Re: Scotch Drinkers
Scotch is most certainly an acquired taste.
I recall when I was younger, I wanted to try a scotch so I tried a Johnnie Walker Black on the rocks and nearly spit it out afterwards. Needless to say, I didnít know what to expect.
What I decided to do was backtrack and explore a couple of premium North American whiskeys first. I remember vividly trying and getting into Single Barrel Jack Daniels and Crown Royal Reserve. Very different tastes, but both awesome in their own right.
I remember revisiting Johnnie Walker Black after and it tasting better the 2nd time around, but still not as great as I had hoped (I don't think it's bad now, but I think it's a pretty underwhelming scotch personally). I remember being over at a friendís place and being offered a glass of Macallan 12 and being really impressed. It was just different than JWB. The sherry scent, medium body, smooth, little bit of spice, and lots of elements that give it just the right amount of sweetness. I think for the money, itís one of the best scotches you can buy.
The logical thing to do was try a more aged scotch, so I opted for a glass of Macallan 18 at a bar here in NYC. I thought it was good, but I canít say for the price and the supposed sophistication it was supposed to bring that I was floored. I was able to notice some differences between the Macallan 12. There was less of a bite to it, but it had more of a smoky flavor. The sherry scent was also stronger (probably because itís aged in sherry casks as opposed to fine oak). Iím just not sure itís worth over $100 more than the Mac12. Oddly enough, I was given a bottle as a gift a few years ago that I still havenít opened it.
I next went with Glenfiddich 18. A connoisseur I trusted kept saying that for the money and considering it was 18 year, it was an excellent buy. So I bought a bottle blindly. I was definitely impressed. I enjoyed it more than the Macallan 18. Also medium body, has a very oaky taste to it, a hint of spice, and all sorts of candied flavors. If youíre looking for an 18 year scotch, this is a good one for the money.
There was 1 scotch though that forever made me a diehard fan and that is Lagavulin 16. I was once offered a glass at a party and it blew my mind. It was just so distinctive. Itís full body, a real peat smoky taste, and just a bit of sweetness to balance it all out. A true real manís scotch if there ever was one I feel like. And the price is pretty reasonable considering.
I am by no means an expert, but I do enjoy scotch. Iíve tried plenty of others as well since, but these are the scotch experiences I remember the most. Unfortunately, itís not the cheapest pleasure. The more premium ones can be astronomically priced. And unfortunately, it can be hard to find bars that will serve them by the glass (or if they do, the markup can be too crazy). Iím always intrigued by the limited run scotches that are put out. Yet, Iím always torn between buying them. I want to try them, yet, Iíd want to hold on to them for their rareness. And they are usually too expensive to do both!