To have created the pleasure of the single-malt Scotch is a magnificent achievement. How odd, then, to keep it almost a secret, which the Scots have done for decades. There is a charm to the reserve of the Highlander and Islander, but thank heavens they let slip the gift of single malts.
Scotch Hunter :: A Guide To Single Malt ScotchThe single malts are the most natural of spirits, formed more than any other by their environment. For the same reason, they are the most individualistic. One arouses the appetite before dinner, another soothes the digestion; one likes to follow a round of golf, another prefers a book at bedtime.
No other spirit offers such diversity of character. The same single malt may evolve in character with age and strength, according to the type of wood in which it has come to maturity. The products of more than a hundred malt distilleries have at one time or another in recent years been made available as single malts. Some are available at only one standard age, others are “vintage” dated, with the year of distillation and sometimes of bottling. Some are available in a wide variety of ages, and others at more than one strength. Some single malts can currently be found in half a dozen or more bottlings.
Which malt is best? Some are clearly more characterful than others, but they also vary in dryness and sweetness, fullness and lightness, crispness and roundness, assertiveness and elegance; in nose, body, palate and finish. A light, dry, aromatic malt may be better before dinner; a fuller, sweeter, rounder one afterwards. A soft malt may be a restorative after a walk; a heavier, smokier one might be better at bedtime.
This web site provides its user with a basic introduction to the world of the single malt. A few pages of history and the manufacturing process are followed a brief encouragement to store and serve properly this most precious of liquors. But perhaps the most helpful guidance found in these pages is the listing of distillery regions, the corresponding characteristics of the scotch produced in them, and a ranking of the various distilleries. Much of the information contained in this section of the web was obtained from Michael Jackson’s Malt Whiskey Companion, 3rd Edition and the Whiskey Shop. The authors wish to acknowledge these important resources.
Once this orientation is complete, develop your own tasting skills and visit our tasting notes. Then begin your own quest to find the perfect single malt.