The Islay Gentleman


While perusing the past posts of The Gentleman Blog I was shocked to realise that we do not have a post addressing the important gentlemanly past time of enjoying scotch. Yes, we can articles on enjoying a drink, making a martini, and upon searching our articles 44 of them contained the word ‘scotch’. So it only seems fitting that we dedicate a full piece of verbosity to the elixir.


We first must clear up a few myths surrounding scotch. First of all, there are two main categories of scotch – blended and single malt. There are few situations which favour a blended scotch over a single malt. One of these situations might be if aliens crash land on earth and demand one type of scotch to fuel their scotch-fueled-spacecraft back to their galaxy. The intelligent gentleman will obviously offer up their blended scotch reserves so they can enjoy a world of only single malt and the extra-terrestrials can get home. Everyone’s a winner.

Sean Connery gazes into the distance, day-dreaming of a world where all scotches are single malt.

The second misnomer is that you shouldn’t drink scotch every day. You should. I spoke to a man at a soiree once who said he was a doctor and he was drinking a scotch. So it must be true.

This doctor tells the nurse to get him 500cc's of an Islay single malt for his patient.

Some people will tell you that the best thing for your headache after a night out at your favourite bar is to drink a lot of water and take an aspirin. They probably mean well, but this person should not be trusted. You should drink more scotch to alleviate the headache. If your headache gets worse or you can’t stomach the scotch, that is probably because you are not drinking enough of it. Try doubling the dose.

After overindulging at a soiree the night before, these mad men make sure they carry around a glass of scotch with them everywhere just in case that headache returns.

It is also possible that the person suggesting you drink water is not familiar with the differences between water and scotch. This can be forgiven. I, myself, did not even know water could be consumed until last year. I still consider it a passing ‘fad’.

The third important fact you should know about scotch is that within the single malt category, there are a few different varieties. You may encounter ‘highland’ malts, ‘island’ malts, ‘speyside’ malts or ‘Islay’ malts. Each variety has its own advantages. We here at The Gentleman suggest you ween yourself onto Islay malts. Not only are they the most flavoursome, but they are perfect to drink with a cigar and leave you with a smokey, gentlemanly musk afterward.

Women would come from miles around to smell Sinatra after he drank a few glasses of a good Islay malt. They also enjoyed the peripheral benefit of hearing him sing.

You should also note the age of a scotch. This age is, of course, the length of time the scotch spent in the barrel. Unlike wine, scotch does not continue to age in the bottle. This is why you should not cellar or store scotch for longer than a few days. It should be consumed immediately. I often buy two or three bottles at once just so it does not all disappear before I get back to Griffith Manor.

Age is also a good (but not perfect) indicator of the quality of the drink. Most distilleries will bring out many different ages of a scotch. For instance, you may be able to compare a 12 year old Glenfiddich with an 18 year old Glenfiddich with a 30 year old Glenfiddich. So at a soiree you may hear two people discussing scotch by saying “I actually preferred the 15 year old to the 18 year old. It had a better body and finished well”. If they are not discussing scotch though, you may want to contact the police.

Bill Murray enjoys a 12 year old.

So now you should be able to head to your local scotch distributor and be able to make an informed decision on the malt, region and age. I suggest buying four bottles, three for now, one for later.

Mark Twain enjoys the finer things in life (in order) - scotch, cigars and family.

Until next time,

HL Griffith