Experiencing Scotch Whisky

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We felt like this post would be best suited for the weekend, but we learned so much we couldn’t wait to share it with you all.  I have grown up around Scotch drinkers and Jon was nicknamed ‘The Old Man” in college because he would sip on a glass of Scotch all night instead of drinking tons of beer.

In Edinburgh, right next to the Edinburgh Castle you can go to The Scotch Whisky Experience.  I was worried it was going to be a tourist trap, but we actually learned a lot.  They have an interactive ride, where you sit in a moving “barrel” and you get to follow the process of making Scotch.  Did you know Scotch is made from sprouted grains?  I didn’t!

To make a single malt, the barley grain is added to water and then sprouted.  Once the sprouting or germination occurs the barley is dried, at this point it becomes a malted barley.  Then yeast and sugar are added to make alcohol and the distillation process takes place.  After the alcohol is distilled it is added to oak barrels.  Once the Scotch is added to the bottle it does not continue aging.  So the age is only how long it was kept in the barrel.  And the longer it is in the oak barrel the darker, more golden brown, the Scotch becomes.

In order to be called a Scotch, first off the whisky has to come from Scotland and secondly it has to be aged in oak for at least 3 years.

If you are drinking a blended Scotch, corn and wheat have been added to the process to blend different flavors together.

Map of Scotland & the Scotch regions

Map of Scotland & the Scotch regions

On the tour we also learned about the main regions that produce Scotch in Scotland.

The rust color is the Lowlands- which has hints of citrus or lemon

The bright orange is the Highlands – which has hints of vanilla

The light orange is Speyside – which has hints of banana, although not all

The dark brown in Islay – which has smoked flavors

scotch tastingAt the tasting you get an interactive experience with scratch and sniff cards, where you get to guess the scent.  Based on which region you like the smell of most you can pick which Scotch region you want to try.  Surprise, surprise, Jon and I like the same one…Highlands.

I have to admit it was the first time I had scotch that it didn’t taste like varnish to me…but 1 or 2 sips are plenty for me!

Dad you never told me you and Uncle Phill made your own Scotch!!

Dad you never told me you and Uncle Phill made your own Scotch!!

 

Hope you learned something about Scotch!

 

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