The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #143590   Message #3505117
Posted By: Stilly River Sage
18-Apr-13 - 12:08 AM
Thread Name: BS: Question about Scotch
Subject: RE: BS: Question about Scotch
About 18 months ago I started sipping my way through various types of Scotch. After this thread started I switched over to single malt, weaned myself from any ice. I have discovered over time that I prefer a stronger or richer variety. And have come to terms with the smoky flavor, now sampling my way into the highlands and the islays.

A chain called Total Wine and Spirits (in the U.S. - it recently moved into Fort Worth) has a large selection, including a store label of "Shieldaig" bottled for them. I've tried a couple - my favorite of the whisky's so far is their finest old highland variety with a good smoky flavor. Here's a description of the label from the store web site:

Shieldaig Whisky is produced by Ian Macleod Distillers, Ltd., one of the largest and most widely respected independent family companies within the spirit industry. The Shieldaig line of Scotch whiskies are carefully selected grain and single malts that the Shieldaig master blender has hand chosen in order to create the finest quality whiskies available in the market today. Each handcrafted bottling over delivers, offering exceptional and distinctive flavors usually only available in deluxe whiskies offered at twice the price.

The bottle itself says it was bottled by William Maxwell & Co, Ltd. Having enjoyed this highland variety I thought I'd see how far I could push the smoke flavor. I've realized that if I'm going to drink Scotch I want it to give me more clues as to why it is special and a stand-alone drink - some of the milder ones like Aberlour and Bunnahabhain are delicate and don't stay on the palate as long as I like.

This evening I hit what seems like an impenetrable wall - I brought home a bottle of Laphroaig. I poured a jigger and I can't finish it. When I've discussed smoke vs peat with people familiar with Scotch I've heard it described as "peat is more like earth or coal, smoke is more like a barbecue." Laphroaig seems to have a lot of peat. I'll wait and give it another try before I pronounce it undrinkable, but I plan to back off down the chart (see the whisky map) and over a bit to the right. I almost picked up a bottle of Bowmore this evening, and I looked at the Highland Park in passing.

The research continues, slow and steady.