My taste for whisky developed in Japan, of all places. Prior to that, sure, I told myself I liked bourbon, but I think I more wanted to like it than actually liked it. But in Japan, drinking whiskey the Japanese way, I came to like the drink. Thing is, the way they drink whisky there would be deemed sacrilege anywhere else: they often have it in a tall glass with lots of water and ice, and it really hits the spot at the end of an evening warmed up with cold beer and warm sake.
The Japanese love their whisky and they’re very good at making it. As far as I’m aware, it’s basically scotch, but can’t be called that because it isn’t distilled in Scotland. I think this is the bottle I brought back from Japan: http://whiskys.co.uk/images/uploads/World%20Whisky/WW-J-Yamazaki-10.JPG
It was delicious. A cheaper whisky from the same company, Suntory: http://sedimentblog.blogspot.ca/2011/11/suntory-whiskey-unbreakable-drink.html (and yes, part of the reason I like it is the cool bottle).
Buzzfeed has a nice fact(ish?) list about whisky: http://www.buzzfeed.com/erinlarosa/excellent-reasons-to-drink-more-whiskey
The Irish make good whisky, of course. My understanding is that whisky making traveled from Ireland to Scotland. Bushmills has to be one of the best bottles of whisky you can buy for $30.
Whiskey or whisky? Not sure. Based on the buzzfeed list, I think scotch is whisky and bourbon and rye are whiskey.
I’ve had my share of Kentucky bourbons over the years, as well as Tennessee whiskies. A bottle of this higher-end make was given to me in Japan, actually: http://126.96.36.199/wp-content/uploads/2011/01/bookers-large.jpg
I don’t really have a favourite, although if I’m drinking bourbon, I’ll typically get Wild Turkey out of respect for Hunter Thompson, or I’ll go Tennessee-style and drink Jack, which has a lot of flavor for a comparatively modest price.
I don’t drink rye straight. Never picked up the habit, I guess. But if I’m in the mood for a rye and Coke – not often now, but more frequently in my wayward youth – Crown Royal is the way to go. I’ve never had an expensive bottle of rye, mind you, so there could be some great ones I don’t know about.
Which brings us to scotch. Honestly, I don’t know a thing about it. I’d like to. I’d like to sample all kinds of great single malts. Never have. Expense is a factor, for sure. A $30 bottle of bourbon tastes decent. A $30 bottle of Japanese whisky tastes good. A $30 bottle of Irish whisky can be very nice.
A $30 bottle of single malt scotch? Does that even exist?
No, at that price point, you’re talking about blends. Grant’s is cheaper than that, granted but, it tastes like paint thinner. Johnnie Walker Red is pretty good, but talking about scotch without knowing single malts is just silly.
I will correct this deficit in my knowledge some day, though. And, of course, I’ll need to buck tradition and also sample Canada’s “scotch”, Glen Breton: http://1.bp.blogspot.com/_rAyhRRrfohc/S_tJnZfKgLI/AAAAAAAAA0k/CTxs4Q68aUA/s1600/Glen+Breton.jpg
One category I’ve neglected is moonshine, which is growing in popularity – and becoming legal some places: http://business.time.com/2013/05/27/moonshine-is-growing-in-the-u-s-and-big-whiskey-wants-a-taste/
A question: Is legal moonshine still moonshine? I mean, I guess if the recipe doesn’t change from when it was banned to when it was allowed, a thing can’t become another thing just because a lawmaker says it’s OK, can it?
Anyway, moonshine is cool. It won’t surprise regular readers of this blog that I’m no fan of government criminalizing what citizens choose to put in their bodies.
Here’s a book on moonshine I enjoyed reading: http://www.amazon.com/Chasing-White-Dog-Adventures-Moonshine/dp/1416571795/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1371736126&sr=8-1&keywords=moonshine+white
And here’s how to say ‘cheers’ around the world: http://www.awa.dk/glosary/slainte.htm