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Gentlemen Prefer Scotch

Malcolm McKay

The distinguishing characteristics of any single malt owe much to its place of origin, for a primary component of whisky is the water flowing through that land, gathering minerals and other elements that will influence the taste and the aroma of the spirit during and after distillation. Some would even claim that water is to whisky what the grape is to wine, though others would argue that the skill of the distiller, more than any other ingredient, determines a whisky’s quality. Still, as one of our authors points out in recounting the history of The Glenlivet, it is the land and its attributes that have prompted generations of Scots to practice the art of distilling—legally and otherwise. And so, while identifying the finest single-malt releases of the present as well as the past, we also celebrate the Scottish countryside in an appropriate fashion: by touring it in a classic car rally. After all, a single malt is more than a mere drink; it is part of a lifestyle that is replete with refined tastes.

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