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Pet Peeves: Alcohol Part One

WHY do people who know nothing about top class alcohol try to write about it? If it is in-character for someone (say, DANIEL) to drink the Good Stuff (TM) or to know about it, can you not do a little research?

Part One: WHISKY

If spelled like that (without the "e") it is the same as "Scotch" (short for "Scotch Whisky" - incidentally there are only four approved uses of "Scotch" as an adjective: Scotch Whisky, Scotch Broth, Scotch Egg and Scotch Mist. The person is a "SCOT", the language/dialect is "SCOTS" and the correct adjective is "Scottish"). Scottish Gaelic and Irish Gaelic are slightly different languages (or dialects depending on your definition of "language") with different spellings. (For example, "Mc" tends to indicate Irish-derived names, while "Mac" indicates Scottish roots.)

"Whiskey" (with the "e") is Irish or American.

Therefore one will NOT drink "a good Scottish whiskey".

Whisky (and Whiskey) is derived from malted barley and/or grain. A "single malt" is the product of a single MALT - no grain - from a single distillery. It is the purest form of whisky. The youngest single malt drunk is 8 years old. 

The age of whisky/whiskey is determined by how long it spent in the barrel BEFORE it was bottled. Unlike wine, whisky/whiskey does not continue to mature once bottled. Keeping a twelve year old scotch for twenty years won't add anything to it and is probably a waste of good scotch.

The oldest Scotch one will readily get one's hands on is probably eighteen years old. (Scotch usually comes aged at eight years, twelve years, eighteen years or twenty-one years.) It is possible to get older Scotch but then one starts to get into the realms of silly money due to (a) the storage costs of keeping it in the barrels all that time and (b) the fact that the longer Scotch is kept, the more evaporates and consequently the fewer bottles one gets out of a barrel.

The ides of Jack drinking a whisky "three times older than he is" (therefore approximately 150 years old) is ludicrous. We'd be talking about $45,000 USD for a bottle and no matter what the USAF pays for Special Opertions Colonels (or civilian advisors if Daniel bought it) I don't see that happening  - unless the writer was talking years since it was BOTTLED... in which case we'd still be talking a five-figure sum as, let's face it, most people buy booze to DRINK, not to keep indefinitely.

Most well-known whiskies (whether Scotch or Irish) are "blends" - a blend of malts and, usually, grains. 

A pure malt blend (without the addition of distilled grains) is technically "vatted" but any bottle which claims to be "malt" without the "single" adjective is probably a BLEND of malts. These can be as good as - in some connoiseurs' opinions, better than - single malts as the blend of flavours can add a depth or a variety of "notes" to the flavour.

The age of a blend is the age of the youngest whisky in it. The very best blends may contain a mixture of eighteen year old malts.

Grain whisky/whiskey is the really cheap, mass-produced, (not to put too finer point on it) shit.

There is NO SUCH THING as "a bottle of double malt". If it has two (or more) malts it is a BLEND. End of story.


Jan. 18th, 2008 02:31 am (UTC)
Hi! Thanks for commenting - and many many thanks for the information on Jack and Daniel's salaries.

If I've calculated the exchange rate and relative cost of living (England - and London especially - is a very expensive place to live) correctly, while not RICH exactly, such salaries would enable both Jack and Daniel to live very comfortably - though not extravagantly - yes?

I like Wiki... but I tend not to trust it. There are better resourses out there by actual "experts".

The price of antique whisky varies wildly - as with most of the antiques market - not least because it is sold at auction, with factors such as distillery and provenance having significant impact. £25k (GBP) was an approximation based on my research.

While whisky won't go off if still sealed, it won't AGE or improve either, so the only reason I can see for buying a bottle of 150 year old malt in auction would be to SAY you've bought it - or to drink the same malt as (say) Queen Victoria (while "not amused" apparently she did love a wee dram).

Like most scotch drinkers I know, I prefer to drink what I know!

Thanks again :D
(Deleted comment)
Jan. 18th, 2008 01:02 pm (UTC)
Many thanks - you've been really helpful! :D


Dee Natsuko

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