Single Malt and Scotch Notes

There’s so many whisky thoughts running through my head right now that I’m afraid I’m going to lose some of them. So I’m going to make some quick notes in hopes of elaborating later.

1. Mackmyra single malt Swedish whisky I had a nice long conversation yesterday with Mackmyra’s New York office head, Jonathan Luks. The brand’s story is really interesting: it was starting by a group of friends about 12 years ago when they asked each other why, when Sweden is such a big market for whisky, there was no Swedish whisky. They’ve got a huge following in Sweden (more than 100,000 fans on Facebook, almost as many as Maker’s Mark has), and they entered the US market — specifically the New York metro area — in April of this year. While the brand makes more than a dozen varieties, the one available so far in the US is a light, sweet, smooth style of 100% single malt barley whisky that’s aged in a combination of Jack Daniels American oak and Swedish oak barrels.

2. The Glenrothes The Speyside distillery is about to release the newest addition to its line of vintage single malt scotches: 1995. I managed to procure sample bottles of this and an earlier bottling, the 1994 vintage. While many scotch distilleries bottle whiskies based on age, The Glenrothes has been doing by vintage. It’s a very old distillery, established in 1879, but for most of its life it created scotch for blends, and only began marketing single malts in the 1980s.

3. Teacher’s After a long and semi-scientific search for the perfect value in blended scotch whisky, I settled on Teacher’s. I wanted something I could use with abandon in cocktails, a blended scotch that had flavor, but was affordable enough that I didn’t get squeamish about mixing it. Teacher’s was created in 1863 by William Teacher, who started selling his blend in his wife’s Glasgow grocery shop. It uses, among others, Ardmore single malt as part of its blend (Teacher’s founded that distillery in 1899), and it claims to have invented to now ubiquitous “self opening bottle” — the capped, recloseable cork most single malt scotches use — in 1913. Teacher’s sells for just over $20, an incredible bargain for the quality.

4. Bowmore Legend Once I had my ideal blended scotch for mixing, I needed a great value in single malt scotch. I may have found it in Bowmore Legend, an “entry level” single malt from the Islay distiller that retails for under $30. I first came upon Bowmore Legend via an article about Rusty Nails. The simple scotch and Drambuie cocktail, Fredo Ceraso writes, is vastly improved by using a single malt like Bowmore Legend instead of a blended scotch.

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4 Responses to Single Malt and Scotch Notes

  1. My comment is partly related to this post and partly to the name of your blog: the way whiskey notes appear in fragrance. Annick Goutal Vetiver smells just like Caol Ila single malt.

  2. Wow, I’ll have to try both. These kinds of meetings between spirits and fragrances are what inspired me to start this blog. Gin and fragrances have a lot in common, and a good handful of cognac companies also make colognes, but I haven’t seen enough scotch connections. If you think about it, some of the descriptions you’d read of the nose of a great whiskey could easily describe a fine fragrance.

    For instance, here’s spirits critic Paul Pacult describing the nose of a new Thomas H. Handy Sazerac Cask Strength Kentucky Straight Rye Whiskey: “The fruit element (strawberry, raspberry) in the initial sniffs is immediately appealing and begs for more inhalation; seven minutes into aeration, the floral (dried rose petal?), spicy, and fruity bouquet treats the olfactory mechanism to multilayered splendor in the forms of roses, honeysuckle, Demarara sugar, and new leather.”

  3. Perfect example. The Macallan has now released The Macallan Aroma Box in association with Roja Dove. I copy from the Perfumeshrine: In this scent kit, the first 6 scents showcase the more common characteristics of whisky, arranged in pairs of opposites so as to provide an education by contrasts to the nose. The next 6 phials represent Dove’s interpretation of the essential sensory character of The Macallan matured in Spanish oak, sherry seasoned casks and American oak casks, seasoned with both sherry and bourbon, thus experiencing how wood affects the colour, flavour and fragrances of the finished product.

  4. Pingback: The Scotch and Soda Variations | cocktails & cologne

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