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Fathers Day? What could be better than a Dram of Single Malt Scotch for Dad

Fathers Day has crept up on us  again. Well, to be honest,  here in the USA, its been so heavily promoted I doubt you could miss it!

As a father and aficionado of Single Malt Scotch Whisky, I cannot think of a finer gift.   However,  choosing a Whisky can be every bit as difficult as selecting fine wine.  I’ve often found shoppers staring  at the Scottish Whisky Shelves in my local liquor store in Westchester NY with that look:

“Help – what on earth is the difference between The Glenlivet  and Laphraoig ? How do I choose? “

Introduction to Single Malt Scotch

In this post I will be making some recommendations and identify personal favorites among the plethora of Single Malt Scotch Whiskies.

To begin, it  all comes down to taste.  How do you like it? Sweet? Spicy? With a touch of Heather? Or absolutely smoky Lapsang Souchong Tea Special?  Or perhaps you prefer a mix of the above? Then do you want subtle flavors, or big bold and bad?

The Speysides

Speyside Selection

Speyside malts including The Glenlivet, Aberlour (pronounced Aber-lar) and The Macallan 12 Yr Old

Malts in this region, such as The Glenlivet, Aberlour or The Macallan are often matured in Sherry Casks that impart a sweet spicy flavor and a darker color to the malt.

The 12 Year Old Macallan is a beast of a Speyside.  Sweet, nutty and toffee like to taste deep dark and amber in color with a smooth finish and one of my favorites of its kind.

The Highlands 

If your craving is for something that is softer and mixes its flavor , then try some of the Highland concoctions such as, a 15 Year Old Dalwhinnie, whose floral heather, honeyed taste goes down a treat.

The Dalmore & Dalwhinnie representing The Highlands

The Dalmore & Dalwhinnie representing The Highlands

I am keen on 15 Year Old – The Dalmore, which smells of orange marmalade, cinnamon and nutmeg and tastes of Mandarins, vanilla, ginger and apples.  Yum!

The Islay Malts

For the smoky, peaty, big and bold flavors of the sea, look no further than the   offerings of the curious Island of Islay (pronounced “I la”) in the Inner Hebrides.

No less than 8 distilleries pepper its 240 sq miles – including the medicinal, seaweed, pungent and slightly acrid malts of Ardbeg, Lagavulin and Laphroaig whose casks breathe in the sea air in warehouses by the  ocean within 2 miles of each other.

Bunnahabhain & the Islay next door neighbors

The pungent smoky seaweed imbued Islay malts

Perfect served with creamy mature Mull of Kintyre Cheddar cheese.  Personally, my taste in Islays veer towards Bunnahabhain – slightly smoky, light fruity and nutty and a bit gentler on the palate than it’s cousins.

The Islands

My absolute favorite single malt comes from the far North of Scotland, closer to Norway than the UK, the remote Orkney Isles where the malts of Highland Park and Scapa are distilled.

Scapa - the authors favorite single Malt

Scapa – the authors favorite single Malt

A 16 Year Old Scapa is my dream dram. Honey, heather and light smoke combine and finish with malty sweetness. Simply delicious!

Some Final Thoughts

DON’T drink the stuff neat, especially if its been bottled at cask strength (generally around and above 100% proof).  A couple of drops of mineral / spring water (Scottish, if you can find it in the US – good luck with that!) releases the flavor of this ancient and wonderful drink.

DO drink it in a Glencairn Glass (see pic to the right) not a whisky tumbler. It allows all those wonderful smells and flavors to concentrate and be savored and of course for Dad and you to enjoy!

Happy Fathers Day and Slainte Mhath.


1 Comment so far

  1. simsalb

    Reblogged this on taste2taste and commented:

    Happy Father’s Day to all Dads out there – I published this guide for Scotch Whisky beginners and afficionados a year ago. In the spirit of Lindsey and my 1st Anniversary of blogging, I’ve posted it again for those contemplating this fine drink as a gift for their Dads


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