Monday, December 16th, 2013 | Uncategorized

I don’t know if Jim Murray is a Scotsman or not but if he is, and Scotland ever regains its independence, Murray might want to consider emigration:

For centuries it has been the pride of Scotland. But according to one of the world’s leading critics, Scotch malt whisky is now being outshone by “vastly improved” American brands.

Jim Murray, the author of the best-selling Jim Murray’s Whisky Bible, claimed contamination had affected the casks used to age whiskies, while bourbons, made in the United States, have improved.

“Everyone automatically thinks that the best whisky is made in Scotland, but there are too many bad casks rattling around,” he said.

“Generally speaking, bourbon … has overtaken Scotch. The best whisky is coming not from Scotland any more, but from Kentucky.” Buffalo Trace, a bourbon distillery, is “arguably the best distillery in the world”, Mr Murray said.

I’m not that into bourbon or whisky these days.  Lord knows that I’m not going to be able to afford anything good any time soon but even back when I could, my palate was never ever that refined.

My one and only question was pragmatic.  Did it get the job done?

I can see awarding the title to the Irish, although the connection between the Irish and drinking still escapes me.  Or even to the Canadians.  But awarding the center of the whisky universe to those barbarians south of the Ohio River has got to stick in more than a few European craws.

21 Comments to HERETIC!!

December 16, 2013

Lord knows I’m no whiskey drinker; like most Irish people of my generation, my experience of it is the drop of Powers’ or Paddy that our grannies told our mothers to mix in with warm milk when we were teething or otherwise fractious as children.

So all I will say on this matter is that bourbon is not whisky is not whiskey. For a start, I am given to believe that bourbon is made with rye? Which is not a grain used over here for distilling, so that’s one big difference from the start and must surely affect the flavour and aroma.

December 16, 2013

I read about this when I first saw the article a few days ago. Kentucky whiskey is made primarily from corn. A brew made from rye is usually labeled “Rye Whiskey.” Scotch or Irish whisky is made from wheat and/or barley. The base does affect the product, according to experts, but Murray’s complaint about Scotland is the used barrels from Spanish sherry production.

Creedal Episcopalian
December 16, 2013

“The Penderyn house style derives uniquely from the use of two types of casks. For the initial maturation, we use the finest hand-selected bourbon barrels, and to finish the wysgi we transfer it to Portuguese barriques that have previously nurtured a rich Madeira wine……
….. A high proportion [of barrels] begin life at Buffalo Trace”

A top 10 malt. From Wales, though, so it won’t help.

It gets the job done ;-) . and tickles the palate at the same time. Not that I mind a good bourbon.

Allen Lewis
December 16, 2013

I have never been much of a Bourbon drinker. Wild Turkey on the other hand.

But give me a good Scotch any day!

December 16, 2013

My late Irish great-uncle (from County Mayo) preferred Bushmill’s (strange, but true), my husband preferrs Tullamore Dew. Personally, I don’t like bourbon, although my parents did. I prefer Scotch…single malt if available. Sorry to hear it’s on the skids…

December 16, 2013

Computer is acting up…that should be ‘prefers’…

December 16, 2013

I think Canadians make rye whiskey…like Crown Royal…

unreconstructed rebel
December 16, 2013

You remind of my days in the orient back before Viet Nam took up catfish farming. We used to amuse ourselves by getting the girls to try to say:

“Crown Royal on the Rocks”

Never did learn to like it, though.

Steve L.
December 16, 2013

Crown Royal®, Canada’s leading premium Canadian whisky, has a tradition as rich and distinctive as its taste. The exquisite blend was painstakingly created from 50 selected whiskies, to commemorate a royal tour in 1939. Crown Royal’s smooth, elegant style is considered the epitome of Canadian whisky.

Made from milled corn, rye and malted barley, and distilled to the highest standards, these whiskies are aged in both seasoned and new white oak barrels and eventually selected at their optimum maturity to create the Crown Royal® blend.

With its rich flavour and pleasant bouquet, Crown Royal®, an exceptional Canadian whisky, can be served on the rocks, straight up or in a variety of cocktails.

There is even a maple flavoured version. Blaah!!

Jacob Morgan
December 16, 2013

Drove through Lynchburg a few weeks ago (where Jack Daniels is distilled). Huge warehouses were under construction on the southwest side of town (for aging, I’d assume). Someone must be drinking the stuff. It’s a dry county–never did figure that one out.

December 16, 2013

Mr. Johnson, suh, if you would cayah to step outside, we maht settle this argament lahk gentlemen. Choose yore weapons, suh! Barbarians indeed, as if someone from Missourah would know.

Christopher Hathaway
December 16, 2013

I have a hard time believing this guy actually drinks or loves whiskey. You can like scotch or bourbon or both, but you can’t think that bourbon is a better scotch than scotch.

December 16, 2013

But, Christopher Hathaway, he’s an expert! Experts are always right.

Whiskey Tango Foxtrot
December 16, 2013

When I saw the title “Heretic!” my first thought was ‘what’s scary Schori done now?’

Christopher Johnson
December 16, 2013

Thing is, Peyton, you surrendered in 1865 whereas we here in the Puke State didn’t lay down our arms until 1882(ish) when Frank James walked into the Missouri governor’s office after Jesse had been killed.

And look up border ruffians or William Clarke Quantrill or Bloody Bill Anderson some time. Missouri freaking invented American barbarians, yo.

December 16, 2013

A lot of those barbarians south of the Ohio ARE Scotch.

December 16, 2013

Anderson & the James Bros were pretty much invented by Order No.11, whereas Quantrill was a WESTERN barbarian.

December 16, 2013

To be serious for a bit (and I can be very serious about whiskey) the American spirits scene is more lively and inventive than it has ever been. The number of new distilleries that are opening every year and the quality of their products is comparable to the previous microbrewery boom.
There are hundreds of new bourbons and ryes on the market, many of which are extraordinarily good. Think you don’t like rye? Try Old Portrero, Templeton, or Smooth Ambler Old Scout. They are as complex and nuanced as any Scotch. Breckenridge Bourbon has the smoothness and light body of the best Irish whiskeys with more subtle spiciness than most of them. Woodford Reserve Bourbon is full-bodied and complex enough to sip straight as an after-dinner drink.
If you like good whiskey, don’t limit yourself to just one type. That makes no more sense than limiting yourself to one type of meat or cheese or wine.
Why am i so passionate about this? In part because I work here:

The Editor
December 17, 2013

Know something, Maxine? Despite the fact that Missouri became far more of a “Confederate” state after that war than it ever was during it, that mindset has stubbornly persisted around here, at least in the western part of the state. The MU-Kansas rivalry was always a bigger deal in the west than it ever was in the east. Many years ago, I was driving on Interstate 70 somewhere west of Columbia and saw a local Sons of Confederate Veterans headquarters right by the highway, Confederate flags flying in front of it and everything. About that same time, I was taking the back roads west of Jefferson City and saw a guy selling Confederate flags by the side of the road, something which probably would have gotten him killed had he tried it anywhere around St. Louis.

Mark Byron
December 17, 2013

Interesting plug for Buffalo Trace; we had a faculty retreat dinner there at their distillery when I was a professor in Lexington. I’m not a drinker, but I recall a few of my colleges rather enjoyed sampling their work.

December 18, 2013

I’m from Barton Co. Where the raiders burned the court house, and Quantrill came from the west (KS) and burned out my great-grandparents.
Hey, I didn’t even know there was a MU – KS rivalry till I moved to Columbia !

Support The MCJ