In honor of my Aunt and Uncle gallivanting around Scotland right now, I’ve decide to post about one of my favorite drinks in the entire world (and to quote from one of my favorite movies Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy): Scotch whiskey. I love single malts, double malts and blends.
I love the smokey and peaty taste of whiskeys from the highlands. One in particular, Laiphoig, loves me as well. The distillery, and their customer relationship marketing program, has deeded to me a small plot of land near their water source. If I show up at the distillery, they owe me a dram. Lovely.
I also love really old and expense whiskeys. For my 30th birthday I asked for and (surprisingly) received a bottle of 30 year old single malt scotch. Even more surprising was that the distillery it came from was located in Invergordon, the small Highlands town 45 minutes north of Inverness where I stayed on a small croft of land back in 1998 thanks to my college’s H.O.S.T. program./ I wound up touring the Highlands, visiting Ullapool and other out of the way towns and watched “Four Weddings and a Funeral” with the family I stayed with at night after dinner. The only thing that wasn’t perfect about the visit was that the family I stayed with were from a centuries old Scottish clan, they were English who moved to Scotland to practice dentistry.
I also love simple whiskeys. In thinking through what whiskey I wanted them to bring back for me, I immediately thought of Bailie Nicol Jarvie, a blended whiskey that the dock workers used to drink way back when. It was revived in the 70’s and recommended to me the first time I went to Scotland. I brought back three bottles to London – one for me, one for my dad and one for my Uncle who is now in the land of Scots (and no, the trouble with Scotland is not that its full of Scots like Longshanks said in “Braveheart”)
Lastly, to recap what I stated at the start, I just love scotch. I love talking about my love with my sister-in-law, who annoyingly keeps being pregnant when we hang out thus negating our ability to enjoy a wee dram together. England’s newspaper “The Independent” seems to love scotch whiskey as well as it has a listing of what they are calling the ten best scotch whiskeys – yum! – but you need to click through 11 pages to see the 10 choices. I know this type of article increases ad impressions and therefore ad revenue for the paper and these “top 10” lists are catnip but it still, it’s annoying. So, in case you don’t feel like looking at the pretty bottles, I’ve posted the list below.
- Johnnie Walker Black Label:Perfectly rounded, deep and full, this is the blended Scotch most admired by blenders. If I had to take only one whisky to a desert island, it would probably be this one.
- Lagavulin 16 Year Old:The prince of the Islay malts, this is deep and dark, with notes of fruitcake and sweet seaweed. A voluptuous texture and a fragrant, smoky finish. For drinking with poetry, late into the night
- The Glenrothes 1985: A big, rich Speyside, with notes of dried fruits and peel and some spicy or tannic dryness. Drink with roast Aberdeen Angus beef. The last remaining drops of this vintage have now been bottled.
- Old Pulteney 12 Year Old: An elegant malt from Wick in the far north of Scotland, this has a lightly “maritime” character and goes well with fish and seafood. The distinctive bottle features a traditional Wick herring drifter.
- Clynelish 14 Year Old: A North Highland malt, from the coast of Sutherland. Fresh and heathery, with waxy notes reminiscent of a High Church. Drink from the deep freeze in chilled glasses with dessert ? you will be amazed! 46 per cent ABV
- Auchentoshan 18 Year Old: A triple-distilled Lowland single malt, from a distillery overlooking the River Clyde. Refreshing, even invigorating, and light in style, this makes an excellent apéritif.
- Asyla: An uncommon (and uncommonly good) blended Scotch, from the Signature Range of the artisan whisky maker Compass Box. Sweet and delicate, this is ideal as an aperitif.
- Highland Park: 18 Year Old bA distinguished, rich, complex and slightly smoky malt from the Orkney Islands, to accompany coffee, dark chocolate and cigars. A most satisfactory balance of sweet and dry, with dryness winning in the finish.
- Bailie Nicol Jarvie: An entirely different creature ? light in style, clean and zesty. Easy to drink, this is a blended whisky from the Glenmorangie distillery in the Highlands, named after a character in Walter Scott’s novel, ‘Rob Roy’.
- Talisker 10 Year Old: From the Isle of Skye, this is THE malt to accompany haggis (and many other dishes). Sweet and lightly smoky, but watch out for the chilli-pepper hit in the finish. Robert Louis Stevenson regarded Talisker as “the king of drinks”.
Drink up! Slainte! L’chaim!