Whisky Tasting: Heady Flavours Put Whisky on the Map

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Never
one to rush things, I came late to the charms of uisge beatha. Indeed,
it took several decades for me to develop any sort of taste for
whisky (or even whiskey). Single malts are still hit-and-miss and
just when I think I’ve cracked it, managing to identify my
all-time favourite, I get stopped in my tracks by some overly medicinal,
iodine-laden, tonsil-tormentor.

“Don’t
panic and don’t give up,” says Dave Broom, editor of The
Scotch Whisky Review and author of the Handbook
of Whisky
. “There’s a single malt for everyone.”

I challenge
Broom to convince me. Not only that, I challenge Broom to convince
my wife, Marina, who professes to loathe the stuff. “Every
bar worth its salt has a fine range of malts these days,” says
Broom when we meet in his local, the Ginger Pig in Hove. “But
since there are currently 92 working distilleries in Scotland with
around 2,000 different malts between them, it can be deeply confusing
finding a substitute if your favourite isn’t there.”

To help the
whiskily-challenged, Broom, in association with multi-distillery-owning
drinks giant, Diageo, has devised a Single Malt Whisky Flavour Map.
This grid is dotted with scores of whiskies, their coordinates determined
by how light, smoky, rich and delicate they are.

Glenlivet 15
Year Old, for example, in the bottom right-hand corner, is judged
to be delicate and rich. Ardbeg 10, in the top left, is light and
smoky. Mannochmore 12, slap in the middle, is a balance of all four.

Read
the rest of the article

March
7, 2009

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