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Here's to Dad

Select a Scotch as fine as he is.

Moules Frites

Courtesy of The Study, Greenwich, CT

Skip the tie this year, especially if your Dad (or Grandpa!) is someone who enjoys an after-dinner drink. It's not hard to find a bottle of fine Scotch in local shops these days, so why not try something different and get Dad something he can truly savor?

Single malt scotches have become increasingly popular, with many a bar cabinet stocked with half a dozen varieties from different makers. Most retailers can instruct you in the distinctions between single malts and blended products, but the important facts about “Single Malts” is that this label signifies that the Scotch was distilled at a single distillery; made from water and malted barley without the addition of any other cereals; and produced by batch in pot stills. Since last year, to prevent confusion, all Scotch labeled single malt must also have been bottled in Scotland.

Scotland has five distinct regions where Scotch is produced—Highland, Lowland, Campbeltown, Islay, and Speyside—and there are thousands of distilleries. So, how to choose?

In searching the county for well-stocked shelves with a nice selection of single malts, we talked to Mark Abrahamson, who owns Fairfield’s Mo’s Wine & Spirits with wife Maureen (she’s Mo). He notes that Balvenie and Macallan, both distilleries in the Speyside region, are popular brands in his busy shop.

“These are probably the most popular single malts we sell,” says Mark. “They’re very smooth. Some aged whiskies spend time in casks that were used to age rum or Port wine, and this adds color and sweetness to the product, which some Scotch drinkers enjoy. You can find this information on the label, or just ask.”

It’s obvious that part of the fun of Scotch appreciation is trying various distilleries’ products, of varying ages, and eventually settling on a favorite. Unlike wine, a good Scotch will keep in its opened but capped bottle for a long, long time. For more information, check out the fact-rich website of the Scotch Whisky Association. It’s loaded with information, including a list of distilleries that welcome visitors, should you and Dad visit Scotland.

To find a good selection of Scotch brands, we checked out these retailers and found them most helpful. Click the links for phone numbers, addresses and business hours:

Fairfield: Mo’s Wine & Spirits

Greenwich: The Study Fine Wines & Spirits

New Canaan: Franco’s Wine Merchants

Stamford: Wagon Wheel Fine Wines & Spirits

Westport: Saugatuck Grain & Grape     

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