This IS Your Grandfather’s Whisky

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Over on Alcohol Professor, I’m listening to The Crystals and writing in This IS Your Grandfather’s Whisky about the birth of the commercial single malt scotch category. It happened in 1963, and t celebrate the fact, Glenfiddich has produced a new bottle, The Original, and threw a party to commemorate its North American launch.

In 1963 — as today — most scotch drinkers drank blended scotch. But in 1963, they did it because that was just about the only choice. There was some small-scale bottling of single malt, but it was not a commercial endeavor. By and large, blended scotch was the only game in town. It’s what Roger Sterling would have known as scotch. It’s what Truman Capote downed, as well as James Bond’s best friend Felix Leiter (Bond, ironically, preferred bourbon). It’s what my grandfather drank. The role of single malt was to become an ingredient in a blend. That is, until a couple guys in “the valley of the deer” decided that single malt shouldn’t just be an ingredient. It should itself be a commercial product — and a premium one at that.

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