Tag Archives: scotch

Glass Invented for Drinking Whiskey in Space – Finally!

A Special Whisky Glass for Special Space Whisky

If Galactic’s first commercial flights are any indication, life in space could use a bit more glamour. Astronauts may be fine drinking recycled pee, but celebrities and wealthy space enthusiasts, who have spent hundreds of thousands of dollars to get beyond Earth’s atmosphere, may want to sip something a little stronger. Enter Scotch-maker Ballantine’s new space glass, designed for drinking in microgravity.

Without Earth’s gravity, a regular snifter would send droplets of fancy Scotch soaring into the air—and away from mouths. The Ballantine’s glass is designed to keep the whisky where it belongs. A metal plate at the bottom of the glass creates surface tension to keep the Scotch—poured into the bottom of the cupcontained. Rivulets running up the side of the glass channel the liquid directly into the mouth via a gold mouthpiece. (The company details the design process here.)

Scotch whisky companies seem particularly determined to corner the space drinking market. Ardberg whisky, for instance, is already an old pro at intergalactic refreshments, as vials of the Scotch spent several years on the International Space Station before returning last year. (The verdict: space makes smoky Scotch even smokier.) Several breweries also offer beer made from yeast that’s left Earth and returned, in case hard liquor isn’t your cup of astro-tea.

Naturally, those of us who are earthbound can still buy Ballantine’s space glass for an out-of-this-world experience.

[h/t: The New York Times]

All images by Ballantine’s via Medium

September 8, 2015 – 5:00pm

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How to drink a perfect whisky

I am doing it wrong…  I like a whisky stone in mine.  It chills it without diluting it.  First though, the spelling is important:

The difference between whiskey and whisky is simple but important: whisky usually denotes Scotch whisky and Scotch-inspired liquors, and whiskey denotes the Irish and American liquors.

The word itself (both spellings) is of Celtic origin, and modern whisky/whiskey distillation practices originated in Ireland and Scotland. Using whiskey to refer to Scotch whisky can get you in trouble in Scotland.

Now for the story written by Ali Rosen…


There are very few hard and fast rules when drinking whisky. (iStock)

There are few drinks in life enjoyed as simply and purely as a glass of Scotch – and equally as few that have as much history and as many opinions contained in a single glass.

But is there a proper way to drink your whisky?

The perfect pour: “preferably more than a gnat could consume and less than an elephant would. “

With so many claims of right and wrong surrounding the beloved drink, we went straight to the Scottish experts to make sure we’re drinking whisky as perfectly as possible.

And the one thing we learned straightaway is that throwing out your rule book is a perfect place to begin.

No perfect pour

For starters, there isn’t even a standard pour.  Most experts recommend between one and two ounces should be served to you or a guest, but there are no hard and fast rules.

“A dram of whisky – the measurement we use to describe a pour – is an amount of whisky that the person pouring is happy to share from their bottle, and the person receiving is grateful to be given,” Nicholas Pollacchi, the founder of Whisky Dog and the whisky category director for Anchor Distilling Company says.

David Cox, the rare malts director for The Edrington Group – which includes The Macallan and Highland Park – concurs. His estimation is that you should pour, “preferably more than a gnat could consume and less than an elephant would,” but he does note that whatever you pour there should be head space in the glass for the whisky to breathe.

Don’t compromise on the glassware

There’s a common misconception that whisky should go in a rocks glass – or worse, in a shot glass. But the most commonly agreed upon vessel is the nosing glass. The tulip shaped glass help to concentrate the aromas in one point.

“Alcohol rises from the glass at different times,” Pollacchi explains. “They have weight to them, so the lighter, floral and sweeter notes will rise first, followed by heavier, darker and richer aromas. By using a glass that pulls these aromas to one point, you can fully appreciate the complexities within each dram.”

But Carl Reavey, from Bruichladdich Scotch whisky, maintains that for social drinking, you can use a wine glass or brandy balloon because “it is essential to have the ability to swirl the spirit in the glass and for the glass to have a bowl capable of retaining the aroma.”

Neat and water are okay, but no rocks

Once you have your whisky in hand – with the right glassware – there is agreement that whisky should probably be enjoyed without the rocks, since it dulls flavors.

Most recommend starting with it neat (without any additions) and then slowly adding water. The Balvenie distillery’s David Laird explains that this “is essential for detecting aromas as well as flavor on the pallet. This will allow you to open up the whisky and enjoy all of the flavor and aromas.”

Cox concurs, noting that “spring water at room temperature is the best accompaniment to allow the character to shine through, reducing some of the stronger alcoholic volatiles on the nose.”

But unlike glassware, this is an area that all the whisky-lovers admit needs to be a personal choice. Pollacchi insists that despite expert preferences it’s important to not be precious about how to drink whisky. It should instead be about, “allowing every person to find a path that allows them to find the most enjoyment from every whisky they try.”

But whether you’re defying the experts by adding ice or slowly adding water, it’s important that when it comes to drinking you take your time and whatever choice of Scotch you’ve made.

Sipping in steps

If you want to truly appreciate a great whisky – the process can involve many steps.

For example, when Bruichladdich master distiller Jim McEwan tastes, he starts by looking at the color, swirling and then looking at the legs on the glass. He looks at the color again, swirls, and then noses again followed by a first taste, usually by dipping a finger in. Then after another taste he adds some water carefully down the side of the glass, swirls and tastes again.

“You are looking for flavor and aromas, not alcohol. Introducing your nose to the whisky gradually will allow you to judge the perfect distance from the glass you prefer, so that you savor the most aromas without the alcohol desensitizing your senses,” Laird explains.

No matter the routine, all the experts stress that the key is in taking your time and enjoying when you have a great whisky in your hand without a feeling that there is a specific routine that must be followed.

“I have sometimes sat with a glass and just enjoyed intermittently nosing it for 5 to 10 minutes, savoring the complexities before rewarding myself with an eventual sip,” Pollacchi says.

Cox concurs noting that tasting your whisky is inexact, and should take long “enough for the aromas and flavors to envelope you.”

And if you’re sharing whisky with friends, don’t forget to toast.

The Scottish phrase Slàinte Mhath – Gaelic for ‘good health’ – is traditional, but just ensuring that the moment is savored is essential.

If you’re drinking a great whisky whose tradition has been honed over decades and aged to perfection the key element is to take your time and enjoy. And, as Cox points out, to stay upright.

Slàinte mhath!


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Top 10 single-malt scotch whiskies

Ok, my favorite adult beverage is single malt scotch.  Scotch basically takes like blended whisky without the sweetness.  Single malts from different regions have very distinct tastes.  People are usually off put by scotch because they try cheap scotch.  Cheap scotch tastes like battery acid.  I would not recommend any scotch below the quality of Dewers or Glenlivet.  Below that they taste bad.


Scotch has soared in price because when it was laid down to age, there was much less demand.  If you are buying 12 year old scotch, they had to guess demand 12 years or more ago.  Scotch consumption is through the roof, so you have more people chasing a limited supply.  Recently, single batch bourbon has experienced the same fate.  Makers’ Mark (another of my favorites which I stocked up on) has not changed its recipe ever.  However, restaurants are running out.  So they recently changed it to 82 proof (41% alcohol) from its standard 100 proof (50%) alcohol.  By diluting it, they hope to increase production by at least 8% and they “say” it won’t change the trademark taste…  We will see.


So we come to top scotches…  I found this list online and I have had the fortune to be able to taste all but two.  In fact, I have bottles of Balvenie 12 Year Old Double Barrel, Glenkinchie, Macallan and Glenmorangie in my cabinet right now.  I will tell you hands down my favorite single malt scotches – ever!

1.  The Balvenie 12 Year Old Double Barrel is the very best I have ever tasted.  So smooth, rich and flavorful that when I let people sample it, they give me that look like Santa Claus brought them their favorite toy.  In fact, most cannot believe it is scotch, because it is so good.  When I first started buying this you could get it for $40, now if you can find it, expect to pay upwards of $80.


2.  Johnny Walker Blue – This very limited batch Johnny Walker retails at around $500 now.  Ok, it is not single malt, it is actually a blend based on an original recipe.  It is aged 18 to 25 years old before bottling.  It is by far the smoothest and lightest on the tongue of scotches, with a rich after taste and scent.  When my daughter was married I paid for her honeymoon trips to Catalina Island and for a cruise of the Caribbean.  I asked her to pick me up a bottle at the duty free shops, and she did.  It was about $150 per bottle then.


3. Oban 32 Year – Oban is not for everyone.  Oban has a strong smoky flavor.  It is almost bourbony with its charcoal after hints, but distinctly scotch accents.  It starts, settles and finishes with three standing ovations of taste.  If you can get it, it now runs over $500 per bottle.  The 14 year is good, but just not the same.  Unfortunately, I ran out of my Oban and can no longer justify buying it at that price.  When I bought the last one it was just over $200.



Top 10 single-malt scotch whiskies

Published February 14, 2013


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Scotch drinkers like to keep things simple. Sure, you can make a fantastic Scotch cocktail, but most Scotch drinkers want to enjoy the smoky flavor unadorned except perhaps for ice, water or a splash of soda. Instead of trying to find the best mixers, Scotch drinkers are trying to find the top distilleries in Scottish towns from the Highlands to the Lowlands that produce the best Single Malt Scotch. Whether we call it Top 10 Scotch or Top 10 Scotches or Top 10 Scotch Whiskeys or Top 10 Scotch Whiskies, rest assured that our list includes whiskies from the Scottish Isles that are hard to pronounce, but these are all names worth knowing. Enjoy our selection of Top 10 Single Malt Scotch Whiskies.

Springbank 10 Year Old 100 Proof
Price: $55

We start our list with an easy-to-pronounce whisky. Scotch connoisseurs are familiar with Campbeltown, Scotland, as the home of Springbank Distillery. The brand’s ten-year-old cask-strength Single Malt is a lightly peated, shining example of their craftsmanship which features a unique two-and-a half-times distillation process. On the nose it offers a complex bouquet with an array of aromas including a touch of honey, some fresh cucumber and a hint of brininess, finishing with smoke and peat along with some underbrush mixed with a sherried maltiness. Although it begins its life in Bourbon barrels, it finishes out in Sherry barrels, lending to its richness. The complexity of its bouquet compels you to anticipate a Single Malt of distinction, and it certainly delivers. The 100 proof is needed to support and balance this intense Scotch. The mouthfeel is full, luscious and a tad sweet with a lingering, long finish of smoke, peaty lemon zest and fall leaves.

Royal Lochnagar 12 Year Old
The Highlands
Price: $70

It’s easy to slap the word “royal” into a product name, but this legendary Highland Single Malt really does have a royal connection. A favorite of both Queen Victoria and Prince Albert, this hard-to-find Scotch has long been held in high esteem in Britain, particularly for its classic flavor. Upfront you get earth, freshly cut grass, vibrant spice, a hint of sandalwood and hay. It finishes with light touches of fruit, juicy cereal barley, leather, brown sugar and a coffee maltiness. It makes for a perfect sipper to start off your evening, even if you’re engaged in non-royal activities, like playing Texas Hold ‘Me.

The Balvenie DoubleWood 12 Year Old
Price: $50

The Balvenie is one of the great distilleries of Speyside, Scotland. Founded in 1892, it is one of the pioneers of introducing various wood finishes to its malts. Their aptly named DoubleWood is a twelve-year-old Single Malt that spends most of its life in second-fill Bourbon casks prior to being transferred to first-fill Oloroso Sherry casks. There are three levels of flavor in this Single Malt. The original Balvenie imparts heather, honey and clean barley flavors. The Bourbon barrel adds vanilla, a sort of cookie-like taste, as well as marshmallow, caramel and toast. The Oloroso Sherry barrel’s influence is expressed via peach, marzipan, clover, a bit of honey and prunes. Complex and approachable, this Single Malt has a younger brother that’s actually older The Balvenie 17 Year Old DoubleWood was first released in September of 2012.

Bunnahabhain 18 Year Old
Price: $105
On the northern shore of Islay, for more than 130 years, Bunnahabhain has been carving out an extra peaty niche in Scotland’s whisky flavor landscape. Unlike many Scotch whiskies, this elegant Single Malt is not chill filtered. (Chill filtering prevents the whisky from becoming hazy, but can affect the flavor.) The nose is a perfect balance of smoke and peat at a level of impact that’s both agreeable to a novice drinker and complex enough to please the connoisseur. The hints of subtle smoke, brine, malt sweetness, fruit and nuttiness bloom on the palate. The body of this spirit requires a stronger proof to ensure balance and full palate impact. The finish lingers and demands another taste, as the acidity is persistent and the flavors enticingly rich.

Highland Park 18 Year Old
Orkney Islands
Price: $105

It’s hard to believe that Highland Park’s 18-year-old Single Malt was first released in 1997, as its great reputation belies its youth. It’s an instant classic, thanks to its balance of light toffee flavors and long, lightly smoky finish. On the nose you get honey, Sherry and peat coupled with almonds and light smoke, which makes it not just approachable but irresistible. It is simultaneously subtle and complex while allowing the consumer to enjoy a smooth and dynamic expression of the Orkney Islands’ most prized distillery. It finishes with heather and honey mixed with earth, dried fruit and nuts. Balance and brilliance are the memories this malt leaves dram after dreamy dram.

The Macallan Cask Strength
The Highlands
Price: $75

Like “The Balvenie”, “The Macallan” demands the definite article. (Bourbon whiskeys don’t, as they do not seem classier if rechristened “The Wild Turkey”.) The Macallan brand is synonymous with top-tier Single Malt Scotch, and the unsung hero of their portfolio is their cask strength. This malt hails from the Easter Elchies House of Macallan overlooking the River Spey. Like its better-known 18-year-old sibling, the cask strength has a sherried finish making it bright, rich and accessible; but this one explodes with caramel, brown sugar, toffee and vanilla so complex and intertwined it drinks like a dessert. It’s well balanced on the palate with a sweet, tawny port, cinnamon oatmeal bouquet. At this price point, we think it’s a steal. Make that “The Steal”.

Scapa 16 Year Old the Orcadian
Orkney Islands
Price: $75

Scapa is not just “the other distillery” on the Orkney Islands, having been founded as early as 1885 (more than a century before Highland Park came along!). Scapa makes legendary Single Malt in their 16-year-old “the Orcadian.” Gorgeous to look at with its golden amber hue, this malt produces prodigious, thick, slow-flowing legs down the side of the glass. The nose dances with fresh berries and light smoke as the sea saltiness washes through. Approachable with its creamy honey and broken, subtle peat mixed in with chocolate and pepper, it has a memorable palate. With its dry, peaty and rich finish, this un-chill-filtered whisky has both the personality of a classic malt and the attitude of an innovator.

Glenkinchie 1991 Distillers Edition
The Lowlands
Price: $70

Did you really think you’d make it through a Top 10 Scotch list without seeing one of the Glen’s? Glenkinchie started making world-class Scotch in 1837. This being a Scottish Lowland Malt, we expected a grassy, slightly floral and full-bodied spirit, which is what we got — both on the nose and in the glass. The palate offers a pleasant, subtle mixture of leather, smoke, vanilla, honey, Sherry and stewed red berry fruit. It finishes with surprising strength, based in nutty molasses, brown sugar, smoke and caramel apples. Such complexity is rare for a Lowland whisky, but not for an exceptional Single Malt Scotch.

Lagavulin 12 Year Old Cask Strength
Price: $90

Lagavulin is the whisky for people who revel in sucking the marrow out of life. This cask strength Single Malt needs every bit of its extra punch to support the nose and palate. The former is an intoxicating and aromatic potpourri of peat, melon-y sea foam, pipe tobacco and Alsatian Riesling. The palate is rich, plummy, sweet, peaty and burnt-rubber-y, but in a good way. This stunning special edition was so well-received that Lagavulin Distillery is producing it as an ongoing mark for its loyal followers.

Glenmorangie 18 Years Old “Extremely Rare”
The Highlands
Price: $100

The Glenmorangie 18 Years Old spends fifteen years of its life in classic Bourbon oak barrels. A portion is then transferred to Oloroso Sherry barrels for the final three years of maturation. These barrels are then reunited to create this silky Scotch, tasting of nuts, dried sticky figs, dates and vanilla. These flavors meld together on the palate in perfect harmony, leaving a nice creamy finish with a hint of fruit, floral, almonds and vanilla. The flavor profile and quality of this exceptional Single Malt Scotch live up to its name: extremely rare.

Read more: http://www.foxnews.com/leisure/2013/02/14/top-10-single-malt-scotch-whiskies/?intcmp=features#ixzz2L8MHwZLY


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