Scottish whisky: Let´s have a dram!

You have never drunk whisky? What would be a visit to Scotland without having tasted a nice glass of whisky? Well, you probably know Jack Daniel’s mixed with Coke, but guys, this is not what we are talking about here! True whisky is produced where men wear kilts, where cows are hairy and sheep’s innards […]

You have never drunk whisky? What would be a visit to Scotland without having tasted a nice glass of whisky? Well, you probably know Jack Daniel’s mixed with Coke, but guys, this is not what we are talking about here! True whisky is produced where men wear kilts, where cows are hairy and sheep’s innards are considered a country’s favourite meal. No other beverage is so intimately connected to the spirit of a nation. The word for whisky itself has its root in the old Gaelic term for water, uisge. Uisge beatha means the water of life in Gaelic. Outside Scotland you order a glass of whisky… but if you want to do this in a Scottish way then you order a dram! Whisky is a delicious but strong alcoholic beverage distilled from fermented grain mash. Different grains are used for different varieties, including barley, malted barley, rye, malted rye, wheat and maize. While the market is dominated by blends, the most highly prized of Scotch whiskies are the single malts which are made of one type of grain. Whiskies mature in wooden casks which are generally made of oak.

In order to add a subtle nuance, quality Scotch whiskies are often aged in used casks from Bourbon production. Scotch whiskies are divided into five main regions namely Highland, Lowland, Islay, Speyside (Tip: visit Dufftown!) and Campbeltown. The natural water in each region contributes to the taste of a whisky. Whisky has established itself as an affordable luxury with a trend for drinking less but better. Scotland continues to set the pace when it comes to wonderful whisky. Industry figures prove that shipments of whisky abroad are up despite economic recession. Scotsmen can proudly present their Scotch whisky export quota which already represents 20% of Scotland’s manufactured exports. One of the great joys when it comes to whisky is discovering an unfamiliar distillery and finding it produces wonderful single malts. If you do not have the opportunity to do so just take a look at the list below with suggestions of what types of whisky one could start with on a whisky experience.

Lesson 1 How to prepare for a whisky tasting:
a) The smaller the glass the better
b) Use water to mix with the whisky or drink between the whiskies. This will enrich the taste, or bouquet as the professionals call it.
c) Concentrate on smell (nose), palate (taste) and finish (after-taste) and finally overall impressiond). If you want to eat something with it have some crackers or oat-cakes
Lesson 2 How to taste a whisky:
a) Swill the whisky around in the glass (but take care you do not spill it!)
b) Put the glass just below your nose, smell it (but don’t take a breath too deep!) and describe what you smell – Is it fruit, vanilla, caramel? Is it fishy or smoky?
c) Taste a wee bit and let it rest some seconds in your mouth. It can be soft or sharp, spicy or nutty, fruity or smoky.
d) Finally swallow it. It can have a long or short aftertaste, gentle and fruity or sharp and spicy.
UR+PO

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