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Tips for a novice.

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Tips for a novice.

Postby Jon.McGregor » Sun Feb 05, 2012 4:36 pm

Hello,

I've just started getting into scotch whisky about a month ago.
Preferably single malt.
I'm excited to be here at this forum, and soak I'm everything I can.

Currently I've I have tasted this far is glenfiddich 15yo. And I must say, I'm in love.
I was given 5cl of port Ellen 1980. I so badly wanted to enjoy it, but with it being out of production, I decided against it. Ugh. Lol
Also have gotten a 5cl bottle of old st Andrews blend.

I currently have these books on the go:
Charles MacLean - whiskypedia revised edition (2011)
Daniel Lerner - single malt & scotch whisky (2010)
William M. Dowd - barrels & Drams the history of whisky (2011)
Charles Maclean - great whiskys 500 best from the world (2011)
Michael Jackson - malt whisky companion 6th edition (2010)
Kate Hopkins - 99 drams of whisky
Charles McLean - malt whisky (2011)

If there is any advice or knowledge you can share it would be much appreciated.
I look forward to the responses.

Jon
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Re: Tips for a novice.

Postby Ganga » Sun Feb 05, 2012 10:45 pm

Well, first suggestion is get yourself a good glass for drinking. Good choices for this are glencairn, tulip or brandy glass.

Second suggestion, get minis if available. This will help you explore.

Third suggestion, find a friend where you can share expenses on bottles.

Fourth suggestion, come out and ask for help.
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Re: Tips for a novice.

Postby Jon.McGregor » Sun Feb 05, 2012 11:09 pm

I do have a glencairn with a lid. And I must say, the difference is amazing.
I personally never looked into minis, but that's a great idea.
The crappy thing is, I have no one to share my experiences with yet. All my friend and family won't join me. Lol
They are missing out.

Where would a good viable next step be after the glenfiddich 15?
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Re: Tips for a novice.

Postby Ganga » Mon Feb 06, 2012 5:10 am

Where are you at? We may be able to help out.

I think you might like the Fiddich 18. :thumbsup: Try something that is big sherry or big peat. Aberlour a'bunadh or Laphroaig 10 would cover those.
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Re: Tips for a novice.

Postby Jon.McGregor » Mon Feb 06, 2012 1:37 pm

St catharines, Ontario. Near niagara falls.
Generally, I go over the border to buffalo, NY as the LCBO in Ontario overcharges like crazy!
Glenfiddich 15 was like 60 dollars here, but in NY i think it goes for like 30.
Nuts, eh?

If I go be peat, I think I can get a bottle of lagavolin 16 for 80. Good deal?
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Re: Tips for a novice.

Postby bredman » Mon Feb 06, 2012 4:03 pm

Welcome Jon.
As you're new to Malt i think you should just keep buyin' and tryin'. Your tastes will alter a lot over the next few years, and there are many styles to try.

You mention peat. Ardbeg, Lagavulin, Laphroaig, and Caol Ila - and to a lesser extent Bowmore - are your best bets for the smokey/peaty experience. There are other peaty drams, but those 4 Islays are the masters of that craft. I'm not sure what the LCBO have available but the Ardbeg 10 is difficult to beat.
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Re: Tips for a novice.

Postby Jon.McGregor » Mon Feb 06, 2012 6:57 pm

Thanks bredman!

Everyone has been very helpful here, and I much appreciate it!
I've only started, and I'm having so much fun already.

My bottle and glen cairn at my dining table, with my notebook ( i try to track home my taste expands). A great half-hour, I must say.

Has anyone actually had port ellen 1980? who wants to tease me and left me know what I'm missing out on it? LOL!
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Re: Tips for a novice.

Postby whiskynig » Tue Feb 07, 2012 12:49 am

Hi Jon.
Welcome -- and enjoy! Relax, you will find out what suits and what does not.
You may like something now and in another few days/weeks/months find out it is horrible.
A lot of whisky drinking in my experience is a sensory event, relating to different memories, and once you find some drinking buddies it will get better and better.
One thing I will say is to watch your budget, and try to stick to it. A lot of posts on this site refer to things which are way out of reach for some of us, we can only dream about being able to afford them-strangely, you might find that you really dislike the most expensive whisky you purchase, which is also a bummer, but dont beat yourself up about it.
Glenfiddich 15 is a great whisky, particularly if you have the solera, which I think pound for pound is the best in the range. I personally dislike Port Ellen immensely, as I do Laphroaig, but I love Caol Ila, Ardbeg and Lagavulan.
You just need to look at the shelves, decide on a price range, choose a bottle you like the look of (I kept on going for ones I did not recognise in the early days, bit tricky now though!), try with and without water to check out the differences, and you will eventually be posting on here like an old hand.
Slainte. :D
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Re: Tips for a novice.

Postby Jon.McGregor » Tue Feb 07, 2012 2:08 pm

Drinking buddies is a work in progress. LOL
I've set a strict budget, and have said to myself "I won't purchase a bottle over that price"
Even though Glenfiddich 15 solera my first smcw, i enjoy it heavily.
Like, I just had an canadian blend last night, Wisers De luxe. very poor.

I haven't tried anything with water yet? I heard it more just for cask strength, no?

THANKS!
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Re: Tips for a novice.

Postby bredman » Tue Feb 07, 2012 8:37 pm

Jon.McGregor wrote:I haven't tried anything with water yet? I heard it more just for cask strength, no?


For me yes. You'd be surprised how little water can change a whisky though. There are folk out there that add water with a pipette and count just a few drops!!

As a noob you may like to check out the "whisky reviews" at ralfy.com.
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Re: Tips for a novice.

Postby Nu2Whisky » Sun Apr 29, 2012 9:39 am

Hiya Jon,

Jus like my name, not only am I new to whisky but new to alcohol and lets just say i'm in my mid 30'S :-) :shock: It's April now - so nearly 6 months!

Anyway. great that you've started with SM. My first foray was a Bells. Uggh !! :yuk:
Bought a Shiva's 12 & Jameson Special Reserve. Those were ok. Always mixed with some apple soda.

The Glenfiddich 12 & 15. JW Gold & JW Blue - from these i'v only drank neat - no water, no ice. Then a 10YO Glenmorangie - better than the JW Blue imho at a 1/3 the price point! :thumbsup:

Recently had Highland Park 12YO - OMG. love it. :insane: Tried some Singleton 12YO and maybe need to experiment with it - cant waste a bottle now.

I must say, I went cold from about mid-Jan to mid-April. For some reason I could not stomach the stuff.

Anyway, I seriously cant say anything about it has wafts of old feet on a Sunday afternoon and finishes with dry chilli salt but I do like stuff that is sweetish and can pick up what is smokey and peaty (i think).

The best videos I watched is on Highland Parks website - why its taken me so long to purchase their product, i don't know but its really informative and generic.

Code: Select all
http://www.highlandpark.co.uk/video/core-expression-tastings


Watch the first vid of the 12YO tasting.
(Its under the Learn About Whisky section)

Hope that helps. Cheers
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Re: Tips for a novice.

Postby Willie JJ » Sun Apr 29, 2012 11:32 am

Welcome jon.

I agree with what folk are saying. Keep the budget under control, at least until you have more confidence in what you are buying. Minis are a good idea and popping into bars to try what they have on offer is another. There are many good whiskies out there for reasonable money and it is definitely the sensible way to start. Also look out for any festivals/tastings that might happen within travelling distance. You can learn a huge amount in a very short time at these things.

I advise you to leave the Port Ellen alone until you have a lot more experience of heavily peated whiskies (Ardbeg, Caol Ila, Laphroaig, Lagavulin, etc.).
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