Malt Whisky – How to choose a good malt ?

Like most things we approach we all have our different techniques. For me one of the most difficult things is to purchase a  gift of Malt Whisky for someone that I don’t know what their preferences are.

With wine I usually buy the case by the grape, I know for my palate I like the dry, crisp citrus white wines and whisky-distilleries-islayat all times I avoid German wines as I find they have a strange after taste, but do enjoy some of the New World wines.

Now as I am not a Whisky drinker I find the task of selecting such a gift more difficult and invariably resort to the highly technical system of “its a nice box” – “I like the label”. This is not strictly true, as I do know (Jim has taken me sooooooooooooooo many times to Islay, and wonderful and beautiful as it is, that many of the Malts from this wonderful place are peaty), so as said, invariably I have by association been slightly educated. Nevertheless this bit of knowledge does not really help when it comes to trying to find something rare for him or a friend to sample. One cannot just assume that if the Whisky is older, or stronger, that it is necessarily going to superior. Actually this is a real science as subjectivity is so vital to the success of the mission.

So with this in mind I tend to select cautiously. As you are probably tired of hearing the Whisky Boys say, there is no such thing as a bad Whisky, just some that are better than others.

So before me stands a challenge, Jim and I are off to Islay shortly, to walk along those glorious beautiful beaches, and to have the pure Atlantic breeze sweep through your hair to cleanse every aspect of your mind. The breeze carries such therapeutic qualities it is not a wonder that this Island produces such sensational Whisky. Whilst on the Island it will be mandatory to visit the distilleries and there will be my challenge – albeit he will stand like a kid in a sweet shop (or a Whisky Boy in Malt Whisky Shops) in awe of all the golden nectar before him, the challenge is what Whisky can I purchase for him as a treat. I would love to surprise him was a gem that he has not sampled before, but these gems are becoming harder and harder to find. No doubt, there will be some dusty treasure squirreled away that will delight him (and hopefully not break the bank).

So as you can see, even with my association with the Whisky Boys and with my education by association I still might resort to the “nice box “nice label” system.

Let me know if you also have difficulty when wanting to buy a good bottle of Malt.

Jacqueline ( a Whisky Boy Wife)

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