Why you should never drink whisky on the rocks


The first time I tasted Scotch whisky I was a broke student, chugging direct from a £3 bottle, lying outside my tent at the foot of Ben Nevis, Britain’s highest mountain.

It was after a meal of tinned macaroni and cheese – hardly a sophisticated sampling considering I was sipping the world’s most venerated style of whisky. I promised myself that the next time I returned to Scotland, I would drink the best the country had to offer, in great abundance and straight from the source, no matter what it took.

It turns out, for me, all it took was a smile and a stiff right thumb.

That first Scotch whisky I drank was a blend. Of course, I didn’t understand the difference between single malt and blended whisky until I returned to Scotland eight years later; most people still don’t. Blended whisky, which comprises more than 80% of the market, including brands like Johnnie Walker and Dewars, is a mix o­f malt and grain whiskies that come from multiple distilleries. Single malt, which Scottish drinkers often refer to as malt rather than whisky (and never Scotch, like it’s known elsewhere around the world, is whisky created from malted barley at one distillery).


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