But as whisky scientists point out, it’s not really like that. Water has no influence on malt whisky flavour; barley can come from anywhere, provided that it delivers satisfactory spirit yield; and, in many cases, the newly made spirit is taken by tanker from its beautiful, peaceful, lonely distillery surroundings within a couple of weeks of distillation. It’s then aged in uglier, less peaceful but more logistically sensible locations in central Scotland.Flavour in malt whisky is attributable to the malt specification, to brewing and distilling practices and to wood-ageing regimes [more inside]
If you're ever in Loretto, Kentucky, you're welcome to pay a visit to the Maker's Mark bourbon distillery, a National Historic Landmark. Until then, why not pour yourself a taste and watch this video? [more inside]
How to drink whisky: "Master Blender Richard Paterson shows David Hayman how to drink blends". Paterson is the master blender who managed to replicate the lost (and then found) 114-year-old Whyte & Mackay whisky from the Shackleton South Pole expedition; also see Shackleton’s Whisky – Mackinlay’s Reborn for a review (previously on MeFi). At his blog, he's currently discussing whisky & food pairings. [more inside]
Mapping out whiskey. Start here, swimming in Drunkards Channel: Map On Temperance, 1846. [more inside]
"Using the power of light, we have adapted our technology to address a problem related to an industry which is a crucial part of Scottish culture and economy." St Andrews University researchers have claimed they can work out a whisky's brand, age and cask by using a ray of light the size of a human hair.
John Cunningham Climbing Ben Nevis, 1976 (slyt, 8:09)
Previously on Metafilter, we unearthed hundred year old scotch. So let's talk about scotch. There's a lot to say. [more inside]
During his unsuccessful 1908 attempt to reach the South Pole, universal badass Ernest Shackleton left five crates of Scotch whisky and two crates of brandy buried in the ice under the floorboards of his hut at Cape Royds. The crates were dug up in February, and conservators are working on ten of the 114-year-old whisky bottles, some marked with ‘British Antarctic Expedition 1907 Ship Endurance,’ with an eye on replicating the long-lost blend. [more inside]
The joy of Bourbon drinking is not the pharmacological effect of C(2)H(5)OH on the cortex but rather the instant of the whiskey being knocked back and the little explosion of Kentucky U.S.A. sunshine in the cavity of the nasopharynx and the hot bosky bite of Tennessee summertime--aesthetic considerations to which the effect of the alcohol is, if not dispensable, at least secondary.Bourbon, an essay by Walker Percy. A warning: "Not only should connoisseurs of Bourbon not read this article, neither should persons preoccupied with the perils of alcoholism, cirrhosis, esophageal hemorrhage, cancer of the palate, and so forth..." [more inside]
The world's next Coca-Cola or Starbucks is more likely to emerge from Asia, the Middle East or South America They comprise Juan Valdez Café, a Colombian coffee chain; Almarai, a Saudi dairy and fruit-juice company based in Riyadh; Patchi, a Lebanese boutique chocolate chain; ChangYu, China's biggest wine producer; and United Spirits, India's largest liquor group, which owns Scotch whisky Whyte and Mackay.
Every year the The Burryman makes his appearance at the Ferry Fair Festival. It has now been revealed how he copes with all that whisky.
I Have Seen The Future And It's American Straight Whiskey: How many things do you know that get not only better but more numerous with every passing year? You could call it Bourbon, of course, it you wished to exclude the superb Tennessee products of Jack Daniel's and George Dickel (just because they charcoal-filter their otherwise equally impeccable straight whiskey), but you should know that this is only the result of a strictly commercial rivalry between the two main producers: Brown-Forman (who own Jack Daniel's in Tennessee) and Jim Beam (who make only Kentucky straight whiskies, i.e. Bourbons). Call it American straight whiskey and be proud! [More inside.]
Nice Whisk(e)y: Shame About The Size! Behold a wonderful, almost infinitely explorable repository of miniature bottles of whisk(e)y; a Japanese one-guy Smithsonian that's quite probably the only resort for those looking for labels of ancient and/or abandoned delights. American straight whiskey fanatics (like me) will be specially surprised. Worth exploring, though exploration isn't easy: it's full of unexpected riches, but never easily had. [Previously offered in the course of a classic languagehat post.]
Scotland shamed: Japan wins whisky challenge. The Japanese Canadian Cultural Centre hosted a tasting in Toronto, and a 20-year-old Nikka Yoichi, distilled in Hokkaido, beat out a 16-year-old Lagavulin (my own favorite) and 12-year-old whiskies from Cragganmore and Balvenie (also excellent). This is reminiscent of the 1976 tasting in which California wines beat out French ones and put California on the map; can America someday produce a world-class scotch-type whisky (the preferred spelling in Scotland), or shall we simply continue to take pride in our bourbon and rye?
An American Tragedy: No habanos; no Havana Club; not even a dram of that lovely new rummy Glenfiddich malt whisky! Although the embargo is still popular with the Jesse Helms crowd and certain Cuban immigrés, resistence is higher than ever. Why does it go on? From the outside, it just looks like obstinate stupidity. What is it with the Democrats, especially? Are they still covering up for JFK's mistakes? He, at least, had a good stock of Cuban cigars [well, Petit Uppmanns...] with which to sit the crisis out... What gives? What could possibly justify Americans missing out on such a massive scale? If for the pleasure of a decent smoke or even proper mojito or daiquiri alone?
Stop Wining Laddie - And Pass the Macallan! Why bother with sissy wines and beers when you can have whisky all through your meal? A new trend in dining is pairing spirits and cocktails with food. Russian aristocrats still refuse to drink vodka unaccompanied by comestibles while modern Italians and Americans cook with it. The Japanese love their straight Cognac and Chivas with everything bar sashimi and eccentric old Englishmen stick with Port from start to finish. I guess they're all on to something, no? In case they're not, here, by way of consolation, is a wonderful interactive food and wine matcher for the dullards and traditionalists among us. Cheers!