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How to properly enjoy Scotch

How to properly enjoy Scotch

Just like a good glass of Bordeaux, Scotch should also be enjoyed according to certain rules. Traditions evolve overtime, and the practice of drinking Scotch faced different changes over the centuries of use. An expert in wine tasting, for example, will never drink wine out of anything that does not resemble a wine glass. So, to enjoy Scotch the right way and to experience the full richness of taste, a few simple rules have to be followed.

The glass

how-to-drink-scotch-While Scotch is not that sensitive to wine and the taste itself will not depend on aeration like wine does, some glasses are still better than others. Of course, there are no strict rules when it comes to the type of scotch glass, but some vessels do a better job of maximizing the flavor. And some glasses just look nicer than other ones. The presentation effect can play a part, but still, some drinking vessels add richness to te overall experience, the ritual of drinking Scotch.
Try to make it a glass vessel, since other materials can act detrimentaly to the flavor. The usual lowball glass is always a good solution, but if you want to go a step up, go for the specialty whiskey glasses. These are designed to concentrate the flavors from the vapors and allow your nose to pick up as much of the scents as possible. They are most commonly tulip-shaped. And if you are an old-school type of guy, then go for the tin cup, just like the miners from 1800’s did. This will naturally give a bit of „tinny“ feeling, but it does show you how our ancestors used to drink whiskey.

Neat or ice?

 A real expert in scotch tasting always recommends drinking scotch neat. This way you can feel and taste all the richness of the flavors. Also, try not to try expensive, high-end whiskeys with water or ice, you will just dilute the flavor. Although, some experts add just a hint of tap water so as to soften the alcohol punch and let all of the flavors come out.
Of course, nobody will mind if you want to enjoy a whisky with a little bit of water or with an ice cube. If you like your scotch chilled, go for large ice cubes, preferably only one. This way you will chill the whiskey, but not dilute it too much because the surface area of the ice is smaller than with several smaller cubes.

Smells and sips

 Before you taste wine or, for that matter, any food also, you want to have your nose inspect the playground. It is the same philosophy with scotch. Let your nose send the initial feedback to your mouth, because the actual sensation of flavor is comprised of taste and smell together. Alcoholic beverages, scotch included, have very complex flavors and should be „nosed“ first. So, before your first sip, get your nose into the glass. Then take a little sip and let it work its way around your mouth so you can identify all the various flavors in it.

Kick-Start A Change In Your Lifestyle – Scotland’s Exotic Islands

Kick-Start A Change In Your Lifestyle – Scotland’s Exotic Islands

When you think about it, everyone living in the UK is living on an island. This is why to get away to an exotic island, all you have to do is relocate in the UK!

Frankly speaking, there is no better part of UK than Scotland! The food is amazing, people are warm and generous, and even though the climate might be harsh, there are many beautiful landscapes in nature is astounding. In addition to all that, it is also very pleasant to live in Scotland.  You can find an employment fairly easily, as well as a housing opportunity.

Living On An Island In Scotland!

In addition to all that, to those who are dreaming of living on an exotic island, Scotland also might be an answer. In fact, just in 2013, a couple of years ago, Scotland celebrated the year of the islands! Isn’t that amazing! A series of events, exhibitions, and activities too place to celebrate the fact that country can brag about with 99 inhabited islands across the Inner and the Outer Hebrides, and not fail to mention Shetland and Orkney.

 

What Do You Know About Islands In Scotland?

If you do not know anything about the lifestyle in UK and Scotland, you would probably like to learn more about the landscape and the culture which defines Scotland’s islands. In fact, 790 islands belong to Scotland! Isn’t that an amazing figure! From which approximately 1/8 is inhabited, that is to say, 99 islands are inhabited. If you are interested in facts and figures, it will also be interesting for you to hear that 99 739 call Scottish islands their home.

The Amazing Nature Of Scottish Islands

When it comes to nature and natural beauties, Scottish Islands are no exception to Scotland’s famous natural beauty. The mountains on the Scottish islands are reaching over 3000 feet, and thirteen of them are called Munros in Scots. Also, the biggest natural islands in this area are Lewis and Harris which are located in the Outer Hebrides.

Would You Like To Live On A Scottish Island?

What about you, would you live on a Scottish island? Could you be able to call Bu or Oa your home? It is said that the Scottish Islands inspired many writers to write some of their famous novels.  Perhaps it is a great place for an aspiring writer to start their journey of self-explorations. It is said that Treasure Island written by R.L. Stevenson was based on the island of Unst, which is the most northerly populated island.

 

Also, the Isle of Jura was the place where George Orwell found seclusion he needed to write his very famous novel 1984, back in 1949. It may be difficult at first to accommodate to living on an island; however, there are many upsides to life on an island, as well as life in Scotland in general. I would love to hear about your lifestyle so share a comment about Scotland or life in Scotland below.

Life In Scotland: Highland Games

Life In Scotland: Highland Games

The first thing that comes to mind when people mention the country of Scotland are usually, kilts and bagpipes. But, did you know that these well-known aspects of Scottish culture are closely connected to the Highland games? The Highland games are held every spring and summer in Scotland. Events like the one in Dunoon called the Cowal Highland Gathering attract thousands of people.  Sometimes they exceed 23.000 spectators and 3.500 competitors.

These gatherings celebrate the Scottish and Celtic culture, most closely connected to the culture of the Scottish Highlands. An interesting fact is that the certain sources claim that the Highland games inspired Baron de Coubertin to revive the Olympic Games movement.

History of the Highland games

The earliest reports about the Highland games cite how King Malcolm the III of Scotland gathered contestants from all parts of Scotland to a foot race towards the Craig Choinnich. This was in the 11th century. Intention of the King was to find the fastest person in Scotland to serve as a royal messenger. Some historians see this event as a precursor to modern Highland games.
hg-pic1

 

Another document from 1703 tells us how the Clan Grant was summoned to a competition including guns, swords, pistols and dirks. However, the Highland games in their current form were largely a Victorian-era invention.

Events

The events of old prioritized athletic and sports competitions and the Highland games were festivities revolving around the athletics. However, over time, the games grew and incorporated other activities such as dancing and music into the games.
Most people think that the games are and should be about the athletic competitions, and the musical and dancing events are only entertainment. Today there is a wide range of events found in Highland games across Scotland. But only a few of them fit into the traditional standards.

 

Heavy events

higlandThe so-called heavy events include the traditional tests of strength and skill. The most common events are the caber toss, the stone put, the Scottish hammer throw… And more like the weight throw, the weight over the bar and the sheaf toss.

All of these demand a lot of physical strength but also a good degree of technique needed to accomplish the feats correctly. One more common test of strength and skill is the Maide Leisg (Scots Gaelic for Lazy stick).

Many participants of the athletic trials at the Highland games are former high school or college athletes. They usually participate as a way to continue their competitive spirits. The Highland games movement is rapidly gaining popularity in the United States as well.

Music

The Highland games are also a battleground for various pipe bands. Nearly every Highland games feature a great range of drumming, piping, solo piping, small bands and big pipe bands events. The pipe bands are symbols of the Highland games.
hg-dance

 

Dance and secondary events

Dancers perform at the annual Cowal Highland Gathering. Many other activities revolve around the Highland games: blacksmiths offering their products, herding dog trials, country dancing, vendors of other goods related to Scottish culture.

Scottish Lifestyle And Culture And Tradition

Scottish Lifestyle And Culture And Tradition

Scottish culture has a long lasting history, nearly a thousand years’ old, beginning in a 12th century when the first clans were made. Even though it has an ancient tradition, it never stopped developing and improving. Each generation of young Scottish people has improved it even more and made a living thing out of it and made its stamp.

For example, we have Highland Games that are organized annually all over the state. They are the combination of sports, culture, music and getting people to be around each other and spend some time together.

Scottish cultural heritage

Everyone knows about so famous bread paper tin. But, have you ever had a chance to observe spectacular sight of hindered piper tins making a skirling sound in unison. This isn’t matter of the past, but in fact, it happens every year on August at Edinburgh Military Tattoo. People have they unique opportunity to watch this magnificent act.

On the other hand, we have food heritage. Well known porridge, fare – haggis and whiskey have become the brand of the Scotland. But, now we have new cooking elite, such as Gordon Ramsey that took cooking on another level. Instead of using only beef, he enriched the cousin with the seafood and venison and used all natural ingredients that Scotland has. This brought them Michelin stars.
The most famous cultural object of Scotland is kilt. We all know that kilt is traditional Scottish wear, used in the past, but not so more. It has resurfaced again, and we can find its motives in the designs of famous fashion designers on the world’s runways. Vivienne Westwood, Jean Paul Gaultier, and Johnathan Saunders have given the kilt its glory! It has become a very popular piece of clothes that not only Scottish people wear.

 

Burns supper

This is still part of Scottish culture, and all people of Scotland gather to celebrate this day. Nowadays, it not only popular in Scotland, but all over the globe, where some Scottish community is living. This custom represents a very special occasion where all Scottish people a rather spend some quality time together.
tradition burnst

 

We also have their traditional song called Alud Lang Syne. This is one the most popular songs in the world, right after Happy Birthday. As we can see, Scottish people have a rich cultural heritage that is lasting through centuries.

Scottish heroes

Scottish culture has been shaped through centuries and with the help pf strong willed individuals. One among many is William Wallace, the most famous historical figure of Scotland.

Even the Oscar-winning movie has been made based on this character. For every Scottish, William Wallace is the synonym for bravery, individuality, and courage and that is the way they proudly represent him everywhere.

Scottish people are brave enough to fight their battles alone. At first impression, they may seem a bit reserved, but in reality, they are very welcoming, friendly, witty, with a great sense of humor, but very sharp.

Scottish Lifestyle: Scotch Whiskey

Scottish Lifestyle: Scotch Whiskey

There is no possible way to talk about or write about life in Scotland without the mention of Scotch. A Whisky drink made in Scotland and always a malt or grain distilled drink, Scotch today is known and enjoyed all over the world. Special laws govern the production of Scotch, so the quality is not jeopardized.

Types of Scotch

Initially, Scotch whiskey was a malted barley product. By the late 18th century, distilleries began to introduce whiskey produced of wheat and rye. Nowadays, Scotch is usually divided into five main categories. The single malt Scotch whiskey and the single grain Scotch are produced using only malted grain fall into the non-blended group.
scotch-whiskey

 

The other types (the blends) are the blended malt, the blended grain, and the blended Scotch whiskey. The minimum age the whiskey needs to be before the release is three years. The whiskey will spend this time in oak barrels. The age you can see on the bottle always refers to the age of the youngest whiskey used to produce that specific product.

Brief history of Scotch

The oldest accounts of drinks similar to whiskey mention the uisgebeatha – the water of life. The earliest document that tells the story of distillation in Scotland is from the year of 1494. These records come from the Exchequer Rolls, the records of royal income and expenditure.

This case involves a certain Friar John Cor whose job was to make eight bolls  (1500 bottles by today`s standards) for the year. This source clearly shows that distillation was already well established at that time.

First taxations of whiskey production came in 1644 and by 1780 there were only eight legal distilleries and almost 400 illegal ones. 1823 was the turning point for the Scotch industry. This was when the Parliament introduced the “Excise Act,” which made it more difficult for illegal distilleries to operate. Whisky then gained in popularity. Another boost to whiskey production was the introduction of the column still. The production was quicker and less expensive, and whiskey was easier to make.

Main regions

The SWA (Scotch Whisky Association) now recognizes five main whiskey production C, as opposed to the traditional four. The Speyside region was traditionally excluded from the list but now is recognized as a distinct region.
whiskey-barels

 

The Lowlands, the region in the south of Scotland, incorporates eight distilleries. The Speyside, located around the River Spey, has the largest number of distilleries, almost half of all Scottish production.

The Highlands, the largest region of Scotland has a great number of independent distilleries and also incorporates The Islands, a small sub-region.Another main region is Campbeltown, yet only three distilleries operate here today. Finally, the region of Islay incorporates another eight producing whiskey plants.

These five regions are officially recognized by the SWA, but the custom of Scots usually address the whiskey more locally. This means that the whiskey distilled in Scapa, for example, would be called a Scapa Single  Malt Scotch Whisky, as opposed to simply a Highland whiskey.

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