And also, is the amount of years the whiskey has been barreled up (12,18 and so on) really an indication to its rate and taste?
And another thing, any recommendations on good books on single malt Whiskey from Scotland would be great!
Thanks for the help
Predominantly the incorporation of peat (and/or coal at some sites) during the malting process (when the partially germinated barley is being dried by warm air circulation). Another (albeit it much less significant) factor could be the supply/reduction water if it is sourced from streams that course through peatlands.
Is the amount of years the whiskey has been barreled up (12,18 and so on) really an indication to its rate and taste?
Greater age can certainly affect the taste, imbuing the whisky with more pronounced oak nuances (though this factor is highly dependent on the type of casks utilized - are they 1st-fill, 2nd-fill, etc?). That said, there is (despite the fact that producers will generally be quite careful in selecting casks of whisky for their older, more expensive bottlings) not necessarily any correlation between greater age and better quality. Whiskies of any age can be poor or stupendous. You're the final judge of that, of course!
Any recommendations on good books on single malt whisky from Scotland would be great!
There are numerous well-written, informative books out there. Lately, I've been reading the following a fair amount:
Charles MacLean: Whiskypedia (good distillery information)
Charles MacLean: World Whiskey (covers many whiskies from around the globe)
Ian Buxton: 101 Whiskies To Try Before You Die (an entertaining read)
Dave Broom: The World Atlas Of Whisky (quite comprehensive within its scope, and with valuable tasting notes on new-makes - i.e. whiskies straight from the stills)
You'd also likely want to have this one on hand, as it's a classic:
Michael Jackson's Malt Whisky Companion (6th Edition) provides numerous tasting notes that will, in many cases, make your mouth water.
Whisky age and quality is largely a matter of individual taste. I much prefer 10yo Laphroaig to 15 or 18yo but I prefer the 16yo Isle of Jura to the 10yo. No accounting for taste but the great thing is that you've got to taste them all before making up your mind:-)
On the subject of books try the Malt Whisky Yearbook. The 2012 version has just been published and it really is excellent
MacLean's Miscellany of whisky by Charles MacLean.
Malt Whisky Yearbook edited by Ingvar Ronde. The 2012 version is now out.
Peat Smoke And Spirit by Andrew Jefford. This is just about the Islay whiskies and goes quite in depth.
The type of peat used will also make a difference. The Peat on Islay is different to the Peat on Orkney for example because of what it is made of. Peat consists of partly decomposed vegetable matter so it depends what vegetable matter was around when the peat was 1st created. Islay Peat has large traces of trees where the Orkney Peat does not, this is why you get more of an iodine effect with Islay malts than you do from Orkney malts.
I would also add to the question of age, that age has an effect on the peat taste in a whisky. over the years the peatyness of a whisky will have mellowed and become more integrated into the malt. So if you want a peatmonster of a whisky the lower ages is where you would want to look.
As far as books are concerned I would recommend Appreciating Whisky by Pip Hills but is is becoming rather rare and as such is increasing in price, currently around £60 I think if you can find it.
As mentioned above, the Malt Whisky Yearbooks are a very good sourse of interesting information and you can get the back catalogue of them online too
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