller number. 12 Years of Fine Scotch Twelve: Is this indeed the magic number when it comes to fine scotch? In a matter of terms the answer is yes. When trying to decide on a scotch it would be best to look for that magical number, as it will indicate to you that at least it has grown into full body. There are quite a few bottles out there that have aged longer, yet obtaining these gems can prove to be tricky. An old bottle of scotch is a real treasure. Scotch, at least fine scotch, is meant to roll off the back of your tongue, and give you a warm and subtle punch in the tummy. Younger scotch, has not been given a chance to build a personality, hence it is not as smooth. It seems to be agreed that twelve years or longer is the magic number when it comes to the age of perfection for fine scotch. It may come in many different fashions and labels yet the song remains the same; good scotch has been brewing for awhile. 10-12: Scotch is Getting Younger. The notion that all scotch must be at least 12 years to be enjoyed is a common understanding among scotch drinkers everywhere. However, one company is out to prove them wrong. This scotch is just two years shy of the twelve year mark, but is growing in popularity. Enter Glenkinchie; this ten year old malt is 86 proof and a very pale gold in color. It has a reminiscent fragrance of peat and a grassy meadow that ends rather sweet. Its body is light to medium, it is considered to be well-rounded lowland malt. In the end it stays dry, and carries a hint if ginger. Originally formed in 1837 by a farmer, this malt clearly has some history. The original owner of the distillery sold it to another farmer who used the distillery as a cattle shed and sawmill. This property was again sold in 1880 and returned back to its natural intention to make fine malt just in time for the whiskey boom in the 1890's. This single malt will be enjoyed by the new and revered by the old single malt enthusiasts. Global whiskeys Scotland is not the only country that can put out a quality scotch product. Many countries have ventured into the spirits domain. Canada is one of them. The Canadian whiskeys are starting to shine with products that are crisp and bold to the taste buds. Following strict compliance with Canadian regulations these spirits are distilled and bottled no less than two years before consumption. Usually the bottling is done no sooner than six years and many are much longer than that now. They are not noted as straight whiskies as they are blended. They are bold and lightly flavored yet manage to keep a very distinctive body and character. The Canadian government carries out rigid control of the Excise Tax and labeling. There have been no stipulations in place for the grain formulas or distilling processes. Nor have the maturing factors or time frames been ruled or governed. They have left it up to the producers of this product to determine what markets abroad and at home desire from their product. It has been shown that this was a wise decision as the Canadian makers seem to be holding strong in all markets and fields. Not unlike the brands found in the United States the distillery function is pretty much a standard deal with the exception of the use of cereal grains and some trade secrets. Since Canadian distillers are not faced with artificial proof restriction in their distillation procedures, they are able to operate continuous distillation systems under conditions that are optimum for the separation and selection of desirable congeners. The relationship between beverage spirits and the congeners is in no way marred while in the fermentation mash solution. The casks are made of white oak and are rated in US gallons matured cooperage insures compatibility of the fine whiskies. The delicate flavor and per portions that the maturing batches cooperage is a fine trade secret. It was spelled out with Sir Joseph Seagram. He decided in 1911 that an appropriate whiskey should be made for the wedding of his son. This blend became known as Seagram's V.O or very own whiskey as it is known in those parts. Only pedigree grains and the finest of spring water were and still are used today to create this wonderful and bold whiskey. The master blender has at his disposal over 2,000 choice and premium flavored bases that he can choose from for his secret and delightful blends. Dispelling A Blue Rumor It has been rumored that the Johnny Walker Blue Label blended whiskey was about to be halted for reasons unknown. This rumor is indeed just that nothing more than a rumor. Here you will find some background on this fine product in the event you wish to try it someday. Although lately the market place is seemingly chomping at the bit to get a hold of some of this Blue label Johnny Walker ultra premium fine blended whiskey, it has managed to remain elusive to most sippers of fine spirits. This blend was to be made to celebrate Sir John Walker's existence of 200 years. A blending of young grains and malts make this drink a little mellower. Like some of the older whiskies, this blend was to be reminiscent of the blends back in the earlier 19th century. The blue label product does not show an aging date on the label; however this is by no means an indication of poor quality. In fact, it is quite the contrary. It has actually been said that there are approximately 16-18 different aged whiskies and single malt blends in one bottle of Johnny Walker blue label. No one really knows the youngest of these. The answer to the question of whether Blue Label is going to be discontinued, is simply, no. They have no intention on discontinuing the blue label Johnny Walker. It may have not have had the publicity that the other two colors have enjoyed but do not mistake this color for a slouch. This blend is by all means the Rolls Royce of the current Walker line up at a pretty $200 a bottle. Single malts can indeed sell out and replenishment of stock is not a short order since the time it takes to mature is lengthy. However wonderful blends such as the blue label can always be adjusted according to available stock. The over abundance of malt stock will keep the blenders busy for quite some time. Stock will not just deplete overnight. It is a continual cycle where as young and budding malts become old and wise to be replaced with new fillings. There is no doubt that rare fine scotch will be a continual operation in Scotland and where this comes into play is the continual stock received by the Johnny Walker name. This wonderfully blended product is not under any circumstances going anywhere.. Mixed Drinks Upsetting for Distillers Although some Scots are softening up in regards to their traditional dram, we cannot say all of them are. Some are indeed abusively screaming and kicking, with regard to how their fine brew is handled. The idea of mixing a fine scotch in a fancy drink at the bar seems preposterous. This notion is dubbed an act of kindness, yet not too kind to the distillers that have toiled to bring us such a wonderful product. Scotch is a wonderful brew that hit the mainstream of the U.S. in the early 1990's. Several have considered this type of drink as a personality definer, causing it to grow quickly in popularity. Through Scotch as a drink was also a growing interest in it as a single malt treat. However, there are many different variations that have hit the market in order to please every palette. It has been said that scotch is a nasty old bugger who is drank alone or with one or two close friends and not in the spirit of socializing. However the distillers, and aficionados alike tend to disagree. They feel that the time spent with friends and family, should indeed include the sipping of a fine scotch, for pleasure and conversation alike. Scotch: Popular Today, Popular Tomorrow. In today's world of clubs and young drinkers, fine Scotch often falls by the wayside. A much more sophisticated drink, Scotch is popular with older, more mature drinkers. Will this classic favorite eventually die out to all the pretty drinks served up in coconut shells with pretty pink umbrellas? The answer is probably not. Although Scotch on the rocks, is getting to be more and more unpopular among the bar drinkers, there are mixed drinks that feature fine Scotch with fun names that appeal to the younger crowd. Drinks like the rusty nail which features Scotch and Drambuie or the Scotch happy sour which features Scotch and cherry flavored brandy are fun drinks that the twenty-something's love to order. It is the unique taste of fine Scotch that sets it apart from the fad drinks that are all the rage today. There are a multitude of these kinds of mixed drinks, but to the true connoisseurs of fine whiskey, a cold scotch on the rocks is the only way to enjoy a fine scotch.
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