Sunday, February 15, 2015

Single Malt Scotch Whisky Exploration

Single Malt Scotch Whisky

My first Scotch in Scotland
As I am a big fan of cognac, Irish Whiskey, and Bourbon, I was looking forward to trying Scotch Whisky in the land where it was invented, distilled, and for which it is famous.  The twist is, I don’t enjoy the taste of peat or smoke, and so many Scotch Whiskies are heavily laden with both peat & smoke.  I was delighted to find out not all of them are.

Waiting for my colleagues on Thursday after work at the hotel bar, I partook of an Oban, 14 years, “medium bodied with fresh peat and a whiff of the sea”.  It was a fine introduction, and I savored each sip.

I then moved on to Bowmore, 12 Years - subtle notes of lemon and honey with distinctive smokiness.  Nice, but a little too much smoke for me.

Dalwhinnie, 15 years - creamy vanilla, heather honey & just a hint of highland smoke.  It was enjoyable.

At dinner I had a Highland Park - characteristic honey sweetness followed by fruit - and it was a pleasure for my taste buds.  

A fine dinner of aged, local, British beef with mushrooms, lively conversations with my 3 colleagues, a glass of Monkey Shoulder - a blended Scotch Whisky the kids are drinking now-a-days -  and we were off to the Bon Accord, rated (on Google) as “the 2nd best whisky bar in Glasgow” and walking distance from the Hilton.  I think Google was wrong, and it is actually “the best whisky bar” not only in Glasgow, but perhaps all of Scotland. Excellent service, friendly atmosphere, a selection of +300 whiskies as well as a variety of drafts. 

Thomas, the owner’s son, recommended a Glen Dronach, 12 year, aged in Sherry Casks.  It was amazing, smooth, and remarkable - for 12 pounds, it should be.  Knowing I did not like smoke, Thomas recommended an Isle of Jura 10 year and a Glenmorangie Original 10 years.  Both were excellent drams.  I bid farewell to my colleagues, and walked back to my hotel, digesting the evening.
Bon Accord has excellent steaks as well

When I awoke on Friday morning, I had 10 seconds of “ught-oh… is this going to be a bad morning?”  Sat up, cleared my head, and found I was fine.  In slow motion, but no head ache, no nausea, no loss of balance.  En plein forme.  Did some email, slowly did yoga, grabbed a good breakfast of haggis, and walked into work.  

Friday night, the exploration continued.  
Auchentoshan 12 year
Glengoyne 10 years
Balvenie Double Wood 12 years
Glengoyne A’Buna
Aberlour A’Banadh
Old Putney 12 years
A glass of Bon Accord Glen Grant 20 years
and finally, a glass of secret batch, made only for the tasting society of Scotland of which owner Paul McDonagh is a member.  No name on the bottle, just a number, ordered by the father and poured by the son to give to their delighted Californian customer.  It was an amazing way to end the night.

I am a Huge Fan of single malt Scotch.  Tasty, delicious, high quality, no hang-over, magical.  If you’ve never tried it…  you’ve been missing out.


  1. I know what we'll be looking for on our next trip to the liquor store.....

  2. no, it's like Pomerol and St.Julien... delicious, but not sustainable to my less-than-millionaire life-style.

  3. Glad you've joined the ranks of Scotch appreciators. Wonderful stuff. As you've found, plenty of lighter and more floral or sweet varieties that air dry their malt so don't have the heavy smokey peat if you don't care for that sort of thing.

  4. If you have not read "Paddle Your Own Canoe" ... you should.

    I am sad that it took me almost 50 years to come to appreciate such a wonderfully crafted & amazing art form, that is Scotch.


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