Saturday, December 3, 2011

Dispelling A Rumor on Johnny Walker Blue Label

It has been rumored that the Johnny Walker Blue Label blended whiskey was about to be halted for reasons unknown. This rumor is indeed just that nothing more than a rumor. Here you will find some background on this fine product in the event you wish to try it someday.

Although lately the market place is seemingly chomping at the bit to get a hold of some of this Blue label Johnny Walker ultra premium fine blended whiskey, it has managed to remain elusive to most sippers of fine spirits.

This blend was to be made to celebrate Sir John Walker’s existence of 200 years. A blending of young grains and malts make this drink a little mellower. Like some of the older whiskies, this blend was to be reminiscent of the blends back in the earlier 19th century.

The blue label product does not show an aging date on the label; however this is by no means an indication of poor quality. In fact, it is quite the contrary. It has actually been said that there are approximately 16-18 different aged whiskies and single malt blends in one bottle of Johnny Walker blue label. No one really knows the youngest of these.

The answer to the question of whether Blue Label is going to be discontinued, is simply, no. They have no intention on discontinuing the blue label Johnny Walker. It may have not have had the publicity that the other two colors have enjoyed but do not mistake this color for a slouch.

This blend is by all means the Rolls Royce of the current Walker line up at a pretty $200 a bottle. Single malts can indeed sell out and replenishment of stock is not a short order since the time it takes to mature is lengthy. However wonderful blends such as the blue label can always be adjusted according to available stock.

The over abundance of malt stock will keep the blenders busy for quite some time. Stock will not just deplete overnight. It is a continual cycle where as young and budding malts become old and wise to be replaced with new fillings.

There is no doubt that rare fine scotch will be a continual operation in Scotland and where this comes into play is the continual stock received by the Johnny Walker name. This wonderfully blended product is not under any circumstances going anywhere..

Thursday, November 3, 2011

A Timeless Secret

It is said that the art of distilling was discovered somewhere in Asia in approximately 800 B.C. The assumption was that this technique was merely used to make perfumes, however this has been refuted.

The method by which the processes found its way to the British Isles is uncertain; however we do know that the Moors brought the art of distilling to Europe. It is believed that the art was then refined in monasteries throughout central Europe. Apparently the patron saint of Ireland, St. Patrick, carried this trade into the monasteries in 432 AD on a Christian mission. Regardless, the Celts did attain the secret eventually and made their water of life that in Gaelic is pronounced “Uisge Beatha”.

This simple yet not well-known name is how the scotch whiskey came to be, as Uisge means whiskey. The millstone year for whiskey in history would have to be 1494 as a Sir Friar John Cor of Scotland ordered eight bolls of malt. It was reportedly to be used for aqua vitae which is the first accountable proof of production of whiskey in Scotland.

The skill of distilling soon left the monasteries for the farms where just about everyone was making whiskey up until about 1820 this is when the government decided they were going to shut down personal and private distilleries making them illegal. The rough and sometimes brutal taste differs greatly from today. It was not until the eighteenth century that it was discovered that with aging came a mellower brew. The findings of the aging process was practically tripped upon when an old cask long forgotten was found full of the good stuff.

The uniting of the two parliaments one from England and one from Scotland in the year 1707 is what drew into effect the Union Act. Realizing that it would pay off for both sides, they came up with an unheard of plan for making the malt.

By the year 1725 the English malt tax was forged however not without bloodshed. At this time every second bottle of malt distilled in Scotland was of the illegal kind due to roving excise men, illicit distilleries, and the fashion of smuggling.

In 1820’s much trouble arose in the form of crime and tough taxing policies which eventually became completely unmanageable. To solve the problem, the government ordered the Excise Act which allowed the government to track which distilleries were legal and those which were not by using labels.

Whisky started out as a product for the British market in the 1820s, but today it has become a drink that is appreciated and loved around the world. Much of this incredible development is the result of the introduction of blended whisky. Even today approximately 90 percent of all whisky that is produced in Scotland is used in blended whisky. However the interest of single malt whisky has increased in recent years and this development is likely to continue.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Global whiskeys

Scotland is not the only country that can put out a quality scotch product. Many countries have ventured into the spirits domain. Canada is one of them. The Canadian whiskeys are starting to shine with products that are crisp and bold to the taste buds.

Following strict compliance with Canadian regulations these spirits are distilled and bottled no less than two years before consumption. Usually the bottling is done no sooner than six years and many are much longer than that now.

They are not noted as straight whiskies as they are blended. They are bold and lightly flavored yet manage to keep a very distinctive body and character. The Canadian government carries out rigid control of the Excise Tax and labeling.

There have been no stipulations in place for the grain formulas or distilling processes. Nor have the maturing factors or time frames been ruled or governed. They have left it up to the producers of this product to determine what markets abroad and at home desire from their product. It has been shown that this was a wise decision as the Canadian makers seem to be holding strong in all markets and fields.

Not unlike the brands found in the United States the distillery function is pretty much a standard deal with the exception of the use of cereal grains and some trade secrets. Since Canadian distillers are not faced with artificial proof restriction in their distillation procedures, they are able to operate continuous distillation systems under conditions that are optimum for the separation and selection of desirable congeners.

The relationship between beverage spirits and the congeners is in no way marred while in the fermentation mash solution. The casks are made of white oak and are rated in US gallons matured cooperage insures compatibility of the fine whiskies. The delicate flavor and per portions that the maturing batches cooperage is a fine trade secret.

It was spelled out with Sir Joseph Seagram. He decided in 1911 that an appropriate whiskey should be made for the wedding of his son. This blend became known as Seagram’s V.O or very own whiskey as it is known in those parts. Only pedigree grains and the finest of spring water were and still are used today to create this wonderful and bold whiskey.

The master blender has at his disposal over 2,000 choice and premium flavored bases that he can choose from for his secret and delightful blends.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Production of scotch

The production of Scotch whisky takes time, a lot of time. It is a tedious process that can take years. However when it is done correctly, the product is one worth waiting for.

Barley is placed in deep tanks of water for approximately three days. As the moisture increases it promotes the germination process. After the germination process, the barley is then moved to the malting segment of the distillery where it will go into drums sometimes known as the malting floor.

The entire purpose of the germination process is to convert the starch in the grains into fermentable sugars. This will feed the yeast in the fermentation stage. Turning the barley frequently ensures the temperature will remain consistent. Sheils, another name for a wooden shovel, are used to turn the grains, on a traditional malting floor. The grains will die if the temperature reaches above 22 degrees, and will the stop the entire process as the starch will not be converted to sugar.

The grain is then kilned as to halt the continuation of sugar consumption the kiln will dry up any moister. Generally a kiln is a building standing two stories in height with the top perforated to allow all heat to leave. The lower floor contains peat bricks that are heated. During this process the grain is dried and takes on that peat like reek. The pagoda style roof on a distillery is the most noticeable characteristic. The malt must not be heated above 70 degrees or it will surely be damaged and unusable.

Most of the distilleries in this day and age buy all their malt from a centralized malting company. However there are still a select few that remain traditional and do it all themselves.

The grain is milled into grist and combined with water in mash tubs to be heated to sixty degrees. During the mashing period the water is changed at least four times to remove sediment. The bi-product of this mashing is called wort. The wort must be cooled prior to mixing with yeast in what is called a wash back. This large container is never filled to the top as the wort froths a lot due to carbon dioxide. After two or three days all the yeast is killed by the alcohol. The end product of this cycle is called wash. It contains an alcohol percent of five to 8 percent.

The stills in which the wash is placed are made of copper and are regulated to a certain shape allowing for proper distillation to occur. The still method is usually ran twice yet some companies do three or more.

After all this is complete the brew is then placed in casks made of usually oak, for a period of eight to twelve years minimum.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Scotch Whisky to America

As new Irish and Scottish immigrants tried to settle on the American continent they brought with them the distilling methods of scotch whiskey. Finding the new raw materials different that what they were accustomed to, they lead the way for an evolution of new scotch now known merely as whiskey. Today if you can find a similarity between Irish and Scottish whiskey, and its now American cousin you would be further ahead than the experts and connoisseurs.

The stronger, fuller and sweeter taste found in the American whiskey if a result of the lack of smoke in the drying process of grains and/or corns. The six different categories that American whiskey is divided into is a direct result of the different aging times and adjusted amounts of grains used in each batch of whiskey.

The six different American brews are as follows:

* Bourbon
* Tennessee
* Rye
* Wheat
* Corn
* Blended whiskey


Bourbon Is believed to be produced solely in Kentucky, which is a myth it has been produced in many states. Stipulations for bourbon are very simple. It must be made in the United States, should only be made from fifty-one percent corn, and can only be stored in charred oak barrels for a term no shorter than two years. The spirit in its raw form may not exceed eighty percent alcohol by volume.


There are a few differences between Tennessee and Bourbon. They are very closely related. Tennessee must always be filtered through sugar maple charcoal, and can only be produced in the state of Tennessee, hence its name. Currently there are only two brands of Tennessee whiskey available; George Dickel and Jack Daniels.

Rye and Wheat whiskey

Generally rye whiskey is blended with other products to create other types of whiskeys. Only a very small portion of this whiskey is actually bottled. It must be made of at least fifty-one percent rye in order to be deemed rye whiskey. The distilling and storing conditions meet the same requirements as in Bourbon. Mostly made in the states of Indiana and Kentucky it is quite uncommon it has a slightly bitter and more powerful taste.


Due to the overwhelming surplus of corn, this was an obvious choice and is the predecessor of Bourbon. As assumed corn is the main ingredient with about eighty percent. The difference between corn and Bourbon is that corn does not have to be stored in wood. If it is to be aged it must be done in previous Bourbon barrels or barrels that have been uncharred

Blended American Whiskey

You should not be confused by the differences in Scottish whiskey and American blended whiskey. American whiskey only contains approximately twenty percent of rye and bourbon whiskey, a mass product industrial spirit, makes up the other eighty percent. This makes the product very cheap and much lighter than it’s American cousins.

Friday, June 3, 2011

The Certified Scotch Malt Bar: Worth the Trip

An establishment that is spending the time and using funds to maintain after qualifications for a Doc certified scotch malt single bar that carries a distinction is definitely a wonderful place. Just how wonderful is it?

It seems that the options are endless for novice malt drinker’s right up to the aficionados to have the truest sample of what the Spirit Gods intended. A place to conjure for this treat is surely something to be revered and in all accounts worthy of an award of this stature.

Every couple of weeks a new nectar seems to be hitting the market and this will definitely confuse the new malt sipper yet will send the old time connoisseurs into fits of glee all the while preserving single malt’s status as the true nobleman among spirits. Of course not all follow this robed king of beverage but it does have a strong standing.

Oddly enough they say that the taste of fine single malt an be influenced by the environment you sip in that is subjective at best as the finest single malt will always taste like the finest single malt.

It is extremely important that the tender at the bar know what he is talking about when it comes to giving you what you want or in many cases what he can suggest. Most aficionados are not unintelligent and have been around the malt block a few times. An award worthy bar would surely have someone at the helm whom knows the ins and outs of fine single malt and is ready, willing and able to give sound advice and help the newcomers feel at home.

To these engaging individuals that enjoy this spirit, hearing of a malt pounding fest at the local frat house or biker bar is an arrow to the heart. This is not a drink to become inebriated on instead it is a testament to absolute fine distilling craftsmanship.

To appreciate the subtle character differences in regional malts of Scotland is not for the impatient as there are many blends and malts to be had. If you have the time and are seeking the sheer enjoyment of this spirit you should find your own bar that is Doc certified to sell the select brands of fine scotch single malts; as an establishment such as this is worth its weight in gold.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Walk in Red or Walk in Black

In the year 1820 sir John Walker had a vision. To create one of the finest single malt blends the world has ever known. Enter the 2006 trend and apparently his vision turned to gold, as it is the most consumed scotch in the world. At over 120 million bottle sold annually, it is estimated that four bottles per second are enjoyed in 200 countries around the world.

So what color do you walk with? That is a matter of personal taste. You can go with the vibrant blend of the red label, which tends to be the most common for everyday celebrations. Or choose the complex and deeply mellow black label, used throughout time as experience malt.

The choice is yours as both are a wonderful scotch whiskey and will prove to be enjoyable whatever the toast. If the moment proves to be one that you will want to remember for a lifetime, try the rare and expensive blue label scotch.

No matter which Walker you walk with surely you will not be let down.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

The Six Scottish Malt Regions

Scotland can be divided into six different malt making segments or regions; Islay, Campbeltown, speyside, Islands Lowlands and highlands. Each of these regions produce a different malt as the characteristics are different so too are the methods of distilling. Climate variations, raw materials, and production methods all play a roll in the differing of these malts.


This is a small island off the western coast of Scotland and is the site of many wonderful malt distilleries. They have many variations of malts however the most notable carry a tangy smoky peaty taste. The current number of running distilleries is at eight although at onetime there was said to be twenty-three, with the newest edition opened in 2005.


This mountainless and flat region is apparent by its name and is also in the most southern region of Scotland. This brew is contains less of the smoke, peat, and salt than most other malts coming from Scotland and it carries with it a mildly fiery yet smooth taste.


This is undoubtedly the center of the whiskey universe in Scotland. The Spey River runs directly through the area hence the name. A good majority of top distilleries use water from the river in their processes. Although some of the characteristics vary in speyside it is still a part of the Highland geographically speaking. Someone interested in trying a traditional Scottish malt for the first time would do well with this malt, as it is rich and relatively mild in taste.


The largest malt-producing region in Scotland is by far the Highlands. This brew is smoky and very rich. In comparison to malts from the lowlands, many of the different distilleries produce a different taste to their malts. This is caused by the varying microclimate differences. The use of many different raw materials and the inclusion of some changed production routines also contribute to these distinctions in taste


At one time Campbeltown was Scotland’s prime distillery site. Twenty-one distilleries were active in and around 1886 however only three are currently in business. This region is still considered a separate malt state for the value of historians.


Arran, Orkney, Mull, Jura, and skye make up the body of islands that sometimes get confused with Islay. This is in fact an entirely separate region. Those whom have some experience drinking malts generally enjoy the malts from this region.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

10-12: Scotch is Getting Younger.

The notion that all scotch must be at least 12 years to be enjoyed is a common understanding among scotch drinkers everywhere. However, one company is out to prove them wrong. This scotch is just two years shy of the twelve year mark, but is growing in popularity.

Enter Glenkinchie; this ten year old malt is 86 proof and a very pale gold in color. It has a reminiscent fragrance of peat and a grassy meadow that ends rather sweet. Its body is light to medium, it is considered to be well-rounded lowland malt. In the end it stays dry, and carries a hint if ginger.

Originally formed in 1837 by a farmer, this malt clearly has some history. The original owner of the distillery sold it to another farmer who used the distillery as a cattle shed and sawmill. This property was again sold in 1880 and returned back to its natural intention to make fine malt just in time for the whiskey boom in the 1890’s.

This single malt will be enjoyed by the new and revered by the old single malt enthusiasts.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

12 Years of Fine Scotch Whiskey

Twelve: Is this indeed the magic number when it comes to fine scotch? In a matter of terms the answer is yes.

When trying to decide on a scotch it would be best to look for that magical number, as it will indicate to you that at least it has grown into full body. There are quite a few bottles out there that have aged longer, yet obtaining these gems can prove to be tricky. An old bottle of scotch is a real treasure.

Scotch, at least fine scotch, is meant to roll off the back of your tongue, and give you a warm and subtle punch in the tummy. Younger scotch, has not been given a chance to build a personality, hence it is not as smooth. It seems to be agreed that twelve years or longer is the magic number when it comes to the age of perfection for fine scotch. It may come in many different fashions and labels yet the song remains the same; good scotch has been brewing for awhile.

Monday, January 3, 2011

Scotch Whiskey - a Mature Blend

It is said that you can tell the quality of scotch by its age, this is in every count of the word maturity. Law states that all blends must indeed “mature” for a minimum of three years, however for a great many years, these blends have been idling for approximately eight years.

The distillers have found the longer it sits and matures, the better the product. As this scotch sits in its casks, it is constantly changing. The alcohol level drops for every year that it sits in its cask, and what is know as Angel’s share is developed, where the alcohol is absorbed into the oak casks pours.

The casks that we speak of are of the used variety, due to the fact that new casks would change the taste of the scotch dramatically, hence altering its character.

A law in the US states that for the production of Bourbon, or Tennessee whiskey, only new casks are to be used. The use of these new casks introduces a vanilla taste into the blend. There are some blends as old as 30 years or more, happy hunting for that elusive and pricey item.