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4 Unique Scotches You Need to Try

Posted by Chelsea Mueller on July 27, 2018

In Scotch, Spirits, Spirit Trends

Sharp. Burning. What my grandfather drinks. Too strong. Old-fashion. Dirty socks. These are all words I’ve heard used to describe Scotch Whisky. Every time I hear Scotch referred to this way, all I can think of is, “HOW?” 

Scotch has a reputation of exclusivity, typically regarded as only being for a distinct, acquired palate. Something your dad drinks in his study, not what you mix up in a cocktail at home. I want to dispel that reputation, here and now, on National Scotch Day.

When you think Scotch, think modern. Ever evolving. Cutting edge. Experimental. Easy to drink. Refreshing. Fun. Bottom line, Scotch is meant for anyone, with any palate. You just need to be drinking the right Scotch, which means exploring.

A great place to start your Scotch exploration, is experimenting with different cask types. Because the cask is physically touching the whisky as it ages, it plays a huge roll in its final flavor. Therefore, changing the cask changes the flavor. Without getting too technical, Scotch is traditionally aged using only oak casks that previously held American bourbon. The following four Scotches focus on cask use outside of this tradition. The results are Scotches that are unique, versatile and darn good.

 Glenfiddich India Pale Ale


Single Malt or Blend: Single Malt

Age: NAS*

Cask Type: Traditional oak and craft India Pale Ale beer barrels

Flavor Impact: Ripe green apple, pear, spring blossom and subtle hop flavor are all present in this single malt. You’ll get a hint of that traditional IPA beer taste on the finish to round out every sip of this remarkable, experimental Scotch.

Recommended Serves: (1) On the rocks with a small wedge of blood orange squeezed into the whisky or (2) pair it with an English style IPA for the perfect duo.

  The Balvenie Caribbean Cask 14Photo source: us.thebalvenie.com


Single Malt or Blend: Single Malt

Age: 14 Years

Cask Type: Matures in traditional oak and finishes in casks that previously held Caribbean rum

Flavor Impact: Flavors of creamy toffee, fresh fruit and candied rum are added to the traditional sweet oak notes of The Balvenie.

Recommended Serve: Neat

Johnnie Walker Double Black


Single Malt or Blend: Blend

Age: NAS*

Cask Type: Traditional oak casks heavily charred

Flavor Impact: The heavily charred casks intensify flavors of the hugely popular Johnnie Walker Black Label in the Double Black rendition. This blend also has more Islay influences, which means a smokier, peatier presence.

Recommended Serve: With a bit of water to really open up the flavors.

The Glenlivet Founder's ReservePhoto source: theglenlivet.com


Single Malt or Blend: Single Malt

Age: NAS*

Cask Type: Traditional oak and American first fill

Flavor Impact: “First-fill” refers to American oak casks that have not been used to age bourbon. Instead, they are brand new, with no previous whiskies stored inside. That fresh oak adds a smooth, creamy sweetness to classic Glenlivet flavors. If you love bourbon, this is a great way to delve into Scotch whiskies.

Recommended serve: Mixed up in a Ponoma Sour 

*NAS refers to whiskies with no age statements listed on the bottle.

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