Sunday, February 10, 2013

On Whisk(e)y

Brigid waxes poetic about the greatest of all distilled spirits...

The picture was taken north of Big Bro's place in January. The moon was building, the air was quiet, the earth a motionless sphere in cooling space. We stepped outside and breathed in the cold, across which the faint scent of a fire touched our palates with smoke. Above, the night streamed in thick indigo threads, beyond which lay myriad points of crystal lights. It was a good night for a small glass of whisky.

Whiskey vs. whisky? The difference between whiskey and whisky seems simple but it's not. Whisky typically denotes Scotch or Canadian versions and whiskey denotes the Irish and American beverages. Although both spellings are of Celtic origin, there are substantial differences between the countries products, include the selection of grains, number of distillations, the maturation period and the type of still and barrels used. Each country's style has its own unique characteristics to savor and there are some further divided into sub categories like bourbon.

Irish vs. Scotch? Unlike Scotch, the malted barley in Irish whiskey is dried in enclosed kilns, not over peat fires, and lacks that distinct smokiness of Scotch whiskies. Irish whiskeys maintain the natural flavor of the barley, fragrant, with a unique roundness of body. It's an enjoyable drink indeed, but not the beverage of this cold winter evening.

A good, smooth, complex Scotch can be your saving grace on a cold, dark night.

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