Tuesday, May 1, 2012
After the Rapture Poll Results: Scotch or American?
The results are in for my whiskey rapture poll, which pitted Scotch against American whiskey, and America takes it two to one. I wasn't surprised that American whiskey won out. After all, this is an American blog with probably a bulk of its readers coming from the US, and I focus a lot more attention on American whiskey than Scotch. Despite that, I was surprised how definitive the vote was.
For me, this is a hugely difficult one. Bourbon, rye and single malt are my favorite whiskey styles, and I love them all equally. Not sure what to do, I tried some empirical research. First, I looked at my own shelves and found I've got about equal amounts of Scotch and American whiskeys. Next, I looked at the scores I've given on the LA Whiskey Society site to see which type of whiskey I've rated highest in those tastings. It turns out that of my few "A" ratings on that site, exactly half are Scotch and half are American, so no help there.
Given that the empirical studies did not reveal a favorite, I tried to reason with the hypothetical. If I chose American, I could still enjoy great Japanese single malts. If I chose Scotch, I could still sip those bold Canadian ryes, but either way, I'd give up on many of my favorites. I'm a fan of WhistlePig, but I'd rather have Sazerac 18, and I love Japanese malts, but I can't see them replacing Scotch, and of course, no one else makes bourbon.
In the end, I went with emotion. It's easy to obsess over the intricacies of whiskey and tasting notes, especially when you write about it, but above all, it should be about enjoyment. I tried to think about what I would miss the most with my heart, not my head. The answer for me was peat. I love my bourbon and rye, but the thought of never sipping on another Lagavulin, never feeling the smoky exhale after a sip of Laphroaig, never getting the wisps of smoke on a more gently peated Talisker, Highland Park or Brora was too much for me. And so, Scotch it is. Goodbye sweet bourbon and rye.
Whew, I'm glad that was only a hypothetical. Thanks for playing.