Scotch: How to Choose a Bottle of Whisky
Did you know we offer a cheese collection specifically designed to pair with whisky? Our Scotch Collection includes generous portions of Danish Blue Cheese, Gruyere, Cheddar, and Parmesan.
We thought we would put together some top tips to help you choose a scotch, as we know it can be rather daunting when you are faced with a shelf full of options.
What is Scotch?
Scotch is whisky that is made in Scotland. It is mostly made from malted barley, in comparison to American bourbon whiskey which is distilled from corn.
You will often hear a whisky described as ‘peaty’. This means that peat, an accumulation of decaying plant matter, has been used to help malt the barley. It imparts a smoky flavor with rich, grassy qualities.
Some whiskies are sweeter and will have flavors of fruit, vanilla, or spices. Malt and honey might come through, or for the lightest scotch, you may even taste floral notes.
Regions of Scotland
There are four recognized regions for scotch to come from: Highland, Speyside, Islay, and Lowland. Whilst there are some characteristics typical of these regions, this is due to the work of the disChotillery, not the growing conditions in each location. So, unlike when selecting a wine, you don’t need to be as tied to seeking out bottles from specific locations.
Because the Highland region is so large, there is a lot of variation, but generally speaking the whiskies are spicier in the North, whilst they become sweeter in the South. Lowland Scotch is generally lighter and less peaty. Speyside distilleries tend to produce malty, sweet scotch, whilst Islay use the most peat, producing very smokey whiskies with a dry finish.
Choosing a Scotch for you
Of course, you need to decide which flavors you prefer when it comes to your drink. Seek advice from your local shops and tell them what you do and do not like so that they can find you a whisky that fits your preferred flavor profile.
If you’re just starting out trying scotch, then you might want to try a light coloured bottle that will have sweet flavors, rather than going for an extremely smoky finish straight away. However, if you know that you love the smoky taste then don’t let us stop you from enjoying it!
How much to spend
Generally speaking, this is a drink that gets more expensive if it is older. This is not only due to the process involved in aging the whisky, but because they are likely to be rarer bottles. Whilst it is absolutely not essential to choose a more expensive, aged bottle, you will find that cheaper whiskies may not have the smoothness or richness of a more prestigious pour. It’s also important to check that you are buying a single malt scotch, rather than a blended whisky.
We hope you’ve enjoyed these tips and they help you to pick out your next bottle. Why not make an evening of it with our Scotch Collection? It can feed up to 20 guests so you’re sure to be able to put together a fun party.
What’s your favorite scotch? Let us know in the comments!