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Scotch drinkers

Discussion in 'Social Life, Food & Drink, Travel' started by jpeirpont, Jul 21, 2004.

  1. kalra2411

    kalra2411 Well-Known Member

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    Quote (kalra2411 @ 22 July 2004, 11:27)
    As a novice scotch drinker, I'm still working my way up through the blended varieties to start. Â I'm a fan of JW black label for certain, but my favorite has been Chivas Regal. I find it to have some almond notes compared to a slight smoky flavor in the JW. Â Given that these are blended varieties, how much of the flavor is a result of the blending process versus actual aging?
    I got a bit confused in my reply to you, you do realise that a blend is a blend of malts?
    Thanks for your compliment up a few, Kalra, but I have to disagree with you here. Almost all blends include straight run, continuous-column distilled grain (made of unmalted barley, corn and/or maize) whiskys in combination with a blend of various double pot distilled malt whiskys. This practice came into vogue around Victorian times because pure malt whiskys were deemed too strong for English tastes. Teachers, JW Red, Ballantine, Cutty Sark , J&B, White and Mackay, Chivas, Grouse, and even JW Black are in this category. Therefore, blends are not simply a blend of malts -- they are a blend of malts and grain whiskys, which is not a trival distinction, because the grain whiskys dilute the malt. JW Black and Teacher's, I believe, are two with higher concentrations of malt whisky in them. Now, I'm not too familiar with them, but JW Blue and/or Gold may be what is known as 'vatted whiskys' which are blends of only malt whiskys, but vatted whiskys are uncommon and are not what is generally referred to when one is speaking of a blended scotch. Regards, Huntsman[/quote] I see, sorry for giving wrong advice.
     
  2. kalra2411

    kalra2411 Well-Known Member

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    Must be because when people tell you the whiskys in the blend at tasting sessions, they only name the malts. So that is why I had that idea in m head.
     
  3. Huntsman

    Huntsman Well-Known Member

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    I'd say that most of the difference in flavor between blended whiskys are a result of the blending, because the grain whisky to malt whisky ratio is very important, as well as the region from which the malts in the blend are from, i.e., whether there are peaty Islays in there or gentler Lowland malts.

    The blend creates the inital whisky that aging adds to and improves -- but the foundation is still the blend. The longer the aging is, the more time the oak has to work with the scotch, so the more of an effect it can have.

    Once you get into aging distinctions, a whole different world opens up, because you can have scotches aged in barrels previously used for sherry, Yankee bourbon, and even port.
    Balvenie and Glenmorangie have various malts aged in different woods if you'd like to see the differences.

    To reiterate, it's mostly in the blend, for blended whiskys.

    Regards,
    Huntsman
     
  4. Huntsman

    Huntsman Well-Known Member

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    Yes, probably -- they really tend to downplay the grain whisky component. I was just looking at JW's website for a moment and I didn't see a thing about the grain whiskys (could have been there though), but it is true all the same.

    Regards,
    Huntsman
     
  5. kalra2411

    kalra2411 Well-Known Member

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    Huntsman in particular, but anyone, what are some grain whiskies (scotch), as I do not really know of any, perhaps if I hear the name I will know, but I don't know of any specifically as grain as opposed to malt.
     
  6. tattersall

    tattersall Well-Known Member

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    I think Cutty Sark is known as one of the blends with the highest grain (wheat) to malt proportion.

    Virtually all Canadian whiskies are made exclusively from Rye.
     
  7. Huntsman

    Huntsman Well-Known Member

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    I believe, Kalra, but can't swear to it, that the grain whiskys are run by the distiller, i.e, Johnnie Walker runs the grain whiskys they use in their house blends, and possibly sells them to other blenders as well. Â Since that continuous-column method is so easy, that makes sense, and I doubt if any of those grain whiskys would be marketed alone -- they are designed to be realtively neutral in character, as they are essentially a dilutant. If anyone else can offer insight into this, I'd be interested to hear as well. I'll also look into it myself, as my curiosity as been aroused. Regards, Huntsman
     
  8. kalra2411

    kalra2411 Well-Known Member

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    Originally Posted by kalra2411,22 July 2004, 1:38
    Huntsman in particular, but anyone, what are some grain whiskies (scotch), as I do not really know of any, perhaps if I hear the name I will know, but I don't know of any specifically as grain as opposed to malt.
    I think Cutty Sark is known as one of the blends with the highest grain (wheat) to malt proportion. Virtually all Canadian whiskies are made exclusively from Rye.
    Thank you for the help, but I meant Scottish ones, I was aware that allmost (if not all) non Scottish whiskys were not malt. EDIT: I have never heard of Cutty Sark, is that scottish?
     
  9. kalra2411

    kalra2411 Well-Known Member

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    Again I have made an error, upon further research, I have found that Green Label is a 'vatted whiskys' and not a single malt, sorry guys.
     
  10. VMan

    VMan Well-Known Member

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    (VersaceMan @ 22 July 2004, 7:31) Speaking of Johnny Walker... I was at the (large) liquor department of my local supermarket, and I checked out whiskeys - they had quite a nice selection, including many of the brands talked about on the forum. Â Their cap, however, was around $60. Â They had many in the $25-50 range, though. Anyway, I know as far as Johnny Walker, red label is the lowest and black is the highest. Â I was very surprised to find that red label was $22.50/liter, and black was $29/liter. Â Not much of a price difference. Â Is this the way it's supposed to be?
    No no no. Blue Label is the highest, it is about 150 pounds per bottle, so that is around $270 per bottle, then comes Gold Label, which (and the price varies a lot) is 70 (can be up to 100 in some places, and as low as 40) pounds per bottle, about $126. Then there is Green Label, the only single malt by Johnny Walker, it is around 60 pounds per bottle (again there is a similar situation for Green and Gold when it comes to price). Then comes Black and Red, though there are others aswell, Premier, Swing, Superior Swing, Oldest (a type of Blue Label), and the Centurion Blend (a type of Gold Label)
    Ok, thanks. For some reason, I thought someone mentioned that black label was the top.
     
  11. TCN

    TCN Well-Known Member

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    There's another neat seldom-seen (at least in the US) Johnny Walker blend called "Swing". I think it's a 20 year old.

    It's noted for its bottle that can swing back and forth without toppling over.
     
  12. kalra2411

    kalra2411 Well-Known Member

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    I drink Swing and Superior Swing quite often.
     
  13. arenn1

    arenn1 Well-Known Member

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    Originally Posted by arenn1,21 July 2004, 4:56
    I am a huge fan of scotch. Let me suggest that the best "entry level" Scotch is Aberlour 10-year, which can generally be purchased for under $30 a bottle. The best "premium" scotch I know is not a scotch at all, but an Irish whisky called Midleton Very Rare. It's the flagship brand of the Jameson distiller.
    Aberlour is entry-level, true, but he's already drinking Glenfiddich, which is similar in character, so I'd suggest at least a change. Again, I'm compelled to agree with Kalra, it's notes are very subtle. The reason you like both Aberlour and find that your favorite UK whisky is an Irish is this: Aberlour is very, very low in the peat department. Irish whiskys have no peat whatever. So they are similar, but less typical of a standard scotch, especially a single malt. Regards, Huntsman
    I can appreciate both. I like the Laphroaig as well [​IMG] Alas, scotch is yet another expensive habit I've acquired.
     
  14. JFK

    JFK Well-Known Member

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    John Glaser, who used to work for "a very large whiskey company" (which he does not further identify) started a company called Compass Box (http://www.compassboxwhisky.com/) several years ago to make his own blended whiskies. He makes the most amazing blend entirely from grain whiskies; it's called "Hedonism", and, at under US $100 a bottle, it's a bargain. I highly recommend it. As to single malts, I favor the Lagavulin 16-year-old (the quintessential Islay malt, in my opinion) and the MacAllan 12 or 15-year-old (for the Speyside experience), but my current favorite (of what's in my cupboard right now) is the Highland Park Bicentenary Distiller's Reserve; an amazing 21-year-old distilled in 1977 (and, actually, I'd say Highland Park is my favorite distillery so far). And yes, Cognac is a very natural choice as a compliment to a taste for single malt scotch; my favorites so far have been a Pierre Ferrand (the 1962 "Memoires"; simply stunning) and a Maison Surrenne (an Unblended Grand Champagne designated as Lot 1946/137, which was distilled in 1946 and lay undiscovered in one of the house's cellars until 1997; this was the most amazingly complex spirit I've ever tasted, bar none). For everyday cognacs, I like the Ferrand "Selection des Anges" and the Maison Surrenne Legacy XO. By the way, there's another connection between scotch and cognac: as distilled spirits age in the cask, over the course of the years, a certain percentage evaporates; distillers in Scotland refer to the whiskey lost in this manner as "the Angel's Share" - distillers in Cognac refer to it as "Selection des Anges". I'm not sure if the term originated in both places independently, or if it started in one place and migrated to the other. (Boy, I do go on... [​IMG] ) Before I shut up, "whiskey" (or "whisky" or even "whiskie") is the English corruption of the gaelic "usquebaugh", which translates roughly as "water of life" (the same as "vodka", "aquavit", and "eau-de-vie"). Cheers. (edited to include this answer to the original question...) I've never tried the method described, but I'm very fond of eating chocolate while drinking single malt (not simultaneously, though, I'll have a bit of chocolate, and then a sip of whisky; it's a fantastic combination when you pair the right chocolate with the right whisky. For instance, if I'm drinking the Hedonism blend I mentioned above, Godiva dark chocolate is the perfect complement; of course, you'll have to experiment to find what works for your palate).
     
  15. Huntsman

    Huntsman Well-Known Member

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    Did some checking. Apparently there are grain whisky distilleries. Further, I was wrong in considering them merely an additive, as some of them seem to be made for drinking rather. This link shows the products made by Diego Plc, who own Johnnie Walker and many other distilleries. There are several grain whiskys amongst their products. Diego Products Also, if you go to the website of Berry Bros & Rudd, (superb site and a favorite of mine) the oldest liquor and wine merchant in the UK, you can get grain whisky, in fact, one of the ones listed in the above, Cameron Brig: Cameron Brig at BBR By the way, BBR created Cutty Sark blended whisky, Kalra, and it is one of the world's best-selling scotches. I use it to mix -- it sure is better to me than Dewar's. Admittedly, it has a bigger following on my side of the Atlantic than yours... Regards, Huntsman
     
  16. Huntsman

    Huntsman Well-Known Member

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    Very interesting about the Hedonism grain whisky, JFK. I read about it at the website and am intrigued. I'm a bit confused though, can it rightly be called scotch with no malt whatever...? Still, I must try it. Highland Park is certainly very well regarded, though it didn't hit me right when I tried it (merely the standard example). Maybe I was having a bad day. I never mind re-sampling a scotch [​IMG]. And my, you are certainly leagues above me in the Cognac department. Those are some sweet examples you speak of. In Sherry, they also speak of the Angel's Share, btw... Happy tasting, with regards, Huntsman
     
  17. kalra2411

    kalra2411 Well-Known Member

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    (kalra2411 @ 22 July 2004, 1:38) Huntsman in particular, but anyone, what are some grain whiskies (scotch), as I do not really know of any, perhaps if I hear the name I will know, but I don't know of any specifically as grain as opposed to malt.
    Did some checking. Apparently there are grain whisky distilleries. Further, I was wrong in considering them merely an additive, as some of them seem to be made for drinking rather. This link shows the products made by Diego Plc, who own Johnnie Walker and many other distilleries. There are several grain whiskys amongst their products. Diego Products Also, if you go to the website of Berry Bros & Rudd, (superb site and a favorite of mine) the oldest liquor and wine merchant in the UK, you can get grain whisky, in fact, one of the ones listed in the above, Cameron Brig: Cameron Brig at BBR By the way, BBR created Cutty Sark blended whisky, Kalra, and it is one of the world's best-selling scotches. I use it to mix -- it sure is better to me than Dewar's. Admittedly, it has a bigger following on my side of the Atlantic than yours... Regards, Huntsman
    Thank you very much Huntsman.
     
  18. kalra2411

    kalra2411 Well-Known Member

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    Their shop is just nearby to me, it is very good for wine, but there are better places for rare whiskys. The best shop I have been to for scotch is the one in the Metropolitan Hotel (Old Park Lane, the hotel with the Met Bar and Nobu in it), I do not know the name of the shop, but the selection there just blows my mind.
     
  19. JFK

    JFK Well-Known Member

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    It's my understanding that in order to be called "Scotch", a whiskey must be made in Scotland (for instance, Suntory malt whiskey - even though it is in many people's opinion a very fine malt - cannot be called "Scotch" because it's made in Japan). As far as I know, as long as a spirit meets those two criteria (that it's a whiskey, and that it's made in Scotland), it may be called "Scotch". I'm no expert, though, and could very well be wrong about the second part. [​IMG]
    I definitely recommend such a resampling; the older Highland Parks (18 years and above) are uniformly excellent whiskies, in my opinion, and well worth revisiting. [​IMG]
    Yes, they were; the Memoires and the Unblended 1946 I mentioned were both special indulgences to celebrate personal milestones, and well worth the extravagance.
    I wasn't aware that the term was more widespread, although I suppose it is an apt analogy in the case of any aged spirit where evaporation takes it toll... Regards, JFK
     
  20. tattersall

    tattersall Well-Known Member

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    Just checked it out: Cutty Sark was blended with the North American market in mind which is probably why Kalra hadn't heard of it. I too use it to mix and find it perfectly adequate.
     

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