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Friday, April 7, 2017

The NEW Single Malt Whiskey

The NEW Single Malt Whiskey

Books at City News Café

Featuring: The NEW Single Malt Whiskey

Dominick M Maino, Book Review Editor

City News Cafe is well known for its more than 5,000 magazines, awesome coffee, music performances and Hattie Portage’s home crafted chocolate truffles. Now the Six Corners community will also have access to a “right in our neighborhood”, small business, unique book store as well.

Please feel free to let us know what topics and titles you’d like to see on our shelves.

The NEW Single Malt Whiskey: Edited by Carlo DeVito with a Foreward by Chip Tate and an Introduction by Clay Risen; Cider Mill Press Book Publishers, Kennebunkport, ME.  Hardcover, 624 pages with a glossary, additional resources, index and numerous photographs. ISBN-13:9781604336474   $21.00 or less

Do you like whiskey/whisky? Are you only familiar with the old standbys you find in a typical liquor store or grocery? Perhaps it is time for you to spread your whiskey wings and try one or more of the 325 drams from 197 different distilleries in 25 countries around the world that have been reviewed in this text. If that is the case, then this book must sit upon your shelf today!

How do you become interested in single malt "uisge beatha" or "usquebaugh" which when translated from the Scottish and Irish tongues means the “water of life”? Well,
for me it all started when my friend, Charles Grant, introduced me to The Macallan 12-year-old Scotch. Macallan has numerous other expressions featuring its  whole range of whiskies. (I’ve sampled many of the Macallan line, even a wee bit from their 25 y/o bottle.) Once you learn how to enjoy a single malt, you will seldom ever go back to whatever you were drinking before this experience….and that is why you need this book as a guide.

Where should you start? I would initially begin with a good single malt from Scotland. Although by dear friend Chuck only drinks Macallan, I would urge you to try the Glenfiddich 12 y/o first (any of the Speyside whiskies would work well upon your palette as an introduction. Since Six Corners will soon have its own Binny’s Beverage Depot, you will be able to find these whiskies here.) Those whiskies with a smoky/peated flavor, however I would suggest you wait until you’ve developed a sense of several different drams from around Scotland. For many, the smoky or peated varieties are an acquired taste.

OK. You’ve had your first excellent whisky and now you want more! It’s time to explore many of the possibilities and that is where this book comes into the story.

The beginning of this text starts out with information that includes but is not limited to “what’s the difference between whisky and whiskey”, how is whisky made, and why are Bourbon barrels often used to age the spirits? You will also come to understand the wonderful relationship between wood, water and grain that is required to make whiskey such a great drink. Finally, you can learn tasting techniques and how to make incredible cocktails.

Where in the world shall we start? This book begins in Australia and ends its tale in Wales.
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Whiskies I’ve sampled that are mentioned in this text include those from the Lark Distillery in Tasmania, Amrut from India, numerous spirits from Ireland (Knappogue Castle 12, Bushmills 10, Connemara 12, Tyrconell 10, and Tullamore DEW 10) and several from Japan (Yamazaki 12, Hakushu 18). The folks from Taiwan’s first distillery, Kavalan have several whiskies of note as well.

When it comes to whisky, those originating from Scotland hold a special place upon my palette. I have enjoyed drams from Aberlour, Auchentoshan, Balblair, and Balvenie, as well as Benriach, Glenfiddich, Glenoronach, and Glenglassaugh 26. Some of my favorites also include Glenlivet, Glenmorangie, Highland Park, Laphroaig, Maccallan 15, Tamdhu 10, and Tomatin.

If it wasn’t for the United States and our skill at making whiskey however, there may have never been “Scotch” as we know it (read the chapter about Bourbon barrels for more information on this topic). The USA single malts I’ve placed upon my palette include: Balcones (Texas), Few Spirits (I love their Rye and Bourbon and did you know that they are right here in Evanston, Il?), St. George (California), and Hudson (New York).

And finally, on a recent visit to the UK, I had an opportunity to sample Penderyn Single Malt Welsh Whiskey made in Wales.

Since this book reviews some 325 different bottles of the amber fluid, you may have noticed that even I have just sampled the very tip of the single malt whisky iceberg. Also you should know that these fine spirits were not all sampled over a single, lost weekend; but rather over a 10-15 year period. If you are going to do something right, it takes time and patience.

This book about a very special spirit has been called “The most definitive guide to the new revolution in single malt whiskey across the globe, …” and I would not argue with that in any way….so….If you want to learn about single malt whiskey and if you want to “do it right”; there is no better place to begin than by reading this book…now available at the City News Café!

BTW: City News Café’s very own, Hattie Portage has made whiskey flavored chocolate truffles. They Are Awesome!

For more of my Whiskey Tasting Notes go to MainosMusings and look on the right-hand side of the page.

Chicago-area distilleries include:

Few Distillery 918 Chicago Ave, Evanston, IL 60202; Rhine Hall Distillery 2010 W. Fulton St., Chicago; CH Distillery        564 W. Randolph St., Chicago; KOVAL Distillery   5121 N. Ravenswood Ave., Chicago

Contact Dominick Maino (dmaino @ico.edu), the CNC Book Review Editor, if you’d like to write a review of any of the books you’ve read and want to see it published here.


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