Whiskey is without question one of, if not the most, popular beverage in the entire world, and is enjoyed in a number of countries in a whole variety of different ways. We enjoy whiskey in so many different ways and as it is so versatile and delicious, it’s no wonder why it’s considered such a valuable commodity. When you consider the rich and storied history behind whiskey however, you’ll understand exactly why it’s considered so valuable and is in such high demand. There are a number of different ways of brewing and distilling whiskey, and there are numerous different styles, and varieties of whiskey currently in production, with each one having its own unique taste and consistency. One of the most popular varieties of whiskey however, has to be single malt, and it is single malt whiskey which we’ll be taking a look at right now.
A brief history of single malt whiskey – Single malt whiskey is basically a form of whiskey originally created in Scotland, using a unique pot still process of distillation in one single distillery. Its one main ingredient is malted barley, hence the name single malt. Single malt whiskey must be brewed and distilled within Scotland and then matured in special oak cask barrels within Scotland for an absolute minimum of three years, although the majority of single malt whiskeys are actually matured for much longer than this, with many experts believing that the longer the whiskey is left to mature, the better the flavour. As far as how it managed to become a key part of Scottish tradition, the most popular theory is that it actually has Irish roots, as many believe that Irish monks brought it over to Scotland with them when they began settling in monasteries in the highlands. The monks however, didn’t discover the distillation processes required for making single malt whiskey as that was actually discovered a scholar of Persian descent known as Rhazes. Time went by and more and more Scots began distilling whiskey until it was heavily taxed, forcing many distillers to actually smuggle the whiskey in a variety of different and ingenious ways. They distillers chose remote locations in the Scottish highlands as they were out in the middle of nowhere, away from civilisation, and if any authorities did find their breweries, they could be spotted from afar, allowing the distillers to make their escape. One interesting fact is that many extremely popular breweries up in Scotland, are actually situated in the same locations as the old illegal breweries centuries ago, some of which even operate out of the same buildings. Over time, whiskey evolved, as did brewing techniques, leaving us with a number of different types of whiskey. Single malt uses malt as the main ingredient, and is the product of one single distillery, so it is not blended with any other whiskeys.
Uses and mixers for single malt whiskey – Single malts are, without question, best enjoyed neat to begin with, to assess your own palate for this fine drink. If it’s a little too overpowering, the next step is to add a splash of Scottish mineral water, take a sip, and so on, until you achieve your desired flavour. It can also be enjoyed on the rocks, and served with lemonade and ginger ale. Another great way of enjoying a single malt is to consume it chilled, just before a meal, as it cleanses your palate incredibly well.