"Whiskey for them as like it, and for them as don't--whiskey," ordered Alec Guinness, playing an officer of a Scottish regiment in the 1960 English movie Tunes of Glory. Anyone issuing a similar mandate a decade or so ago would have been faced with some decidedly disgruntled drinkers. Today, however, the command is likely to receive a unanimous cheer. Whiskey is back.
Most Americans lost their taste for full-flavored spirits during Prohibition; in those days it was far easier to procure homemade gin or white rum from the Caribbean than it was to get a bottle of aged bourbon or scotch. Then came World War II, with a dearth of good, aged whiskeys, and after that the Fifties, when martinis were anything but teeny and sales of "browns" (scotch, bourbon and rye) plummeted. But now, thanks to the single-malt scotch craze that erupted in the Eighties and the infatuation of baby boomers and Generation Xers with anything and everything stylish and sophisticated--which whiskey most assuredly is--brown is beautiful once again. Here we offer our take on some of the best news in brown. (Note that whiskey can be spelled two ways.While most American and Irish producers prefer whiskey, Scottish and Canadian makers drop the e. We have followed suit.)
Single-malt whiskies--pure unadulterated spirits made the old-fashioned way--represent the very finest from Scotland. Produced from a mash containing only malted barley, single malts run the gamut of flavors. Some are sweet, soft and honeyed; others are tough and hearty, redolent of the peaty, briny land in which they are made and aged.