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Jack Bettridge

Your Scotch Aha! Moment

Posted: Oct 12, 2010 12:00am ET

As immersed in single malts as I've been lately—a trip to Scotland that has me writing back-to-back feature stories in Cigar Aficionado and Wine Spectator—it's little surprise I've become obsessive (my wife says excessive) on the subject. One of the things that fascinates me about malt (and malt drinkers) is the aha! moment.

Everyone seems to have one—anyone who can remotely claim membership in the international brother-and-sisterhood of single malt Scotch lovers, that is. It was that instant when you first really connected with malt. It wasn't necessarily your first-ever dram of malt. In fact, it probably wasn't. But it touched you and left you forever enamored. The gates opened and you saw the light, a convert.

Single-malt is like cigars in that they are a journey of discovery. You warm up to their charms in steps. And then one time, you take a sip or draw a puff and you just get it. Their depths of flavor reveal themselves to you and after that you never approach a dram or smoke the same way. You begin to identify flavor notes more easily as you have this frame of reference in the aha! malt or cigar that opened your eyes.

What's interesting is how often that change comes in one moment, with one revelatory cigar or malt. I know it did for me. I've started collecting stories for possible inclusion in the Wine Spectator story I've mentioned above. If you'd like to share, please send me an account of your personal aha! moment in our drink forums by clicking here.


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