It's time to step out of our comfort zones and try something new -- and break some stereotypes all the while. Meet your new favorite drink: single malt whiskey. Yes, advanced spirits are not just for men anymore. With its rich flavor profile and endless possibilities for mixing, single malt whiskey is the perfect addition to any modern woman's drink arsenal.
You've probably encountered whiskey quite a couple of times over the years, but you're still wondering what differentiates single malt whiskey from other types of whiskeys. That's understandable. So grab a glass and let's dive into the world of single malt whiskey!
What is 'single malt whiskey' any way?
Single malt whiskey is a type of whisky made from malted barley, meaning that the only grain that has been used to make it was malted barley. Additionally, it must be distilled in pot stills at one distillery. By law, Single Malt must be aged for at least three years in oak barrels -- and made in Scotland to be defined as Scotch whisky. Single malt whiskey can also be made in other countries, but it will not be Scotch if it is not made in Scotland.
So far, so good. So, the two main differences between single malt and other types of whiskeys are the ingredients used to make them and the process through which they're made. Single malt whiskey is made only from malted barley and crafted in one distillery, while other whiskeys can use a combination of grains such as corn, wheat, and rye. Additionally, single malt whiskies are distilled through pot stills which are less efficient than column stills used for most other more commercial types of whiskey. They are then aged in wooden barrels for a certain amount of time which gives them their characteristic color and flavor.
The most prominent difference between single malt whiskey and blended ("normal") whiskey is that the former uses only malted barley as its base, whereas the latter combines two or more grain whiskeys from different distilleries. Blended whiskey is often thought of as a cheaper alternative to single malt. It uses high-proof grain whiskey which is then brought down in proof with water and blended with other whiskeys (or even artificial flavoring) from different distilleries. This makes it less expensive than single malt while still maintaining a consistent flavor profile.
Tips for a more enjoyable first single malt whiskey experience
- Start with a clean palate: Avoid eating or drinking anything strong-tasting before a whiskey tasting, as it can affect your ability to taste the whiskey accurately.
- Use a Glencairn glass: This type of glass is specifically designed for whiskey tastings and allows you to fully appreciate the aroma and taste of the whiskey.
- Look at the color: Hold the glass up to a white background and observe the color of the whiskey. The color can give you an idea of the whiskey's age and type.
- Smell the whiskey: Take a moment to smell the whiskey before taking a sip. This will help you identify the different aromas and flavors that make up the whiskey.
- Taste the whiskey: Take a small sip of the whiskey and hold it in your mouth for a few seconds before swallowing. Pay attention to the taste and any aftertaste.
- Take notes: Keeping a notebook or a tasting sheet handy to take notes on the different whiskey you taste can help you remember the different flavors and aromas.
- Try different types of whiskey: Experiment with different types of whiskey, such as single malt, blended, or bourbon, to expand your palate and understand the different flavors and aromas that make up each type.
- Drink water: Have a glass of water nearby to cleanse your palate between tastings and to help you avoid becoming overwhelmed by the alcohol.
- Don’t rush: Take your time with each whiskey. Enjoy the experience and savor the flavors and aromas.
- Have fun: Remember that whiskey tastings are meant to be enjoyed, not taken too seriously. Don't be afraid to ask questions or share your thoughts with other whiskey enthusiasts.
Pairing single malt whiskey with food
Single malt whiskey is a versatile and complex spirit that can be enjoyed on its own or paired with food to enhance the tasting experience. Here are some tips on how to pair single malt whiskey with different types of food:
- Fish and seafood: Single malt whiskey pairs well with fish and seafood dishes, such as grilled salmon or seared scallops. The smokiness and peatiness of the whiskey complement the delicate flavors of the fish, while the salty sea air notes in the whiskey complement the saltiness of the seafood.
- Meat dishes: Single malt whiskey is a great pairing for meat dishes, such as a hearty stew or a grilled steak. The rich flavors of the meat and the whiskey complement each other, and the whiskey's high alcohol content helps to cut through the fat of the meat.
- Cheese: Single malt whiskey is a great pairing for cheese, as the rich flavors of the whiskey complement the complex flavors of the cheese. Aged cheddar or blue cheese are particularly good choices to pair with single malt whiskey.
- Chocolate: Single malt whiskey pairs well with chocolate, as the sweetness of the chocolate complements the rich, complex flavors of the whiskey. Dark chocolate is particularly good with single malt whiskey, as the bitterness of the chocolate helps to cut through the sweetness of the whiskey.
- Desserts: Single malt whiskey can also be paired with desserts, such as apple pie or chocolate mousse. The sweetness of the dessert complements the rich, complex flavors of the whiskey, while the whiskey's high alcohol content helps to cut through the sweetness of the dessert.
How women are helping to shape the single malt industry's future
One of the ways that women are helping to shape the future of single malt whiskey is through their role as distillers. While there are still relatively few female distillers in the industry, their numbers are growing. Many of these women have worked their way up through the ranks, starting as apprentice distillers and working their way to master distiller roles. They bring a unique perspective to the industry, and are often credited with creating new and exciting flavors and styles of whiskey.
But the most important way that women are helping to shape the future of single malt whiskey is through their role as brand ambassadors and marketing experts. As the industry continues to expand, it is becoming increasingly important to connect with new customers and build brand loyalty. Women are often seen as experts in this area, and are helping to create new and innovative marketing campaigns that resonate with whiskey consumers.