steveblack wrote:I am just trying to figure out what makes a most of the cheaper drams a bad whisky compared to SMs. Not from a taste point of view, SMs are way ahead in this regard. I am trying to understand why cheaper drams have more bad effects on the stomach and give hangovers.
I have been on SMSWs for over two months now and I notice SMs are way too smooth on the palate as well as the stomach. Even if I were to overindulge a bit also, there are no hangovers as were the case with cheap drinks. I drink SMs with about 1/5th of water where as other blends and cheaper whiskies of old times where watered down liberally, but still used to burn the stomach, palate and give hangovers when in excess. So I was wondering what makes aged SMs better?
As I understand each of the following factors contribute to how the dram behaves. My musings on them:
Alcohol - If anything SMs have same or more alcohol (abv) compared to cheaper blends. Laph QC has over 56%, still goes down smooth. So what makes SMs smooth?
Distillation - Vodka gets triple distilled, still I am more likely to get hangover from vodka. So what gives?
Age- How does age mellow the dram? Do alcohol change in composition? I believe it doesn't. What else aging do?
Congeners - What role do they play vis a vis blends/cheap drinks and SMs. Do they add flavour or they contribute to hangovers?
Malt/Grain - Do malt make a better alcohol? I keep reading recommendations for avoiding grain whisky. Do grain whiskies age differently compared to malt? I believe American whiskies have less malt, but I am sure there are god American whiskies matching SMs.
Cut - Ok I get this point. A good cut ensures the best of spirit goes in to the dram. Cheaper drams may be compromising here.
What are the other factors contributing to a better dram?
Assuming other parameters like proper hydration, proper eating and rest are taken care of, what makes a good/bad dram? Your thoughts please.
I've only just started getting into single malt whiskies myself. But last night, I was watching a video of a journalist interviewing a representative of The Balvenie during a tasting session. This guy mentioned firstly that with the single malts, it's all barley (plus of course produced from a single distillery). Whereas blended whisky is primarily grain (wheat) which he said was a lot cheaper to produce.
And I think that the other thing that distinguishes a lot of single malts (particularly as far as smoothness is concerned) is time of maturation. Many single malts are at least 10yrs and are generally matured a lot longer than blended whiskies.
Plus of course the fact that single malt whiskies are matured &/or finished in very high quality casks. And not only that, many single malts are matured and/or finished in multiple differing casks for extra flavour. For eg, some whiskies are matured in oak casks then transferred to all manner of other casks such as sherry, port, rum etc. This is not something that happens in blended whiskies. Some whiskies are even matured and/or finished in 3 different casks, so it is quite an elaborate process. Unlike the straight and relatively short cask maturation of blended whiskies.
But like I say, I'm only just starting out, so if I've said anything wrong, for the love of Pete, someone correct me!!!