If you've been watching top shelf Scotch pricing lately, you would be forgiven for thinking they were selling bottles of actual liquid gold. Enter the Balvenie Tun 1401. Offered at $250, it's a mind-blowing Scotch that can compete with whiskys at twice or even four times the price.
'whisky' on Serious Eats
Now, I realize a single malt bourbon is a contradiction in terms, but hear me out. Glenfiddich's latest release in their limited edition line is very special Speyside Scotch. Unlike the vast majority of its compatriots, this whisky is aged entirely in former bourbon barrels.
Scotch is a tricky ingredient to mix with, but that doesn't mean you shouldn't try. Start with these five drinks: four classics and a modern invention, all delicious.
Yesterday, Compass Box released a new limited edition Scotch whisky blend in collaboration with Mike Miller, the owner of Chicago's famous punk bar, Delilah's. The Delilah's blend was created in honor of the bar's 20th anniversary, and will be available nationwide starting September 1st.
New Johnnie Walker Platinum is about half the price of Johnnie Walker Blue. We tasted them side by side to see how they compare.
This simple-looking cocktail from Gramercy Tavern's fall lineup boasts a surprisingly complex flavor profile. The elegantly layered drink mixes belly-warming Scotch with slightly sweet pear liqueur, plus nutty walnut liqueur and Oloroso sherry.
Today we'll tour Aberlour, a smaller-scale distillery that produces about 3.5 million liters of whisky every year. It's just down the road from Glenlivet.
I've been musing a bit on beautiful liquor bottles lately, but nothing I've seen stacks up to the dramatic presentation of Highland Park's new cask-strength single malt whisky, which arrives in a miniature Viking ship.
Welcome to Speyside, a beautiful region of Scottish countryside surrounding the River Spey, where the sheep and the shortbread outnumber the people. Beside those notable draws, what really attracts visitors is the high concentration of single malt whisky distilleries, such as The Glenlivet, Glenfiddich, Aberlour, The Macallan, and Balvenie. It's a good place for Scotch lovers. During the recent Spirit of Speyside Whisky Festival, I had the chance to see a few different distilleries in action. First up for whisky cross-examination: The Glenlivet.
Whether you're mixing up an Old Fashioned à la Don Draper or a Roger Sterling approved vodka martini, watching Mad Men pretty much always calls for a cocktail or two. The Unofficial Mad Men Cookbook is filled with great classic cocktail recipes, many of which are taken from Mad Men era ad campaigns like this Canadian Clubhouse Punch.
[Photograph: Nina Gallant] Reprinted with permission from The Unofficial Mad Men Cookbook by Judy Gelman and Peter Zheutlin. Copyright © 2012. Published by Smart Pop Books. Available wherever books are sold. All rights reserved....
Until the 1800s, there was very little Scotch available for sale in cities such as Edinburgh or Glasgow, let alone London or New York. Scotch, at the time, was considered the equivalent of moonshine—a drink enjoyed by unrefined highlanders, aged in sheep bladders and filtered through tartan. No one of refinement drank the stuff; instead, urban elites enjoyed the finest European wines, along with sherry, port, and cognac. A number of factors converged in the latter half of the 19th century to change everything.
Last week, we examined the distinction between single malt and blended Scotch whiskies. Today, we'll step back a bit and take a more detailed (much more detailed) look at the single malt. I'll describe what single malts are, explain how they're made and aged, discuss the concept of Scotch terroir, and explore some of the regional variations. Grab a tasting glass and let's get started!
Next week in this space, I'll be looking in some depth at the world of Scotch whisky, but first, I want to clarify a point of some confusion: the distinction between single malt and blended whisky. Consumers and even some bartenders have a misconception that single-malt scotch is not a blended whisky, but this is a myth. Single-malt Scotch is a blend, but it's a very specific type of blend.
The smokiness of Scotch pairs nicely with light brown sugar in this eggnog variation.
Instantly recognizable from Kathmandu to Khartoum, the walking man on a bottle of whisky is seen as an international symbol of taste and quality. And for good reason—Johnnie Walker is the world's best selling blended Scotch whisky. Not content to rest on their laurels at the top of the booze chain, the folks at Johnnie Walker have been testing the market for what they describe as a pumped-up Black Label.
Here in Los Angeles, hidden among the lesser versions are a few stand-out Scotch cocktails, blended with enough care and finesse to make them worth the occasional diversion from the single malt neat. These are bright, bold cocktails—some classic and some veering more toward the experimental.
While single malt scotches and single barrel bourbons dominate the dreams of most high-end whiskey drinkers, the vast majority of sales in the wide world of whiskey (and whisky) are of the humble blend. Taking its name from its ingredients—usually high quality straight or single malt whiskeys cut with grain alcohol—blends are typically less complex and therefore less 'interesting' than their big league brethren. You're probably familiar with some of the more popular suspects, such as Johnny Walker, Jameson, or the Famous Grouse. Blends vary widely in quality, but are typically held in somewhat low regard by the liquor cognoscenti. However, Compass Box Whisky aims to change all that.
The Chancellor is a close relative of another scotch cocktail, the Rob Roy, with a couple of interesting twists. In place of the Rob Roy's bittersweet tang from Italian vermouth, the Chancellor relies on the robust richness of port, its gentle sweetness tempered by a little dry vermouth.
Does longer aging really make for better whisky, and how much of that effect is purely psychological? In order to gauge whether or not older whiskies are truly better, I assembled a group of a dozen world class whisky drinkers, and a second pool of casual non-experts.