Whisky Culture


Scotch whisky comes in two basic forms, Blended and Malt. While the distilling process is somewhat different, it is useful to think of Blended Whisky as a blend of young malts. Blending smooths the rough edges and yields a more consistent product year over year. It is not correct to think that Malt Scotch is “smoother” than a blend, quite the opposite by design. The most popular blended whisky in the US is Dewars White Label; the most popular in Scotland is Famous Grouse. We offer both with pride and several more commonly known blends.

Malt Whisky varies in taste considerably, mostly in response to the region in Scotland that produced it. The peat there varies by proximity to the sea, the water varies too but to a lesser degree, and finally the barley grows in somewhat different soil. Highlander does not attempt to offer product from all 109 distilleries in Scotland. We do offer a representative selection from each of the six producing regions however. They are: Highlands, Islands, Speyside, Islay,  Lowlands and Campbeltown. Fair warning! – The Publican will not be drawn into a debate of quality (at least initially); they are all wonderful, albeit to a varying degree.  Clear as mud?

How should whisky be served? As with everything In Highlander – any way you like it! But here are some concepts to consider. The product emerging from the still in a distillery is called “spirit”. Water from the nearest stream, the one running down the narrow valley nearby commonly called a “Glen” in Scotland, is added to the spirit before it is aged in an oak barrel. Once aged sufficiently even more water is added to reduce the alcohol percentage to an acceptable “proof”. The point here is that water is added to whisky at every point in its creation. There is no shame in adding some more prior to consumption PROVIDED it is the purest water available. Memphis water is known for its good taste so that’s a good start, but not good enough for Highlander. Within our Pub we first soften city water to remove most of the mineral content. Then we pass it through a reverse osmosis device to produce PURE H2O. This water feeds our ice makers, our coffee brewers, our tea pots and, most importantly, the special water taps behind the bar. Do not hesitate to add some of our water (or even an ice cube) to your whisky, experts (and the Publican) believe that water unlocks the flavor of Whisky.

It goes without saying that an excellent selection of Bourbon, American Whiskey, Canadian Whiskey and many other liquors from around the world are offered as part of our full bar service. Please also try our Scotch based cocktails as well as your other favorites. If we don’t have what you long for, ask us to acquire it for next time.