Good Scotch

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Good Scotch

They say that Scotch is an acquired taste. Maybe so, but I must have acquired it very early because I have always loved the stuff. For many years I favored blended Scotch. Chivas Regal was (and is) my favorite blended whiskey. About 30 years ago, I discovered single-malt Scotch and things changed. The guy at the liquor store recommended a bottle of 12-year-old Glenlivet and that was it. Since then I have come to prefer Glenfiddich. The 12-year-old Macallan is excellent but is more expensive.

A good blended whiskey, like Chivas Regal, is smooth and has a clean flavor. Single-malt is very different. It is rougher than the blends, but the flavor is much clearer and stronger. You can taste the peat used in the fire and the oak of the barrel it was stored in to age. All Scotch whiskey is stored in oak barrels. That is where it gets its distinctive color. When originally made, the whiskey is clear.

Many people like mixed drinks made with Scotch. They create concoctions of Scotch and lime juice, or vermouth, or tomato juice. That is fine, if that is what you like. But any of these drinks should use a blended Scotch. Single-malt Scotch should be served neat or over ice. To mix it with other things (tomato juice? yuk) is like covering your prime rib with catsup.

People drink alcoholic beverages for a variety of reasons. Some are just being sociable. Some really just want to get drunk. Single-malt Scotch is not for those people. If you want to get loaded, mix some vodka with almost anything and it will take you there. If you just want to have something to drink while you mix with a group, get yourself one of those drinks with several colors and a plastic umbrella. Single-malt Scotch is made to be sipped and savored. People drink it for the taste, not the effect.

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