St. Paul Grill beverage chief Justin Spano tells us 90 percent of Scotch is blended, but connoisseurs generally prefer single-malts, made with malted barley in pot stills at a single distillery.
Single malts come from six regions: the Highlands (“rich, very powerful,” Spano says), Speyside (“mild, but rich and complex”), the Islands (“smooth, lighter-bodied”), the Lowlands (“a little spicy, light”), Campbeltown (only three distilleries), and Islay (“the most distinct”).
Spano’s favorites include the Balvenie 12-Year (Speyside), Macallan 12-Year (Speyside), and Laphroaig (Islay).
The preferred method of sipping a single malt: Add water (“just a drop or two.”)
Best at the St. Paul Grill? Macallan’s 55-Year: $750 a shot. Casked in 1949, it’s among 20 bottles sold in the country. The Grill bought all four allocated to the Midwest before the 2008 Republican Convention—and are down to their last one. Don’t fret; they’re in line for Macallan’s 60-year.