How To Drink Scotch Whisky

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National Scotch Whisky day is this weekend, so we wanted to take some time to help you better understand the different types of scotch available. Drinkers, especially us in the U.S., tend to shy away from scotch because it’s a bit more complex than other spirits.  There’s so many different types, all sorts of ages associated with them, and they aren’t cheap. So if you’re going to buy one, you probably want to be sure it’s something you’ll like. So where do you start? Well, we came across this pretty awesome info graphic, the flavor map, that attempts to give you a visual break down on scotch based on it’s taste, defined by one of the 4 flavor profiles. It’s like a whisky cheat sheet, how great is that?  It makes life a little easier, so use this chart as a starting point to your journey into the Scotch drinkers fan club.


Here’s a break down of just what it means to be either delicate, smoky, light, or rich:

Delicate: Delicate whiskies are use no peat in their malting process and as you can see from the chart, it’s a majority of the brands. As you stay delicate but move towards the light end of the spectrum you notice more floral and grassy freshness. Then moving towards the rich end, you get nutty and barley flavors.

Smoky: Smoky single malts all contain peatiness, which gets burned in the malting process. You’ll notice smoke and wood-fire like scents in these whiskies.

Light: This is where a lot of scotch drinkers land. Fresh flavors like grass, fruits, and even cereal are the characteristics of these whiskies.

Rich: Whiskies in the rich end of the spectrum get alot of their flavor from the wood used during the maturation process. American oak barrels give it the vanilla flavors, while European oak casks tend to bring out the chocolate and dried fruit.



We hope this helped. For more information on scotch, visit For more updates on the latest brand launches, cocktail recipes, and industry news, make sure to Like Us On Facebook, or Follow us On Twitter.


Alex is a full time Consultant with10+ years experience in the Wine & Spirits, Consumer Goods, and Retail industries. He is not a professional bartender, but is BarSmarts certified. When not writing for Intoxicology, Alex can be found traveling, spending time with his family, or at a local bar.

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