WHISKY MYTHBUSTERS IN ASIA
Much of whisky history is shrouded quite literally, in mist. And over the years, opinions have compounded or been reinforced to become “fact”. It’s high time we took a close look at these myths to see if they stand up to scrutiny. Ready?
Myth #1: Whisky MUST be drunk neat
To some, it’s a big no-no to add water to whisky. Worse than some people you see in clubs adding ice to beer! But in fact, adding water – be it in liquid or in the form of ice – is just another way to express the aromatics and flavours of a whisky, often uncovering hidden distillery characteristics. Give it a go, but be careful not to overdo it.
Myth #2: Single is always better than Blended
So what’s this about Single Malt Scotch? The single in “Single Malt Scotch” simply refers to one single distillery and malt refers to the cereal that is used to produce the whisky. Malt whisky is made 100% from malted barley.
To be called “Scotch”, a whisky needs to be matured in Scotland in oak casks for at least 3 years and bottled in Scotland at a minimum alcoholic strength of 40% ABV. If the word “Scotch” is absent, as in “Single Malt”, it refers to whisky made outside of Scotland.Ok?
Blended Scotch Whisky is a blend of whiskies from two or more single malt Scotch whiskies that have been distilled at more than one distillery. If the word ‘malt’ is missing, it just means the whiskies are not made from 100% barley and are a blend of malt whisky and grain whisky (which could include corn or wheat).
Depending on what you like, both have their merits, and it is pretty much a matter of personal taste. Scotch whisky usually has a thinner finish and light texture that won’t challenge or overpower your palate. You may not find particularly strong flavours in a typical blended whisky, which is why some people may consider it easier to drink. Of course, there exceptions to this, which makes whisky tasting such a personal undertaking. Just drink what you like.
Myth #3: “Whiskey” is the same as “Whisky”
The use of whisky or whiskey is not due to wrong spelling, you know? Rather the different spellings date back to the nineteenth century, when the Irish and Americans wanted to differentiate between their own alcohol and the Scottish made ones.
Here’s how to remember which countries spell whisky with and without an “e”: Scotland, Canada and Japan (which don’t have “e” in their spelling) spell whisky without an “e”, whereas America and Ireland spell whiskey with an ‘e’ (both these countries have the letter ‘e’ in them) – so now you know why The Glenlivet spells “whisky” this way!
Myth #4: Whisky is extremely “heaty” and causes fever
The concept of “heatiness” comes from Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) and it is said that over-indulgence in “heaty” food or drink could cause coughs and fevers. However, according to medical doctors, a slight rise in body temperature due to metabolic and digestive processes does not constitute a fever, nor does it lead to respiratory infection. So just chill, sit back and enjoy your glass of whisky. No need to have cooling water on standby.
Myth #5: Whisky shouldn’t be drunk outdoors in tropical climate
We’re all so used to seeing images of whisky in front of a fireplace on a cold winter night, but nothing could be further from the truth. You could be by the pool in the afternoon under the Malaysian sun or hanging out with buddies at a steamboat – a whisky cocktail can be as refreshing as any other cold beverage when temperatures soar! Pick a light fruity whisky like The Glenlivet 12 Year Old, add a little soda and twist of lemon on crushed ice and you’ve got yourself a refreshing cooler to beat the local heat.
For more cool cocktail ideas, check out our article Dive Into Refreshing Whisky Cocktails to Beat the Heat.