« Manila Folder Boeing 777 | Home | Experts' Expert: What the pros use to clean windows »

July 11, 2020

Whisky Flavor Map


From Big Think:

This map is a handy guide to Scottish single malt whiskies, plotted on a grid with two sets of variables:

• Horizontally, from light (left) to rich (right)

• Vertically, from delicate (bottom) to smoky (top)

These are the main taste variables in the vast and bewildering universe of uisge beatha.

In Scotland alone, over 133 distilleries produce over 2,000 brands of whisky.

Many of those are blended; aficionados will prefer the single malt whiskies, i.e. whiskies produced by one single distillery, using only one type of malted grain, and aged in oak casks for at least three years.

Even in the strictly defined and regulated category of Scottish single malt whiskies, there are still over 800 varieties, of which only a few are represented here.

Whisky expert Dave Broom developed the aforementioned grid, also known as the Whisky Flavor Map.

The map allows samplers of single-malt whiskeys to explore taste relations between them, and discover new ones to their liking.

The horizontal axis differentiates lighter from richer flavours.

According to Broom, the Glenkinchie 12 (years old), on the lighter end of the spectrum, "had light floral grassy notes."

Clynelish 14, was "more textured, silkier, waxy, and unctuous," so halfway between the Glenkinchie and the Singleton of Dufftown 12, with its "nutty, almondly, dried-fruit flavors."

The position on the vertical axis is determined by the whisky's degree of "peatiness."

Peat can be used to heat the pot stills in which the damp malt is dried, during which time the smoke gets into the barley — more time, more smoke, more smokiness.

A Laphroaig 10, anyone?

If less or no peat is used for the fire, the taste will be delicate rather than smoky, as with a Scapa 14.

[via Michael Castelein and Malts.com]

July 11, 2020 at 12:01 PM | Permalink


I love the peaty Islay scotches but my every day scotch is Glenmorangie, It's a bargain. I love Lagavulin, many people find it too intense. Talisker and Laphroig are not far behind. There really aren't any I don't like, but a good bottle lasts a long time. I never understood it until I was in my 30s over in Germany of all places. Friends of the friend I was traveling with had hundreds of bottles. I told them I didn't like scotch, they said I would by the time I left. They were right, the first bottle that I got was Lagavulin (duty free), it was much cheaper back then.

Posted by: Greg Perkins | Jul 11, 2020 5:29:06 PM

Post a comment