Romantik Blog

Interview with Bertie Nyman


Why is whisky suddenly so popular again?

In the past, many distilleries in Scotland had to close because whisky was simply no longer that popular and was considered old fashioned. But producers have become more experimental and this new variety is now very well received. There has never been a better time to discover a love of whisky.

How do you recognise a good whisky?

There is no formula for that. You can't tell the quality from the bottle, colour or age. You should taste and experiment as much as possible. Whether you like a whisky also depends on factors such as mood or season. In summer, a light, fruity whisky suits, while on a cold winter's day, a heavy, smoky Scotch is the better choice.

Where do the different flavours in whisky come from?

In Scotland we say "the wood makes the whisky" - the wood of the cask gives the whisky its own aroma. Many producers fill the whisky into another cask for a few months at the end of the storage period during the so-called finishing process in order to give it additional flavour notes. A single malt that has taken on its typical vanilla aromas through maturation in a bourbon cask can still acquire fruity notes in a red wine cask. The barley is also important. Dried over a peat fire, it gives the whisky a smoky aroma. So it's a combination of many little things.

Does whisky get better with time?

Normally, whisky is bottled after eight or more years. Some distilleries also bottle after three or five years for a quicker profit, rather than letting the whisky mature longer. Over the years, storage reduces the alcohol content. So it tends to be the case that whisky does not get better with age, but milder.

How do you drink whisky properly?

For beginners, I recommend tasting the first sip of whisky neat and then adding a few drops of water. This makes it easier to bring out the aromas if they are masked by the alcohol. I would advise against drinking whisky on ice. Cold distorts the taste, and with large ice cubes you have no control over what happens in the glass.

Can whisky also be combined with food?

Whisky goes very well with chocolate or cheese. With the right combination, you can even enhance its flavour. The citrus flavours of a light whisky come out even more subtly when paired with dark orange chocolate. Blue cheese, on the other hand, can bring out the smoky flavours of a strong whisky from Isle of Islay Ideal.

What makes whisky so special for you?

Whisky is always about pleasure and emotion. After a hike through the Highlands or when celebrating with friends, whisky adds something special to the moment. 16-year-old Lagavulin automatically takes me back to the moment when I first tasted it at the distillery. That was the first whisky I fell in love with.

Whisky knowledge:

Malt whisky:
Whisky distilled exclusively from malted barley.

Grain whisky:
Is made from different types of grain (barley, wheat, rye, corn).

Mixture of different malt and grain whiskies.

US whiskey with a high corn content (51 to 79 %).

Cask Strength:
Has a high alcohol content of up to 60 % due to undiluted bottling directly after maturation.

Irish Whiskey:
Contains malted and unmalted barley, is triple distilled.

Rye Whiskey:
Has a rye content of at least 51 %, mostly produced in the USA and Canada.

Single malt:
Is distilled in a single distillery from malted barley.

Single Cask:
Is a single malt that has been matured in a single cask.

Whisky or Whiskey:
Only Scotch is spelled without an "e", while Irish and American is spelled with an "e". But the varieties also differ in the distilling process.


Scotland's Whisky Island Islay: A Paradise for Connoisseurs

Whisky is distilled in many parts of the world. From Ireland to the USA to Japan. A small island in Scotland. However, it is regarded worldwide as an absolute paradise for whisky lovers - the Hebridean island of Islay.

200 kilometres of coastline, rugged cliffs, long sandy beaches, gentle moorland - a breathtaking backdrop that also attracts many nature lovers. With a little luck, rare species such as the corncrake, white-tailed eagle or chough can be seen here all year round.

And every autumn and winter, a very special spectacle takes place: Thousands of wild geese fly to the island, using Islay as their home and breeding ground.

But the real attraction on this island paradise is not nature, but the traditional walls - the famous whisky distilleries. On this small Hebridean island, there are eight famous distilleries for every 4,000 inhabitants, all of them world-class and of the highest quality.

What makes Islay whiskey so special?

The single malts are particularly appreciated by connoisseurs for their typical smoky and peaty aromas. The extensive peat deposits on Islay are crucial for the special taste that is appreciated throughout the whisky world. The grain for the coveted drinks is dried over peat fires and thus brings the special, smoky note into the drink. Each of the nine distilleries has its own recipe with its very own taste and unmistakable aroma. In the distilleries located in the south of the island, such as the famous Lagavulin, rather strong varieties are produced that are enriched with peat smoke and salt water. In the northern distilleries, such as the famous Bunnahabhain, lighter single malt whiskies are distilled. They only use grain lightly dried over the peat fire, thus tasting milder.

In the famous distilleries, visitors are informed about the art of whisky distilling, which of course includes extensive tasting. The beauty of these high-proof places is that they are all in a fantastic scenic location and during the visits you automatically get to know the most beautiful spots on the island. Liquid tasting, enjoying nature - everything is close together on Islay.

Destillery Ardberg

The active distilleries on Islay:

  • Ardbeg
  • Bowmore
  • Bruichladdich
  • Bunnahabhain
  • Caol Ila
  • Kilchoman
  • Lagavulin
  • Laphroaig

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