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Matters of taste

If you’re planning to explore the world of malt whisky this winter, you’ll find a bewildering array of styles waiting for you

By Tom Jackson   January 2011

Considering the way it is produced, there is something hopelessly archaic about malt whisky. Using an ancient recipe that is set in stone, malted barley, water and yeast are brewed up and then cooked in a large pot still. Even at its second attempt, this copper vessel can only achieve an impure spirit of about 65 per cent alcohol. Some of the impurities would probably kill you at a higher dose, but after years in an oak cask in some dank corner of Scotland, they re-merge to give whisky its astonishing spectrum of aromas and flavours.

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