Single Malt Scotch Whiskey Geek Thread

I was recently reading through Solai’s thread on tequila and the thread on mead and found them both very initeresting. I was converted to tequila after a friend in Reno introduced me to the wonders of this fine sipping beverage.

I myself have been a collector and drinker of single malts for about 10 years now on and off. I am no expert (“we’re not experts!”)but have sampled many in my travels and would be interested in learning more from the hive mind.

Here is what I know. Single malts must be developed in Scotland if your going to call them Scotch. They are distilled by a single (i.e. “single” malt) distillery using only malt barley as the ingredient (i.e. single “malt”). The finished product is aged anywhere from 3 to 25 years (or more) before shipping to the public. Blended scotch is a blend of whiskeys from different sources and distilleries.
The liquor tends to take on the aroma and character (“terroir” in the wine world) of the specific region where the barley is grown and processed. For example, some single malts may taste very “earthy” or “peaty” while others have a distinct “smokey” or “salty” aroma. Keep in mind, nothing else is added to the barley. Individual flavors are unique to each batch and region which is what makes it so interesting.

Currently on my shelf is a:
Balvenie 15y (packs a punch with strong vanilla and honey)
Glenlivit 15 french oak reserve(Smooth, not super deep, a bit overpriced for what it is)
Glenlivit 18y (smooth, subtle, a very good bottle if a bit overpriced. Much like the Petron of the tequila world i am inclined to think.)
Clynelish 14y(excellent earthy texture an flavor, not the super smooth of the Glenlivits)

I would have more but being what they are, cost is an issue for me. You can’t really get a “good” bottle for under $40. Expect to pay $70-$80 or more for the good stuff.

Hope you all enjoy contributing to the thread. Looking forward to sharing and learning a lot more!


I’ve tried various whiskeys over the years, but I haven’t quite developed a taste for them. Maybe I’m not drinking the right stuff. I suppose here in Ireland we have our own whiskey tradition. While some scotches are available I would wager they aren’t as popular as the native drinks.

I wonder if something like this would be really worth the money.

I’m going to be extremely nit-picky here, so I apologise in advance, but Scotch Whisky is spelt without the ‘e’. Irish Whiskey has the ‘e’. I’m not sure how the rest of the world does it.

The subscription I got for my wife to Wine Spectator finally paid off with the most recent issue being a wine lovers guide to scotch.

I was introduced to single malts a few years ago on Xmas eve when my wife and I went out for a cocktail. On a whim I decided to have a scotch and the bartender directed me to the Macallans 18. He said it was much better than the 12 year but the 25 year wasn’t that much better. I said what the hell and ordered a glass of the 18. As he was pouring the bar tender said besides the 25 was $75 a glass which made mw then wonder how much my glass was. Anyway that glass ruined me…

I had a whisky tasting lesson a few years back from a couple of Scottish friends, they had me try some from each region with and without water and the difference was surprising. Prior to that I didn’t think I liked it but knowing how to drink it properly and knowing the difference in taste between the regions has led me to becoming quite fond of the stuff.

Incidentally I tried a particularly nice 10-year-old Aberlour recently. I tend to prefer the lighter, fruitier Speyside malts over the peaty or smoky ones from elsewhere.

Do you guys have a preference on flavour?

I also prefer “highland” scotch to “lowland” scotch.
Lowland is a little to peaty for me. (kinda taste like dirt in fact)

currently i have a nice bottle of ‘The Glenrothes’ Select reserve. Given to me by a friend over the holidays.

I am not a single malt snob however. I like and appreciate it. but i also enjoy blended Irish whiskey as well.

Awesome. I’m already learning stuff, I’ll change the nomenclature appropriately from now on. I’m not to familiar with Irish whiskey and have only had a few (Bushmills, etc.) Are they all blended or is there a single malt tradition there as well?


I’d heard that about the 18y vs. the 25y. Haven’t had the opportunity to try though.


Some of the lowland whisky can be VERY peaty, almost dirt-like, but I like that. If your in the mood for something different, try a Bowmore from the island if Islay. Has a beautiful sweet, salty/smokey flavor which is really unusual. They also have an awesome website which takes you through the entire distilling process in their virtual tour section.


Not to completely derail the thread, but I’ve always wanted to get peoples opinions on other whiskeys, bourbons and ryes. Along with single malt scotches I also enjoy a whiskey cocktail like a Manhattan or Old Fashioned. I was curious which whiskeys people like for their cocktails, as I want to balance between choosing a good liquor while not wasting the very good stuff for a mixed drink.

Are there other whiskey cocktails people enjoy? I’ve also liked a god father was a little amaretto can make a low to middle range scotch a bit more drinkable.

Wooo! This is my kind of thread! I love whiskeys of all kinds, and Scotch when I can afford it. I agree with you on the French Oak, but I find it’s always good to have it on hand to help introduce softer palate drinkers to scotch. I noticed that you don’t have any Cask Scotches on this list, and I’m wondering if you’ve ever tried any. Cask strength whiskey is distilled to a higher alcohol content, and creates a more… focused flavor. However, unlike a lot of scotches where water’s considered “optional,” Cask whiskeys pretty much require watering down. I’ve gotten a bit of a fondness for Glenlivet’s Nadurra 16yr.

Almost all Irish whiskeys are blended. At least, every one I’ve ever had was blended.

Yeah, lowland is definitely a more acquired taste. It’s not my flavor, but I can see the appeal. It’s like appreciating the smell of leather and the tobacco flavor of a cigar.

I like mixing with Irish whiskey. It’s got a strong flavor without being overpowering. Tennessee whiskey is great for mixing in certain drinks, but outside its realm, it tends to dominate anything you mix it with. I like to mix with Jameson, as it’s versatile and not too expensive. If you’re looking for a little cheaper, I’d go with a Seagram’s, or a Canadian whiskey. Canadian blends tend to be super smooth.

I like to order Rusty Nails (1 part Drambuie & 2.5 parts Whiskey).

I like peaty whiskey. I also like foods that taste like dirt, like beets!

there are in fact Single Malt irish whiskey’s.

they are just not that popular here. That article even mentions a single malt American whiskey… new to me…

at Home i drink Tulamore Dew and water. when i am out it depends on the selection, but always with water. or neat with water back.

I’m not too much of a cocktail drinker but when I do it’s mostly a dry martini. Mostly I love to sip my scotch while sitting in my rocker on the porch while listening to sounds of spring summer or fall, and chatting with friends. It also greatly enhances the experience if I also have chocolate nearby (another thread altogether).

Here is a link to at least one American single malt review. The reviewer didn’t sound impressed but I have never tried them personally.

According to Wikipedia, the economy has been pretty hard on the Irish single malt industry. Jamesons, Bushmills and some of the larger labels seem to be the only ones making a go of it. I’ve only ever tried Bushmills and like to mix up what we refer to as Irish coffee here when it gets cold (coffee, whiskey, whipped cream, mmmm…). I’ll have to do a little more “research”.


I wouldn’t do it to good whiskey, but I was very happily surprised with what my co-host has dubbed “The Screwball” (Screwdriver Highball). Essentially, it’s a screwdriver made with whiskey instead of vodka.

And before you say it, I thought so too. Just try it.

I guess I’m kind of old fashioned in my cocktail choice. I like the flavor of the liquor and not a lot of added stuff. When i’m not into the single malts, I enjoy vodka martini’s, G & T’s, and margharitas (mostly for the tequila-see the thread posted by solei).

I just added a great new bottle to my collection. Springbank 10y old from Campbeltown, Scotland. Wonderful aroma of vanilla and almost floral in flavor. None of the traditional “smokey” or “peaty” flavor. Lets you know the essence of what is underneath those flavors. Really interesting bottle that I find myself thinking about quite a bit. Definitely highly recommended.


“Scotch is a drink…A person from Scotland is a Scotsman or a Scot” Sean Connery

Hmmmm…OK… having a Tuly on the rocks now (you know,… after dinner)… But, i will not hate without information, so, when i sit down later to watch Warehouse 13, a Screwball it is… if i survive i will report back my findings…

Glenora Distillery in Cape Breton NS makes some foin foin liquid to get hammered by.

My better half and I visited there some years back and I thoroughly enjoyed the ‘sampling’ :slight_smile:

When I can I try to scoot over the border and buy a bottle (or four).

I am a big fan of The Balvenie. I do think my favorite across the board is their 15 year but I don’t think they make a bad one. Last year the BF got my hubby a bottle of their Portwood and it was amazing, so very good. We quite often keep their 12 year in house. Recently I bought the 14yr Caribbean cask which was quite yummy.

Laphroaig is also very nice but I don’t remember which of theirs I’ve had specifically.

In general I prefer a peaty scotch myself but I would never turn a good scotch down for being smooth and peat free. :smiley:

Nice, I have a bottle of Sheep Dip (from Inverkeithing) that I was given for my 40th last year, think I might open it on my 41st. I prepared my self by hunting down a book by my favorite author Iain Banks ( who I may have mentioned once or twice). His book Raw Spirit: in search of the perfect dram, is quite an amusing read, and quite informational, I did pick up the trick of tasting the scotch first, then trying it again with water. I am going to try to find a bottle of Highland Springs water… (scotch whiskey, water from Scotland…
If you haven’t read this, I think you might enjoy it.

I am loyal to taste i guess.
Scotch’s on my “shelf” are
Glenlivet 13
Glenlivet 18
Glenlivet Cask Strength

The last is by far my favorite and is used only on special occasions. nom nom nom nom nom.