So tonight, The American Foodie returns to its roots in written articles. Last night, The Foodie hosted a Scotch tasting. While I always knew I liked single malt Scotches, I didn’t really have anything beyond a very shallow appreciation for them. Now, I can get a chance to report on my findings and hopefully give others who enjoy Scotch a bit of a guide.
The first Scotch I put out was the Original Glenmorangie 10 year. The Glenmorangie distillery, in operation since 1843, is in Tain, Ross-shire in the Scottish highlands. According to the Wikipedia article, Glenmorangie boasts the tallest pot stills in Scotland.
Upon tasting the Glenmorangie 10 year, I found myself tasting a sweet vanilla, very light on the peat. For a Scotch whisky, it is very light on the smoke. The sweetness of the Glenmorangie makes it a Scotch that makes for more casual drinking and it is probably the Scotch I would introduce to beginners. I also found it to be a perfect drink to put out at the same time as dessert. The vanilla notes will complement chocolate. A quick and easy way to class up your dinner party is to serve Glenmorangie with some Lindt truffles (I found the orange and Irish cream varieties to work particularly well) for your dessert, though I can very easily imagine Glenmorangie being absolutely delicious with a nice tiramisu.
My taste for Scotch came down from my father, who got it from his father before him. My father’s go-to Scotch is The Glenlivet 12 year. The Glenlivet distillery, located in Ballindalloch, Moray, is an example of a Speyside, or distillery located along the river Spey in the Scottish highlands. Other famous Speysides include Glenfiddich and Macallan, the preferred Scotch of the famous fictional Scottish superspy James Bond.
I always think of The Glenlivet 12 year as being very balanced. While the Glenmorangie enters sweet and finishes smoky, the Glenlivet starts smoky and finishes sweet, though the latter is smokier and less sweet than the former.
I can only imagine myself eating lightly salted crackers (and maybe a mild cheddar cheese) with The Glenlivet 12 year. As it is a such a well-balanced Scotch, it doesn’t need help from any food. If you smoke, then I would imagine The Glenlivet being a Scotch you would enjoy lighting a cigar alongside of.
The last Scotch I brought out was Ardbeg, the only Islay of the night. Ardbeg is produced on the south coast of the Islay island and is considered the peatiest Scotch in the world.
For that reason, I say Ardbeg is a Scotch not for the faint of heart. Upon opening the bottle, you will be able to smell the smoke, which serves as a good indication of what the whisky will taste like. The peat will hit you like a Scottish freight train.
The peat is also the reason Ardbeg would be a Scotch I would suggest having with dinner if your dinner consists of pork, particularly with barbecued baby back ribs. Bacon would always work too. While it is a Scotch, I could more easily imagine pouring this at a yakiniku (Japanese DIY barbecue) than I would Japan’s own Yamazaki. The Ardbeg could also be served with cheeses like smoked Gouda, often used for barbecue sandwiches.
I hope this gave some clue as to how one can more easily enjoy some Scotch, which I consider to be an example of the finer things in life.