The ABC of Single Malts

This is an educational post, about a class of drinks that has no parallel. These are called Single Malt whiskys, or sometimes, just Malts.

My limited experience with them, about ten years now, has led me to the following conclusions (though influenced by writers or friends, mostly mine)-

There are a variety of single malts, and you may become a devotee of one or more over time. Once you are a Malt worshipper, it's hard to go back to the blends (see below for definition).

There are areas of Scotland (like Islay, Highlands, and others) which have somewhat distinct Malts. Ageing and the casks used for these (previously used for carrying Sherry or Bourbon sometimes) add to the flavours of a Malt. So does the use of peat (a sort of coal) for the roasting of Barley used in its making.

The Single Malt is so named because it does not get mixed with whiskys from other distillers. Blends (like Johnnie Walker or Ballantines) are usually a mix of several whiskys blended together. Just like Brooke Bond Red Label (a blend of teas) and tea from a single estate (equivalent to a Single Malt). Consistency of blends is maintained by tasters who do taste-tests.

My own favourites are Ardbeg, Laphroaig, The Glenlivet, and Glenfiddich, and I have also tried The Balvenie, Glenmorangie, Talisker, Jura, Macallan, Dalmore. My favourites tend to be the smoky or peaty ones.

Amrut, an Indian Single Malt, is available in a few variants and I like its peaty variant the best, out of the three I have tried.


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