Members' Whisky Distillation and Maturation
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
First Single Malt: 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: 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: 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: 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 its 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: That's the toughest question for me. I don't have just one. I love Ardbeg Uigeadail and Scorch, Diageo's Flora and Fauna Benrinnes 15 Year Old, and Dalmore 14-Year-Old. It's a toss up right now.
My Whisky Wish List: That changes with each new expression that comes out. Right now it's Glenmorangie's Tale of Winter
First Single Malt: A series during the "Julie Tastings": Auchentoshan 12, Caol Ila 15, Highland Park 12, Macallan 12, Bowmore 12, Knockando 1977, Springbank 15, Edradour 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.
Initiation into Scotch: 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.
What I Look for in a Single Malt: It depends on my mood. Sometimes deep, rich and peaty. Other times, softer, fragrant and fruity. Always complexity.
Favorite Way to Enjoy a Single Malt: With friends, watching sports or a movie with a good cigar. Alone, with a good book after dinner.
Go-to Single Malt, One I Enjoy Most: The Ardbeg line - Corryvreckan, Uigeadail, and the one I am enjoying lately, An Oa.
My Whisky Wish List: Bruichladdich Black Art as they are released.
First Single Malt: Glenlivet in 1974.
Initiation into Scotch: 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.
What I Look for in a Single Malt: I've been drinking scotch for 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. While I enjoy peated malts, I look for the smoothness and mouth feel of the scotch.
Favorite Way to Enjoy a Single Malt: After a meal, in the evening, on my patio, with a Cohiba.
Go-to Single Malt, One I Enjoy Most: Hard to say but Glenfarcles 21-Year-Old is probably at the top. As an everyday scotch I would say Lagavulin 16-Year-Old or Aberlour 12-Year-Old non-chill filtered.
My Whisky Wish List: My wish list, go to Scotland and try them all.
First Single Malt: Laphroaig 10-Year-Old.
Initiation into Scotch: I liked single malts since college, then I went to a Whisky Tasting with a colleague (Russ Reising) at Maple Grove sponsored by Flick's in 1998 (?) that was hosted by our Chairman! It opened my eyes to a whole world of wonder. I have been drinking single malts since 1994.
What I Look for in a Single Malt: I enjoy variances in peat, but regardless I'm looking for complexity and depth of flavor. I like a looooooong finish.
Favorite Way to Enjoy a Single Malt: Neat with a cigar, I do not like to add water.
Go-to Single Malt, One I Enjoy Most: Lost Spirits - Abomination - The Crying of the Puma (I still have 3 bottles).
My Whisky Wish List: Sample every edition of Bruichladdich Octomore.
First Single Malt: Auchentoshan Classic.
Initiation into Scotch: 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.
What I Look for in a Single Malt: I am attracted to complex ones that have several different profiles and flavors.
Favorite Way to Enjoy a Single Malt: Sitting at home with a fire going and a book!
Go-to Single Malt, One I Enjoy Most: I have an affinity to port wood finishes such as Glenmorangie's Quinta Rubin.
My Whisky Wish List: Currently awaiting the next Ardbeg that comes out this spring .
First Single Malt: Glenmorangie.
Initiation into Scotch: Ian Fleming first introduced me to single malt.
What I Look for in a Single Malt: Smooth taste ranging from peaty to sweeter sherry cask finish.
Favorite Way to Enjoy a Single Malt: With a drop of water in front of a nice fire.
Go-to Single Malt, One I Enjoy Most: Tough question, probably Laphroaig Caderas PX .
My Whisky Wish List: Some of the new single casks.
First Single Malt: Ardbeg 10-Year-Old.
Initiation into Scotch: My father-in-law was a scotch & soda frequent flyer. He preferred Grants or Dewars, and those were my first regular scotches.
What I Look for in a Single Malt: I am a fan of smoke and peat.
Favorite Way to Enjoy a Single Malt: Nearly neat — I’ve learned that I like a single ice cube.
Go-to Single Malt, One I Enjoy Most: Tough question of course. The entire range of Ardbeg has always pleased me. When available, I always choose Lagavulin 16.
My Whisky Wish List: More peat and smoke. And pretty much any whisky from Islay distilleries.
First Single Malt: Ardbeg 10-Year-Old.
Initiation into Scotch: Ben Goff, I had dinner at Ben's and the first one he gave me was the Ardbeg (Killer).
What I Look for in a Single Malt: That has changed over the years. I like a complete single malt that is pleasant on the nose, mouth, and finish.
Favorite Way to Enjoy a Single Malt: Depends ... Always with friends who are serious about scotch like me, otherwise with a good cigar, at the end of a long day or after a great day on the trout stream.
Go-to Single Malt, One I Enjoy Most: Oh boy that is tough to answer, typically the one within arms reach (kidding). I need to name a couple Ardbeg Supernova, Laphroaig Cairdeas, and Glenmorangie.
My Whisky Wish List: Too long to list here, let's just say whatever we cannot get in the tri-state area.
First Single Malt: Glenlivet 12-Year-Old.
Initiation into Scotch: Dr. Reid would discuss various scotches throughout my marketing class and then provide me with multiple "budget" options that have progressed over time to recommending hundred and several hundred dollar bottles.
What I Look for in a Single Malt: At this point in time I am looking to expand my collection and to putting bottles on the shelf that I currently haven't tasted or purchased myself. Prefer the Speyside and Highland regions.
Favorite Way to Enjoy a Single Malt: With a cigar outside.
Go-to Single Malt, One I Enjoy Most: Talisker 10-Year-Old.
My Whisky Wish List: Old Pulteney 12-Year-Old, 15, or Sherry Cask.
David D's Story
First Single Malt: Glenmorangie 10-Year-Old.
Initiation into Scotch: A former boss at a corporate event.
What I Look for in a Single Malt: Rich mouthfeel malt with a long finish.
Favorite Way to Enjoy a Single Malt: In a leather chair with a fine cigar and a good book.
Go-to Single Malt, One I Enjoy Most: Glenmorangie 10-Year-Old.
My Whisky Wish List: Glenmorangie Signet.
First Single Malt: Glengoyne 16-Year-Old Scottish Oak.
Initiation into Scotch: Started drinking blended scotch in high school - Johnny Walker Red; after that I had some neighbors that gave me a bottle of Johnny Walker Blue for my 21st birthday. It was not until David R and Flick's Liquor started single malt tastings about 20 years ago that I found Single Malt Scotch - now goto above all other libations.
What I Look for in a Single Malt: Complexity and mouthfeel.
Favorite Way to Enjoy a Single Malt: With good friends, a cigar and on the water.
Go-to Single Malt, One I Enjoy Most: I "go to" my bar and pick the one calling out to me at that moment.
My Whisky Wish List: Not sure.