Scotch 101

Discussion in 'The Connoisseur' started by Lady Day, Feb 27, 2008.

  1. Smithy

    Smithy I'll Lock Up

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    Remember that was during the war when obtaining certain particular bottles of spirits was not guaranteed. There are a number of other references and accounts that after the war Winnie's oft ordered drink was Black Label.

    What is fairly certain is that Johnnie Walker whiskies were popular with the great man.
     
  2. manton

    manton A-List Customer

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    No, not during the war. Manchester wrote it in the context of the '30s.

    Maybe after the war he switched.
     
  3. metropd

    metropd One Too Many

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    Why do I care? I voted for Clement Attlee. After the Johnny Walker of course.
     
  4. Smithy

    Smithy I'll Lock Up

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    We'll try not to hold that against you!
     
  5. manton

    manton A-List Customer

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    Some book, I forgot which one, describes how after the election, Churchill went to see the king. When he came out of the place, he got into a big black chauffer-driven Rolls Royce and was whisked away. Just as he left, Atlee puttered up in this little economy car smaller than the Rolls' trunk. He of course drove himself.

    The Changing of the Guard indeed.
     
  6. metropd

    metropd One Too Many

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    Very eloquently said Manton with that sharp yet dry British wit.
     
  7. mtechthang

    mtechthang One of the Regulars

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    Longish reply

    BT- I won't argue the Springbank as "best" part- that's taste, imho (I love Springbank- but think there's better!)

    Anyhoo, To the original notion, I think you are spot on, BT. Malts for uniqueness (thus favored for newbies!). Start with single malts. Blends can be cheap and muddled (thus hard to distinguish) or beautiful and complex. Single malts are "narrower" at least the less expensive ones are likely to be. That is, in fact, what distinguished an 18 year old Highland Park say (85 - 100/bottle) and a 8 - 10 year old Dalwinnie or Glenfiddich. Blends can be delightful, full, complex, and even, dare I say it, better than singles! But you have to know how to "note" the different flavors. Talisker can often be found on sale also and is the foundation for many blends so is a must to learn.

    I think it was said above that the Michael Jackson and other introductory books are a good bet to help your "education" in the fine art of enjoying Scotch. (Ok, I'll give away my preferences- Favorites, Macallan 12-year old (I know, the older is better- I like the "edge" and complexity to the 12 year old), Highland Park 18 (I've tried Scotch that costs 10 times as much- it is only different not better!), Laphroaig (several- cask strength recently). Those are what I drink most- (newbies- stay away from Islays- especially Laphroaig! To start at least. Some are my favorites but they are BIG, very to exceptionally peaty/smoky, and salty).

    A better first course in Scotch Whisky drinking is available by printing all the advice from this thread!!! It doesn't all agree but that, imho, is a great starting point. Pick the ones where there is disagreement and taste them both Btw- find friends who are Scotch drinkers. They are a warm and sharing group who will gladly sit with you and taste and share what they've learned. For most of us that includes our cache! Currently for me that's about 15 bottles- it'd be more but I also adore Whiskey so have about that in Bourbons and half that many in Irish). Gosh I'm getting thirsty!!!
     
  8. mtechthang

    mtechthang One of the Regulars

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    Huh??

    :eek:fftopic:
    (Said with a deep southern accent!) I beg your pardon, sir! :) (Just kidding). But the whiskey in a western is very unlikely a bourbon as we'd know it. More likely rye and closer to a modern Canadian - that's unfair also. Mostly it was bad stuff from what I hear but if it said bourbon it was very unlikely to be what we'd recognize as that today. :)
    :eek:fftopic:
     
  9. Highlander

    Highlander A-List Customer

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    Yes, sir, I think I knew that. :) Red Eye was one of the things it was called as I recall, and I am sure it wasn't BOOKERS :) (another of my favorites, but that's for another place).

    I am sure turpintine was closer to the taste.

    The thing it seems most folks don't understand it TAKE YOUR TIME. Sip it. Enjoy the nuances as the whiskey floats on your tongue. Each of the various flavors as it falls over the various taste areas... Ah, yes, I think I am thirsty... Off for a pour of the Laphroaig I believe.
     
  10. dhermann1

    dhermann1 I'll Lock Up

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    For years now I've noticed on the dessert menus of good restaurants that they served both cognacs and scotch as an after dinner drink. I never really thought much about it. I've always enjoyed cognac, but I tried about half a shot of Chivas Regal this evening after dinner, neat, and it was a revelation! I think I'll do it again. And again.
     
  11. mtechthang

    mtechthang One of the Regulars

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    You sir, are correct!!!

    Highlander- I bet you are correct!! :eek:

    Yes. That's the "secret" of it all. That and Bourbon is best with ice. Small amount. Let it sit - 2 minutes (some of the very best Bourbon does fine or even best w/o ice). For Scotch, a few drops of filtered water- never ice! :eusa_clap :eusa_clap :eusa_clap

    Good whisky/whiskey glasses are also a plus but not required. (no paper or plastic though!) :eusa_doh:

    Favorites. That's difficult for Bourbon- I keep going back to Woodford Reserve though several of the small batch bourbons are quite good as well as some of the *old standard* premiums.
     
  12. Phil

    Phil A-List Customer

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    I'm not big on drinking, however, if you're going to drink scotch, it must be done in a large armchair, near a fire, in a velvet robe of a bugundy hue.:p
    Also, you have to cock one of your eyebrows when you take a sip.
     
  13. Highlander

    Highlander A-List Customer

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    Hi Phil:

    Lets see, I have the smoking jacket, the fire place, the overstuffed/tufted leather chair. I am now working on cocking the one eye... Now, I pressume that's a LIFTED brow correct? I don't want to get that part wrong.. :)
     
  14. rikrdo

    rikrdo A-List Customer

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    Single Malts are overrated and overpriced......

    but, hey !! Thats just my 2CW [huh]

    Ive had many tastes of Scotch in my day and
    For my money:

    Chivas Regal 18y/o is probably as good as it gets. ($50)
    For every day consumption its hard to beat Johnnie Walker Black Label ($25)
    and bang for your buck booze goes to Teachers Highland Cream ($17)
    all are blends.



    I like to pour mine into a shaker with some ice, stir until chilled and then strain into a bucket.
     
  15. Some new form of Citroen?

    Overpriced, yes: Especially Chivas and Johnnie Walker products. But i disagree with the over-rated part.

    bk
     
  16. BellyTank

    BellyTank I'll Lock Up

    I was given a large glass of Scotch, two nights ago and upon tasting it, was very intrigued as to which it was.
    It was, surprisingly, Ballantynes- blended and it tasted pretty good.

    I don't much dabble in blends...

    It's always easier to experiment with someone else's booze.

    I would never have bought a bottle of Ballantynes but if the price is good,
    I just might.

    Springbank, Ardbeg, Laphroaig.

    B
    T
     
  17. My father in law gave me some Bushmills when we visited down under last month (i introduced him to Lagavulin). First time i'd had a blend in a while. I never complain about free blended whiskey, but i probably wouldn't buy it. I find it a little (a lot, actually) characterless, but that's the nature of a blend and the reason for blending: to make it "more palatable". Even the speyside malts have character, of an admittedly limited nature. For the slight increase in price i'll stuck with malts over blends.

    bk
     
  18. Over priced?

    I would like to review the making of the whisky to give some insights as to how it is made to dispell questions of prices.

    The distiller takes the barley and any other grains from the famer. If they are malted that is a step and the barley is peat smoked so there is a step.

    They are ground or broken open.
    They are added to hot water at precise temperatures is get the carbs to convert to sugars.
    This is cooled.
    Placed into a fermenter.
    Propriatary yeast is added to brew a beer,
    Fermentation is carefully watched.
    The beer is then moved to the distiller.
    It is heated.
    The alcohol comes off thru the chiller.
    Often this is re-distilled.
    Then it is placed in pre-used bourbon barrels and sometimes others like sherry.

    Held for years 6-8-12-25 and on to mellow, it is sometimes shifted in the warehouse.
    Some are moved to other barrels along the way.

    I am not sure as to how much grains yeilds how much whisky but that is the first downsizing and first step up in cost, then manufacturing then the lengthy storage depending on the age you want to release. Bottling, shipping and TAXES all come into play. It seems that a lot of the hard liquors avasilable should actually cost more than they do.:eek:
     
  19. The process is almost entirely automated; certainly from what i saw at the Speyside distilleries. I haven't been to the Island distilleries or the West Coast ones so i don't know about them. This ain't moonshine, it's a streamlined scientific process these days.

    I agree that the waiting for years - watching your capital and doing nothing with it - probably has a bit to do with it (price).


    bk
     
  20. It may not be hand crafted but all of the steps are there and have to be done to make the product. The big ones have continuous distilling with steam but the little ones may still do batches in pot stills. So far they haven't figured out how to outsource to China yet.
     

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