Whisky Mythbusters In Asia
World Best Bar
Apr 01, 2021
10 January 2019
Much of whisky history is shrouded, quite literally, in mist. Over the years, opinions have been compounded or reinforced to become “fact”. That’s why it’s high time we took a closer look at these myths to see if they’re just tall stories or if there are indeed truths behind them.
Myth #1: Whisky MUST be drunk neat
To some, it’s blasphemous to add water to whisky. But in fact, adding water – be it in liquid or in the form of ice – is just another way to express the aromatics and flavors of a whisky, often uncovering hidden distillery characteristics.
Just go carefully and don’t overdo it.
Myth #2: Single is always better than Blended
So what is single malt whisky? The single in “Single Malt Scotch” simply refers to one single distillery and malt refers to the cereal that is used to produce the whisky, so “malt whisky” is made 100% from malted barley.
However, to be called “Scotch”, a whisky needs to be matured in Scotland in oak casks for at least 3 years and bottled in Scotland at a minimum alcoholic strength of 40% ABV. If the word “Scotch” is absent, as in “Single Malt”, it refers to whisky made outside of Scotland.
Blended Scotch Whisky is a blend of whiskies from two or more single malt Scotch whiskies that have been distilled at more than one distillery. If the word ‘malt’ is missing, it just means the whiskies are not made from 100% barley and are a blend of malt whisky and grain whisky (which could include corn or wheat).
Depending on what you like, both have their merits, and it is pretty much a matter of personal taste. Scotch whisky usually has a thinner finish and light texture that won’t challenge or overpower your palate. You may not find particularly strong flavors in a typical blended whisky, which is why some people may consider it easier to drink. Of course, there are exceptions to this, which makes whisky tasting such a personal experience.
Myth #3: “Whiskey” is the same as “Whisky”
The use of whisky or whiskey is not a misspelling. Rather, the different spellings date back to the nineteenth century, when the Irish and Americans wanted to differentiate between their own alcohol and the Scottish made ones.
Here’s a quick reference: Scotland, Canada and Japan – whisky with no “e”; while America and Ireland spell whiskey with an ‘e’ – so now you know why The Glenlivet spells “whisky” this way!
Myth #4: Whisky fineness can be determined by its smoothness
Let’s admit it, most of us just refer to liquor’s general fineness in terms of how smoothly it goes down the throat. But depending on how you store and then prepare it, your general mood, and of course, the brand that you consume, your whisky experience will greatly vary. So do away with the generic “smoothness” thinking and really savor your whisky experience so you can describe it better – pay attention to the aromas, the textures, and the finish.
Myth #5: Whisky shouldn’t be drunk outdoors in tropical climate
We’re all so used to seeing images of whisky in front of a fireplace on a cold winter night, but nothing could be further from the truth. There is no one right way to drink whisky. You could be by the pool in the afternoon or hanging out with buddies at a BBQ – a whisky cocktail can be as refreshing as any other cold beverage when temperatures soar! Pick a light, fruity whisky like The Glenlivet 12 Year Old , add a little soda and a twist of lemon on crushed ice and you’ve got yourself a refreshing cooler to beat the tropical heat.
For more cool cocktail ideas, check out Dive Into Refreshing Whisky Cocktails to Beat the Heat