2015 is the Year of Food and Drink in Scotland. When it comes to a Scottish "drink" there is but one thing that comes to mind (for most people anyway), Scotch... Whisky! Tom Thompson of Tom's Whisky Reviews joins me to help us explore this noble spirit.
Whisky is often referred to as "the water of life" and nowhere is that a truer statement than in Scotland. Scots often begin to sample whisky at a young age and can drink legally at 18. However, it would be wrong to characterise the Scots as an alcoholic population. Unlike in many countries, where a "bar" is a place strictly to drink alcohol, the local pub (public house) is often a gathering place for families and neighbours. Many pubs serve meals and, unlike bars here in the USA, children under 14 are welcomed if accompanied by an adult, but you still have to be 18 to purchase whisky or any other liquor. As a result of this lifestyle, many Scots, like Tom, have - with their parents' permission and supervision - sampled whisky before reaching legal drinking age, just as a young person in another part of the world may likely have sampled beer or wine. Tom's birthday present, upon his 18th birthday, was a bottle of his then favourite whisky, a 10-year old Glenmorangie. He has been sampling whisky ever since.
Whether you come to drinking whisky at a young or older age, the world of whisky can be daunting. With thousands of labels distilled, not just in Scotland, but right around the world, where does one start? How do you properly taste-test whisky? Will you find single malt or a blend more enjoyable, and what is the difference in the two? Will your palette appreciate a smoky whisky, a peated whisky, or prefer a lighter, fruity whisky?
All of the above are good questions and with Tom Thomspon's experience (gained from sampling and blogging about more than 1,000 whiskies) we explore and guide you through the answers to each of them and more. Once you've enjoyed this episode, here are links to the products and services we discussed and where you can find more helpful information.