1st time scotch

Love bourbon but still enjoy an occasional foreign whisky pour as well? Discuss some of your favorites here.

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1st time scotch

Unread postby Brett » Mon Mar 22, 2010 8:34 pm

Hi all,
I am completely new to scotch, all whisky for that matter, I drink Guiness and only Guiness as far as beer goes. I also like ports and cream sherry with my pipe. I have been wanting to try scotch but I want to get a bottle that I will enjoy and not one that will turn me completly off of whisky altogether. any suggestions would be greatly appriciated. Also, I don't want to break the bank right off the bat, I Iive on a Firemans salary so be gentle! The wife will only put up with so much. LOL
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Re: 1st time scotch

Unread postby Mike » Mon Mar 22, 2010 9:10 pm

Well, Brett, your constraints are real and I don't know what to say. I have some experience with scotch but am far from being truly knowledgeable. I would recommend that you begin with Johnny Walker Black Label. It is quite good in my judgement, as many blended scotchs are, and is reasonably priced (at least last time I looked).

The taste of bourbon is quite different from scotch and I recommend that you begin tasting bourbon with Evan Williams or Old Taylor at 80 proof. Since you drink Guiness beer, you are familiar with strong tasting beverages and may move up from 80 proof bourbon rather quickly. Most scotchs are 80 proof so that is what you will most likely be drinking. There are some Single Malt Cask Strength (straight from the barrel and undiluted) but even the least expensive of these is about $55.

While it might seem that this site is only for experienced bourbon (or scotch) drinkers and that is often implied, I am sure that there is more than enough room for someone who is on an understandably limited budget (who does not admire the underpaid and brave fireman?), but is looking to expand his taste experience.

Please post your experiences and ask your questions with the assurance that not a one of us is your superior in any way whatsoever. In fact, with you being a fireman, I already know that you are a braver man than I am. As a kind of thank you for your public service (I am a retired public servant), if you find something in the scotch or bourbon line you want to try, let me know, if I have it or can get it at a reasonable price, I would be glad to send it along to you.

By the way, I also like port and drink it and use it in cooking.
Do not go gentle into that good night,
Old age should burn and rage at close of day;
Rage, rage against the dying of the light. - Dylan Thomas
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Re: 1st time scotch

Unread postby gillmang » Mon Mar 22, 2010 9:49 pm

Brett, Mike's comments are well-put and I agree Johnnie Walker Black is good scotch. There are many blends that taste good, some others are Ballantine and Dewars, also Bells. Teacher's is another. These are good standard whiskies. Since you like Guinness, consider also Jameson's whiskey (both are Irish drinks and have a certain affinity I'd say). Jameson's has a good minty flavour, quite un-Scotch-like and un-bourbon like. But that's the thing about these drinks - all are different and within each group you will find variations on a theme.

Let us know how it goes.

Gary
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Re: 1st time scotch

Unread postby Brett » Mon Mar 22, 2010 9:56 pm

Thanks Mike and gillmang, I'll give the johnny walker black a try. Once I find something I like I don't mind paying for the finer things, but i hate to throw my wallet at things I'm not sure about.($50 - $75 bottle to start with is well within my means) I already have a taste for collecting and smoking nice pipes, and believe me, quality briar can get pricey. The wife lets me get away my indulgances as long as long as I show a little restraint. LOL.
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Re: 1st time scotch

Unread postby Mike » Mon Mar 22, 2010 10:17 pm

Another good alternative for you is to go to a bar with a nice selection of single malts and blended scotchs and try a few different ones. You can try a shot for a lot less than you would spend for a bottle. Some are quite smokey (Talisker, Ardbeg, Lagavulin, Laphroaig), some are a bit on the sweet malty side (Macallen, Aberlour, Balvenie, Glenmorengie), and others sort of twixt and tween (Highland Park, Bowmore).

As to the blends, the Famous Grouse is usually pretty reasonable, and, in my humble opinion, Chevis Regal is overpriced and no better than much cheaper stuff. I haven't a clue what it costs but this weekend I had a sip of Pinch and found it to be very good.

All this advice is from a semi-literate scotch drinker. Maybe some of our more experienced scotch drinkers will offer more better advice. But, this site is far and away more devoted to bourbon than to scotch, so be aware of that. There are both scotchs and bourbons known to be good for cigar smokers and the same may be true for pipe smokers.
Do not go gentle into that good night,
Old age should burn and rage at close of day;
Rage, rage against the dying of the light. - Dylan Thomas
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Re: 1st time scotch

Unread postby gillmang » Tue Mar 23, 2010 6:26 am

Grouse is a good brand. The big sellers generally are good products, Ballantine's in particular in my view. Most of them have line extensions, say a specially aged version, which costs a little more. In the price range mentioned (but on the upper end), many good single malts are also available, e.g., Glenmorangie, Aberlour, Glenlivet. I'd try the Johnnie Walker Black first to get a sense of what a quality blended scotch is, then if you like that maybe try one of the single malts mentioned. The blended scotches are combinations of different single malts and "grain whiskies", which are a kind of lighter base. With the malt scotches, it is all-malt whisky though, so richer and fuller in taste generally.

Incidentally I have heard some people say that Blanton, a quality bourbon, reminds them of a good scotch - something maybe to bear in mind for the future.

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Re: 1st time scotch

Unread postby PaulO » Sat Mar 27, 2010 11:52 am

I have to say I tend to favor bourbon, but I will have Scotch once in a great while. Usually at a party or friends house. I think the idea of trying some differnt shots at a bar is good advice to see what you like. There is a single malt I have picked up for around $20 on sale; Speyburn. I thought it was pretty good, well balenced and more herbal than peaty.
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Re: 1st time scotch

Unread postby ebo » Thu Apr 01, 2010 7:47 pm

If you like Sherry, I would suggest you start with a Speyside like The Macallan 12. It is a Sherry cask whisky that has a bit if Sherry sweetness to it, without any noticeable smoke. It's hard to go wrong with any offering from Aberlour either. If you want a bit of smoke, without it overpowering the whisky, Try Highland Park 12. Ardmore Traditional Cask is also an excellent peated Speyside that is sweet, along with the smoke.

As mentioned by a few already, JWB is a very good blend. I'm not much for blends myself, but I do really like the Teacher's quite a bit. It is a blend, but it contains 40% pure malt... most of it from Ardmore.

There is such a wide range of flavor profiles to be found in Scotch; you really have to just try a few different ones, and see what taste profiles you prefer. If you decide that you really like a smokey whisky... the Isay whiskies are what you want... Laphroaig, Lagavulin, Bowmore, Ardbeg, Caol Ila. Speyside whiskies are more on the sweet side, with a lot less noticeable peat (smoke)... Macallan, Benrioch, Cragganmore, Balvenie, Glenlivet, Glenfiddich. Then there are all the other regions; Highlands, Lowlands, Campbeltown, Orkny, Skye... with falvors ranging from earthy grass to sea salt. Scotch is truly a beautiful thing! :mrgreen:
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Re: 1st time scotch

Unread postby John Wesley » Tue Jun 29, 2010 3:38 pm

Try Teachers Highland Cream, very good and won't break the bank. If you want to try a single malt, my experience with introducing beginners to Scotch, and I am a very experienced Scotch drinker, is that Glenmorangie 10 the original is the best. It is trendy for the sherried cask scotch drinkers, (i.e. Macallan)nd the Islay drinkers, (i.e. Lagavulin) to criticize Glenmorangie as a 'beginners' Scotch, but believe me, it is an exquisitely elegant Scotch available often in the low 30 dollar range on sale. I love Islays and Springbanks, but those are ones to avoid for a new Scotch drinker as they are an acquired taste.

Good luck

JW
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Re: 1st time scotch

Unread postby ebo » Sat Jul 17, 2010 3:04 pm

John Wesley wrote:Try Teachers Highland Cream, very good and won't break the bank. If you want to try a single malt, my experience with introducing beginners to Scotch, and I am a very experienced Scotch drinker, is that Glenmorangie 10 the original is the best. It is trendy for the sherried cask scotch drinkers, (i.e. Macallan)nd the Islay drinkers, (i.e. Lagavulin) to criticize Glenmorangie as a 'beginners' Scotch, but believe me, it is an exquisitely elegant Scotch available often in the low 30 dollar range on sale. I love Islays and Springbanks, but those are ones to avoid for a new Scotch drinker as they are an acquired taste.

Good luck

JW

I couldn't agree with you more about Glenmorangie 10. I always have a bottle on hand.
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