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Thread: Scotch Drinkers

  1. #31
    always ask questions bigredmechanism's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    new jersey

    Re: Scotch Drinkers

    Highland Park 12 Yr is an excellent choice as well as some of the other recommendations here. It runs between 50 and 60 for the bottle, kind of steep, but it's the brand that got me to really appreciate the single malt subtlety.

    I think when picking a single malt, it all comes down to how much you like peatiness. Some are much more pronounced than others. I've found that I didn't care much for the iodinic and medicine-y taste at first, but it grew on me. Since then, I've really started to like all the Islay Whiskies, which IMO are peat monsters. Nate's recommendation, Laphroaig, is probably my favorite of these.
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  3. #32
    Join Date
    Dec 2002

    Re: Scotch Drinkers

    Bar manager here.

    I'll just confirm what most here are saying. Single malt is the way to go if you want to get into the truly discerning flavors of different scotch. Glenfiddich, Glenlivet, Cardhu, Macallan, Dalwhinnie, and Glenmorangie are standard single malts that are always popular. Those pretty much cover your Speyside and Highlands.

    Your blended scotch is the best introductory way into them. When I first started, I went straight from drinking irish whiskey and bourbon almost exclusively to trying the Cardhu and Macallan's and didn't like it at all. I thought scotch tasted like bandaids. Avoided them for about 6 months, but when I went back, I started with Dewars and Cutty Sark to get my feet wet. The blended's are best for cutting your teeth on scotch and developing a palate for them before moving on to the single malts.

    For my serious scotch drinkers, I always seem to get the best response from Laphroaig. It's an Islay regional and has a SUPER peaty front end. It's not for everyone, but when you really get into scotch, it's where my regulars like to spend their time.

    Regardless, drink what you enjoy, however you enjoy it!
    "It is much easier to fight for one's principles than to live up to them." - Alfred Adler

  4. #33
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    New York, NY

    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!

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