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more whisky myths?

Aug 7, 2014

A couple of months ago we posted a whisky myths article here on the blog busting five common misconceptions about whisky. But it seems five myths were not nearly enough. There are still great many lost souls out in the cold spreading false tales of our beloved drink. Let's shine light on the dark matter of whisky knowledge together. Here they are, another five whisky myths, half-truths, outright fibs and inaccuracies. Big thanks to those of you who tweeted suggestions to @ancnoc_whisky.

1. whisky is for old people

(suggested by @Teddybear_ibrox)

Yes, you may have seen your granddad sip his favourite blend from a crystal tumbler by the fire at winter time. You may have seen old adverts for which models without lush white beards needed not apply. But it's 2014 now and things have changed. The global single malt phenomenon is driven predominantly by a young crowd and, dare we say, whisky has never been cooler. The old people cliché is just that, after all good taste has no age limit.

2. whisky should be served in a particular way

(inspired by @GHarrisG and @iainmcr2)

If you ask about how whisky should be enjoyed on four different continents you'll probably hear a different answer each time. There is nothing wrong about that. While in Scotland we tend to enjoy single malts at room temperature with just a drop of water, and this is now widely accepted to be the best way to comprehensively assess a dram, we have nothing against the odd ice-cube or a great whisky cocktail. So unless you're planning to put a spoonful of instant cocoa powder in a double anCnoc 35 Year Old, you have our blessing.

3. smooth = good

(suggested by @SpiritsSafe)

This is a strange one but we hear it sometimes. Nothing wrong with smoothness itself of course but it's not the defining characteristic of a fine whisky, is it? Here's what Tiger from Edinburgh Whisky Blog thinks about it:

"'Smooth' doesn't necessarily give an indication of quality, it's merely one aspect of the whole experience of enjoying whisky. For me, it's the combination of unique character, great depth and complexity interwoven with wonderful aromas and flavours which give me real insight into a whisky. The overall impression is more important - an excellent whisky is far greater than merely the sum of its parts."

4. the appearance matters

(suggested by @recursie_whisky)

This one irks a bit, especially when you have a fantastic dram that doesn't look like flat Coke. The colour of a whisky is a function of maturation time and conditions as well as the type of cask and what it was seasoned with. And spirit doesn't draw colour from the wood evenly over its entire maturation period. For example sherry casks give almost all the colour very early on and then the process slows down. It's quite complicated and the colour, while it provides some information, is definitely not a mark of quality. Think of the intense and clean anCnoc 16 Year Old, it's quite bright, somewhere in the sweet wine territory. And the Peaty Collection? They are all as pale as lemon juice but pack enormous amounts of flavour.

If this is an issue for you at all, we recommend getting a tinted glass. We sometimes use blue snifters when we want to make sure colour doesn't cloud somebody's perception of the liquid. It works very well.

5. whisky is an after-dinner drink

(suggested by the anCnoc team)

What? Whisky as an aperitif? Yes. In France it's very popular to serve whisky to your guests before you even roll out the nibbles, right on the doorstep in fact. Similarly in India, it's more common to have a couple of drams before a meal, than after. Once again it depends on the culture and approach. Single malts are full of flavour and they work in a variety of different situations. If so far you only ever enjoyed your whisky late, next weekend try a small dram of something light and crisp, like anCnoc Travel Retail exclusive, at lunchtime. You'll find the flavour intense and stimulating and it won't send you straight to sleep like a glass of wine would (far less alcohol in a small measure of whisky).