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Small Batch Reserve: The Finest Scottish Whisky

A look at how small batch whisky is made in Scotland.

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Small Batch Reserve: The Finest Scottish Whisky

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  1. Small Batch Whisky The finest Scottish Malt

  2. What is small batch whisky? • Small batch whisky is made with a sense of character in mind. Unlike regular whiskies which are brewed for quantity just as much as quality, small batch is made to be exclusive. It is matured in smaller amounts and has much more subtle flavour than a regular whisky. • You’ll often find that any small batch whisky has a warm golden colour and a gentler smell than what you’d expect with a whisky.

  3. Where is small batch whisky made? The Isle of Islay. It’s an island off the west coast of Scotland that is known for being a whisky haven. Malt whisky lovers from all over the world descend upon the island to sample and buy some of the most exclusive whisky available. Rather surprisingly, Islay can be seen from the coast of Ireland on a sunny day.

  4. Why Islay? • It can be seen as quite a weird place to live; separated from the mainland, very windy and prone to rain a lot. • Because of the land and conditions, it’s the perfect place to make the perfect Scottish whisky. • The peat dug up and used has an extreme effect on how the whisky will taste.

  5. Who makes small batch whisky? • Any distillery can make it, but only a few excel at making whisky that takes a lot of care, effort and attention to let mature just right. • Small batch whiskies are seen by malt drinkers as a way to get a true sense of the character of a distillery. • Even though Islay is a very small place, some of the world’s top whiskies come from here. Bowmore is one of the more famous distilleries on the island.

  6. How long does it take? • Years. Small batch whiskey is purposely made in barrels that will mature in smaller amounts for longer than a typical whisky. This is what makes it so sought after. • It’s not always true that the longer a whisky matures, the tastier it will be, but its usually the case that the longer a whisky is matured for, the smoother it will feel on the tongue. This plays an important role in the tasting experience.

  7. Why barrels? • The type of barrel used to mature the whisky can influence how the finished small batch whisky tastes and looks. • You’ll usually find that malt whisky is matured in barrels that have originally been used to store wine, bourbon or sherry. • When the barrel is filled with whisky, the character of the old drinks left in the oak subtly works its way in to the colour and taste of the malt. So an old sherry barrel might give a red hue to the malt, while a bourbon cask might give it a lighter, warmer note. • Think of it as a way of recycling that serves a personal purpose: making you a delicious drink.

  8. What is peat? • Peat is earth that has been ‘maturing’ for centuries. In the simplest sense its compacted dirt that is dug up and used as fuel. • It gives whisky a very distinctive flavour and is the reason why you’ll find distilleries scattered around small, slightly remote areas of Scotland with their own source of distinctive peat. • One way to think about it is the way wine from different regions can taste different because of the soil and conditions its been growing in. Or how the kind of wood used to smoke meat plays a big role in how it tastes.

  9. How long does it take? • Every whisky has its own specific length of time to mature. Small batch whiskies are matured for anywhere upwards of five years. • It’s their maturation length and small amount that make them so desirable to whisky drinkers. • And because it takes so long to make, you have to enjoy it at length too. It’s a patient person’s type of drink.

  10. How do you drink it? • There are three steps to really enjoying a glass of small batch whisky. • Firstly, you smell it. Getting a good sniff of the whisky will help you pick up on different notes of the drink. • Secondly, take a sip. You want to drink it in small sips because your tongue needs time to figure out what its tasting. If you’re not used to drinking whisky, then obviously it will taste very strong. But for a palate accustomed to it, a whisky will have subtle hints of the peat, malt and barrel used. • Thirdly, you’ll experience the aftertaste. Whisky lingers long in your mouth after a sip, but in a good way. It’s called the finish and its what ultimately helps you decide whether or not you like the whisky.

  11. What does it taste like? • Every whisky has its own subtle flavours. Because small batch whisky matures for longer in undisturbed conditions, the whisky carries with it a sense of a balanced drink. • The flavour ultimately depends on what hints anyone can pick up on, but small batch always has a gentle smoky finish.

  12. How do I know if its good? • Whisky, especially small batch, isn’t meant to be drunk like any other spirit or beer. You have to take your time with it. • When having a sip, you’re trying to pick up on different tasting notes. • These include everything from fruity, floral and peaty feelings on your tongue, to whether your nose registers the malt as being woody, peaty, sulphuric or winey.

  13. Want to know more? • To find out more about small batch whisky, visit the Bowmore Site • http://www.bowmore.com/whiskies/small-batch-reserve/

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