All whisky drinkers have heard of malt whisky but not everyone knows of the difference between Whisky and Whiskey. The original name for the distilled spirit was Uisgeba which was the translation of the “water of life”. Go back a few hundred years and spelling wasn’t number one in the school curriculum, with the Scots calling it “whisky” and the Irish spelling it as “whiskey”. So now you know.
You will also have often heard of “single malt” whisky, all spoken with a kind of reverence as befits the noble tipple. However, in 1948 a chap by the name of Douglas Laing got on to the idea of blending single malts and then selling this ‘new’ whisky to those who enjoyed a “wee dram”. Since then, these blended malts have become entities in their own right and marketed all over the world.
Leading us on the knowledge trail was Paul Wang, a chatty “Scotsman” in full regalia, who is the Asia Regional Sales Manager for Douglas Laing, with the venue for this tasting October 19 being Dicey Reilly Bar and Restaurant on Second Road.
Not having restriction of single names for single malts, Douglas Laing let his imagination run riot, coming up with names such as Timorous Beastie (Rabbie Burns), Rock Oyster , Big Peat, Epicurean and Scallywag (an amusing title for his blend from small Speyside distilleries).
These “new” malts are subject to the same rigorous production standards as ‘regular’ single malts to bring them all to 46 percent ABV), and maintain their geographic.
These were paired with suitable food items, and this format worked very well. For example, my favorite from these five was “Big Peat” from Islay which did indeed have a ‘peatey’ nose to it, and was paired with a substantial beef tenderloin and the Rock Oyster from the Scottish islands was paired with a herb crusted salmon.
This had been a most enjoyable evening, with everyone coming away with a greater appreciation of all malt whisky than previously.