Scratch and Sniff Your Way To Whiskey Proficiency With New Book

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Photo: Laphroaig distillery (Flickr/CC)
Barrels of whiskey at the Laphroaig distillery in Scotland.

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