THE WHISKY CRAIC
The next round of The Academy of Whisky classes begin January 11th, 2015. We’ll start with Speyside, Highland & Island malt whiskies, then hitch our wagons to Kentucky for the Bourbon class Jan 18, followed by Rye Whiskey Feb 1st. Back home for Cascadia Craft Whiskey Feb 15, and sail to Islay for the last class of the Winter series on March 8th. To whet the appetite for Scotch, my son, Alistair will select bagpipe tunes paired with malt whiskies in our home on January 4th. Alistair, home for winter break, is pipe major at Monmouth College, IL, and has been running the program there.
Just finished a consulting stint as Curator at the Multnomah Whiskey Library in Portland’s bustling West End. It was a grand experience, exploring and educating about the whiskies they have, in addition to the plethora of other spirits. The world of whisky has changed: Scotch blends are getting better and more intriguing (Cutty Sark Prohibition); well-aged whiskies from Scotland and Kentucky are harder to find and more expensive; we’re starting to see a trend in non-aged drams with clever marketing (Monkey Shoulder, Talisker Storm), and single malts at healthier proofs–46%abv and non-chill filtered. There’s also the controversy of ‘sourced’ whiskies versus distillery bottlings. I’ll explore these issues in the weeks ahead.
In my last ‘Craic’, I said the following: “Pairing whiskies with craft beer has always been a passion of mine. It began in the serious pubs of Glasgow, Scotland, where a good dram always went down easy with a half pint of fruity Belhaven eighty shilling.” Well, I’ve decided to put my money where my mouth is with WhiskyBack, real beers designed for straight whisky. With the help of local brewer, Dave Fleming, and Coalition Brewing in Portland, (and a tip of the glass to beer guru, Morgan Miller, for connecting us all), I’m launching WhiskyBack Red, not unlike the inspiration, Belhaven 80, this December. There will be more details on the program going up on Ramsay’s Dram soon.
Stuart MacLean Ramsay
Keeper of the Quaich (Scotland); Honorable Order of Kentucky Colonels; Certified Specialist of Spirits (CSS); Best Person to Drink With in Portland (Willamette Week)
Portland, Oregon. Sugartit, Kentucky. Contin, Ross-Shire
*Check out the 2012 Hogmanay Awards in the menu bar or the Hogmanay page, below.