Yes, it’s cliché. Great rivalries are not born; they are made over years and decades and centuries. Local? Michigan vs. Ohio State (sorry Sparty). National? Lakers vs. Celtics. British? One word – Manchester. The list goes on and on, but when it comes to great booze there is no better long-lived argument than which side of the pond produces better Whisk(e)y. In the context of wine this is the classic ‘New World vs. Old World’ argument. The Old World smells and tastes of the earth, is more delicate and restrained. The New World is all about fruit, oak, richness and power. At least that’s what everyone would have you believe if these concepts could be wrapped up in a little box, branded and topped with a big red bow.
Internationally recognized standards have been established that define whisk(e)y as a spirit that must be distilled from a mash of grain at less than 190 proof, stored in oak for aging and bottled at no less than 80 proof. Forget about the history and semantics for now, because even though it can be produced anywhere in the world… only a few countries are doing it right. So when demand for Scotch skyrockets and the supply takes years to catch up – prices go through the roof (Shanken News Daily) and distilleries open shop in places like Texas, Brittany, Oregon, Northern India and Corktown.
We tend to seasonal drinking here in the Midwest: white wine and gin in the summer. So logically, when the temperature drops and the leaves start to turn, the wine and spirits get darker: red wine and whiskey. As new vintages of fine wine are released to the market we’ll also start to see more Single Barrels & Malts, Small Batches and hopefully no empty glasses. Grab a few extra bottles before you can’t get it anymore!