Sunday, July 7, 2013

Why This Blog?

Why am I writing this blog?

Am I some expert, living in Scotland and working around distilleries for years? Nope. I was born and raised in the US. I'm currently living in a mid-western city, less than 25 miles from the hospital where I was born. 

There's a world famous Victorian era beer brewery, and a grain alcohol producer better known for it's proof than it's flavor profile, both less than a 40 minute drive east into downtown from where I live. So I'm a beer and mixed cocktail fan right? No, not really! I never developed a taste for beer, and cocktails usually bore me. I'll admit, a cold margarita on a hot summer's day, or with good mexican food is a big exception! 

Our country's first official "Wine Viticultural Area", is a 30 minute drive south from here, and there are a half a dozen wineries with tasting rooms and spectacular views of vineyards and the river valley to enjoy! So I'm a wine drinker? Yes, I'll admit to that. I drink wine often enough, and I can even say I appreciate the different types of wine and their vast range of flavors, but I'm not passionate about it.

Did I get my interest in Scotch and other whiskies from my family? No. My grandparents were teetotalers, who believed drinking any alcohol was a sin. My dad's favorite uncle was a U.S. Treasury Agent, who was part of the group of feds that took down Capone in Chicago during prohibition. Dad? He was a cocktail drinker. His drink of choice? A dry vodka martini, garnished with two olives. Mom, now in her eighties, a light cocktail and wine drinker. 

Where did my interest in Scotch start? Lets start with my name. My given names are Scott MacKenzie. It would seem my family wanted me to be aware of my family's heritage, and to the fact that much of the roots of our family tree originate in Scotland. Given that heritage, I found myself studying Scotland, it's industries, and it's people. One thing that I noticed beyond the kilts, clans and the castles, was the pride the Scot's took in their whisky industry. The sheer number of distilleries, and the uniqueness of each distillery's product. How it not only varied from region to region, or from distillery to distillery, but from cask to cask! How blending gave even more choices, and yet offered consistency too! How each distillery could have several different and unique products that had their own style and flavor. 

After years of trying beers, cocktails and wines, and not finding anything to get passionate about, I decided to plunk down the money, and try out this whisky the Scot's seemed so proud of! Being new to all of this, I knew just enough to avoid the basic mixer blends, and to get something with age to it. I went to my local grocer and selected the best choice their limited inventory offered, and bought a bottle of Chivas Regal 12 year old blended Scotch! Not a bad place to start. It's was a perfectly approachable blended whisky for someone new to Scotch. Not terribly complex, but it did have interesting flavors, and I kinda liked the burn as it went down. The next time I went to buy a bottle, a went to a specialty store, with a much wider selection, and a knowledgeable staff. I was given a basic understanding of proper tasting. How to nose the whisky, how a little water could open up the flavors, while ice just dulled the smell and tastes. It was suggested that I try a single malt next, and though I can't really remember which was purchased first, I do know my first single malts were a Glenlivet 12 and a Glenfiddich 12. Both good starter malts, and both with their own unique flavor profile that I found fascinating! This was a spirit worthy of further exploration! This Scotch whisky was worthy of interest, possibly even research. I hadn't even heard of different cask finishes or the wonders of peat yet! The exploration was just beginning........

Please drink responsibly!

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