Water of life

In simple terms, single malt Scotch Whisky is a spirit distilled in Scotland, comprising malted barley and water, but the nuances detected in the Glencairn glass and on the palate are as complex and unique as the distillers and master blenders who create it. 

Omaha’s Dundee Dell has fostered a journey of discovery for both whisky aficionados and those new to the elixir. Once boasting the largest collection in the Western hemisphere, the venerable institution changed hands in 2020 and reopened in 2021 with a cozy pub-centric menu served in a classy yet comfortable space.

Andrew Wilson, general manager, curates the several hundred bottles in the current whisky collection. The experienced bartender’s personal aha moment with Scotch was an Ardbeg 10-year offering where, “Everything just clicked, it was the first whisky that really made sense to me.”

The team at the Dell thrive on finding approachable and interesting whiskies for hesitant customers or recommending varied resources for those who want to learn more about this spirit steeped in tradition. Another great place to learn more is tasting events. These events feature knowledgeable, charismatic distributors who captivate audiences with stories rich in the world of whisky.

Wilson, who believes there is a whisky for everyone, shared, “A lot of people like Scotch, they just haven’t figured it out yet.” It’s romantic—every distillery has a history and a fascinating story that draws drinkers in for more than just the booze.

Scotch also makes a delightful mixer, but Wilson shared that finding the right balance can be a challenge. “It is really interesting in cocktails because some characteristics are so bold they can’t be hidden, and other times the delicate notes that distinguish a whisky can be outshined by other ingredients.” 

The adjoining Pine Room (whose moniker was found on a menu from the early days of the establishment) echoes the vibe of a Midwest supper club, where patrons can enjoy a libation and quiet conversation. Both the Pine Room and a smaller upstairs venue are available for private parties, but patrons are always welcome to stop in for a peg or dram.

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