You never forget your first. Of course, I’m referring to your first single malt scotch. If you’re a whisky drinker and new to single malts, you are in for a treat.
Whether you are trying a Glenmorangie, a Lagavulin, or a Macallan (the favorite of Harvey Specter if you are a Suits fan), you will experience flavors that will have you eager to try more. We’re not talking fruity drink flavors; these are heavier, smoky flavors to treat your taste buds.
There’s nothing wrong with blended scotch. Johnny Walker, Chivas, and Dewars are a few popular blended whiskies. But if you want to have fun exploring different styles and flavor profiles, you will want to try some single malts.
What does “Single Malt” mean?
You may have heard the term “single malt” before and not understood what it means. Typically, single malt refers to scotch and describes a malt whisky made from a single distillery, but not all single malts are scotch. There are distilleries from other countries that make single malt. For example, some American whiskey producers make a single malt whiskey, often using malted rye.
Let’s take a minute to address what you may have thought were typos. First, there are two spellings for “whisky” or “whiskey.” The term “whisky” is used for Scotch, Japanese, or Canadian whisky. The word “whiskey” is used by American and Irish distillers. For some, the different spellings may not mean much. But for the enthusiast, it’s an important distinction.
Related: How is Bourbon Made?
The term “malt” refers to malted barley, and according to the official regulations, called the Scotch Whisky Regulations, single malt scotch whisky must be made using malted barley.
Single malts must also be aged for at least three years in oak casks, though typically, they are aged for much longer. Some distilleries will introduce single malts eight or ten years old, while others may start with twelve-year-old whisky. From there, they will often offer a variety of aged whisky that can be 18, 25, or even 35 years old. As you might imagine, older whisky typically demands a higher price.