Single Malt Whisky Flavor Map - Posted by Hammerstone's Whiskey Disks, makers of the world's best whiskey stones.

Chart a course to Single Malt heaven.

Single Malt Whisky isn’t complicated; it just needs to be explained in the right way. This flavor map will help you choose a whisky based on taste. Developed by Scotland’s most experienced professionals, this map demonstrates that – when it comes to flavor profiles – all single malts can be plotted on a simple grid. It’s a great way to compare and classify single malts. This means you can identify how light or rich, and how smoky or delicate a whisky is compared to ones you may already be familiar with. Have fun with it. And if you desire a slight chill with no dilution, pour your tipple over one of our handcrafted whisk(e)y stones. Let the tasting begin.


The whiskies at this end of the chart normally use no peat in the malting process. While movement up the axis sees an increase in complexity, this is without any discernible level of smokiness derived by peat. Towards the light end there is a floral, grassy freshness. Moving towards the rich side of the map there are nutty and barley flavors that start to come through.


Single malts found in the two smoky quadrants all contain discernible levels of peat, which is burned in the malting process. Ranging from scented smoke and bonfires, to smoked herring and black tea, they’re epitomized by Islay malts such as Lagavulin and Caol Ila.


This end of the chart shows whiskies whose characteristics exhibit fresh flavors such as green grass, soft fruits and cereal. Such flavors tend to reflect the processes followed by a distillery, such as fermentation or the size and shape of the stills.


Whiskies at the rich end of the axis contain characteristics often derived from the nature of the wood used during maturation. Typical flavors range from vanilla, to cigar box, given by American oak casks. Then there’s chocolate and dried fruit flavors derived from European oak casks. Whether a cask is first-fill or refill will make a difference to flavor.



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  1. Steve
    January 24, 2013 at 8:55 pm #

    This is great … I’ve tasted several single malts and only enjoyed a couple … And they do fall in the same quadrant of this chart (Lagavulin and Oban). Is there something like this for bourbon whiskies?


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