How to enjoy ... whisky tasting

Born and raised in Glasgow it was not unnatural that when I came of age my preferred tipple would be whisky. As my tastes and, later still my bank balance matured, I found I preferred single malts.

I joined the Scotch Malt Whisky Society (www.smws.co.uk) and have enjoyed learning about 'the water of life' or, in Gaelic, uisce beathe.

The varieties

Malt whiskies are made the original way, by turning barley into malt and infusing it in water, fermenting it and then distilling this in a copper, kettle-shaped container. Blends, such as Ballantines, mixes less expensive grains, with malts.

Single malts are from a single distillery, and Scotch is one that has been distilled and matured for at least three years in Scotland.

The taste of the whisky is affected by the water it is made from, the local soil, the climate, the barley and also importantly the wood used for the barrels in which it is matured.

To taste, use a small brandy glass - best to display the colour and aroma. If you prefer to add water, do so, but please don't add anything other than water.

I recommend the first whisky to try is the Macallan 10-year-old. This Highland malt is a beautiful amber colour, tastes of sherry and is quite fruity with just a hint of smoky aftertaste.

The next malt I suggest is Laphroaig from the Island of Islay. This is a peaty, seaweedy taste, much more distinctive and really quite an acquired taste - worth persevering with. Two more highly thought of malts to follow are Highland Park and Lagavulin.

Don't be put off if you don't like the first malt you try; there are so many that you will no doubt find one to suit your palate. Some supermarket single malts are also good quality. I particularly recommend Morrisons' Islay malt - I challenge any but the most experienced to differentiate it from Laphroaig.

Most of all, take time to relax and savour the experience.

Recommended whiskies
Glenmorangie
10-year-old malt £27.
Glenfiddich 12-year-old special reserve £25.
Macallan 10-year-old highland malt. £26.
Laphroaig Malt 10-year-old single Islay malt £26.
Highland Park 12-year-old single malt £26.
Lagavulin 16-year-old Islay malt £37.
Morrisons' Islay Malt £14.98 from Morrison stores.
Macallan 52-year-old distilled 1946 numbered bottle £3,150 from www.thedrinkshop.com.

Have you registered with us yet?

Register now to enjoy more articles and free email bulletins

Register

Already registered?

Sign in

Follow Us:

Just published

NHS Employers updates guidance for assessing COVID-19 risk in BAME staff

NHS Employers updates guidance for assessing COVID-19 risk in BAME staff

Updated guidance to help GP practices assess and mitigate the risk staff from black,...

PHE unable to confirm it will meet deadline for COVID-19 risk report

PHE unable to confirm it will meet deadline for COVID-19 risk report

Public Health England (PHE) has been unable to confirm if its report into how factors...

More than half of GP locums have seen a significant drop in income due to COVID-19

More than half of GP locums have seen a significant drop in income due to COVID-19

More than half of GP locums have experienced a significant fall in their income during...

How a GP helped develop a protective shield to cover patients needing CPR in the pandemic

How a GP helped develop a protective shield to cover patients needing CPR in the pandemic

Wiltshire GP Dr Lydia Campbell-Hill explains how she helped create a mini isolation...

GP practices can now sign up to new online PPE portal

GP practices can now sign up to new online PPE portal

GP practices will be able to register with the DHSC's new online PPE portal, which...

Fully-qualified GP workforce fell by 712 over the past year

Fully-qualified GP workforce fell by 712 over the past year

The fully-qualified GP workforce in England fell by 2.5%, losing 712 full-time equivalent...