The Flavor Maps of Scotch


Delicate. The whiskies at this end of the axis normally use no peat in the malting process.

Smoky. Single malts found in the two smoky quadrants all contain discernible levels of peat, which is burned in the malting process.

Light. This end of the vertical axis houses whiskies whose characteristics exhibit fresh flavours: green grass, soft fruits, cereal. Such flavours tend to reflect the processes followed by a distillery, such as fermentation or size and shape of the stills.

Rich. Whiskies at the rich end of the axis contain characteristics often derived from the nature of the wood used during maturation. Whether a cask is first fill or refill will make a difference to flavour.

Kevin Schau of the Department of Mathematics and Statistics at the University of Strathclyde came up with an even more complex matrix to categorize the flavors of Scotch:

Different people will inevitably have different tastes (that whole taste bud distribution being different for everybody thing) but these kinds of things are great for identifying new Scotches to try out if you have found one or two you already know you like.

And yes, by posting this at 7am local time I am, in fact, suggesting that a bolt of lightning will not, in fact, strike you down if you choose to have a shot on a Sunday morning or the like. Just saying.

Top map concept by
Bottom map concept by Kevin Schau, graphic by Christopher Ingraham via

Quoted text via

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About Heretic

I design video games for a living, write fiction, political theory and poetry for personal amusement, and train regularly in Western European 16th century swordwork. On frequent occasion I have been known to hunt for and explore abandoned graveyards, train tunnels and other interesting places wherever I may find them, but there is absolutely no truth to the rumor that I am preparing to set off a zombie apocalypse. Nothing that will stand up in court, at least. I use paranthesis with distressing frequency, have a deep passion for history, anthropology and sociological theory, and really, really, really hate mayonnaise. But I wash my hands after the writing. Promise.

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