You see all the other poseurs happily purchasing expensive scotches with 14-syllable names and you want to join in the fun. But you don't want to get something that only a tasteless imbecile would order or purchase, or something that will make you gag. How the heck can you tell a Glenmorangie from a Laphroaig, and how do you pronounce either of them? Never fear. We'll tell you how to select a scotch and then tell you a bunch of interesting facts that every scotch snob should know. You'll be drinking liquid most people find unpalatable, and droning on tediously about it, in no time.


There are two types of whisky (Scotch whisky is always spelled without the ‘e') distilled in Scotland: grain and malt. Grain whisky is made from malted barley, unmalted barley and other grains, while malt whisky is made from malted barley alone. Blended scotch is made from blends of up to 50 different kinds of grain and malt whiskies. 95% of the Scotch exported from Scotland is of the blended variety, but that's not because the rest of the world has poor taste; most of the scotch consumed in Scotland is also blended.

Blended whisky's popularity can probably be explained by two factors: first, it is less strongly flavored and challenging to the palate than single malt whiskies, and second, it is usually less expensive. Blends have much less snob value than single malts, though, and they don't have as much character or flavor. If you're going to go with the crowd and buy a blend, much of this article will be lost on you, but it's so interesting that you should read it anyway.

Popular Blended Whiskies Ballantine's Hankey-Bannister Bell's Justerini & Brooks Rare (J&B) Cutty Sark Royal Salut Dewar's Teacher's Green Plaid The Famous Grouse

Of these, we prefer Dewar's and J&B, but you should try a variety and see which ones you like. The fanciest and most expensive of these is Royal Salut, which comes in a crockery bottle.

Single Malts

If you really want to hang with the cool kids, put the blends away. Single malt scotch allows for true discrimination, connoisseurship, lavish spending, and unbridled snobbery. The snobbery is, however, tempered by the fact that scotch is an earthy beverage, with strong, smoky flavors, and only those who have truly taken the time to acquire the taste can actually choke down single malts.

With advertising like this, who can resist? It doesn't matter what we say, because single malts make their own friends. Enjoying a single malt whisky is a complex and varied experience of scent, taste and mouthfeel (which refers to – you guessed it – how the scotch feels in your mouth), and it can be very rewarding. Besides, it's the most expensive thing on the drink menu so it's got to be good and you're going to learn to like it. This reasoning doesn't always work, but in this case you should definitely believe the hype. That doesn't mean you should buy just any single malt, though – read on.