October 10th, 2016
Lagavulin. If ever a name evoked a whisky’s character. Let’s face it. The English translation of the original Gaelic Lag a’mhuilinn, ‘hollow by the mill’, simply doesn’t do justice to the distillery or its spirit. But Lagavulin... That sounds like a breath of magic!
The Lagavulin Distillery occupies a picturesque site located in the prime distilling area on the southeastern coast of the Isle of Islay in Scotland, opposite the crumbling ruins of Dunyvaig Castle. It (along with the Caol Ila Distillery and a large industrial malting facility at Port Ellen, both also on Islay) is owned and operated by Diageo, the largest spirits producing firm in the world.
September 12th, 2016
A whimsical hodge-podge of granite-stoned structures stands amidst the rich farmland of Aberdeenshire, near Percock Hill. Two tall-necked pagodas rise from the compound’s central area – a sure indication that whisky business is taking place inside. This is Glengarioch (Gaelic for ‘valley of the rough ground’, and pronounced ‘Glen-geery’), one of the few Highland distilleries able to trace its roots all the way back to the 18th Century.
Most Scotch drinkers are aware of the exalted position single malts occupy within the hierarchy of Scotland’s spirits. And many may know of the important role grain whiskies play in blended Scotches. But what of the grain whiskies themselves? Is there yet another realm of spirituous delights flying under the radar? The short answer is, “Yes.”
As the Holiday Season nears, Scotch lovers are faced with something of a challenge – how to offer their guests with more sensitive palates quality malt Scotch whiskies that won’t offend, but that will also satisfy the demands of more experienced imbibers who might be gathered.
Yes… There are people who appreciate a good malt but just can’t get their taste buds around drams of Lagavulin or Laphroaig!
Fortunately, when it comes to meeting this challenge, there’s true ‘gold’ to be had. Let me guide you to a small number of distilleries, provide you with a few (hopefully) interesting facts about them, and profile some of their whiskies. These Scotches are sure to please. And, with one exception, they won't bust the bank.
Time to read on, and taste!
Monday November 2, 2015
Join Cigar Weekly Managing Editor Doug Kuebler (jazznut) as he showcases a personal selection of high-proof malt whiskies from seven renowned distilleries in Scotland.
This time around, I’m passing right by the mass of many excellent standard-strength malt Scotch whiskies available in the marketplace, and heading directly for a few exceptional, straight-from-the-cask (or as close to it as makes no difference) ‘beasties’.
It’s perhaps not surprising that six of the malts profiled here emanate from the Isle of Islay, which is not exactly known for holding back when it comes to the intense style of its whiskies. Add one more from the Isle of Skye and another from the Highlands, and we’re ready to dive into eight truly exciting drams.
Be forewarned, however. While these Scotches will fill every corner of your palate and bring considerable warmth in the process, some may also lighten your finances a tad. But never mind that. Bite the bullet and sip the nectar!