Scotch – Class in a Glass

By Kevin Hyzak

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Even though it’s hard to find a classier drink than Scotch, it’s definitely not the drink of choice for a majority of people out ~ and that is a sad thing. Sure, the first time your try Scotch it may burn. Your eyes water and your lungs will try to collapse. But trust me, it’s eventually a good hurt, and one that comes with an aura of class.

A true appreciation for Scotch can only be acquired by patiently training your tastebuds to luxuriate in the beauty of this sumptuous liquor. So what do you do while you’re in the early stages of this training process, still cringing, holding your breath, and making horrendously goofy I-just-sucked-a-lemon faces in public while trying to seem suave and sophisticated and not like you’d much rather be drinking a nice beer that would go down without setting fire to your gullet? Simple. You FAKE it. You simply fake knowledge and enjoyment for as long as it takes. And to that end, here’s a quick guide to Scotch Snobbery:

Proper Pronunciation

First of all, it’s Scotch, Scotch Whisky, or Whisky. Not Whiskey. If you think you hear anyone pronouncing that silent “e,” correct them publicly and harshly. Don’t be shy. And try to keep your nose firmly pointed up.

Being Single Rules

Blended scotches are for posers; single malts are where it’s at. Scotch that comes from one distillery (single malt) offers a distinct flavor relative to the part of Scotland from which it comes. The taste of these scotches is much purer. Blended scotches, on the other hand, are like a liquor particle board ~ just a bunch of different ages and types of scotch from different areas mushed together. You’re drinking a mutt. Single malts offer you straight and honest taste of Scottish geography. Enjoy it. Or just make fun of people who don’t.

Feel the Burn

Add water. Seriously. And not because you can’t handle it straight (or not just because you can’t handle it straight)…water helps release the bouquet (aroma) of the booze. And, yes, that stinging in your eyes is considered “aroma,” not allergy.

Give it Some Tongue

Drink properly. Swirling the Scotch and inhaling the aroma is part of an expected foreplay. After you have indulged in the fragrance, drink enough to coat your tongue (no baby sips). Then ask yourself these elitist questions ~ preferably out loud and with an assumed hoity toity accent if at all possible: Does the taste improve on the smell (a sign of a good scotch is that it smells like how it will taste but tastes better than it smells)? How long does the taste linger? How does it finish, what taste does it leave in your mouth? If you didn’t particularly enjoy any part of that first sip, or first many sips, don’t worry, the acquired taste will come ~ In the meantime, use phrases like “silky traces of peat and smoke” or “spicy, with an oaky finish.”

There you have it, your guide to becoming a Scotch Snob ~ or just playing one on TV!