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    THE NIBBLE’s Gourmet News & Views

    Trends, Products & Items Of Note In The World Of Specialty Foods

    This is the blog section of THE NIBBLE. Read all of our content on TheNibble.com,
    the online magazine about gourmet and specialty food.

FATHER’S DAY GIFT IDEA: Blended Scotch Whisky

Last night we learned how to blend Scotch, courtesy of America’s best-selling Scotch brand, Dewar’s.

A few decades ago, when single malt Scotch became all the rage, we became a snooty single malt drinker and hadn’t drunk a blended Scotch until now.

We were missing out!

Single malt versus blended Scotch is purely a matter of preference, and one can prefer several different styles.

  • A single malt Scotch is made entirely by a single producer at a single site. The flavors and aromas are distinctive to the terroir* of the area. Each of the different regions of Scotland produces whisky with flavors and aromas unique to its climate, water and so forth. For example, over the years of aging, barrels on Islay, an island region, pick up a hint of saltiness from the sea.
  •  

    The four expressions of Dewar’s blended
    Scotch whisky. From left: White Label,
    12 Years, 18 Years and Signature. Photo courtesy Dewar’s.

     

    *Terroir, a French word pronounced tur-WAH, is the unique combination of geographic location, climate and microclimate, soil and temperature that creates the individual personality of an agricultural product. As in the growing of grapes for wine or beans for coffee, terroir dramatically affects the flavor profiles of the product.

  • A blended Scotch is created by mixing the distillations (Scotches) from multiple single malt producers. By selecting particular single malts, the blender can achieve the exact flavor combination desired, with more balance and complexity. Examples include honey and floral flavors from Highland Scotches, fruity flavors from Speyside, vanilla flavors from Lowland Scotches and peaty flavors from Islay. Dewar’s blends can contain up to 40 different single malts and grain whiskys (a whisky that contains some grains other than malted barley, such as corn, rye or wheat) to attain the perfection the blender seeks.
  •  
    If you don’t know a drinker’s preference and select a single malt, it may not be the profile the recipient prefers. With a fine blended Scotch, the balance and harmony are generally enjoyed by anyone.

    The proper glass† to “nose” Scotch is a sherry copita, also called a single malt whisky glass. It resembles a tulip, and can be used for any fine whisky. The lip turns outward to catch the aromas of the whisky.

    †Professionals and connoisseurs use different shaped glasses to fully enhance the flavors and aromas of fine wines and spirits. It really does make a difference!

    Why is it there so often a gap between our preferences and our pocketbook?

    While all of the Dewar’s expressions are very fine, we fell in love with the masterpiece of the portfolio, Dewar‘s Signature (upwards of $200). The nose burst with aromas of luscious Seville orange and a touch of peat. On the palate, orange and chocolate notes were accented with honey, vanilla, toffee and caramel overtones. It was dessert in a glass, and a real treat.

    For everyday, we’re going back to the very affordable Dewar’s 12 Years—which, by the way, is also made in a kosher expression: Dewar’s 12 Year Old Special Reserve.

    THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN “WHISKY” & “WHISKEY”
     
    Which spelling is correct?

    In Ireland and the United States, the word “whiskey” is spelled with an “e.” The British, Scots and Canadians spell it “whisky.” To be perfectly correct, you’d use “whiskey” when referring to an Irish or American product; and “whisky” when referring to the others. But most people in the U.S. use the spellings interchangeably.

    Etymologists don’t know why the variations exist. The best explanation is that the Irish had whiskey first, and when the Scots started to make it, they left out the “e” to point out the difference between their spirit and Irish whiskey.

    We’ll drink to that!

  • The Different Types Of Whiskey: How many types of whiskey are there? This article explains it all.
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