View Full Version : "Bourbons" from Scotland
In a typical liquor store or bar, scotch occupies significantly more shelf space than bourbon. Unfortunately, I dislike scotch, single malts, blends, they all seem to share a puke-inducing medicinal smell (peat??) no matter how undeniably smooth the drink may be once it gets past the nose. But with so many single malts crowding the shelves, I asked my bartender if he knew of any scotch that tasted like bourbon. He gave me a shot of Dalmore Cigar Malt, which tasted and smelled much like Kentucky's amber elixir. It was great. Just for fun, are there other 'bourbon-like' scotches lurking out there?
I have had some Scotch whisky that was aged in bourbon barrels that had some of the flavor of bourbon. I have also had some aged "maize" spirits that they use for flavoring in their blends that tasted quite a bit like bourbon. I did not know that it was sold to the general public but maybe that is what you had in this case.
Interesting comments on the DCM. This is an extremely heavily sherried single malt whisky with quite a bit of smoky character. I, for one, would never have associated this with bourbon, but if it works for you.....
WRT Scottish single grain whiskies, these are available but difficult to find in the US. Mostly bottled by independents like Scott's Selection Cadenhead's, although Grant's bottles their own approx. 10yr Girvan grain under the name Black Barrel (available in Canada). These are what I would consider "Scotland's Bourbons", especially at older ages.
I know there is a scotch aged in new (instead of used) charred oak barrels. Perhaps someone else will recall the name. That probably is more bourbon-like than most.
I used to be a scotch drinker and still enjoy a dram from time to time, but rarely. I prefer just about any bourbon to just about any scotch.
--Chuck Cowdery (http://cowdery.home.netcom.com)
>they all seem to share a puke-inducing medicinal smell (peat??)
There are plenty of single malt scotches that have no peat in them at all. Burning peat is sometimes used to stop the germination process when barley is malted, but not always. Lowland scotches and speyside scotches tend to have little or no peat, while Islay scotches tend to be peat monsters (okay, that's not much help if you don't know much about scotch, but I think that a good bartender or liquor store employee can point you in the right direction). A lot of the blends I've had tend to add someting with peat in it, so I'd stay away from the blends if you're anti-peat.
I'll reccomend the Glenmorangie, which is aged in used bourbon barrels, and is probably easy to find. So in response to your question "are there any other on-peaty scotches out there?", I'll say "Yes, you've been staring at them the whole time. There's a whole world of non-peated scotch waiting for you."
(Now you can stop saying that you dislike scotch!)
Yes, there are a few scotches around that have been "finished" in new oak, but not any available in the US of which I am aware that is exclusively matured in new oak. Glenlivet French Oak Finish, Glenmorangie 15yr, Glenfiddich Solera Reserve all have a "new oak" finish. The unavailable-in-the-US Glenmorangie Millennium 12yr and Glenmorangie Cellar 13 are produced from "1st fill" casks, which I assume, is the same "new oak". [SIDE BAR: Glenmorangie uses the term "new oak" on the label for the 15yr, but "1st fill" on the Cellar13] However, these don't strike me as particularly bourbon-like either.
Strangely enough, an Islay whisky has upon occasion struck me as bourbon-like. It is the Bowmore 12yr, which gives off an unusual perfumy character that I've also noted in the Henry McKenna SB 10yr. It is unlikely that the malted barley profile of a single malt is going to approach the predominately cooked corn profile of a bourbon. One might want to explore some of the blended scotches which are heavily grain-dominant.
Excellent advice from others thus far. I would also suggest the regular Dalmore 12 (far less sherry than the DCM), Glenmorangie 18 or 10, Scapa 12, Royal Lochnagar 12 or Glengoyne 10 (or 17). These have, IMHO, relatively low/no peat character. And, of course, there are some nice Irish whiskeys (peated Irish whiskeys are uncommon, to say the least). Check out Pajo's Irish whiskey web site (http://homepage.eircom.net/~whiskey/pajos.htm). Sure, Irish isn't Scotch, but why quibble?
Since Irish Whiskey has been mentioned, I will confess that I am a big fan of Black Bush. If I buy anything from that corner of the world, it is Black Bush.
--Chuck Cowdery (http://cowdery.home.netcom.com)
Even though it is a little on the expensive side, you should try the Jameson Gold the next time you go into Sam's. Perhaps Joe has an opened bottle you could sample. I just reponded to someone in another forum about this and it reminded me what a great Irish Whiskey this is. If you've never had the pleasure of trying a Pure Pot Still Irish made with malted and unmalted barley, the JG will give you a good introduction (even though it is itself a blended).
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