Last Updated on February 10, 2023 by Tabraiz
Scotch is one of the most popular spirits in the world, but it also has a reputation that makes it seem like it’s a drink that only Scotch aficionados can enjoy. But once you understand the basics of Scotch, it is much easier to find one you’ll love. We’re here to help demystify this delicious drink and give you all the info you need to choose which scotch is right for you!
Scotch has a reputation that makes it seem like it’s a drink that only Scotch aficionados can enjoy.
Learn more about scotch whisky : Scotch has a reputation that makes it seem like it’s a drink that only Scotch aficionados can enjoy. But in reality, the average person can pick up on the taste of scotch and enjoy drinking it without giving it much thought. The reputation of scotch being complex is largely due to its history and because there are so many different types of whiskeys out there. However, if you learn about what makes each one unique then you’ll be able to pick out what type of scotch you prefer – whether that’s single malt whiskey or blended whisky.
What to Know Before You Buy Scotch Whisky
Scotch is a type of whiskey, which means it’s made from malted barley. Malted barley is soaked in water and then heated to turn it into sugar, which ferments and turns into alcohol. Scotch can be divided into three main categories: single malt, blended and blended malt.
Single malt refers to a Scotch that comes from one distillery—namely the one where it was distilled—and has been matured for at least three years in oak barrels. Blended whiskies are created by mixing together two or more different types of whiskies (single malts or grain spirits) from several distilleries; these are often lighter styles with milder flavors that have been aged less than 15 years before bottling. Blended malts combine both single malty and grainy elements in equal proportions but retain aromas derived from age-old tradition when aging in oak casks for at least 15 years before bottling
Other Factors That Can Impact Your Scotch
There are other factors that can impact your Scotch:
- The type of cask used to age it, and the quality of those casks. If a distiller uses expensive sherry or bourbon barrels, they will be able to charge more for their product.
- Also important is how long it was aged in the cask. If you see an 18-year-old whisky on the shelf at your local liquor store, chances are that it was aged in oak barrels for 18 years or longer (that’s why they call them “old”). As with beer, longer aging leads to more complex flavors being extracted from the wood—and hence better tasting Scotch!
- Location is also an important factor; if you’re buying single malt scotch from Islay (pronounced EYE-luh), then expect smoky notes similar to what you’d get from an Islay single malt whiskey like Laphroaig 10 year old ($50).
So What’s the Deal With Single Malt and Blended?
Blended scotch is a mix of different types of whisky from different distilleries. The blending process takes place in Scotland, where master blenders create their own unique flavor with different combinations of malts, grains and peat smoke.
The most popular blended whiskies include Johnnie Walker Black Label, Chivas Regal 18 year old and Ballantine’s Finest Rare Scotch Whisky.
Single malt is made entirely at one distillery and then bottled under that distillery’s name alone (i.e., Glenfiddich 12 Year Old Single Malt).
How Long Has It Been Aging?
If a whisky is aged in sherry casks, it will be labeled as “sherry-finished”. If you see this on the bottle, it means that the whisky has spent some time in these casks before being bottled.
Sherry-finished whiskies are often richer and more full-bodied than their counterparts, which have spent most of their time aging in American oak barrels. The flavor profile of sherry cask maturation can vary from brand to brand but tends to be smooth and sweet with hints of fruitiness.
Should I Care About the Water Used?
No, it’s not that good. BUT it can definitely affect the taste of your whisky. Most distilleries use spring water, but some also use municipal water, a combination of both spring and municipal water, or even water from nearby sources (for example: The Isle of Skye).
The whole topic is still up for debate in the whisky world since there isn’t much research yet on how different types of water affect the flavor profile of Scotch whisky. But here’s what we know so far:
Why Does Age Matter?
The aging process of whisky is a big deal. In fact, it’s one of the most important factors when it comes to determining how your dram will taste.
The longer a whisky spends in barrel, the better it tastes—and we’re not just talking about age here. You see, age doesn’t always mean quality; it all depends on how much time was spent maturing in oak barrels and what kind of cask was used. You see, there are many different types of casks: ex-bourbon whiskey casks for example tend to lend smoky notes to the final product while ex-sherry sherry casks give more sweet flavors like raisins or dried fruit flavors depending on what type they held before being used as whisky storage vessels (more on that later). The point is that while some people may go crazy over older whiskies with higher prices due to their rarity value alone (like 50 year old bottles), if you’re not looking at an exceptional barrel-aged product then getting an older bottle might not be worth paying extra money for because it could simply lack complexity compared with something younger but equally well crafted by master distillers who focus solely on making great spirits rather than just focusing entirely on quantity which means less room for error during production
Once you understand the basics of Scotch, it is much easier to find one you’ll love.
Once you understand the basics of Scotch, it is much easier to find one you’ll love. You can look for a particular region, like Islay or Speyside, or choose an age range or distillery. For example, if you enjoy sweeter flavors in your whisky and want something with a bit more spice, then an older single malt is probably going to be your best bet. The same goes for flavor profiles which lean towards dryer and peatier offerings—if that sounds appealing then a younger blended Scotch will likely suit your palate better than something older and lighter.
I hope that this article has helped you understand Scotch whisky a little better. If you’re looking for something specific, be sure to check out our list of the best single malts and blends!