Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Just Say No to Scottish Marketing Gimmicks for U.S. Whiskey

It's not really a hobby until you've got a crank minority opinion among hobbyists.

I have found my crank minority opinion in being dead-set and vocally against referring to whiskey made in the United States as "single malt."

Malt whiskey made at a single U.S. distillery is not single malt whiskey. It is malt whiskey. Oh, and by the way, our malt whiskey "is whisky produced at not exceeding 160° proof from a fermented mash of not less than 51 percent ... malted barley." Our malt whiskey could be their grain whiskey.

"Single malt" is just Scottish marketing gobbledygook that's been around so long we don't even notice it. Maybe it makes sense for Scotch, so the 1,000 single malts aren't confused with the 7 vatted blended malts. I'll leave that to the Scots.

But it's an absurd affectation on any bottle of American whiskey. Is the marketplace afloat in blends of malt whiskeys from multiple U.S. distilleries? Of course not. Is there a single American blended vatted malt whiskey? Maybe, but I bet there aren't three.

So why are American distilleries pretending that American $ingle malt whiskey is a thing?

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