Take your first step into the world of whisky
The world of Scotch whisky is an intimidating one to enter. You can find its section at any local LCBO, and it will always be stocked with a variety of bottles from various distilleries.
The hobby is hard to enter and is incredibly subjective. So, how does one navigate the crowded field of Scotch whisky? Allow me to recommend a few whiskies for you to try if you’re looking for something new and exciting. Each whiskey selected is from a specific whiskey producing area of Scotland.
Lowlands: The Lowlands is a great place to start because these whiskies are traditionally very light in taste and flavour. The first whisky to discuss is the Auchentoshan 12-year-old single malt. This particular whisky is notable for a very fresh taste of assorted fruits, like apples, and distinct oak element. Auchentoshan 12-year-old, is a fantastic start to exploring scotch and one that can be easily enjoyed in a casual setting.
Speyside: Whiskies from the Speyside region of Scotland can be characterized by rich and sherried notes. Aberlour 12-year-old single malt is a firm example of how delicious and sweet these whiskies can be. This whisky has strong taste of a lovely honey sweetness (coming from the sherry casks used in the aging process) and light spices, like cinnamon and nutmeg. This is an excellent dessert whisky, perfect for an after dinner treat. Look at distilleries like Glenfiddich for a more floral and fruity Speyside whisky.
There’s no reason to believe whiskey should be a drink reserved for those with a bourgeois attitude. With these whiskey recommendations in your arsenal, you can now begin your own journey of scotch discovery.
Highlands: Transitioning further north we arrive in the Highlands. This is the largest whisky producing region in Scotland and because of this it is difficult to summarize a general regional style. This can be part of the fun when exploring whiskies from this region. My recommendation is Aberfeldy 12-year-old single malt. This whisky combines vanilla sweetness with orange citrus with a strong baking spice note that shines all the way through. Aberfeldy 12-year-old is a whisky that can deliver more intense and robust flavours seen in other whisky regions.
The Islands: This region covers a vast amount of island distilleries that all have their own unique taste and profile. My choice for this region is Highland Park 12-year-old single malt, a whisky from the Isle of Orkney. Everyone can find something to enjoy in this whisky. There is a creamy lemon citrus taste on the palate, a very light toffee sweetness and ends with a light and fragrant smokiness. This smoke note comes from the peat used in the production of this whisky. This whisky is perfect for those who can’t decide what specific flavour they would like, or for those who want a bit of everything.
Islay: We arrive finally at the Isle of Islay. Whiskies from this region are known for their incredibly strong peat and smoke notes, a taste almost exclusive to Islay. My recommendation for Islay (and one of my personal favourites) is Laphroaig Quarter cask single malt. The taste can best be described as drinking smoke from a campfire mixed with seaweed and some medicinal element. Smoke and marine notes dominate throughout. The taste really isn’t for everyone but if you like bold smoky flavour in your whisky; this is the single malt for you. Try it; you might end up loving it.
There’s no reason to believe whiskey should be a drink reserved for those with a bourgeois attitude. With these whiskey recommendations in your arsenal, you can now begin your own journey of scotch discovery. The ones I’ve covered, though I’ve only scratched the surface, are single malts that act as a good starting points. So please do yourself a favour and explore and keep trying new things, you may very well find your new favourite drink.