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Old 12-27-2010, 05:36 PM   #1
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Default Fresh start with Scotch/Whiskey and single malt

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
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Last edited by Goldie; 12-27-2010 at 05:41 PM. Reason: Edit to add
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Old 12-27-2010, 05:47 PM   #2
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Default Re: Fresh start with Scotch/Whiskey and single malt

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!

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Old 12-28-2010, 12:24 PM   #3
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Default Re: Fresh start with Scotch/Whiskey and single malt

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.
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Old 12-28-2010, 12:29 PM   #4
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Default Re: Fresh start with Scotch/Whiskey and single malt

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.
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Old 12-28-2010, 01:46 PM   #5
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Default Re: Fresh start with Scotch/Whiskey and single malt

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.
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Old 12-28-2010, 02:15 PM   #6
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Default Re: Fresh start with Scotch/Whiskey and single malt

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
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Old 12-28-2010, 02:17 PM   #7
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Default Re: Fresh start with Scotch/Whiskey and single malt

my 2cents

Bowmore Islay
The Singleton of Glendullan

Both good starter Scotches and available at Walgreens liquors not sure where else ~$30
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Old 12-28-2010, 02:21 PM   #8
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Default Re: Fresh start with Scotch/Whiskey and single malt

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Originally Posted by Lear31MX View Post
I would suggest going to the bar
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.
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Old 12-28-2010, 03:36 PM   #9
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Default Re: Fresh start with Scotch/Whiskey and single malt

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Originally Posted by justonemorestick View Post
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.

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)
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
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Last edited by alley00p; 12-28-2010 at 03:43 PM.
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Old 12-28-2010, 03:40 PM   #10
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Default Re: Fresh start with Scotch/Whiskey and single malt

Quote:
Originally Posted by dwoodward View Post
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.
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Old 12-28-2010, 03:51 PM   #11
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Default Re: Fresh start with Scotch/Whiskey and single malt

Glenmorangie Quinta Ruba.....mmmmmmmmmmmm
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Old 12-28-2010, 04:27 PM   #12
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Default Re: Fresh start with Scotch/Whiskey and single malt

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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.


Single malts are best enjoyed neat or with a drop or two of water (and I mean a drop)
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Old 12-28-2010, 04:55 PM   #13
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Default Re: Fresh start with Scotch/Whiskey and single malt

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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.
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Old 12-28-2010, 05:01 PM   #14
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Default Re: Fresh start with Scotch/Whiskey and single malt

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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.
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Old 12-28-2010, 05:09 PM   #15
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Default Re: Fresh start with Scotch/Whiskey and single malt

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-whis...to-scotch.html

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Old 12-28-2010, 05:58 PM   #16
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Default Re: Fresh start with Scotch/Whiskey and single malt

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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...


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
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Old 12-28-2010, 06:23 PM   #17
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Default Re: Fresh start with Scotch/Whiskey and single malt

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....
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Old 12-28-2010, 08:28 PM   #18
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Default Re: Fresh start with Scotch/Whiskey and single malt

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.
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Old 12-29-2010, 06:09 AM   #19
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Default Re: Fresh start with Scotch/Whiskey and single malt

Quote:
Originally Posted by mmblz View Post
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.

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Old 12-29-2010, 06:34 AM   #20
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Default Re: Fresh start with Scotch/Whiskey and single malt

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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.

You must not know many scotch drinkers.
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