Scotch is a type of whisky produced from malted barley grains. The alcohol content of Scotch varies depending on its age. There are three main categories of Scotch: single malt, blended malt, and grain whisky.
Single Malt Scotches are aged in oak barrels for at least 3 years before they are bottled. Blended Malt Scotches are blends of several types of whiskies. Grain Whiskies are distilled from fermented cereal grains such as wheat or corn.
Scotch has a rich history dating back hundreds of years. It was once the official drink of Scotland. Today, Scotch is enjoyed around the world.
If you want to enjoy the taste of Scotch, then you need to follow some basic guidelines.
What Is Scotch?
Scotch is a type of whiskey that is made in Scotland. Certain requirements need to be met for the whiskey to be classed as scotch:
Made In Scotland
To classify as scotch, the whiskey must be produced in Scotland.
The scotch needs to be made from distilled barley and water. Other grains can also be added, but any grains that are used have to be fermented with yeast.
After the whiskey has been distilled it must be aged for a minimum of three years. Oak casks must be used to age the whiskey, and the aging process needs to happen on Scottish soil.
When the scotch is ready to be consumed it must have reached an alcohol volume of 40 percent.
Choosing Your Scotch
There are different kinds of scotch with varying flavor notes and palates. The only way you know which ones you like is to try them, so keep an open mind and sample as many types of scotch as you can.
The three most popular types of scotch are single malt, blended, and single cask.
Single malt whiskey is made with only barley, no other grains are used. The whole process is completed by one distillery, so single malt whiskey tends to be branded and quite expensive.
Drinking single malt whiskey is perhaps the most authentic and original scotch experience.
Blended whiskey is made from several different whiskeys that have been blended. The whiskeys may have come from different distilleries and they are chosen for the way that the flavors interact with each other.
The tasting notes can vary greatly depending on which whiskeys have been used- they could be smoky, fruity, creamy, or rich.
Single cask whiskey has a very strong flavor. It is made in limited editions that are aged in just one container and are perfect for whiskey enthusiasts. If you are new to whiskey then you might find single cask whiskey a bit overwhelming.
Which Glass Should You Use For Your Whiskey?
A lot of bars or pubs will serve their whiskey in a low-ball tumbler, which is best suited to drinking whiskey with ice. The wide shape of the glass makes it easier for you to pick up on the aroma of the whiskey, heightening the tasting experience.
Scotch connoisseurs tend to drink whiskey from a glass called a Glencairn. These glasses are tulip-shaped with a short, wide base. This allows the aromas to escape from the whiskey, but then become trapped as the glass narrows.
The scent is directed towards your nose as you drink the scotch, letting you pick up on more of the subtle aromas to make the flavor more intense.
Why Is The Aroma So Important?
What is the big deal with the scent of the scotch?
Scotch enthusiasts will usually smell their whiskey before they drink it, trying to pick up on the various notes. Some whiskeys are fruity, others are sweet, some have a smoky or woody aroma whereas others are saltier.
The grains used and the wood of the aging casks will all contribute to the different flavors and smells.
If you take the time to appreciate the smell of the whiskey, you are more likely to pick up on the different taste notes when you sip it. By engaging more senses, the experience becomes much more immersive.
What Is The Best Way To Enjoy Scotch?
There are several ways that people tend to serve scotch, and which one is best comes down to your personal preference.
You can serve scotch neat at room temperature. A lot of people feel that this is the best way to take in the full range of complex flavors. However, even scotch aficionados often add a few drops of water to open up the flavors.
Others prefer to take a sip of water periodically, to cleanse their palate and keep them more aware of the flavor of the scotch.
Other people prefer to drink scotch at a chilled temperature. But you don’t put the bottle of scotch in the refrigerator. Instead, you add ice to the glass. This is called ‘on the rocks’ because traditionally chilled rocks were used to bring down the temperature of the scotch.
Some whiskey bars still serve their scotch over natural rocks called soapstone, which is put in the freezer before being added to the drink.
If you are adding ice to your whiskey, it is better to use one large cube rather than several small ones. This is because it will melt more slowly, keeping your scotch cool without diluting the flavor.
Whether you are drinking your scotch neat, with water, or with ice, you should always sip it slowly. This will enable you to fully appreciate the flavor. It is also very strong, so sipping it slowly will give you time to adjust to the taste and the alcohol content.
Another great way to enjoy scotch is in a cocktail. There are some classic cocktails with scotch as the main ingredients like a Rob Roy or a Rusty Nail, but you can experiment with your combination of flavors.
Whichever way you choose to drink scotch, you will love the intense flavors and aromas. We hope that you have found out something new about scotch, why not treat yourself to a bottle the next time you are out?