A Continuing Education on Whiskey
Dr. Nestor Alonso ll (The Freeman) - May 5, 2017 - 12:00am

CEBU, Philippines - In 2003, I wrote “Wine Here, Beer There, and Distilled Spirits Everywhere.” The article grew to become a four-part series, as the subject of alcoholic beverages was very broad. The coverage of the series of articles included the subject of distilled spirits and prominent members of the family are Brandy, Gin, Liqueur, Rum, Tequila, Vodka and Whiskey.

Americans spell the word “whiskey,” while Scottish and Canadian producers spell it “whisky.” It is distilled from a fermented mash of grain (corn, barley, rye or wheat) and aged in oak barrels, which give its color, flavor, and aroma. All drinks labelled as “Scotch Whisky” must conform to the standards of the Scotch Whisky Regulation of 2009.

The process starts with germinated braes (barley), called malt, which is smoke-dried with peat added to give an earthy flavor. It is then grounded, and added with hot water and yeast; and the mixture is distilled in giant copper pot stills. The alcohol produced is diluted with burns (crystal-clear water) according to its desired strength and placed in oak barrels for maturing.

“Single Malt Scotch Whisky” means a Scotch whisky produced from only water and malted barley at a single distillery by batch distillation in pot stills.

In 2007, I had the opportunity to taste the nuances of Single Malt Scotch Whisky (ten brands) and immediately showed my ignorance by looking for the ice bucket. If it was too strong, drops of water would simply be added to dilute it. In 2008, I was in another Degustation of Single Malt Whisky (also 10 brands) and after these two tastings, my palate, excuse me, seems to be better educated.

Just last March, I got an invitation for the Glemorangie Single Malt Scotch Whisky appreciation with guest lecturer Gerald Savigny at The Pig and Palm, at the MSY Towers in Cebu Business Park. The Glass Set for Whisky Tasting was prepared for the four types of Glenmorangie Single Malts: The Original, Lasanta, Nectar d’Or and Quinta Ruban. The ambiance was like a classroom with a lecture on the nosing of whisky, and each student went  through the study of color, nose, palate and its finish.

Glenmorangie, The Original, Ten Years Old was paired with Salmon, Beetroot and Goat Cheese. The Original’s aroma was touted to have the scent of citrus, peaches and vanilla. The taste was that of vanilla with a finish of hints of orange and peach. In reality, my palate was initially asleep – so the rush of the alcohol vapors was rather rude. I had to add ten drops of water and it took some time before I could smell and taste the vanilla.

The second dish was then served, the Truffle Mac and Cheese, Toasted Breadcrumbs. We then tasted the Glenmorangie, The Sherry Cask Finish Lasanta Twelve Years Old. Now my senses were at its peak and I could detect the aroma of chocolate, taste the sherry and some orange and its finish with orange and chocolate. Definitely, my kind of Single Malt Scotch Whisky!

It was followed by the Beef & Foie Gras Mini Burgers and the Glenmorangie Nectar d’Or Twelve Years Old. Served last was the Glenmorangie Quinta Ruban paired with Sticky Toffee Pudding with Vanilla Ice Cream. If only I wasn’t driving home after, I could have taken more shots of Glenmorangie Lasanta! (FREEMAN)

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