Monday, September 8, 2014

Reader Question: How do you drink your scotch?


Reader Question for the Community:
As we segue into Autumn, a question for the community: Single malt scotches, are smoke and peat essential?  Over rated?  Best regards.

37 comments:

  1. My husband is the expert, but I am pretty sure smoke and peat are essential, at least in the fall. He's partial to Lagavulin, although Isle of Jura is very medicinal-tasting and one can justify taking it as a palliative for just about anything.

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  2. Among the whisky cognoscenti, the joke runs "in a glass". Purists do not adulterate their drinks. That said however, why be fussy. If you love ice, go for it. When the air cools down, we think it tastes best neat.

    Lagavulin is a great autumnal choice. Remember there are many to choose from. When in doubt, speak with a specialist. There is not just one great whisky. Whisky is like poetry.

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  3. I enjoy the peat flavor and miss its absence, but at this point I'll be happy to drink whatever will best assist the No campaign in the independence referendum.

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  4. My maternal grandfather was a (blended) scotch&water over ice kind of guy whereas my step-dad and I prefer single malts neat in (preferably) a crystal scotch glass.

    Best Regards,

    Heinz-Ulrich von B.

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  5. A Laphoaig fan and drinker here. Extra heavy on the smoke and peat.

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  6. My favorite is Laphroig 10 year old in a crystal glass with 1 ice cube (I am American after all!). There are so many excellent single malts and good blends that are interesting and satisfying on a cool evening in front of a warming fire...tasting complexities that, in my mind anyway, make scotch whisky so compelling. That being said, in warmer months (in CT/RI), a cheaper blend with a few cubes is the way to go...maybe even with some club soda...nothing more refreshing except perhaps a G&T.
    The best thing to remember is that personal taste preferences trump anything anyone says. SNP

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  7. Well, I personally don't drink Scotch, but I agree that personal taste trumps all. Oh, and don't mix it with driving!

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  8. I'm another fan of Laphroaig. Cool or cold weather imbibing only. I usually drink it neat but I have had it with a couple of cubes too. Great to sip by the fireplace with a good book or good friends.

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  9. IMHO, the smokier and peatier the better: Lagavulin, Talisker, and Ardbeg are my favorites. On the rocks or straight up. Here's a way to have fun...the Malts Cruise, a sailing and scotch-tasting cruise of the western isles. http://www.worldcruising.com/Malts_Cruise/event.aspx
    ~Hearthstone Farm

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  10. I drink my scotch with tonic and a lime...and I substitute Bombay Sapphire for the scotch. I find it's the perfect drink for all seasons.

    -Mike

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  11. While in Scotland, the Laird of Duns Castle wrote an address to a small Edinburgh wine shop on a piece of paper and told me to stop in. “If you want good whiskey to take home, mention my name,” he said quite seriously. In Scotland, whiskey is not to be taken lightly.

    I did as I was told and came out of the shop with six bottles: Knockando, Oban, Macallans 30, Bunnahabhain, Lagavulin and Laphroaig. Three of these I had already tasted, along with a most unusual Welsh whiskey while visiting Hay-on-Wye. The Welsh innkeeper had retrieved an ancient bottle hidden behind many others, dusted it off, and poured. “Better than you’ll ever find in Scotland,” she claimed. Of course I told her it was fabulous, even though it tasted like adhesive tape, but the roast lamb that day was fabulous, no white lie needed.

    Anyway, my hoard sat in an old dry sink at home until one day soon after my return, I decided to embark on a health regimen, clearly an extemporaneous decision. I cut out sugar, sodas, all junk food, spirits and took up running. The unopened six bottles I gave away to a friend who had a deep appreciation for fine whiskey and always drank it neat. You should have seen his face as I handed the cardboard box to him. It took him several years to finish them off as he sipped away, one tedious wee dram at a time.

    A final note, if you order food in Scotland with “gravy”, this means that whiskey will be added to your dish. At least that’s what the Laird told me, and he was a serious man, especially when it came to whiskey.

    MGC

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  12. Sign me up for the "my favorite Scotch is a G&T" club. But my grandmother and aunt drank blended Scotch with water, often prepared by me (as a child!), often, right up until the end. The only thing that changed was the amount of water, increasing as they aged. Sort of a Scotch version of coffeemilk.

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  13. Ardbeg, Caol Ila, Glenlivet for me. Having planted my flag in peat on Islay, I will also say that in my experience a bit of still water added to the (un-iced, room temperature) dram dulls only the alcohol burn and not the flavor.

    A writer for Cooks Illustrated (!) got it right... Start with equal parts water and whisky, drink, reduce the water, drink, and repeat until the right mix is found or you fall asleep, whichever is first.

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  14. To me....Scotch tastes like perfectly good Bourbon sucked through a Kingsford briquette.

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  15. Grouse among blended scotches with rocks, tonic and lime; and Lagavulin, come winter, neat!

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  16. In answer to the question: Not at all. I am a former (reformed?) Scotch drinker. I am with anonymous Mike at 3:40. I'll have another Bombay and tonic, thank you.

    Razor Boy

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  17. Out of a bottle cleverly disguised as good Bourbon...

    John B

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  18. I was going to make the joke that has already been made! G&T, please. In the fall, I make a pumpkin spice gin and tonic.
    Could barely keep a straight face typing that. Yuck! For the holidays, my family cocktail is puréed cranberry and orange zest drowned in gin. The long-running joke is that my great grandmother dropped her perpetual G&T (9 gin:1 tonic) into the cranberry relish one Thanksgiving and called it a cocktail. It's delicious and has great color (and will liven any family holiday).

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  19. I like different brands of scotch all the accepted ways - neat, bit of water, ice cube, or crushed ice (scotch mist). When I was younger and on an ulcer diet, I drank scotch with milk and sugar syrup - like milk punch.

    I also like G&T. I keep Bombay, Hendrick's, Tanqueray, Plymouth, and Beefeater - depending on my mood.

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  20. Macallans for me...learned it from my father and grandfather.

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  21. Give me an Irish whiskey any day. As my granny used to say while she poured the Bushmills, if you want the taste of peat, you're welcome to clean the hob!

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  22. The best I ever tasted was Macallan 25. For a good everyday-Famous Grouse or Macallan 12.

    Jrandyv
    Vancouver WA

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  23. Laphroaig or Lagavulin, with just a few drops of water. The smoke and the peat are essential in my mind (otherwise you might as well just drink Irish whisky), and I love the phenolic qualities of the Isla whiskies.

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  24. It surprises me to see that no one has mentioned Springbank yet.

    Springbank is one of the few remaining family owned Scottish whiskey distilleries. I think that the distillery in fact still is owned by offspring to the founder. Springbank is also one of only two distilleries in Scotland to perform every step in the whisky making process, from malting the barley to bottling the spirit.

    There are three varieties of Springbank whereof Longrow Single Malt is supposed to be smoky in similarity with Lagavulin and Laphroaig.

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  25. " How do you drink your scotch ? "

    Generally through my mouth.

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  26. I stopped drinking alcohol 24 years ago. When I did drink Scotch, I drank medium-bodied blends (Dewar's, White Horse, or Usher's) with water and ice.

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  27. Drink scotch neat like a man. Do not add chlorinated water or ice made from the same. I like to add a bit of Perrier water to my glass of Johnnie Walker during the warmer months.

    I'm also fond of drinking Laphroig during the frigid and snowy months and, furthermore, it has been granted a royal warrant by the Prince of Wales.

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  28. Drink it however you like it best! Good booze and good company don't waste time with pretentiousness.

    With that said, hopefully most are smart enough to not insult anyone by putting seltzer in their drink when a friend offers you a dram of their favorite single malt.

    -MH

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  29. Rocks + 1/3 Grouse + 2/3 club soda.

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  30. Rocks in the HHH weather; neat from now on in a teensy, tiny little demitasse cup that makes me sip it sloooooooowwwly! ; )

    Clan McGregor blended. Not only is it cheap when bought in the BIG bottle, but my dear friend who lived to be almost 103 slowly savored two of them on the rocks every single night of her adult life; in her last years, they helped her fall down the stairs gracefully and alight unhurt and giggling . . . more than once!

    Why mess with THAT kind of record?

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  31. I enjoy medium-bodied scotch on ice and/or with a splash. I don't care for the smoke or the peat flavors -- I've smelled many a peat fire on a wet day and, to me, there is nothing more off-putting.

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  32. Highland Park or Balvenie, neat, served in a Glencairn Whisky Glass. Last year we had the pleasure of dining in Edinburgh Castle before a performance of the annual Tattoo. Since then, my husband (who had always been a bourbon drinker) is now a single malt man.

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  33. I take mine neat, but lately I've been enjoying pure pot still blended Redbreast Irish Whiskey.

    Cheers, Michael

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  34. Splash of water, no ice.

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  35. Laphroaig and Oban come to mind. Anything but neat seems a sacrilege but I am willing to learn. That said, 'peaty' is a comfort when there is a chill in the air.

    Kim
    ~DuneLight.Wordpress.com

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  36. Scotch and soda over ice in a tall glass is my favorite. I don't usually drink in places that serve bad liquor, so I'm not fussy about what they are using to mix it. If I drink it straight I prefer US bourbon on the rocks, one with vanilla and caramel overtones, such as Maker's Mark. I also love fruit brandy such as Calvados or Eau de vie de poire (with the pear in the bottle). Homemade blackberry brandy in a flask at a football game is an annual event for me (don't tell my teenage sons!). All of the above are great fall drinks.

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