ONLY THOSE whiskies, which are distilled, matured, blended and bottled in Scotland qualify to be called Scotch whiskies, clarified Beam Global Spirits and Wines senior vice-president, international trade (South Asia) and master of Scotch whiskies Arun Seth at a special wine tasting cum Scotch appreciation session held at hotel Sayaji yesterday.
Defining minimum standards for Scotch whisky, Seth said that it is prepared from conversion of starch in grain through fermentation by yeast and maturation in oak casks for at least three-years. Apart from the Scotch whisky the other equally recognisable and geographically associated brands include Bourbon in the USA, Irish in Ireland and Canadian whisky prepared from rye in Canada.
The Scotch whiskey having been able to retain its perfection over the centuries in a strictly regulated manner sticking to time tested conventions owes much to the peculiar climate enjoyed by the place, which gives it its distinctive characteristics. The Scotch whisky has been the most popular of consumable products due to variety, flavour and accessibility, which is reflected in the fact that it alone is exported to over 200 countries.
Differentiating between the single malt and blended whisky he said that single malt is a product of a single brewery and is prepared out of one generic staple brand. A blended whisk can be a blend of anywhere between 10 to 50 whiskies containing a number of economically unviable brands as well as established brands with each having different periods of maturity. Today, 95 per cent of whisky consumption in the world is of the blended variety.
He reiterated that blending itself is an art of combining whiskies from several whiskies to produce whiskies of definite character and consistency. Master blenders who due to the stringent experience requirement are very few in numbers do this work involving years of nosing and tasting.
He also removed popularly held misconceptions that keeping an expensive brand of whisky while waiting for an opportune moment makes it more mature at the end of the wait, while the maturing process stops when the whisky is removed from the oak cask and it does not become richer in a glass bottle, on the contrary it seeps in the air from its surrounding atmosphere and changes the composition characteristic of the whisky.
Vice president marketing Neeraj Kumar compered the session including a discussion on the colour, nose, body, taste and finish of various whiskies educated connoisseurs to better appreciate their drink. Several prominent socialites of the city attended the session.