I love whisky–and not just drinking it. I love the country it came from, the craftsmanship necessary to make it and the fact that it can’t be rushed. Whisky has a very zen quality about it. Even the barrels are Buddha-shaped.  

Shelley at Loch Torridon

I’ve spent the last twenty years learning just how little I know about it’s technology and production, but it seems those years have flown by as the learning curve grows fairly foggy after the first few minutes of  ”tasting” school.

My aim here is to simply encourage others to give it a try. It’s not for everyone, and for that I’m glad. Production is low and the prices lofty, therefore it’s really in my best interest to keep my infatuation more on the quiet side. Except that I love to share. It certainly doesn’t help me keep my tally of around 150 single malts full for long, but as I’ve heard quoted, “Life is short. You spend a long time dead.”

I can’t take them with me, so grab a glass, take a sip and have a read. You might like what you find. In time, you might love it. Sláinte!


Books, booze and bawdiness.
What to wear for Burns’ Night; getting your plaid to work for you.
Here’s to all that gives you pleasure; toasts & tributes.
Whisky, women and wham! you’re wedded.
The bugs in your bourbon, the growth in your grog, the spores in your spirits.
Tipping the hip for a sip of the tipple.
Single Malted Milk Chocolate Balls
Keep your eyes on the ryes.
Whisky Co-Products; the extra bits & bobs. Part 1 (Draff)
Whisky Co-Products; the extra bits & bobs. Part 2 (Pot Ale)
Whisky Co-Products; the extra bits and bobs. Part 3 (The heat is on.)
Whisky Co-Products; the extra bits & bobs. Part 4 (Biofuel)
A nip, a novel and knowledge.
Hot Toddy? Hot Diggidy!
Singing the praises of whisky. Drinking songs.
Well, well, well. Aberlour’s history goes deep.
Burn, Baby, burn.
Presidential Partying
Boozy Broads & Whisky Women
Breathing room; whisky’s wooden lung
Whisky trippin’
Whisky; it’s good for what ails ya.
Cardhu & Helen Cumming; cunning doesn’t even come close.
Old Pulteney; the demon’s drink.
Balmenach; professionally licensed peat shed.
Bowmore’s 100 Degrees Proof; certifiably explosive!
Leif Eriksson gets in line to discover America. Apparently, the queue is long.
Seeing spots, not Scots
There’s Trouble at Mill
Why I Want to Be An Astronaut. Related to Whisky, I Promise.
Ardbeg’s Whirlpool Whisky
Smuggling & Struggling; A bad guy gone good.
Win by a nose
Win by a nose (part 2)
The water of the water of life
Ernest Shackleton; the women, the world, the whisky.
Ernest Shackleton; The women, the world and the whisky part 2
Bruichladdich: Blue? Green? Or Bleen?
An Indian Beauty
Belly up to the Bar (part 1)
Belly up to the Bar (Part 2)
Belly up to the Bar (Part 3)
Belly up to the Bar (Part 4)
A Sweet Swede
Bottoms up for Burns
Double-barreled bliss
From Barley to Bottle
Killer Kilkerran
Masterpieces from the remnants of Master Distillers
Spirits–Both Ghostly & Drinkable
Those Crafty Croatians
Whisky: both liquor and delouser
World Whisky Day!


57 thoughts on “Whisky-wise

  1. Aye! a’fore my doctor said otherwise it was always a wee dram of Laphraoig that would do me. In a pinch it might be Bruchladdich but certainly I do not venture far from the sills of Islay. Sláinte lass !

  2. And Lang may your lum reek too. I fear that my years have outreached my wisdom. Knowledge may yet increase – but wisdom, that ’tis a different bird.

      • that is something we shall have to remedy – next of the Irish should be a Jameson (twelve year old at least) – a worthy dram for a connoisseur such as yourself i should doubt

        • Jameson (and to be honest, nearly all Irish whiskey) is too finespun and sophisticated for my Neanderthal tongue. Triple distilled spirits leave me feeling quite incompetent in attempting to uncover all of the beautiful notes they possess.
          I’m afraid my collection is heavy on the peat, iodine and wood-smoke, with the occasional note of grubby, well-worn sporran thrown in.
          I’m working on it though.

    • Tincup? Is that now what you use after a few too many wee drams afor ye gang awa? You may need one to pay for the taxi home after all.
      or is it:
      One never remembers the proper diacritical marking. At least this one.

      • hey! i cheat and use the ASKII key code chart, such as, when habliendo españglish, yew wanna “¿” –> press ALT (hold it down while keyingIN) 168. yew wanna “♪” well, let’s ignore that for now. now, pennies and “¢” (ALT 155) … but(t) seareee-ouslee: my jungust bruthur, the scotsch and such snob said i should look for tincup. now, we ain’t got no axual tincups in our house — i’d yooz a maysun jar!

    • Never been much of a bourbon fan, but I DO hugely appreciate spicy Ryes. There are some absolutely terrific artisans working within the American whiskey field currently, and I promise to keep my eye out for this guy. Sound delish!

  3. I must confess, fellow enjoyer of the finer Malts, I have never, even after a tipple too two thousands, have I appeared in public looking like the monocled avatar previously displayed, ergo and so forth (Forth) – I submit for your consideration, my early foray into the written word world wondering where was the way to the Malt. [Bertold Brecht’s “Show me the Way to the Next Whisky [w/out the “E”] Bar.”

    • I quite liked your earlier version, Jens. Super sophisticated. Alas, all that is pure chance. I’ve nothing to do with the spin of that wheel of fortune. Regardless, nice to see you’ve returned!

      Great song, by the way – Show me the way … And I’d have to admit my favorite Brecht quote is: Do not fear death so much but rather the inadequate dram. (close enough, right?) 😀

  4. Well, well, indeed, perhaps to Tin Kup sprung a leek or a leak, for indeed Gymbo borrowed from the Ol’ x-Deutchlander and made rather a left turn (gak, I am slow in responding – and I am certain that it was not Tin Cup in my Kop what slows the re-sponse).

      • it (da stannous-chalice) has emerged locally. we bought one ( a mere $32/750 ml) in Frisco CO, only to find it later at the nearest whiskey-emporium to our house for less ‘n that. my wife likes the 6-sided bottle. and she likes the contents, i think.

            • Just out of curiosity, does it state anywhere on the bottle–or do you know where the whiskey is made? There’s been some talk lately about the origin of the spirit and I’ve heard a few folks talk about the difficulty of finding out. Since you’re now something of an expert … 😉
              I’ve heard Indiana. Wouldn’t surprise me.

              • my jungust bro said (i think he wuzz wrong) that stranahan himself decided to do a new thing. other than the tin-cup bottle cap, i don’t think so. it is made in colorawdough (like stranahan’s). and i did lookkittupp awn the internet. axually … i prefer stranahan’s — just a bit. (and ~$20/bottle difference). i’m going to get a bottle … now.
                okeh: i threw away the tag attached by an elastic string to the bottle neck. whut’z left is ‘bottled in denver.’ “elev 5647′ ” (which is, of course, 400-some feet higher than denver’s legendary mile. there are plenty of hills (even some to the EAST) which adjoin denver that high. and of course, immediately at the edge of denver they’re much higher). the bottle also says 42%, six-sighdid (U gnu that), and rocky mountain spring water (duzzn’t coors have a patent on that?). no no please don’t call me an expert — as, among other things, you knew gymmorrisun did not write that sawng! and i thought he did. i’ve led such a shelturd life …

                • “the internet: says: Jess Graber (co-founder of Stranahan’s) is “the guy.” (so my youngest bruthur wuzz rite). and, YOU ARE KEY-RECT: “their Lawrenceburg INDIANA facility” !! shipped to Denver, where the “rocky mountain water” is added to bring it down to 84 proof. (is there water other than rocky mountain in colorado?)

                  • Yeah, this practice of labeling bottles as “bottled” at (insert distillery here) is becoming more of a common practice, and the gobs of whisky aficionados out there are not taking the somewhat misleading information too kindly. I don’t know if you’ve ever done a tour of any distilleries in Scotland, but with every single tour, you are bound to be mixed in with a couple of diehards who know practically more than the folks who work there about their own product. It’s mostly out of loyalty and enthusiasm, but I’m starting to see more of these personalities show up on American distillery tours too. They want full disclosure.
                    If the Indiana blend is a great blend, then surely some marketing spin doctor can create a terrific ad for them, connecting ‘down-home Midwestern grains with magnificent mountain water.’
                    Regardless, I’m glad you like it enough to continue supporting them.
                    I’ll keep looking for it.

    • Yes! Benson, I have read this article. And it’s not surprising, but it is disappointing, as I and a slew of other folks are really hoping that America will utilize the massive amount of artisan craftsmanship just waiting to be tapped, and will contribute more into the pool of dynamic spirit making here in our country. It’ll happen. It is happening. But the sly marketing that conveys a message of “we made it here” is disturbing. You really have to be part sleuth. “Bottles on site,” and “Made right here from beginning to end,” are two different animals.
      Thanks so much for sharing the link. I hope others will read it too.

    • figures . i’m a little afraid to investigate my recent “find” of 10th Mtn Whiskey (Vail) and High West (Park City Utah) … well, you ‘n Peak have “X playing’d” the diminishment on the luster? of Tincup …

  5. first, hi peak. second, this comment section is worth reading twice, when there’s time to linger and sip! third, i checked your blog out for several reasons but followed you because of this page. so is there a prescribed order to peruse these posts? -i.m.

    • And a hearty hello to you as well! Glad you’re getting a kick out of the comments–and I’d have to agree, sometimes the comment section is a far cry better than the post itself. I encourage engagement–with anyone on the page.
      And if you have any knowledge about spirits then I’d say just peruse the list and find a title that catches your fancy. If you’re somewhat new to the world of whisky, I’d suggest you begin with the four part series entitled “Belly up to the Bar (1-4).
      I hope you might find one or two things worthy of your interest here.

        • Thanksgiving is a feast that starts the fourth Thursday of November and ends just before Christmas eve dinner. I love food. And my family doesn’t suck. Totally lucked out.
          So glad you liked the articles. Hope anything else you bump into might prove worthy of the minute or two it takes to read it. Having a dram in your hand while doing so makes me sound a lot more clever than I really am.

          • that’s cool! my family’s pretty awesome, we actually like each other which says a lot. unfortunately it doesn’t say, ‘get out!’ but they’re gone for now, and i can finally get back to blogging or at least commenting properly.

            oh i used your tip about putting a drop of whiskey on your hand for the aromatics – never would have thought about it. and it’s a fun way to include non-whiskey drinkers in the experience, so will try it again.

  6. Oh oh! I missed something here… Who’s into wasting good Whisky with a wee drop on their hand??? I am assuming that you lick it off promptly!

    • No worries, my friend, that drop is purely used to help identify all the glorious perfumed notes after the alcohol has evaporated.
      And I prefer to keep that spot in tact and untouched so that if I wake from a bad round of hellish, vulgar dreams, I need nothing more than a quick sniff of Scottish treasures and I’m drifting off, blissful and numbly content.

    • Many thanks for the video, Frank, although I’ve learned over the last twenty years never to try and glean science from an advertising clip. I would have had a few seconds of a chemist explaining the wood effect–but hey, no one asked for my tuppence worth so this is just between you and me.
      If you’re at all curious about the true production of the spirit, I’m happy to give you the names of a couple of my chemistry and technology books, but they are EXTRAORDINARILY dry, and the only pictures are ones that display molecules and atoms structures. 🙂
      Holiday party? Sounds a marvelous idea. Cheers!

      • No question that it’s an advertising clip, but it’s basically saying what I was trying to tell you last time. Nonetheless, I like Markers 46 … and I’m not even a bourbon drinker!

  7. Well here’s some whiskey wisdom by Abe Lincoln in reply to comments about General Grant’s drinking problems “Find out what whiskey he drinks and send all of my generals a case, if it will get the same results”.

    Cheers to that 🙂

    • It’s funny you should bring this up, Henry, as I’ve tried to be fair in developing a palate and appreciation for many different spirits while learning about their production and the crafts and techniques that go into making each one of them. For six months, I’ll review and do blind taste tests of just gins, or tequilas, or eau de vies. And although by the end of my experiments, one brand or one distiller’s work will come out on top depending upon my personal preferences, I always go back to whisky. To me, whisky is so much more than a spirit. It is a people and a culture and myriad stories from the collection of hundreds upon hundreds of years. It is Scotland in liquid form.

Don't hold back ... Hail and Speak!

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