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How to choose single malt whisky

The label of a bottle speaks a lot about a single malt — its ingredients, its ageing and its flavours.

india Updated: Jul 24, 2012 02:10 IST

The label of a bottle speaks a lot about a single malt — its ingredients, its ageing and its flavours.

1 Look for the label: The label of a bottle speaks a lot about a single malt — its ingredients, its ageing and its flavours. Know and differentiate the various brands, flavours, ageing, etc.

2 Region of origin: Malt whisky comes from four main regions within Scotland — Speyside, Highland, Lowlands and Islay. Ensure that the whisky you are buying is from these regions.

3 Tasting: It is recommended to put to use your knowledge of all kinds of single malts that you have tasted in the past to form an idea of the flavour or palate you wish to buy. A safe bet would be to buy a popular single malt variety, which is widely consumed.

4 Colour: Each colour tone has a different effect on the single malt drinker’s palate. It could vary from amber, pale gold, rich gold, cooper shades, golden honey, classic golden, rich amber, pale straw, golden treacle, red gold, and glassy golden highlight.

5 Age and flavour: Two key characteristics that define a single malt and differentiate one from another are its age and flavours. It is said the more the ageing, the smoother and distinctive it becomes. Also, single malts could be light and floral, fruity and spicy, rich and rounded or full bodied and smoky. Each single malt would also have a different smoothness, a distinct aroma, taste and finish. Each of these combinations would appeal to you in different ways.