Since nowadays there are so many kinds of whiskey it is good to know where to start from, so here we have picked some of the smoothest single malt scotch for beginners.
The true love and the importance of whiskey in culture can be seen in its name. It is an adaptation of Celtic words for water – uisce and life – beatha, getting usquebaugh, i.e., whisk(e)y.
Alcohol has been known to humankind for thousands and thousands of years. There are some indications that first by now discovered “beer” was brewed in (around) Göbekli Tepe site (in present-day Anatolia) some 11,500 years ago, which is also the time around which first cereal domestication started in the Near East. The archaeologists have uncovered the famous T-shaped pillars in Göbekli Tepe, proclaiming the site to be of sacral importance, as one of the first temples. This site is also important because the time we are talking about is still somewhat seen as a tradition between hunter-gatherers and sedentary population. At the site several huge stone vessels were found, the biggest of them could hold 40 gallons of liquid, and those were interpreted as vessels for brewing beer from the first cereals used. If this assumption is correct, this means that alcohol had always been an important part of cultures and social life, so it is no wonder that whiskey as well has such an intimate place in history starting from its name.
But what about the history of whiskey itself? Though brewing was of course known prior to this date, the first official record story goes back in 1494, not so long ago as some might have thought, in the time of the reign of King James IV of Scotland, when he ordered from a friar named John Cor, to make the water of life from 8 bolls, or, 1,120 pounds of malt. And after that time almost nothing was recorded about whiskey distillation to the year 1644 when the taxation was introduced to alcohol. Anyway, whiskey was, of course, produced and consumed a lot, whether it was an underground activity or not. And since the 19th century, when a new law was brought up (the Excise Act) brewing whiskey became legal again a new golden age of whiskey had begun.
There are many kinds of whiskey nowadays, depending on the type of grain used, alcohol percentage, and geographic location. So that’s how we have Scotch, Bourbon, Rye, just to name some. If you would rather try yourself with American than European whiskey, we can recommend you to check out 6 Smoothest Bourbons to Drink Straight for Beginners. But we will here reconsider the smoothest single malt scotch for beginners.
Single malt scotch whisky (yes, when referring to single malt it is always spelled whisky, not whiskey) is probably the leading among all whiskeys. Single malt is “the” whiskey, made only from barley and yeast at a single distillery, hence the name (“single” referring to the single distillery).
When considering which the first bottle of scotch you’d chose, have in mind when thinking about what scotch to buy, a good scotch can be a rather expensive one. And choosing only single malt narrows our choices even more.
But first, if you are inexperienced it is not a stupid thing asking how to drink scotch for beginners. Well, one answer is: go to a pub and ask the bartender to recommend you the easiest scotch to drink. But before that, you would probably like to know some terminology. When going to that bar, you can ask for a dram of whiskey. Technically, the dram is 1/8 of a liquid ounce, but it has become adopted as a term for a simple glass of whiskey. Then you can decide if you will have it neat (pure), simple (with a drop or two of water) or smooth (probably the most popular with the ice cubes) as well.
In order to make some good recommendations or smoothest single malt scotch for beginners, we have searched on places such as The Whiskey Wash, Great Drams, Scotch Addict, The Whiskey Bar, Vinepair. Of course, we have also gone through advice for best scotch for beginners on Reddit and Quora. And as you can see from all these resources, even though we are talking only about single malts, the choice is vast. So, how did we choose the magnificent seven? Well first we were oriented towards the lighter variants which would suit beginners more, and then we simply picked those that were recommended the most. And apart from the light ones we have also added some flavor variations, including also some entry level peaty scotch for those who would prefer smokier tastes.
Get your glasses ready and let’s see which the smoothest single malt scotch for beginners are:
7. Highland Park 12
We start with the only pronounceable and understandable whiskey brands on our list. But it is also one of the oldest here. The Highland Park distillery was founded back in 1798 in the very north of Scotland. According to the producers they are the only ones left who still stick to the “five keystones” of whiskey production: the aromatic peat, hand turned floor maltings, maturing in sherry oak casks, cool maturation, and cask harmonization. Anyway, the smoky Highland Park should be on your list of smoothest single malt scotch for beginners after you have experienced some of the others you will find further on the list.