After watching dozens of Ralfy videos on YouTube, I decided to be more adventurous in my scotch purchases. My idea was to have a good supply from various distillers at various price points. For reference, my benchmark range for a “good” Single Malt is $40 to $70. This is sipping whisky. Savored first neat, then with a touch of water, then with a bit more water. If you feel the need to mix your scotch with anything else, buy a good blended whisky (a good blended whisky such the standard Famous Grouse is much cheaper and can substitute for Single Malt if you run out). Please don’t waste good Single Malt by adding anything but water (or if you prefer, ice). I drink scotch maybe once a week, maybe less. So a bottle lasts quite a while. With more than one variety you always have options, and you can offer your guests options. If you buy a bottle that you can’t stand, you can still give it away to a less discerning associate (note the word associate, friends don’t give friends bad whisky) or serve it to your guests who want to mix it with something other than water. Having a supply of scotch also fits well with the ATF survival strategy.
I use a Glencairn Glass. Half of the pleasure of a good Single Malt is smell and the Glencairn Glass (the one Ralfy and whiskybitch use) is designed to concentrate the smell. The technical term is nosing. The nose can differentiate millions of different smells, the mouth only four or five different tastes.
There are many good whisky blogs out there and many excellent YouTube video reviews. Take some time to check them out. Window shop your local spirits store, then do your research at home. The world of Single Malt whisky is wide and varied. By the way, scotch by definition comes from Scotland, but there are many other good-to-excellent Single Malt whiskys out there. Trivia note: Scotland, Canada, and Japan call it whisky. USA and Ireland call it whiskey. By law whisky must be three years old, younger than that it is called spirit. Most blended whiskys are a blend of spirit and whiskies.
My current absolute favorite is anything by Bruichladdich (pronounced brew-ik-lahddy or even brook-lahddy). A visit to their website is worth the time. I discovered Bruichladdich as part of my new found spirit of adventure. I tend to prefer the smokier Single Malts, especially the ones from Islay (pronounced eye-lah). I saw a bottle of Bruichladdich PC6 on the shelf and thought “what the hey.” Now keep in mind that PC6 is only six years old. If you ever find a bottle of it, buy it. This six year old Single Malt is as good as any ten year old scotch I have had. The reason is the cut. Bruichladdich uses a very narrow cut to guarantee that only the ethanol makes it to the aging barrels. Lower quality whiskies use a wider cut, this gives them more whiskey to sell, but the quality is poorer. You cannot age away bad spirit. The waste products from the Bruichladdich stills is used to power a generator that provides all of their electricity needs. They even bought a Nissan Leaf … and … made a very limited LEAF bottling.
The PC in PC6 stands for Port Charlotte, which is one of the Bruichladdich brands. It is also the site of a former (and soon to be restarted) distillery. The Port Charlotte brand is peated (smoky), whereas classic Bruichladdich is unpeated. They also make the hyper-peated Octomore, but that is for a later post. Bruichladdich released limited bottlings of Port Charlotte at 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, and 10 years of age as PC5, PC6, PC7, PC8, PC9, and PC10. The PC5 was an extremely limited bottling, which sold out immediately. I was able, in the fullness of time, to acquire bottles of PC7 and PC8, in addition to my original PC6. PC9 and PC10 were also very limited bottlings and very expensive if you can find them. Each of the PC series was bottled at cask strength, close to 60% ABV. Sadly the PC6 and PC7 are no more (at least not at Cat-Beard Manor) but I do have an unopened bottle of PC8 stashed away for TEOTWAWKI.
This year the “production” version, Port Charlotte 10, made its way to my local spirits superstore. This is the version that will be readily available for some time. It is bottled at 46% ABV and sells for under $70 per bottle in my area. I like it, whiskybitch loves it …
If you like smoky, peaty scotch, you will love it too!
For the same peaty goodness at a lower price, be sure to check out Port Charlotte The Peat Project. It is a multi-year vatting of the various PC batches. It is available for under $50.
Be seeing you …