Whiskey and Scotch Recomendations

I'll echo the Woodford Reserve love. I was introduced to it a couple of years back, and I haven't looked back.

On that note, any recommendations on a celebratory(aka, money isn't a problem) bottle? I'd like to have something that pairs well with cigars for a bachelor party.

Hypatian wrote:

Because of this thread, I just went out and bought a nice bottle of Oban. Ahh, Oban, how I love thee.

Filthy enablers.

You're most welcome

Kraint wrote:

I'll echo the Woodford Reserve love. I was introduced to it a couple of years back, and I haven't looked back.

On that note, any recommendations on a celebratory(aka, money isn't a problem) bottle? I'd like to have something that pairs well with cigars for a bachelor party.

I'd go Booker's, Four Roses, or a Pappy van Winkle. If you can get the latter two in the "Reserve" version even better.

Sorax wrote:

And, because I found this very interesting, Johnny Walker recommends keeping Gold Label in the freezer like vodka. Although I found this idea rather strange, I tried it and it really seemed to work. A honey quality(taste and texture) that's absent at room temperature emerged which I quite enjoyed.

I gave this a go after reading, and can confirm that it works as described. Yum!

No one is with me on the rye whiskeys?

NathanialG wrote:

No one is with me on the rye whiskeys?

I've had one -- Sazerac -- and it was too spicy for my tastes. I don't search it out. Although maybe I'll give it another try when I hit up the local whiskey bar. Any recommendations that minimize the spice and maximize the smooth?

Seth wrote:
NathanialG wrote:

No one is with me on the rye whiskeys?

I've had one -- Sazerac -- and it was too spicy for my tastes. I don't search it out. Although maybe I'll give it another try when I hit up the local whiskey bar. Any recommendations that minimize the spice and maximize the smooth?

Templetons is a good one.

I went on a tour of Arran Distillery a few years ago. Unfortunately the tour ended at about 11:30am with a free tasting. I say unfortunately because for me 11:30am is no time to be drinking scotch (although maybe some fans of this thread may disagree)*. I've found it hard to get back into it since, although this thread is carrying some strong enablement.

*to quote Dr Cox, "It may be too early to start drinking, but it's not too early to start thinking about it."

Concave wrote:

Unfortunately the tour ended at about 11:30am with a free tasting. I say unfortunately because for me 11:30am is no time to be drinking scotch

I understand the words individually, but together it's just gibberish.

LilCodger wrote:
Concave wrote:

Fortunately the tour ended at about 11:30am with a free tasting. I say fortunately because for me 11:30am is time to be drinking scotch

I understand the words individually, but together it's just gibberish.

Don't know, with a few deletions the sentence now makes perfect sense.

beeporama,
Is there any good whiskey bars in Pitt? I will coming out sometime in Dec to visit friends, and would like to hit one up.

Lobo wrote:

Canadian whisky is brown vodka. Treat it accordingly (i.e., use it when you're more interested in tasting the other components of your cocktail). The "better" Canadian whiskys, while better, it's true, are not as good as other, non-Canadian whiskys that cost the same.

This is true. Crown Royal is = Rum when I have coke or dr pepper.

My hard-earned advice for the whiskey neophyte: start with bourbon. You see, there's such a thing as truly repulsive Scotch, and if you get hold of one of those early on, it could ruin your Scotch attitude for years. But it's actually hard to find a truly bad bourbon. Even the really cheap sh*t, like Early Times, is more boring than it is bad. If you live in the USA, you should consider bourbon a magical resource, to be exploited as is your right.

Concentrate as you sip. Pretend that you're more refined than you are. Swirl, sniff, then sip. Do you taste: wood? sugar? caramel? banana? clove? pepper? apple? citrus? smoke? berries? honey? maple?

When you're almost done with a bottle, don't finish it entirely. Save a bit, and then do a side-by-side, blind taste-test with your next bottle. Which do you like more? Why? What flavors matter to you? Which work best in tandem? How quickly do they show up?

Basic Jim Beam is a great bourbon for mixing; there's not much reason to use anything better for Manhattans, Old-Fashioneds, and other cocktails. Old Forester and Evan Williams are dependable, cheap buys, and their vintage and single-barrel offerings are superb values. Woodford Reserve is a great step up from these, and is my present preferred sipping bourbon. I get it at my local BJ's wholesale club for $25 per 750ml, and at that price it's a bargain.

As for Scotch, Highland Park is my favorite single-malt. I discovered it with DrunkenSleipnir years ago, and it brought us many happy memories. In those days I rather preferred the stronger peat notes of Laphroaig, but over time Highland Park's more balanced profile has appreciated in my eyes.

I started my exploration of Scotch nearly in reverse: I began sampling single-malts without ever really exploring the cheaper Scotch blends. For years, in fact, I scorned blended Scotch as contemptible swill, but recently I've reevaluated that position. Johnnie Walker Black Label is an excellent bargain, and at the moment it's the best Scotch in my bar. (I keep J.W. Red on hand for the occasional Rob Roy.)

Lately I've delved into rye whiskeys, where I learned sad news: the good stuff starts at around $35 per 750ml. Out of desperation, I tried three cheaper brands side-by-side: Old Overholt, Jim Beam Rye, and Wild Turkey Rye. That's the order of their price, from lowest to highest, and alas, my preference in a blind test was for the reverse order. None were as good as the more expensive Sazerac brand—but then, even cheap Old Overholt made a lovely Manhattan.

Canadian whisky is brown vodka. Treat it accordingly (i.e., use it when you're more interested in tasting the other components of your cocktail). The "better" Canadian whiskies, while better, it's true, are not as good as other, non-Canadian whiskies that cost the same.

Irish whiskey is a bit of of a mystery for me. I like the basic Jameson slightly more than the basic Bushmills, and that's about all I know.

Lobo wrote:

Canadian whisky is brown vodka. Treat it accordingly (i.e., use it when you're more interested in tasting the other components of your cocktail). The "better" Canadian whiskies, while better, it's true, are not as good as other, non-Canadian whiskies that cost the same.

Hah! Good description.

Lobo you've got some really good advice going on in that post. I second your opinion on bourbon, especially for American whiskey drinkers. I saw an interview once with the makers of Pappy van Winkle and they explained that there's two reasons why bourbon is such a good value:

1) The climate in Kentucky tends to be more extreme than ireland or Scotland -- the hots are hotter and the colds are colder. The causes more expansion and contraction in the oak barrels, meaning they impart more flavor to the whiskey in a shorter amount of time. basically, you're speed aging your bourbon.

2) Because of the way America recovered from the darkest days of her history, bourbon makers were forced to put really awful, barely-aged-at-all stuff on the market and compete with mature products just sitting in bottles waiting for the repeal to be served. Thus, bourbon earned the reputation of being cheap american swill and had to be priced accordingly. Now, with 50+ years under the belts of the distilleries, bourbon has shed a lot of its badness but retained a lot of its attractive pricepoints. Add into that point #1, and you can get some stellar tasting bourbons that are much younger than competitive irish/scotch whisk(e)ys and also much cheaper.

I challenge you to find an irish or scotch whisky comparable in taste to Buffalo Trace bourbon at the same pricepoint (about 22 bucks in Michigan).

Seth wrote:

1) The climate in Kentucky tends to be more extreme than ireland or Scotland -- the hots are hotter and the colds are colder. The causes more expansion and contraction in the oak barrels, meaning they impart more flavor to the whiskey in a shorter amount of time. basically, you're speed aging your bourbon.

More true than you know.

I miss living there.

Lobo wrote:

Canadian whisky is brown vodka. Treat it accordingly (i.e., use it when you're more interested in tasting the other components of your cocktail). The "better" Canadian whiskies, while better, it's true, are not as good as other, non-Canadian whiskies that cost the same.

Thank you for this. I don't know how many times I've told a friend to get me a bourbon, and they return with Crown Royal. I then have to put my game face on, and be gracious. Crown Royal is pure marketing.

"Brown Vodka" is now my new name for Canadian whisky.

Lex Cayman wrote:
Lobo wrote:

Canadian whisky is brown vodka. Treat it accordingly (i.e., use it when you're more interested in tasting the other components of your cocktail). The "better" Canadian whiskies, while better, it's true, are not as good as other, non-Canadian whiskies that cost the same.

Thank you for this. I don't know how many times I've told a friend to get me a bourbon, and they return with Crown Royal. I then have to put my game face on, and be gracious. Crown Royal is pure marketing.

"Brown Vodka" is now my new name for Canadian whisky.

I have to say I'm loving it as well. That's my new go-to phrase.

Makers Mark is only good for mixing, it's not a sipping bourbon. Gotta go into the higher end to actually drink the stuff. Personally my go-to is Buffalo Trace. Evan Williams is my higher end choice, but really I wish I could find Pappy Van Winkle. I live in KY, how could I have not stumbled across a bottle by now?

Lobo wrote:

Canadian whisky is brown vodka. Treat it accordingly (i.e., use it when you're more interested in tasting the other components of your cocktail). The "better" Canadian whiskies, while better, it's true, are not as good as other, non-Canadian whiskies that cost the same.

I wish I could be the Irate Canadian and argue this point, but it's true. Canadian whiskey is pretty friggin' bland.

I bought Knob Creek last night. I poured a finger into a brandy snifter. It tasted like bourbon. I jammed my nose in the top of the snifter after holding it in my palm for a while and it almost knocked me out, astoundingly huge. It felt hot in the belly. I need to sample more. I like the character of bourbon a lot, so not sure if scotch will be my thing.

ColdForged wrote:

I bought Knob Creek last night. I poured a finger into a brandy snifter. It tasted like bourbon. I jammed my nose in the top of the snifter after holding it in my palm for a while and it almost knocked me out, astoundingly huge. It felt hot in the belly. I need to sample more. I like the character of bourbon a lot, so not sure if scotch will be my thing.

I hated scotch when I first tried it. Then, I learned to love bourbon. Then, I went back to scotch and it was like I'd never drank it before. It was amazing. For me, both were an acquired taste.

I'll echo Buffalo Trace and Bulliet as my go to's for the $20 price point. Really unbeatable bourbon for the money.

Next step up (upper $30 through $70 per bottle) is Knob Creek, Sam Houston 17 year, High West Rendezvous, Anchor Brewing's Old Potrero (when I can I can get it) and Vintage 17.

Nearing the $100 mark I like the Yamazaki 18 year.

I'd really like to try the Pappy Van Winkle but I just can't bring myself to drop $40 on a pour.

Lobo wrote:

Lately I've delved into rye whiskeys, where I learned sad news: the good stuff starts at around $35 per 750ml. Out of desperation, I tried three cheaper brands side-by-side: Old Overholt, Jim Beam Rye, and Wild Turkey Rye. That's the order of their price, from lowest to highest, and alas, my preference in a blind test was for the reverse order. None were as good as the more expensive Sazerac brand—but then, even cheap Old Overholt made a lovely Manhattan.

Try Rittenhouse, especially Rittenhouse 100, which is usually around $20 for a fifth.

I'd really like to try the Pappy Van Winkle but I just can't bring myself to drop $40 on a pour.

Can you not get a glass in a bar? That's how I tried it. Incredibly smooth.

PyromanFO wrote:
I'd really like to try the Pappy Van Winkle but I just can't bring myself to drop $40 on a pour.

Can you not get a glass in a bar? That's how I tried it. Incredibly smooth.

The only bar in San Francisco I've seen it by the glass was at Nihon Whiskey Lounge and it was $40.

Speaking of Nihon, if anyone ever comes to SF and wants to have have some whiskeys I'd advise avoiding that place. It's absurdly expensive (Bulliet was $12 per pour - ridiculous.) and elitest. Same goes for Bourbon and Branch. The Alembic in the Haight has a fine selection, better prices and an interesting dinner menu.

Tigerbill wrote:

beeporama,
Is there any good whiskey bars in Pitt? I will coming out sometime in Dec to visit friends, and would like to hit one up.

You might know that PA in general is a bit of a hassle because all spirit sales must go through state-run stores. Under the circumstances, though, there are still plenty of places that offer a very decent selection; any nice restaurant is going to have fine choices available.

The closest thing to a dedicated whiskey bar I'd recommend would be Piper's Pub, on the South Side, the go-to place for not-American-football/soccer.

I also understand that in Market Square is getting "Winghart's Burger & Whiskey Bar" but I don't know anything about it.

Some unsolicited advice: for cocktails, please check out Embury. (I have no stake in their business other than wanting to be there all the time.)

Thanks for the recomendations beep, I will actually be in Pitt this weekend and will persuade my friends that we have to go to Pipers.

Tasting tonight: My good friends have arrived with foofy martini mixers and... a bottle of Glenmorangie Nectar D'Or 12 years.

"This non chill-filtered single malt is initially matured in bourbon casks then extra matured or finished in sauternes 'barriques', to create a sumptuous taste."

With a Woodford palette and a Ten High budget, we shall see how I hold up. Reports in the morning.

PS: It's Scotch and Zombies night *fistpump*.

Strekos wrote:
Lobo wrote:

Lately I've delved into rye whiskeys, where I learned sad news: the good stuff starts at around $35 per 750ml. Out of desperation, I tried three cheaper brands side-by-side: Old Overholt, Jim Beam Rye, and Wild Turkey Rye. That's the order of their price, from lowest to highest, and alas, my preference in a blind test was for the reverse order. None were as good as the more expensive Sazerac brand—but then, even cheap Old Overholt made a lovely Manhattan.

Try Rittenhouse, especially Rittenhouse 100, which is usually around $20 for a fifth.

Yeah, for a $20 bottle that stuff was REALLY drinkable. I was just telling Nimcosi he should get some.

KrazyTacoFO wrote:

I'm sipping on some Makers Mark. After quite a few years trying a bottle every other year or so I think I can firmly say that it is over rated and would not really recommend it.

MM is my brother-in-law's drink of choice. I drink Beam and he seemed offended when I tried his Maker's for the first time and I didn't like it.

My family did shots of Black Velvet (Canadian whisky) yesterday in honor of my passed grandfather, whose bottle it was. Definitely drinkable, though light on taste.