A Taste Of Thistle

Trendy sip: single-malt Scotch

There are two things a Highlander likes naked, goes an old Scottish saying, and one of them is malt whisky. Of late, the Kiltie's distilled delight has become an international connoisseur's joy. After several lackluster years, sales of Scotch worldwide (although not in the U.S.) are on the rise, led by the rare, distinctive whiskies known as single malts. The malts constitute only about 3.5% of all Scotch sales, but their dollar-value share of the market is twice that because of their relatively high price tags. Overall, sales have jumped from 1 million cases in 1980 to more than 2.6 million...