Simply the most delicious single malt I have ever tasted.
It was available widely, but now after the Playboy Advisor article below it is very hard to find.
“I should never have switched from scotch to martinis.”—Humphrey Bogart’s last words
Here at Playboy we regularly host master distillers who come from Scotland to tell us how to drink single malt.
Add water—not that much! Swirl it—don’t spill! We recall the time we tossed an ice cube into a dram.
The Scotsman looked at us as if we’d violated his daughter. The way we see it, drinking shouldn’t involve rules (the law aside).
Drink your liquor however the hell you want, and if you finish a bottle you just opened, so be it.
That said, scotch is a substance that deserves deep respect.
Centuries of history are in every drop, and flavors vary more than with any other distillate.
What is the stuff? In a sentence: It’s beer made from malted barley that’s distilled and then aged in oak casks. A single malt comes from a single distillery. A blend marries lots of single malts with grain whiskey. Pour yourself one as we take a closer look.
MAKING THE GRADE:
In Scotland’s most famous whiskey region, northwest of Aberdeen along the River Spey, renowned distilleries shoulder each other like bottles on a shelf: Glenfiddich, Glenlivet, Cragganmore... Among our faves at their respective price points are Macallan Fine Oak 15 ($80), with smooth dried-fruit and chocolate notes, and the 12-yearold Singleton of Glendullan ($45), a new brand from an old distillery (founded in 1898), with a perfect balance of vanilla and fruit flavors.
Scotland’s smokiest whiskeys come from the islands.
The Isle of Skye offers Talisker, a liquor that sips like golden velvet. Orkney, at Scotland’s northern-most point, gives us Highland Park (pictured above: the 18-year-old, $100).
The drams from Islay are the boldest sippers of the lot, in which, it is said, you can taste the salt from the sea.
Among the best are Laphroaig, Ardbeg and the lesser-known Bruichladdich (pictured: the Peat, $65).
Highland whiskey encompasses almost all other single-malt scotches. And while they may vary in taste and style, they all get you feeling warm and fuzzy.
Our favorites include Oban, a distillery on the Atlantic in the western Highlands that’s more than 200 years old, and Glenmorangie in the northern Highlands. (Pictured: Glenmorangie Signet, $207, a unique whiskey made from chocolate malted barley, perfect with a cigar.)
Back in 1820 a young man named Johnnie Walker opened a shop in Kilmarnock, Scotland. He was one of the first to blend single-malt whiskeys, often crude flavors at the time, to come up with a smooth, dependable brand customers could rely on. They kept coming back.
Nearly two centuries later Johnnie Walker Black Label ($34) is still one of the standard-bearers for blended scotch, though today’s blends include not just single malts but mass-produced grain whiskey.
Perfect Rob Roy
Mix one teaspoon of sweet vermouth, one teaspoon of dry vermouth and 2.5 ounces of a blended scotch such as Johnnie Walker. Shake over ice and serve in a chilled martini glass. Garnish with a lemon twist.
A touch of theater never hurts. Mix two ounces of blended scotch with one tablespoon of honey and two tablespoons of lime juice in a glass mug. Then warm an ounce of Drambuie in a shot glass and ignite it. Pour burning liquid into the mug. Stir vigorously and serve.
For the Party
Black Jesus Shooters
Pour one part Jägermeister into a shot glass, then layer two parts scotch on top. Repeat 20 times.
Carry results around your party on a tray. Make new friends.
Water, frozen or not, is a scotch drinker’s best friend. Connoisseurs argue, however, that anything but the purest H2O can alter the flavor of your booze. You can import your own clean Scottish springwater from aquamaestro.com. Highland Springwater, Gleneagles and Speyside Glenlivet all go for $25 to $30 a case. Over-the-top? Quite possibly, but the truly silly scotch drinker doesn’t stop there. You can buy chunks of Scottish rocks (as in actual granite) for $75 a pair from sippinontherocks.com. Toss two ice-cube-size stones into the freezer, then use them to chill your hooch without diluting it one drop.
The World’s Greatest Hotel
Yes, it’s in Scotland. We stayed one night at the famous Craigellachie Hotel, not that we remember much. The 115-year-old mansion sits at the confluence of the rivers Spey and Fiddich in the heart of Scotland’s most famous whiskey region. Spend the day with a fly rod, drop off your catch in the kitchen for the chef to fillet, then hit the Quaich Bar, where more than 700 bottles of single malt line the walls. Be careful when you pick one out—some drams are so rare they’ll cost you upward of $500. Info at craigellachie.com.
As highlighted at the beginning this article originated from the Playboy Review article.