Single Malts: You Decide

As Talisker is to boy, [blank] is to girl.


Updated to add: you would not believe how funny that seemed last night. The other one’s an Ardbeg by the way, but I think there must be a girlier whiskey. My tip is if you are going to cap off the new “no drinking Monday to Thursday” regime with an unplanned dinner party followed by stupid excess on the Friday, try to have plans for Saturday morning that don’t require staring down a giant pot of chicken and pig bits:

blanched bits


36 thoughts on “Single Malts: You Decide

  1. Single malts? Don’t get me started. Every time the beloved goes home he comes back with at least one new one. Our faves so far are the Balvenie port wood, and Caol Ila (which tastes like Band-Aids at first sip, but rapidly improves) Dinner parties frequently end with 6 bottles on the table, and no memory of the last 3 hours…

  2. Local 1st Choice had Ardberg on special with a nifty roundish tasting glass AND leather Celtic engraved coaster type thing all for less than a single bottle of Ardberg without glass etc. And whats more young thing at counter pointed this out to me.

    Noice drop. Although I lean a bit more to the Laphroaig and the Lapsang Souchong tastes – has the added advantage of keeping others away from the bottle.

  3. (Though I hasten to add it’s not a malt, it does serve to fulfil the requirements of the sexist joke)

  4. Those bits are pretty disgusting all right, and I haven’t even had a glass of wine yet. They look like the torn and broken bodies of tortured, executed house-elves under the reign of Voldemort.

  5. DD, I think you’re right. Can’t think of a better example.

    And Pav, from the book I’m reading at the moment, Bill Buford’s Heat:

    Chicken stock was the only acceptable meat stock – one made from anything else would be too French – and every morning a pot was filled with the feet and water and boiled for hours. Chicken feet are a vivid sight – like human hands without a thumb, curled up and knuckly – and the first time I saw them, bobbing in their giant vat, they looked as though they were attached to the arms of so many people, clawing at the churning water, trying to climb out…”

  6. As Talisker is to boy, Glenmorangie Quinta Ruban is to girl.

    The Glen QR lacks the heavy tar, iodine and scratchy tweed punch of island single malts like Talisker but more than makes up for it with a more airy, floral nose and better port cask footwork.

    Bit like the difference between the Led Zep and Muscle Shoals rhythm sections. Six of one and half a dozen of the other depending on your mood.

    Disclaimer: I’ve been drinking cheapish Domaine Chandon shampoo spiked with a very decent Hennessy VS Cognac during band practice all evening. Boy, have we come up with a killer reinterpretation of ‘Nights In White Satin’.

  7. I see we’re suffering from a difference in shorthand whiskey slang. I thought I’d made it clear Jameson’s was a blend.
    Let’s workshop a likely scenario:
    dd: Good morning young person behind the bar. I am thirsty and would like to purchase a drink please. What malts have you got there?
    ypbtb: Well we’ve got Johnny Walker Red…

  8. ypbtb: Yes, it is. It’s not my fault you’re imprecise and, yes, I am awfully pedantic for a young person of limited knowledge and experience being underpaid a casual wage, but wotcha gonna do?

  9. dd. WhaddamIgonnado? Why, get into a long, involved, trivially quibbling discussion with you, while the rest of your regulars go thirsty.
    Why would ‘malt’ refer to anything but single malt whiskey? If I’d wanted a bourbon I’d have asked for a bourbon.
    Fuck it. I’ll bring my own poitín from now on, smartarse.

  10. dd. If I wanted it sweet and kinda-queer I’d have asked for Drambuie, my highly judgmental and easily replaceable young keg jockey. But I’m glad you see my point, that nobody asks for, but instead assumes they will get unless they specify otherwise, blended Scotch.

  11. ypbtb: Nah, that doesn’t follow. It’s not “nobody” not asking, it’s a mythical anthropomorph who’s a bit shaky on the detail constructing an hypothetical discussion. That’s right up there with angels on pins ontologically. As for replacing me, I’d like to see you find an accommodating hypothetical interlocutor at short notice.

  12. dd: It certainly follows, despite my questionable negative grammatical construction. The Scotch you get from the bar when you order it with that word alone is invariably a cheap blend. Asking for a “malt” is an explicit request for unblended Scotch. And before we get into big-epistomology contests, I should point out that I seem to have found an accommodating hypothetical interlocutor, Graf Bazarov.

  13. ypbtb: who’s that, then? You’re making a category mistake: bourbon is not a malt whisky, but Johnny Walker is. Your argument boils down to whether “malt” on its own, always means “single malt whisky”. It doesn’t. It’s quite possible that the next time you step up to a bar and ask, lazily, for a “malt”, that you’ll get a milkshake*.

    *and not necessarily the Urban Dictionary version.

  14. Oi Barkeep! You wanna flick these squabbling kids off and serve me? Yes, me with the 100 buck bill peeking out from my tapping hand on the bar.

    I’ll have a triple Macallan’s Fine & Rare Cask 241. With a single cube of ice. And coke.

  15. It doesn’t.


    It doesn’t.


    It doesn’t.

    Does does does.
    Anyway what’s wrong with a decent milkshake? Mine brings all the boys to the yard…

  16. ypbtb: good pickup, Lord of the Barflies. Now, sit down and let me tell you a story that’s entirely a propos. Once upon a time in the future, when I was a bit older and working in an entirely different line of work – and was quite possibly a totally different hypothetical interlocutor altogether – I had occasion to visit the kind-of-fair city of Milwaukee*, WI. I had flown in one evening from Boston, and checked into the Pfister** Hotel. Now, the Pfister being the kind of grand Victorian hotel that was built when Milwaukee was a centre of Mid-Western industry, and not the residence of Laverne & Shirley, it has a very impressive bar. I visited said bar, looking for a decent whisky. However, at this point in the future I hadn’t trained myself out of my natural soft-spokenness, which was quite unfortunate in a land where people bark at each other, and the following conversation ensued:

    Fyodor: Hello, what sort of mumble-malt-mumbles do you have?
    Barkeep: *blank look* Malts? Whaddaya want, we got all flavours.
    F: Flavours? Do you have Macallan?
    BK: *puzzled* er…no, we have chocolate, strawberry, vanilla…
    F: Ooh! OK I’ll have a vanilla malt, thanks.

    See? So easy to get this sort of thing dead wrong, and all because of imprecise terminology. True story, too.

    * Originally pronounced, I believe, “mill-e-wah-que” which is Algonquin for “the good land.”
    ** Yes, very memorable.

  17. Any bar where you would feel comfortable even asking for a ‘malt’ should have staff who (a) know what one is and (b) would ask what you, in your obvious ignorance, really mean.

    Mind you, if sevring DD, I would have reached for whatever was on the top shelf and, in most pubs, the closest you’d find would be Johnny Black or Jamesons 12year.

  18. I think the solution is clear. In Mythbusters fashion, double-blind scientific testing is required, with a number of different whiskies and a number of different bars.
    I shall report back, scientifically double-blind.

  19. I don’t divide my whiskeys along gendered lines Zoe. I divide them into Everyday Drinking Whiskey: Jamesons and Special Occasion Boyfriend Is Clearly In Either A Very Good Mood Or A Very Bad One: single malt.

  20. Oh, I don’t mind a bit of ice in a malt now and then, but generally just have a drop of water.

    And here’s another reason not to go silly on the whiskey – if the Thursday afternoon six days following your go-nuts is the first time you’ve used your rice cooker since then, you might get a nasty surprise.

  21. “Ice”??

    Yes, ice ice baby.

    One small cube in a double or triple single malt. Just like adding a tiny spollock of water except it’s got this funky time release delivery feature built in.

    “if the Thursday afternoon six days following your go-nuts is the first time you’ve used your rice cooker since then, you might get a nasty surprise.”

    Another reason why I have disdain for such effete culinary technology.

  22. “I don’t divide my whiskeys along gendered lines Zoe.”

    Yah, only boys divide tastes in whiskeys along gendered lines. Well except for Zoe who has just been made an honorary bloke for the purposes of this discussion.*

    Returning to the stoushette above over terminology, I side with M. Fyodor. But not for pedantic reasons, rather out of sheer practicality. As an aggressive A/B consumer I want my drinks served right and right away. So it behooves me to place my order correctly in the first place.

    Asking ” What single malts have you got there Spanky” minimises any possibility of an inaccurate response.

    Especially in the States where a bartender who doesn’t like being called Spanky will pull out a bottle of Colt 45 in response to a request for a “good malt”.

    * She’ll get over the implied insult.**

    ** Footnotes are fun!***

    *** Gibbon and Dsquared.

  23. Coming up, the Bachelor Fare guide to cooking with whiskey.

    Step 1: Pour one (1) fl oz down throat.

    Step 2. Gently warm over fire.

    Step 3. Repeat Steps 2 and 3.

    Step 4. Repeat Step 3.

    Step 5. Restep Peat 4.

    Steep 6. Watch your step.

  24. Oh, I don’t mind a bit of ice in a malt now and then, but generally just have a drop of water

    Ice in a milkshake, Zoe? That’s just kinky.

  25. Returning to the stoushette above over terminology, I side with M. Fyodor. But not for pedantic reasons, rather out of sheer practicality.

    You know, that doesn’t look quite right. I can’t help thinking it should really be “Stouchette”*. Not for practical reasons, mind, but for sheer absurdistry.

    Ice in a milkshake, Zoe? That’s just kinky.

    Whatever she’s doing, it’s evidently working: brings all the boys to the yarda yarda.

    *She was one of the more vexatious starving orphans** in that Tarago scene from Les Miserables.
    **Along with that other starving orphan that everyone forgets…Oubliette, I think her name was.

  26. Pingback: Gimlets And Bad Dudes — Progressive Dinner Party

  27. um yep,

    Sorry to take so long to stumble o this convo – thought this was a food blog; wasn’t expecting such interesting fare…

    I agree wholeheartedly, if ya want a single malt ask for a single malt.

    and DD: Surely a double malt must be better than a single malt?

  28. St33v: a double measure is always better than a single measure. If you’re trying to make a point about the quality of the Scotch, well de gustibus non est disputandum my friend. Non est disputandum at all.
    …And don’t call me Shirley.

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