Scotch with Scott

We asked our AGM, Scott Evans, who is becoming a real scotch connoisseur, some questions about what makes a great scotch, his favorites, and found out what to pair with our smoked steaks!

What gives Scotch it’s distinctive flavor & bouquet?

There are many factors that determine the flavors of the spirit, but in my opinion the wood makes the whisky! Oak is the best choice and will add flavors such as vanilla, caramel, dried fruit, toastiness, and spice characters to the maturing spirit. As the temperature increases and decreases the oak barrels which are used to store the whisky expand and contract.  This process of expansion and contraction causes the whisky to capture the essence of the wood and contributes to the color, aromas, and flavors of the whisky, and mellows the spirit considerably. Also, most but not all scotch makers use the smoke from peat to help dry the barley and add a smoky and oily character to the whisky, giving us that unmistakable scotch smell and taste.

What is the difference between a single malt and a blended malt?

Single malt whisky refers to scotch from one producer and uses only a single type of grain. Blended Scotch whiskies contain both malt whisky and grain whisky, and were initially created as an alternative to single malt whiskies, which were considered to be too harsh for some. With blends producers combine the various malts and grain whiskies to produce a consistent brand style.

What kind of food would best go with a nice glass of Scotch?

Pairing scotch with food is a matter of putting all the flavors and textures together. The velvetiness of perfectly cooked venison will be enhanced by the silkiness of certain malts. Choose a creamy scotch to compliment the richness of foods such as foie gras. In fact, our Mesquite Smoked Steaks would actually pair great with a sweet scotch such as Glenmorangie Portwood.

Scotch is usually known for it’s prentitious prices. Are there any brands you would recommend that are not too badly priced yet still are of nice quality?

A really good scotch can definately take a large chunk out of your wallet, but there are a few producers that make a fantastic product at a resonable price. Auchentoshan, not only is it one of my favorites, but you can find it in the liquor store typically for under $30. Another bottle that sometime gets a bad rap but in all actuality is really nice for the price is Famous Grouse. I’ve seen it in some stores selling for under $25. The Glenlivit 12yr is another bottle that is of great value, typically around the $25-$35.

In your opinion, what makes a great scotch & what are your favorite brands?

To me a great scotch combines drinkability with depth and flavor, one that drinks easily and doesn’t overwhelm your mouth and senses. Each Scotch Whisky is as unique and different as you and I, different appearance, different personalities, and in many cases different smells. Some are hot tempered and volatile while others are smooth and gentle.

There are so many to choose from! I like to change things up with the different seasons, but at the current moment a few of my favorite producers are “The Balvenie 15yr.”, “Auchentoshan 12yr.”, and “Glenmorangie Portwood 12yr.”

Ask us how we can set up our next scotch & cigar event at Mickey Mantle’s!

Posted: March 31, 2011