Whiskey and Scotch Recomendations

Pages

I've always been interested in getting into some more leisurely drinking, of the sipping variety. I've had some that I've enjoyed, but do not know what they were. I know that we have quite a few Goodjers who are well versed in this pursuit so I am trying to get some ideas of different kinds to try. I'd rather not go into a liquor store and start blind buying things, as that could get quite expensive.

Adding link to a google doc that several goodjers are occasionally adding to with recommendations and comments.

https://spreadsheets.google.com/ccc?...

Bourbon-wise, I've become a fan of Buffalo Trace. It's good for sipping, nice and smooth.

Scotch-wise, Laphroiag is, was, shall always be first in my heart. It is very smokey, and very peaty--a high level scotch for sure, but it is the greatest in my estimation. Glenlivet is simpler, and a good starter, as is The Balvenie.

Good advice on single malts here.
The Dalmore is my favorite moderately priced one.

May I recommend my personal favorite, Woodford Reserve. A very nice sipping whiskey. I recently got a bottle of Rendesvous, from http://www.highwest.com/spirits. Sweet as candy.

Also, on the cheap side, if you have to have large quantities for... practice... Ten High is a decent deal and more than likely won't blind you.

Not a recommendation on the brand, rather on the accompaniment. I prefer my scotch with dry ginger ale. It just really seems to suit the flavour for me.

BlackSabre wrote:

Not a recommendation on the brand, rather on the accompaniment. I prefer my scotch with dry ginger ale. It just really seems to suit the flavour for me.

HERESY! BURN THE WITH!

Arran Whiskey is very good, spicey aroma and taste. Needs some water to cut off the sharp texture though, otherwise it just burns without any flavour coming through. YMMV.

I got a whiskey tasting box from my girlfriend for my last birthday, but I can't remember the specific names. I'll check it at home, some fantastic examples there.

For Whiskey I'd suggest the following:

- The Balvenie Doublewood 12 year - Info | Review
- The Macallan 12 year - Info | Review

Thanks all. I am going to have to try all of these a bit at a time. It would be a bit hard to explain to my wife why I spent 500+ dollars on alcohol that I'm not sure of yet in one shot.

Will make sure to update on ones tried and all that. Anyone else, feel free to recommend more. This will likely be a long process for me as I usually don't drink much to begin with.

SpacePPoliceman wrote:

Scotch-wise, Laphroiag is, was, shall always be first in my heart. It is very smokey, and very peaty--a high level scotch for sure, but it is the greatest in my estimation. Glenlivet is simpler, and a good starter, as is The Balvenie.

I would second this opinion. Laphroaig can be quite expensive, however. So if you're not sure about a heavy smokey flavor, start off with the Glenlivet.

Early and often

avggeek wrote:

- The Macallan 12 year - Info | Review

That's the winner right there. There aren't many single malts that compare. It's a Highland, so not very peaty, if that's what you're into. Otherwise, it's about as good as mortals can afford.

Finding/patronizing a good whiskey bar is another option. One with knowledgeable bartenders. There's an awesome one in Philly (called unsurprisingly The Whiskey Bar) if you're in the Northeast.

The wonderful world of bourbon and whiskey.

I would stay away from single malts for now, I too am a McCallan lover. But unless you have a friend to gift it to, spending 60 bucks and finding out you do not like it would suck.

Decent blended scotch-J&B, Johnny Walker Red and you will not break the bank on a pint.

Now for bourbon shots I like Jack Daniels or Jim Beam Black. 100 proof Wild Turkey is young and will put hair on your chest.

To sip, I like Knob Creek, I hear Jeremiah Weed is good, but tough to find near me.

Buffalo Trace is delicious. They sponsored our Tailgate this year so we got to sample it many times. Was always on of the first bottles emptied.

For a scotch I would recommend Tomintoul 16 http://www.tomintouldistillery.co.uk/tomintoul/welcome.htm

Unlike pretty much everything else in this world, the more money you spend on scotch, the better the bottle TENDS to be (tends to, not "is always". You can always get a stinker, at any price). So don't skimp. A little goes a long way.

I'm a big Glenlivet fan, but Caol Ila and Highland Park also strike my fancy, too. My husband's more of a Laphroaig man. It's a struggle, but we make our marriage work in spite of this.

I've found that asking for recommendations from experienced drinkers is a rough way to get in the game. Most of their tastes are refined, and take some getting used to before you can start to enjoy them (I'm looking at you, peat-monsters). Look for something mild, at first, then maybe start exploring your pallet at tastings or with friends collections.

I had Laphroiag for the first time back at the S&T 'round the world. I would say it's not exactly a starter scotch. It was pretty intense, even to my palate. Verrrah peaty.

My personal favorite scotch is Glenfiddich. Drink slightly chilled, or room temperature. It's still peaty, but not nearly a much as Laphroaig.

For whiskey, I generally go for a bottle of Jamesons, which some people like and others think is better used as engine degreaser. Nice mild flavor and very smooth. I also like Bushmills for the same reason.

Kiri wrote:

Early and often ;)

Best advice so far.

Ahhh, Laphroaig. It's like smoke in a bottle. Pop the cork and it literally smells like there's a peat fire inside!

I'll add a vote for the Macallan. I'll also point you towards Oban, and I'm particularly fond of Glen Livet French Oak Reserve.

It's not technically a Scotch, but you may also want to try out Bushmills, it's an Irish whiskey and very smooth. This is one of my favorite bottles of it:

IMAGE(http://farm2.static.flickr.com/1292/5179651349_b25528cf24_m.jpg)

Thank you all for the shopping list.

I am a Bourbon Drinker, and I have been hard pressed to fine one that I enjoy more than Knob Creek, regardless of the price.

So how do you all drink your scotch?

I like mine on the rocks with one icecube per finger (which usually means three icecubes).

Scotch tasting is a whole art unto itself.
By Brother and my Uncle annually take a scotch tasting course offered one of their local community colleges.
You learn the regions where the scotch was distilled, the characteristics of the scotch from each region, based on the distillery's process.
Most importantly you learn what to taste for. This lends the real appreciation to scotch. If it's always been an nasty phenolic brew to you, akin to turpentine, it's probably and expectation management problem. If you know what to taste for, and don't expect it to taste like Freshie (because we all like to date ourselves with childhood product references), you will enjoy it, and it's warm afterglow more.

As a mid priced standby - Glenmorangie
If you have a couple of extra bucks - Glenmorangie Port Finish

If you like your Scotch smokey and peaty - Bowmore has a lot of character

Craigenmore is is a bit of girly Spey but I still feel like enough of a man to enjoy it. Taste for lavender (or was it violet). Flowers and herbs anyhow which are strangely present despite scotch's other seemingly rather strong flavours.

Nevin73 wrote:

So how do you all drink your scotch?

I like mine on the rocks with one icecube per finger (which usually means three icecubes).

Neat. Ice in a scotch glass is a travesty.

I've actually been pining after a set of whiskey stones (secret Stanta, hint hint.)

Being from Kentucky, I'm a Bourbon boy through and through. Some highlights (all to be drunk neat unless otherwise stated):

Baker's is a good place to start for the good stuff. Smooth, nice long finish with a bit of heat. Not too assertive anywhere.

Basil Hayden's is smooth and has a lot of nice brown sugar and honey going on.

Elijah Craig has a lot of nice nutty flavors. A bit better cut with water.

Booker's is really great stuff, but not for the faint of heart. Don't start here, but sample it eventually. It's unfiltered cask-strength bourbon (125 proof). Very interesting and varied flavor, but it packs a punch to be sure. This stuff is distilled specifically to be cut with water, so don't neglect that fact.

Knob Creek is just very well-rounded. More "cooking spice" notes (nutmeg, vanilla) than some of the others on this list, and an almost hot burnt-caramel aroma. I kind of like it cut with water a bit because it has a very woody flavor, but people are divided on this.

Maker's Mark 46 is new. A much better and more refined version of the perennial classic.

Wild Turkey Rare Breed is maybe my favorite. Nice floral aroma and a spicy, peppery flavor with a very smooth (not burned) caramel finish.

Four Roses is relatively new, but brings a lot to the party. Very bacon-y. Goes quite well with (you guessed it) bacon.

LilCodger wrote:

and my personal favorite Booker's.

You must be of a very stout constitution.

Good call on Woodford reserve, though, that's a good bourbon. Also worth tracking down is Jefferson's Reserve, though it's very difficult to find outside of Kentucky.

If you don't drink much, you're probably better off finding a good bar with a knowledgeable bartender. No sense buying full bottles of something you don't like. Plus a good bartender can take what you like and make recommendations. You'll pay more per drink, but you get to play the field and don't have to plunk down $60-100/bottle. Find one you really like, then buy the bottle.

Good starter bourbons in my book: Jim Beam Black, Maker's Mark, Old Forester and Wild Turkey Rare Breed. All sippable, good, but not great. They get you used to bourbon without breaking the bank. Then move on to Knob Creek, Kentucky Spirit, Four Roses, Woodford Reserve, Bakers, and my personal favorite Booker's. All are more complex and enjoyable, but more expensive. You won't really enjoy them if you haven't gotten past the alcohol burn. Blanton's is the only one I know of a novice can dive right into, but it's an odd duck, almost more of a scotch.

Scotch: Being a bourbon drinker, I'm also a fan of the Macallan 12. If you want to live on the peaty side, Highland Park is a good place to start.

So I suppose my real advice is to start drinking more.

EDIT: Minarchist, Rare Breed gotten that good eh? Haven't had any in years. I need to pick some up again. That was my original window into "bourbons that aren't best used to strip paint".

My bourbon hierarchy:

  1. Woodford Reserve
  2. Knob Creek
  3. Maker's Mark
  4. Jim Beam

My Scotch hierarchy:

  1. Macallan 12
  2. Johnny Walker Black
  3. Dewars

Those pretty much cover every bar and price range I run into.

LilCodger wrote:

EDIT: Minarchist, Rare Breed gotten that good eh? Haven't had any in years. I need to pick some up again. That was my original window into "bourbons that aren't best used to strip paint".

Well, everyone's taste is a bit different, but I think so. Been on a bit of a Four Roses kick lately.

Minarchist wrote:

Good call on Woodford reserve, though, that's a good bourbon. Also worth tracking down is Jefferson's Reserve, though it's very difficult to find outside of Kentucky.

Ack, I'm editing too much. I accidentally waxed that one, thanks for pointing it back out. Never heard of Jefferson's Reserve. I'll have to check my store, as their bourbon section has been exploding.

Minarchist wrote:
LilCodger wrote:

and my personal favorite Booker's.

You must be of a very stout constitution. :-)

I cut my teeth back in college on neat 101 Turkey. Bottles and bottles and jugs of the stuff. I could probably drink paint thinner now.

Booker's is fantastic. It's good cut too, but I love it neat. Plus it's fun to watch the Beam reps scratch their heads at the weird guy who doesn't want the bottle of water.

If you're just getting into whiskeys I think balanced spirits, with subtle notes of what their bolder brothers may contain, make the most sense. And they tend to be better values.

Bourbon
1. Evan Williams Single Barrel - I believe most on the shelves will now be from 2000 but there may still be some 1999 out there(1993 still my personal favorite year). This bourbon is smooth with a balanced sweetness and flavor. And it is an unbelievable value.
2. Black Maple Hill - Fantastic everything. A little more money but still reasonable. Someday, if you ever get a chance to taste their Rye, get ready. It's dreamy.

Scotch
3. Dewars White Label - A great blend that still delivers. Neat with a splash. Good mouth feel, nice smoke.
4. Johnny Walker Black Label - Another great blend. I'd recommend over ice. Sweeter with lots of character. Subtle smoke.

All these will serve you right and are a fair value. When you figure out what particular properties you like, then the real fun starts. It took me a while but Royal Lochnagar may be my nirvana.

Pages