How to confuse a whisky hack?

Can I Eat It takes a look at some of the leading whiskys and lets you know which one to buy.

Few years back, I poured a whisky hack a dram of Islay’s Ardbeg, special bottling from Gordon & MacPhail, Elgin, Speyside, and challenged him to name the region and distillery. He considered. “I’m not sure of the distillery,” he admitted, “but it’s definitely Speyside.” And I respected his instinct, because he was more than half right. This was an Ardbeg that had been matured and bottled, not at the distillery on the Hebridean Island of Islay, but on the mainland in the Speyside region of The Highlands. Whisky, you understand, gathers somewhere between 60-95% of its flavour from the barrel and its surrounding atmosphere.

Whisky maturation cannot be an exact science, but housing the spirit in porous wooden barrels on Islay for 10 years or more guarantees that the whisky – and the barrels – will be saturated with the Island’s distinctive terroir. If you have been there yourself, you will remember the salty, seaweedy and medicinal tang, carried on the sea-soaked wind, that can be licked from your lips within seconds. Obviously, these pungent flavours are missing from any whisky that has been shipped to the mainland warehouse straight from the distillery’s still. This variation in flavour occurs with Sherries, too. Those matured in the seaside town of Sanlucar de Barrameda have a much saltier flavour than those matured further inland.

Special bottling of malt whiskies by a top notch companies like Gordon & MacPhail are excellent drams to buy, drink and test whisky aficionados, but if you want to taste the true terroir of malt whisky. It must be matured and, if possible, bottled at the distillery. End of.

Ardbeg 10 Year Old Malt Whisky, Islay, Scotland

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Can I Eat It takes a look at some of the leading whiskys and lets you know which one to buy. Can I Eat It takes a look at some of the leading whiskys and lets you know which one to buy.

Not forgetting:

Barcode: 5010019640260

Laphroaig 10 Year Old Malt Whisky,Islay, Scotland

Laphroaig is one of the benchmark brands for smoky peaty whisky. Not as assertive as an Ardbeg, but it still delivers barrels of pungent peaty flavour!
Competing Brands: Bowmore, Ardbeg, Lagavulin, Caol Ila & Bruichladdich.

2 thoughts on “How to confuse a whisky hack?

  1. Ardbeg is peaty because the malted barley is dried over peat. It has nothing to do with air around the barrels. Evidence – older Ardbegs are less peaty than younger ones. Ardbeg Kidalton – unpeated malt – unpeated whisky and what about the unpeated whiskies from the Isle.


    1. PaulOctober 24, 2011 Tried this but did not really enjoy it for the first few sips then it satetrd to grow on me. Not as smokey as a Laphroaig or Lagavulin and a bit harsher, I personally would not buy another bottle.


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