If you’re a Scotch novice, you may be unaware of all the different types of Scotch, let alone what they mean. For instance, why do so many people champion single malt Scotch over blended? What does “single grain” mean? How can a Scotch be “double malted?”

Find out the answers to all of these burning questions and learn about Scotch’s many varieties, incarnations, and the zealous following it garners. This is not just a drink for manly men like Ernest Hemingway, Mark Twain, and Abraham Lincoln; it’s for anybody who wants a taste of the finer life, who can appreciate a complex beverage that takes some warming up to get acquainted with it.

The Various Incarnations of Scotch Whisky

Single Malt Scotch
Single Malt

A single malt Scotch comes from one distillery. In addition, the distillery only uses malted barley and water to make the end product.

In regard to the term “double malt,” this is an erroneous phrase. There is no such thing as a “double malt.” Instead, when people mistakenly refer to this term, they actually mean “double wood,” which is a nod to the number of casks in which the whisky was aged. Some whiskies can even be aged in three different casks, which is called “triple wood.”

Single Grain

A single grain Scotch has grains added to it besides just malted barley. The “single” in single grain refers to the fact that the whisky was made at a single distillery.

A good example is Haig Club Single Grain Scotch Whisky. This single grain whisky is made from unmalted cereal grain in one single distillery. It has a light, sweet flavor that is easy to drink and is perfect for cocktails. Tasting notes include butterscotch, coconut, spices, and a clean finish.

Blended Scotch Whiskey

For blended Scotch, a few different single malts and single grains are blended together to create a new, unique flavor combination.

Blended Malt Scotch

One of the more uncommon whisky types, blended malt Scotch takes two or more single malt varieties and blends them together to arrive at a new drink.

Blended Grain Scotch

The same concept as blended malt Scotch goes for blended grain Scotch. Two or more grain Scotch types are blended to create a final product.

The Scotch Connoisseurs, Snobs, and Enthusiasts

Scotch is the favorite drink of many because of its complexity, its flavor, or the way it rewards the palate. Others enjoy it simply because of its perceived prestige in the world of liquor – in other words, it makes them look and feel fancy.

Whichever way you enjoy Scotch, for whatever reason, continue your Scotch hobby and you may find yourself among the people who attend Scotch whisky auctions.

What is a Whisky Auction?

Almost anything can be sold at auction: antiques, paintings, clothing, grimmer items like bones and human hair, toys, and even food and drink. Some people purchase wedding cakes preserved from decades ago (a 19th century slice of Queen Victoria’s wedding cake was sold at auction in 2016).

Others bid and buy rare bottles of Scotch.

The Macallan “M”

The most expensive Scotch ever sold was auctioned off in 2010, according to CNN. The whisky, The Macallan “M,” is contained in a hand-blown glass decanter, one of four that was ever made. The whisky, meanwhile, was made from seven different casks that were chosen out of over 200,000, which took two years. Each cask was made of a rare Sherry oak, and each was at least 25 years old.

The Macallan “M” sold at an auction at Sotheby’s in Hong Kong for over $628,000.

Dalmore 64 Trinitas

This whisky, bottled with a blend of the remnants of Dalmore 62 as well as a 1940 vintage, held the title for the most expensive bottle of Scotch until The Macallan unseated it. Only three bottles of this whisky were ever made, and, accordingly, one of them sold at auction for $160,000.

Scotch whisky brands are unique because no two will ever taste alike. There are seemingly infinite ways that Scotch can be made, blended, and mixed. Depending on the flavor you enjoy in a Scotch, you may find yourself preferring one type over the other.

Scotch novices shouldn’t worry about perceptions of quality based on price or brand. These things will not tell you whether or not you will enjoy a Scotch whisky. Instead, taste, experiment, and discover what appeals to you. Pretty soon, you’ll have your go-to Scotch for every occasion.

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