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Goldie
12-27-2010, 05:36 PM
So yesterday I stopped at the liquor store on my way to work (doesn't quite sound right, does it?) and was browsing their selection of Scotch and single malt(s) and what not. I wanted to get something to start out and the clerk recommended a small bottle of Johnnie Walker Red as a good place to start.

I also wanted to do some research but came up rather empty handed. So I have two questions that I hope someone can answer for me, or multiple people for that matter.

1. Is there is solid source of information (website) that is rather comprehensive when it comes to Scotch and single malts?

2. Does anyone know of an online retailer that sells a single malt sampler? I would like to get some small 50ml bottles as a taster before I start buying bottles.

And other than the above questions, does anyone have any general recommendations, information, etc that they would be happy to share with a Scotch newb. I look forward to diving into this world as much as I enjoy the cigar world.

Edit: And just to add, I have started browsing through some of the threads here, so I know this is a good place to start, but any information is appreciated.

Thanks gents,

Drew

alley00p
12-27-2010, 05:47 PM
You can try this site: http://www.whisky.com/

Also, you will find that single malt scotch from different regions taste totally unlike others. I prefer Islay malts, because of their "peaty" smoky taste. Others dislike that flavor, but prefer lighter, fruity tastes of other region's scotch.

For my tastes, Johnnie Walker is a good scotch whisky, but the Red Label is the lowest of the brand. Black Label or Blue Label are excellent, but pricier. YMMV

Enjoy!

Charlie
:dance:

BigCat
12-28-2010, 12:24 PM
I don't have much experience with web sites, as most of my experience has come from just sampling what friends have or trying different stuff at bars, etc. I think that's the best way to do it because no amount of info you can read online is going to tell you what you like until you have some tasting experience and can look for scotches that share similarities with what you have already enjoyed.

That being said, don't look to the johnny red as being representative of good scotch. I think the stuff is barely palatable. Others may disagree, obviously. For a blended scotch in the same price range as the johnny red, I prefer dewars white label. For a better blend, try Chivas or Dewars 12. For intros into single malt, try the glenlivet 12 and macallan 12. I think you can find the little bottles of each at a decent liquor store. These are highland scotches. I'd start there before moving onto the islays, which have a stronger flavor a scotch novice may not like.

One of the nice things about scotch, like cigars, is that someone else may read my post and completely disagree with what I've written. Good luck and enjoy.

markem
12-28-2010, 12:29 PM
The scotch thread (http://www.cigarasylum.com/vb/showthread.php?t=1029) has been an excellent source of information.

There are samplers about, at least according to google. I have no information as to quality of price, however.

dwoodward
12-28-2010, 01:46 PM
Don't bother with Johnnie Walker Red Label, something I have noticed is that most clerks don't have a clue what they are actually selling. Red Label is a good scotch to mix with if you have some voodoo recipe that includes scotch. It is not a sipping scotch.

If you want to sip scotch I would recommend Johnnie Walker Black, Glenlivet, or Chivas Regal. I have had all of those in the last few months, all are great buys for the price.

Lear31MX
12-28-2010, 02:15 PM
I'm also new to sigle malt scotch, the first one I had was Oban 15year, I tought it was good and it kind of got me started down a Slippery Slop.

I would suggest going to the bar:D

justonemorestick
12-28-2010, 02:17 PM
my 2cents

Bowmore Islay
The Singleton of Glendullan

Both good starter Scotches and available at Walgreens liquors not sure where else ~$30

dwoodward
12-28-2010, 02:21 PM
I would suggest going to the bar:D

This is actually a great suggestion. Tell the bartender you wanna sample some scotches on the rocks. He might have some suggestions based on what is popular amongst other drinkers. Most bars here have a pretty lengthy selection with at least 4-5 different scotches to choose from.

Get a designated driver. :r

alley00p
12-28-2010, 03:36 PM
my 2cents

Bowmore Islay
The Singleton of Glendullan

Both good starter Scotches and available at Walgreens liquors not sure where else ~$30

I agree with Warren on the Bowmore, but I have yet to try Glendullan. :D

What you will find is that they are a number of areas or regions where Single Malts are distilled. Each contributes to flavor the product of the region. I'd suggest that you try brands from different regions to see what your palate likes more. I've found that at times I enjoy a lighter, sweeter taste of a Highland or Speyside region scotch. But I most prefer the smoky taste of an Islay malt, but even then there are differences in flavor. One of my favorites, Laphroaig, tastes different in the 10 and 18 year bottlings and while they both have the brief, initial aftertaste of green olive, the 10 year seems to go better with smoking a cigar.

Some of my favorites I have on the shelf, here at home are:
Dalmore 15 (Highland)
Dalmore Cigar Malt (not found anymore in Michigan) :bh
Macallan 10 & 12 (Highland)
Dalwhinnie 15 (Speyside)
Glenlivet 12 (Speyside)
Glenlivet French Oak Reserve 15
Balvenie 12 Speyside
Speyburn 10 (Speyside)
Bowmore 10 or 15 (Islay)
Lagavulin 16 (Islay)
Laphroaig 10 & 18 (Islay)
Isle of Jura 16
Johnnie Walker Gold Label (Blended)
Johnnie Walker Blue Label

Here in Michigan, Costco carries a number of good single malts for very nice prices. I you have a good bar nearby, they may carry at least 2 to 4 brands, so you can do a trial tasting without having to buy a number of bottles that you find you don't like. When trying a scotch, get it served "up" with ice and a bit of water on the side. Most single malt scotch are tasted straight or with a few drops of water to allow the aromas to come out. After that, a little ice or water, as you like.

Enjoy,

Charlie

mmblz
12-28-2010, 03:40 PM
Tell the bartender you wanna sample some scotches on the rocks.

If you're going to put it on the rocks you might as well just stick with something cheap and not worry about "tasting" anything else.

Springsman
12-28-2010, 03:51 PM
Glenmorangie Quinta Ruba.....mmmmmmmmmmmm

awsmith4
12-28-2010, 04:27 PM
If you're going to put it on the rocks you might as well just stick with something cheap and not worry about "tasting" anything else.

:tpd:

Single malts are best enjoyed neat or with a drop or two of water (and I mean a drop)

pnoon
12-28-2010, 04:55 PM
If you're going to put it on the rocks you might as well just stick with something cheap and not worry about "tasting" anything else.

http://www.xtremequips.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/11/funny-pictures-super-genius-kitten-has-a-very-large-brain1.jpg

captain53
12-28-2010, 05:01 PM
If you're going to put it on the rocks you might as well just stick with something cheap and not worry about "tasting" anything else.

I bought some small ice trays that make about 3/4" square cubes and use distilled water in them to make special rocks for my single malts and bourbons when I want them that way, usually in the summer. 3 Special Rocks and 3 fingers work out about right on a hot day.

markem
12-28-2010, 05:09 PM
I'm posting this link (haven't read very much of it, but it seems okay) just so that I have an excuse to post the pic from the page

http://www.maltmadness.com/malt-whisky/beginners-guide-to-scotch.html

http://www.maltmadness.com/malt-whisky/40-0001.jpg

mmblz
12-28-2010, 05:58 PM
I bought some small ice trays that make about 3/4" square cubes and use distilled water in them to make special rocks for my single malts and bourbons when I want them that way, usually in the summer. 3 Special Rocks and 3 fingers work out about right on a hot day.

... but you still end up masking the flavor...
:2

Personally I feel there are better summer drinks - my scotch consumption goes down in the summer, up in the winter...
But then I also do not enjoy warm beer :r

SD Beerman
12-28-2010, 06:23 PM
The best way is to find a bar that carries lots of scotches. Then find a bartender that likes to drink them. Start when it's not busy so they can chat and ask questions. They use similar terms to describe beers, wines and foods so the terminology isn't too difficult. There are unique terms but they are easy to grasp. Be adventurous and if you don't like something initially go back after you have tried 10 more because your appreciation will change...Best of luck on another slippery slope....:2

Goldie
12-28-2010, 08:28 PM
Thanks for all the advice everyone. It sounds like that Johnny Red was a bad choice. I guess I should have just sprung for a bottle of Glenlivet or Macallan instead.

I became very friendly with a girl in some of my ASL classes who happens to be a bartender, maybe I should give her a call and see when she works next.

P.S. - I love the picture of the tricycle. Hilarious.

dwoodward
12-29-2010, 06:09 AM
If you're going to put it on the rocks you might as well just stick with something cheap and not worry about "tasting" anything else.

I don't know any scotch drinkers here that drink it neat. I prefer it on the rocks. (I don't know many tho...)

He can do whatever he wishes, was just a suggestion.

:tu

bigliver
12-29-2010, 06:34 AM
I don't know any scotch drinkers here that drink it neat. I prefer it on the rocks. (I don't know many tho...)

He can do whatever he wishes, was just a suggestion.

:tu

You must not know many scotch drinkers.:r:r:r

bigliver
12-29-2010, 06:43 AM
I personally am not a fan of any of the Johnny Walker labels, or the brothers Glen as I call them (Glenfiddich and/or Glenlivet and/or Glenmorangie). I pretty much stay stocked with Balvenie and Lagavulin. Not too pricey, but excellent flavors that are very different from each other.

dwoodward
12-29-2010, 06:49 AM
You must not know many scotch drinkers.:r:r:r

I really don't... I know me, 2 of my buddies, and 2 of my dad's friends who drink scotch. All of them use ice in different amounts. Most use just 1 cube, they say it brings out the flavors more. I use 2... I dunno. Warm scotch tastes weird to me, but then again I am still rather new to scotch.

bigliver
12-29-2010, 06:54 AM
I really don't... I know me, 2 of my buddies, and 2 of my dad's friends who drink scotch. All of them use ice in different amounts. Most use just 1 cube, they say it brings out the flavors more. I use 2... I dunno. Warm scotch tastes weird to me, but then again I am still rather new to scotch.

I kid. I kid.

Try having a glass of ice water near by and leave the ice out of the scotch. It was a change for me when I started not drinking something cold, especially having moved from beer. The ice water blast every once in a while did the trick. I still do this at times during the summer months. Note...don't chase the scotch with the ice water...this kind of defeats the purpose.

OLS
12-29-2010, 07:19 AM
If you're going to put it on the rocks you might as well just stick with something cheap
and not worry about "tasting" anything else.

Snob Alert, lol. :r

jmsremax
12-29-2010, 07:30 AM
Definitely drink it neat. I am still new to scotch but I enjoy Balvenie 12 DW and Glenlivet 12, but I am not a fan of JW. Check your liquor store....I was able to find a few nips (Glenlivet 12, JW, and Glenfiddich 12).

pnoon
12-29-2010, 07:37 AM
There is a huge difference between a small cube of ice (or a small dash of water) and "on the rocks"
:2

ATobin
12-29-2010, 08:18 AM
It's all shooter's preference, try new brands served differently (neat, drop, cube etc) until you find what you like. A 375ML bottle is a good size for taste testing many different brands without breaking the bank. Depending on your store, sometimes these are behind the counter so don't be afraid to ask.

mmblz
12-29-2010, 09:02 AM
Snob Alert, lol. :r

:r

I guess that is ok with me.
:tu


I'm not saying don't drink it on the rocks. Just if you do drink it on the rocks don't worry so much about what you are drinking.

A good single malt on the rocks is like a filet mignon that is well done and smothered with ketchup. Or taking a premium hand rolled cigar, ripping up the whole thing, and mixing it with cigarette tobacco, then rolling it zig zags.

yourchoice
12-29-2010, 09:09 AM
The scotch thread (http://www.cigarasylum.com/vb/showthread.php?t=1029) has been an excellent source of information.



That's a great thread, but this one (http://www.cigarasylum.com/vb/showthread.php?t=4846&highlight=scotch) is also fantastic. It really helped point me in the right direction as I was first learning about Scotch.

Tredegar
12-29-2010, 12:47 PM
I am also fairly new to scotch and have found out that too much ice will ruin a good scotch. I now like to put in one cube maybe two. Any more than that it thins the scotch out to the point that it loses most of its flavor. Right now I am drinking:

Glenmorangie 12 year old Nectar D'Or
Longmorn 15 Year Old

mmblz
12-29-2010, 02:24 PM
I would start with the following short list - these are all very common, and have enough variety to give you a good starting point - and do try them in bar before buying bottles:

Glenlivet 12
Macallan 12
Oban 14
Lagavulin 16

It's also a short enough list to be manageable :)

Goldie
12-30-2010, 07:06 PM
A good friend and fellow BOTL and I had the chance to go out last night and get some food, smoke some cigars, and enjoy some scotch. I had Johnny Gold and Noah's Mill. Both were very good. I was impressed how much I enjoyed them.

So today he stops over and surprises me with a bottle of Ardbeg 10 and Laphroaig 10. He was flying back home today, so it will be a while before I see him again, but I can't wait for us to get together and sample these bottles and some sticks.

warren G.
12-30-2010, 07:12 PM
Noah's Mill is one great bourbon. Ardbeg is peat ass rape, but really awesome Islay. The Laphroaig is a great Islay as well. The Ardbeg is more complex then the Laphroaig imo. But man you starting out with some heavy hitters. I remember my first Laphroaig experience and I was like "Damn dude did I taste fish...wtf?!?"

I would start with the following short list - these are all very common, and have enough variety to give you a good starting point - and do try them in bar before buying bottles:

Glenlivet 12
Macallan 12
Oban 14
Lagavulin 16

It's also a short enough list to be manageable :)

I would add Cragganmore 12, and Highland Park 12 =) great list.

Goldie
01-13-2011, 10:29 PM
Picked up some new bottles to try:

Auchentoshen three wood
Macallan 12
Glenlivet 12

Can't wait to crack 'em open and see what they have to offer.

RichardW
01-13-2011, 11:24 PM
[snip]

That being said, don't look to the johnny red as being representative of good scotch. I think the stuff is barely palatable. Others may disagree, obviously. For a blended scotch in the same price range as the johnny red, I prefer dewars white label. For a better blend, try Chivas or Dewars 12. For intros into single malt, try the glenlivet 12 and macallan 12. I think you can find the little bottles of each at a decent liquor store. These are highland scotches. I'd start there before moving onto the islays, which have a stronger flavor a scotch novice may not like.

One of the nice things about scotch, like cigars, is that someone else may read my post and completely disagree with what I've written. Good luck and enjoy.

what he said ...:tu

Frodo
01-16-2011, 11:30 PM
1. Is there is solid source of information (website) that is rather comprehensive when it comes to Scotch and single malts?

2. Does anyone know of an online retailer that sells a single malt sampler? I would like to get some small 50ml bottles as a taster before I start buying bottles.

And other than the above questions, does anyone have any general recommendations, information, etc that they would be happy to share with a Scotch newb. I look forward to diving into this world as much as I enjoy the cigar world.

Hi Drew:

1) The two biggest on-line forums are www.whishkywhiskywhisky.com and www.whiskymag.com with a ton of blogs out there. Wouldn't know where to start with the blogs - just google and start looking.

2) Not sure of on-line retailers in the US. But what I understand about 50ml bottlings is that most come in sets that illustrate a line with its extentions (ie. 4 Glenmorangies, Glenfiddich 12, 15 & 18, the 6 "Classic Malts" by Diagio etc.). I think getting these would be cheaper than going to a bar but only a few malts are bottled at 50 ml.

3) Try a dram before buying a bottle. Try it at a bar if you have to but don't just plonk down your coin because a review said it was good. Jim Murray's Whisky Bible is a really comprehensive tool when thinking about buying a dram at a store. A ton of whiskies tasted and reviewed.

Garbandz
01-17-2011, 08:42 AM
Here is a little info to start you out..........http://www.whiskywhiskywhisky.com/

remove the "H" from the first "whisky and try again......

Blended whisky is not worth the time to try. Springbank, Longrow, Highland Park, Dalwhinnie, Talisker, Clynelish, Scapa, Glenturret, all are top whiskies. A few drops of water open up the aromas and flavors in good whisky,use pure water.

All of the Islay brands are excellent,but are peaty and phenolic,they take time to appreciate.

Avoid any deeply colored whisky less than 20 years old,it has been adulterated to appear deeper.

Higher proof equals more flavor and complexity and of course more $$$$.....

Gordon & Macphail and Cadenhead are just two purveyors to try if you want sample mini's of single malts.

Celtic Whisky used to be a good source in Germany,see if Otto is still there........

Patrick B
01-18-2011, 12:30 AM
A good friend and fellow BOTL and I had the chance to go out last night and get some food, smoke some cigars, and enjoy some scotch. I had Johnny Gold and Noah's Mill. Both were very good. I was impressed how much I enjoyed them.

So today he stops over and surprises me with a bottle of Ardbeg 10 and Laphroaig 10. He was flying back home today, so it will be a while before I see him again, but I can't wait for us to get together and sample these bottles and some sticks.

I love both of those! I only drink the peaty Islay stuff, the others bore me. Can't wait to hang out at CigarExplorer and sip some scotch with you!