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Members' Whisky Distillation and Maturation - Member Interviews

Remember your first single malt?  Of course you do!  What serious single malt drinker doesn't?  On this page BSSMS members share their beginnings, evolution, and maturation as the single malt drinkers they are today.

David R's Story - 5-19-16
 
My First Single Malt
David R: Knockando. I was visiting my research partner in CT.  He, his wife (now ex-2), and I were chatting in the living room and she asked me if I'd like a drink and brought a small glass of scotch, which I later learned was a single malt. I had only had scotch once or twice before and didn't like it, perhaps because one of those early scotches was a blend called Clan MacGregor which I really didn't care for.  I was pretty much a bourbon guy at that point in time

Initiation into Scotch
David R: I got my true initiation into scotch right where it's made in Scotland.  I was visiting at the University of Abertay-Dundee in Scotland and was invited to one of my Scottish colleagues home for the day.  He asked me if I'd like a scotch and told him I wasn't a scotch drinker but I'd give it a try.  He disappeared for a bit and then came back in the room with 6 glasses of scotch, all with at least a finger of two worth in each of them.  I figured there were two for him, two for his wife, and two for me.  I was mistaken, he said they were all for me and that they were all single malts. I wasn't sure what to do because I didn't want to be rude but told him I wasn't sure I could handle that much alcohol.  He told me to just drink what I wanted to and not worry about it. I did my best, not realizing he'd be serving wine and port at dinner time. I have no recollection how he got me back to my hotel.  Knowing what I do now, I know they were all pretty special bottlings.
 
What I Look for in a Single Malt
David R: My tastes have expanded considerably since that initiation in Scotland. Early on I fell in love with, and still am, with Ardbeg.  Over the years I've managed to acquire quite a nice collection of different single malts but what I find is that I prefer richer, bolder, more well-rounded whiskies.  On any given day though, it's a mood kind of thing...I just go to my whisky library (yes, that's what I call it) and peruse the shelves until I find something that matches my mood.

Favorite Way to Enjoy a Single Malt
David R: I enjoy having a nip with friends because I think part of the enjoyment of a good single malt is sharing that experience and talking about the whisky and all it's nuances.  I also enjoy relaxing at the end of the day with a nice dram and a good cigar.

Go-to Single Malt, One I Enjoy Most
David R: That's the toughest question for me.  I love Ardbeg Uigeadail, Flora and Fauna Benrinnes 15 Year Old, and Glenmorangie's Ealanta.

My Whisky Wish List
David R: That changes with each new expression that comes out. Right now it's Ardbeg Dark Cove.
 
Mike's Story
David R: So what was your first single malt?
 
Mike: A series during the "Julie Tastings": Auchentoshan 12, Caol Ila 15, Highland Park 12, Macallan 12, Bowmore 12, Knockando 1977, Springbank 15, Eradour 10, Talisker 10, Dalwhinnie 15, Lagavulin 16.  She was the wife of one of my best friends and wanted to move me away from blended whisky and wine.  They are still on her shelf.
 
David R: Well, that's more than one but it certainly was an impressive start.  How did you get started with single malts? On your own or did someone else get you into them?
 
Mike: I enjoyed blended scotch whisky on occasion with my Mom on breaks from college.  My Dad always said it tasted and smelled like old sweaty socks.  Later, as a wine collector, I recognized the potential of single malts in the late 1980s during the "Julie Tastings."  My appreciation and knowledge grew when I met you and we became scotch whisky kindred spirits.
 
David R: What do you look for in choosing a single malt?
 
Mike: It depends on my mood.  Sometimes deep, rich and peaty.  Other times, softer, fragrant and fruity.  Always complexity.
 
David R: What's your favorite way or time to enjoy a single malt?
 
Mike: With friends, watching sports or a movie with a good cigar.  Alone, with a good book after dinner.
 
David R: What's your go-to single malt, the one you enjoy the most?
 
Mike: My crowd pleasers: Aberlour 10 or Glenlivet 15.  Me: Ardbeg or Macallan.
David R: Do you have whisky wish list? If you do or did, what would be at the top of the list?
 
Mike: I cannot forget the all elusive trip to the distilleries of Scotland.
  
Ken's Story
David R: So what was your first single malt?

Ken: Glenlivet in 1974.
 
David R: How did you get started with single malts? On your own or did someone else get you into them

Ken: On my own, although I was influenced by my older brother who was a blended scotch drinker. I decided to go a little upscale but there weren't many choices back then in my small town.

David R: How long have you been drinking single malts?

Ken: Almost 40 years but I have become more knowledgeable and discriminating just in the last 15, largely due to the scotch tasting done by Flick's which were hosted by you, Dave, and Terry McLouglin.  
  
David R: What do you look for in choosing a single malt?

Ken: While I enjoy peated malts, I look for the smoothness and mouth feel of the scotch.

David R: What's your favorite way or time to enjoy a single malt?

Ken: After a meal, in the evening, on my patio, with a Cohiba.

David R: What's your go-to single malt, the one you enjoy the most?

Ken: Hard to say but Glenfarcles 21 is probably at the top. As an everyday scotch I would say Lagavulin 16 or Aberlour 12 non-chill filtered.
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David R: Do you have whisky wish list? If you do or did, what would be at the top of the list?

Ken: My wish list, go to Scotland and try them all.
 
Tim's Story
David R: So what was your first single malt?

Tim: Laphroaig.

David R: How did you get started with single malts? On your own or did someone else get you into them

Tim: I liked single malts since college, then I went to a Whisky Tasting at Maple Grove sponsored by Flick's in 1998 (?) that was hosted by you!  It opened my eyes to a whole world of wonder.

David R: How long have you been drinking single malts?

Tim: Since 1994.
 
David R: What do you look for in choosing a single malt?

Tim: Peat, or in the absence of peat, citrus notes.

David R: What's your favorite way or time to enjoy a single malt?

Tim: Neat with a cigar after a good dinner.

David R: What's your go-to single malt, the one you enjoy the most?

Tim: Ardbeg Coryryvreckan.
 
David R: Do you have whisky wish list? If you do or did, what would be at the top of the list?

Tim: Bruichladdich Octomore 4.1.  
 
Tod's Story
David R: So what was your first single malt?

Tod: Auchentoshan Classic.

David R: How did you get started with single malts?  On your own or did someone else get you into them

Tod: Tried some with a friend in the early 1990s; bought a few bottles that were ok, but I was extremely into collecting wine.  That occupied most of my money and drinking time.  I eventually was introduced to them again through our book club members and my appreciation of single malts has increased as I tried more complex ones.

David R: How long have you been drinking single malts?

Tod: About 5 years. 
 
David R: What do you look for in choosing a single malt?

Tod: I am attracted to complex ones that have several different profiles and flavors.

David R: What's your favorite way or time to enjoy a single malt?

Tod: Sitting at home with a fire going and a book!

David R: What's your go-to single malt, the one you enjoy the most?

Tod: Currently Ardbeg 10 Year Old.
 
David R: Do you have whisky wish list?  If you do or did, what would be at the top of the list?

Tod: My wish is to go to Scotland. 

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