Barrels of whiskey at the Laphroaig distillery in Scotland.

(Courtesy Flickr user Dabdesign/Creative Commons)

This interview first aired October 12, 2015.  Master Sommelier Richard Betts has turned his attention from the complexities of wine to an equally complex beverage: whiskey. He's written "The Essential Scratch & Sniff Guide to Becoming a Whiskey Know-It-All" -- because, he says, smell and taste are so closely tied. Betts is a former wine director at the Little Nell in Aspen.

Betts tells Colorado Matters that spirits are a big business in Colorado, with around 70 distilleries in operation, most making whiskey. The market is growing -- 20 percent a year by some estimates.

Betts' top picks for reasonably priced whiskey:

Buffalo Trace  - Sazerac Rye, straight rye whiskey.
Laphroaig - 10-year single malt Islay scotch
Edradour - 10-year single malt Highland scotch
Suntory - Hakushu 12-year single malt whiskey
Redbreast - 12-year single pot still Irish whiskey