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The Scotch Single Malt Store of Distinction
(With purposeful intent, only the Scotch Single Malt Whisky is considered in this document.)

Introduction | Basic Requirements | Services & Certification


With the international proliferation of the Scotch single malt beverage, and new ones being offered almost every day, the following is an effort to help provide some guidelines concerning the positive characteristics of the major sources of single malt for the discriminating connoisseur of the Scotch Single Malt Whisky. Guidelines are hereby recommended for the "retail store" of the Scotch Single Malt Whisky. The specific single malt recommendations will be based on my personal research, input from members of The International Order of Scotch Single Malt Whisky Connoisseurs, participants that have attended my numerous international tastings and seminars entitled, "Scotch Single Malt Whisky: The Taste, History and Mystique" and data gained from additional research in the field.

A venture by the novice imbiber into a reasonably well-stocked liquor store can be overwhelming. If his/her shopping objectives include the purchase of a "nice" Scotch single malt, the experience can be most confusing. To further complicate the consumer dilemma is the fact that some liquor retail establishment's sales personnel are absurdly unqualified to deal with the subject of the Scotch Single Malt Whisky -- at even the most rudimentary level. Fortunately, those establishments that hope to remain in a competitive posture in the liquor retail market are rethinking their positions. They now understand that there is more involved in this specialized market than simply maintaining a large inventory of Scotch single malts. They realize that the "type" of client that regularly purchases these unique spirits is usually of a special intellect. As a result, they are becoming sufficiently educated to deal with this more diverse and sophisticated client.

In addition to the variety and quality of beverages in the liquor store inventory, the knowledge level of the individual(s) dispensing these complex beverages and relating to the clients is also important. It should be remembered that, in most instances, the Scotch single malt aficionado is an "intellectual." The objective of this shopper is more than to simply satisfy a thirst or to become inebriated. His objective is to investigate, learn and appreciate the many unique characteristics and nuances that are inherently a part of the character and pedigree of the Scotch Single Malt Whisky. Indeed, not only is he an intellectual but he is a gastronome of a higher order. He does not "drink" the Scotch single malt. To the contrary, he "experiences" this unique and ancient nectar.

The objectives of the liquor establishment that is willing to expend the time and allocate the space and financial resources to qualify for, and maintain, a "Scotch Single Malt Store of Distinction" Award is, indeed, special. Such objectives will include:

  • The basic, innate desire to have a liquor retail establishment that provides the inventory, customer service and client education that is required by the Scotch single malt customer.

  • The ability to favorably "impress" the clients and customers who choose this store for Scotch single malt purchases.
  • The desire to present an image of distinction and exceptional product taste.
  • To create a lasting "image" and provide a "service" that will cause the client to return frequently and recommend the establishment to others.
  • To be included with the international "Who's Who" of Scotch single malt establishments.
  • To have an international listing on an advertising medium that caters, specifically, to the Scotch single malt connoisseur and which is frequently visited by such individuals and hotel management staff.

Whatever the motives of the proprietor of the "Scotch Single Malt Store of Distinction," more than an accumulation of bottles of Scotch Single Malt Whisky is required. In fact, a random hoard of alcoholic beverages is not only crude and crass, it is the first indication of an establishment that is uneducated in the nuances of the alcoholic beverage and the skills of inventory management and quality customer service. It should be remembered, however, that a large, intelligently-selected collection of Scotch single malts is not a hoard. To the contrary, it is a smorgasbord and gastronomic library of alcoholic beverages selected to represent the broadest range of pedigrees of the most complex and culturally entwined alcoholic spirit of all. With an investment of a few hours of time and study, the other associated investments will pay exceptionally higher dividends.

There are hundreds of Scotch single malts currently available to the consumer. They are most commonly identified by the distillery from which they come, their proof and their age. With the ever-increasing astuteness and interest level of the connoisseur, however, knowledge of several other characteristics of the Scotch single malt is required. The well-motivated retail store owner and staff will, therefore, desire to be able to address questions pertaining to the geographical location in which the Scotch single malt was distilled and they will have a knowledge of the "types" of casks in which the malt was matured. There may also be an interest in being able to discuss the "size and shape" of the "pot still" in which the malt was distilled. Questions pertaining to the general flavor characteristics that are imparted and influenced by the environment and geographical region in which the Scotch single malt was distilled, and/or matured, and other such questions may also be of interest. A storeowner of a "Scotch Single Malt Bar of Distinction" is more than an individual who can only provide a bottle of Scotch Single Malt Whisky. He/she is able to host knowledge-based conversations for clients requesting such information.

Introduction | Basic Requirements | Services & Certification

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