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Miniatures: a good introduction to new malts?

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Miniatures: a good introduction to new malts?

Yes
504
88%
No
49
9%
I don't know
22
4%
 
Total votes : 575

Miniatures: a good introduction to new malts?

Postby Deactivated Member » Tue Sep 16, 2003 4:08 pm

Are minatures good introduction to new malts?
Last edited by Deactivated Member on Thu Oct 02, 2003 10:38 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Miniatures

Postby G. J. David » Mon Sep 29, 2003 10:54 am

The trouble with miniatures is that they are, well, so miniature. While there is no doubt that this is one relatively cost-effective means of attempting a tasting, the small size prevents confirmation or maturation of the taste regarding that particular whiskey. Much better to simply invite a few friends and then if the bottle tastes more like brown paint than amber ambrosia... the choice for the visitors who have stayed to the wee hours is born.
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Postby Deactivated Member » Mon Sep 29, 2003 4:01 pm

It's very good to get a miniature first from a malt whisky, before you buy a whole bottle of that stuff. Just to see if you like it or not.
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Miniatures: a good introduction to new malts?

Postby Lawrence » Mon Sep 29, 2003 4:25 pm

I always go for the full size bottle and to hell with the miniature. If I have a chance to buy a bottle, the miniature is usually not available and often I do not have the time to go back, I have one chance to buy. Anybody seen a mini of Laphroaig 30?
Last edited by Lawrence on Tue Jan 06, 2004 6:42 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby Stephen » Tue Oct 07, 2003 7:47 am

Miniature is often for looking, not for drinking.
but if you decide to open it,it will be a good way to understand the palate. :D
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miniatures: good introduction to ...

Postby Mike » Sun Nov 09, 2003 9:30 pm

I believe miniatures are indeed a good introduction to new single malts, although this would only be true and feasible for "young" ones. The classics would be worth tasting in the normal way: a gathering of friends for an enjoyable evening and a full-size bottle.
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Miniatures are great!

Postby LordDreyfus » Sun Nov 23, 2003 6:52 pm

My wife got me a set of six miniatures for our first anniversary. Most with names I've never heard of. It was a wonderful experience to conduct my own blind taste test! Now, I know of a couple bottles I'm in hot persuit for!
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Postby Leonidych » Mon Dec 29, 2003 2:41 pm

No:
(1) Miniatures are usually overpriced if calculated per liter;
(2) Malts in miniatures can taste differently (some; dunno why);
(3) If you empty the minuature, you destroy it (the looks, collection etc.);
(4) The amount is good for yourself only - even nothing to share with one pal;
(5) If it was good then you're frustrated because it's over.
Better ways of introduction:
(1) Listen, read, analyze - then decide (too theoretical, though);
(2) Share a bottle - and experience - with your friends (best);
(3) Make yourself comfortable at the bar and get a deal with a bartender: $10 overall for 10 ml each of 5-10 new malts in his bar - or whatever you bargain (tricky).
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TO A DEGREE

Postby Deactivated Member » Thu Jan 01, 2004 7:14 pm

I'm pretty new to malt. I decided that my starting point on the road of discovery would be to try one expression from each distillery. I think that I'm up to 62. Miniatures are an inexpensive way to achieving this aim, as is propping up the bar at a good hostelry for a few hours.

Once I've at least a feel for the type of dram that I like and dislike, I'll probably buy a few full bottles from my favoured distilleries.

I've already decided (as has my Scots-born wife) that "Littlemill" is utterly disgusting. And no-one will persuade me to try "Laphroig" again, although I know that it has many, many disciples.
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Postby PoppaMitch » Sat Jan 03, 2004 2:09 am

I felt that way about Laphroaig after I first tried it. Since I purchased a whole bottle, not a miniature, I went back to it again. And again. Then again and again. Unfortunately, not even "The Frog" can break through this miserable cold I've got.
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Postby peatreek1 » Tue Jan 06, 2004 1:13 am

In my opinion, many (most) whiskies tend to improve some after the bottle has been open, with the first dram tending to be towards the harsh side. I would think that with a minature one may not taste a whisky at its best. As others have noted, one's impression of a whisky may change as one become more familiar. I am therefore not a fan at all of minatures. For a beginnner to malts, minatures may make some sense in that one could get turned off to malts if you make a bad first choice.
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Postby Admiral » Fri Jan 09, 2004 12:48 am

whiskies tend to improve some after the bottle has been open, with the first dram tending to be towards the harsh side


I could not agree with you more, and this really hit home to me just last night as I was drinking Black Bottle 10yo.


I was very disappointed with this blend when I first opened the bottle and tried it (in fact, I made a few disparaging remarks about it in a few posts to these forums). It seemed lifeless, thin, one-dimensional.

I returned to it several times over four or five months, until the bottle was half-full, and then I forgot about it for about six months.

I poured a dram last night, and it was fantastic! There was a sweetness and fullness that had been absent previously. And the flavour was so more rounded.

So it seems that some whiskys actually enjoy a bit of oxidation!
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minatures

Postby Ardbeg78 » Mon Jan 19, 2004 11:40 pm

While it is always nice to have a minature to sample, I have found there are definite limitations due to the small amount.

I once split a minature of Johnny Walker Blue & came away thinking it was nothing special. Recenctly I was at an open bar that had JW-Blue (!) & with several samplings found that I like it very much. Had I only been exposed through the minature I would have gone through life missing a great whisky.
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Postby hpulley » Tue Jan 20, 2004 1:31 am

While they are a good way to introduce your self to a new malt, a miniature or a bar shot will not teach you all about a malt. I honestly believe it takes about half a full bottle (350mL) to really know a malt. And it has to be sampled over time, not in one evening to learn to appreciate it properly :lol:

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Postby PoppaMitch » Tue Jan 20, 2004 1:38 am

I'm sure that half a fifth will make you appreciate a lot of other things though! :lol:
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Postby Shigga » Tue Jan 20, 2004 11:29 am

I go with Harry: Minis are a good introduction to a single malt but not a way to get to know them "intimately" :lol:
As an afterthought, the regular bottles got a lot more style too, imho 8)
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Postby allan1 » Mon Feb 09, 2004 10:58 pm

Any good whisky shop will have free samples for most they sell.
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Postby hpulley » Mon Feb 09, 2004 11:03 pm

I wish they did that here! Some stores sample wine but never whisky here that I've seen. Maybe there is a big store in Toronto that does but I've never been to it, if it exists.

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Postby Tom » Fri Nov 26, 2004 7:37 pm

allan1 wrote:Any good whisky shop will have free samples for most they sell.

u can easely stripe the "free" part, most shops may give samples yes, but at a price and that price will be more then the miniature. at least here it is.
i think mini's are perfect for people that want to try every whisky out there but are on a budget. i recently changed to mini's too because well, i spent a fortune to tasting new whiskys every month, so now i just order a series of minis and taste them at home. i think for every single beginner out there this is just the cheapest way to go.
i strongly applaud distillerys that introduce minis, its just a pitty they dont do it with every single OB there is.
i have a long way ahead of me with alot of experimenting and honestly, if i were to buy a botlle of every single OB out there and probably more then one too i would be spending all my money for the next few decades.
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Postby Rudy » Mon Dec 20, 2004 12:56 am

I strongly do recommend miniatures to get acqainted with whisky from destilleries you never tried before yet.

It prevents:
1. ending up with bottles you are not really fond of
2. ending up with too many open bottles (or even worse, combined with the above remark).

If the mini is OK, you can safely buy the bottle and get to know this whisky better.

In the first years, trying to discover all those destilleries and the product portfolio of the destilleries I liked, I found out that some bottlings I bought were not that great. So, even if a mini is relatively more expensive, it would have saved me the expenses of a dozen of whiskies I'm not really fond of.

Now I only buy after tasting whiskies, or on recommendation.
I'm very lucky that the shops where I buy, do offer whiskies to taste. Open bottles range from 20 to 'can't count, maybe 100'.
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Postby MAMS » Mon Dec 20, 2004 7:25 pm

Not a great believer in using mini's to make any sort of judgement on a whisky.

Too many undecided factors can effect the whisky such as:-

cheaper / thinner glass
Plastic bottles
coatings on screw caps rather than plastic / wood corks (even the plastic corking has some effect on a Whisky)

for me a comparison is drinking beer on draft and from a can, the can gives the beer a "tinny" flavour where the best of it can be had from the draft version.

As to leaving unopened bottles kicking about, i have to admit to never yet having had a whisky i have found "undrinkable", yes there are ones which I would favour (usually the peaty monsters from the isles) but i've savoured a good number and yet to find one that turns me off (other than Bells :D ).

the best way to sample them i have found is to get a group of friends together and each bring a full bottle, that way the costs are relatively cheaper than mini's, you get more to drink, you get companionship, and best of all, usually someone will like the one you don;t and be willing to finish the bottle :D
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Re: TO A DEGREE

Postby Fraha » Fri Mar 04, 2005 11:44 am

eelbrook wrote:
I've already decided (as has my Scots-born wife) that "Littlemill" is utterly disgusting. And no-one will persuade me to try "Laphroig" again, although I know that it has many, many disciples.


Funny I should read this at this point in life...

Around 15 years ago I got a Laphroaig from a friend. 2 weeks later I returned the bottle (...) I tried three drams and did not like it at all. Filthy stuff I think i used that word at that time!

Now, in this point in time, i always have a bottle of Laphroaig in the cupboard for cold times. F.i. when returned from walking the dog or something.

I love this stuff now. What I'm trying to say is: Taste evolves in time so keep trying.
I also am a great fan for most Bowmore malts. Cleaned out a bottle of Bowmore Mariner 15 yesterday, still morning (sp?) now ;-)

Greetings from a cold The Hague - Netherlands! (-9c)

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Postby meatyork » Fri Mar 04, 2005 4:24 pm

Yes, but won't 20 cl bottles be better if there are any available?
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Postby emondhavi » Thu Nov 09, 2006 4:41 pm

ABSOLUTELY!!!

For lack of miniatures to try I've spent houndreds of dollars on full bottles of malts that I ended up not liking enough to even drink half. I've thrown whiskey down the drain after keeping a bottle around, almost full, for weeks, and finally realizing I'd never touch it again. Stuff priced $40 to $70 a bottle!. And I've done this with more bottles than I care to admit. If I don't like it, I won't drink it, I don't care what it cost.

If one miniature is too small for me to appreciate the liquor - I BUY TWO! - it's still MUCH CHEAPER than a full bottle. If it leaves me wanting more, better to want more than to throw away money on something I won't want at all. If I can't go back to the shop right away to get more - better to have something to look forward to than to have something to regret!

Hell, I wish there were miniatures of everything!

As for sharing, I'll share what I know I like, that way if my friends don't like it, I know I'll finish it off myself.

Overall, I think that the issue here is that some of us seem to have a lot more disposable income than others. I for one, can't afford to experiment with full bottles anymore. Hence, now a days I pretty much only buy what I already know, my discovery phase is over.

Reviews are useless to me. Maybe I lack the sophistication to understand the language, but they've only ever told me what someone else likes, not what I'll like. All of the bottles I poured down my drain, I picked from reviews that rated them well above 90 points!!!

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Postby lexvo » Thu Nov 09, 2006 5:54 pm

emondhavi wrote:Reviews are useless to me. Maybe I lack the sophistication to understand the language, but they've only ever told me what someone else likes, not what I'll like. All of the bottles I poured down my drain, I picked from reviews that rated them well above 90 points!!!


I wouldn't say reviews are useless, but it isn't a good idea to go by a review alone. I also made the experience that I didn't like a whisky that was well reviewed, and I like whiskies which have gotten only OK reviews.

Like others said, one should take his own journey of discovering whiskies.

Mini's are good for getting an impression I think. I myself like to try whiskies in a bar. But for me the best is a tasting with friends.
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Postby Jan » Thu Nov 09, 2006 8:50 pm

Wow and old thread - and more than 500 votes :shock: :D

But yeah - hard to disagree - minis are great, wish there were more available around here.
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Postby Jan » Thu Nov 09, 2006 9:25 pm

That's an interesting bit of news.

This would mean that we will se a lot of 20cl bottles in the future - not a bad thing at all.

Wonder if they will bottle som of the more interesting / rare / old malts as 20cl ?
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Postby Deactivated Member » Fri Nov 10, 2006 4:51 am

emondhavi wrote:Hence, now a days I pretty much only buy what I already know, my discovery phase is over.


That's a shame. I hope my discovery phase is never over! But I have to admit that I have settled into a safe range when it comes to beer, about which I was at one time as curious as I am now about whisky.

emondhavi wrote:Reviews are useless to me. Maybe I lack the sophistication to understand the language, but they've only ever told me what someone else likes, not what I'll like. All of the bottles I poured down my drain, I picked from reviews that rated them well above 90 points!!!


Boy, I hear this...so I just don't pay any attention to reviews any more. But your experience does strike me odd--in all the haphazard buying I've done, I've only had a very few whiskies I thought weren't worth drinking at all. (I drank them anyway! Dirty job, but it's gotta be done.) I'd be very curious to know exactly what you've poured down the sink (and will enjoy the schadenfreude involved when others here say "You dumped what?!?").

My local paper once had a movie reviewer with whom I disagreed pretty much 100% of the time. I read his column religiously, because he was such a good predictor of what I would like. And actually, what made him a really great reviewer was that, on the rare occasion I agreed with him, I knew I would agree with him.

Don't really know how that applies to whisky...but if folks here knew what you liked and didn't like, you could get a good cross-section of recommendations. On the other hand, if you are now simply into playing it safe and enjoying what you know...well, then, what are you doing here, anyway?
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Postby emondhavi » Fri Nov 10, 2006 10:32 am

MrTattieHeid,

I'm here to read whiskey talk - a pastime. Others read about sports, I read about single malt whiskey. I also read about Bourbon and about rum, and wine and beer.

None of this stuff I threw away was "undrinkable". The reason I throw away whiskey is because I always have an alternative. If I have one whiskey I don't care for and one I like, I'll continue to drink the one I like and neglect the other one. When the one I like is gone, I just buy more and continue to neglect the first one.

I have given many of those whiskeys a fair chance by coming back to them again and again for weeks, until I finally realized that no matter how hard I try, I won't like them any better. Then I throw them away. I won't drink stuff I don't like just because it's there. I drink strictly for the flavor of the liquor and I only derive pleasure from flavors I really like.

If I feel like a drink and the only whiskey around is one I don't like, and I can't afford more whiskey, I'd rather have a beer.

As for beer. I have a collection of 130 beer labels that I collected when I was researching beer. All of them imports (not american) a lot of English Ales. At $2 to $6 a bottle, I could afford to experiment a lot with beer. At $40 to $70 a bottle, I can no longer afford to experiment with single malt whiskey. Yet, I have bought full bottles of at least 20 different single malts in the last two years, and a number of minis I've found here and there. I already know my favorites, which are pretty much the ones most favored at this site; and my search is over, at least as long as I have to buy full bottles.

Sure I would love to try new malts, but not this way.

As for recommendations, this is too subjective to be worth the risk of the expense. I don't have much money.

I don't go to bars either, where the price of a shot of whiskey is more than a mini usually costs, at least in Manhattan. Not that you could find a mini of anything, which is the topic of this particular forum, and what started this discussion.

I've been experimenting with rum, a much cheaper drink. I read another poster's comment at another forum, of how much cheaper premium rum is compared to premium whiskey, and it's true. She's also from Manhattan.

So, for now, i continue to enjoy my favorite malts, and for variety, I explore rum. Where there are some gems to be had for $15 to $25 a bottle.

I've explored every other spirit already, from Vodka to Tequila. My last escapade on that area was a bottle of this premium vodka called Jean Marc XO - $65. It was everything it was supposed to be, smooth, flavorful, but I didn't care for it. Kept it around for a while, drank about half, gave the other half to my boss. I've also brought many half full bottles of Bourbon and other spirits to my coworkers, who have asked me for them when I told them I didn't want them, even though I feel kind of bad giving someone something I wouldn't drink myself.

So that's why I wish there were minis of everything. I love variety, I'd love to try a new spirit every day. Liquor is my hobby. I just can't afford to gamble my little income on expensive liquor I may not like.

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Postby les taylor » Fri Nov 10, 2006 11:59 am

Scotchio Wrote in another forum.

I opened a really young NAS Littlemill mini the other day and that was very inauthentically coloured piss!

Thats why I don't like miniatures.

:)
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Postby Ardbeg311 » Fri Nov 10, 2006 6:25 pm

I have found a lot of inconsistencies in the taste of minis and I have yet to have a mini that tasted better than a bottle. If I had based my opinion of the Balvenie 15 solely on the experience of the mini I had, I would have concluded this was one of the worst whiskies out there. I subsequently took a chance on a bottle and found it to be quite good. "Tastings" from a regular size bottle are a different matter and I would encourage anyone to try and taste a whisky this way before buying if they are unsure.

emondhavi:
I can certainly appreciate you not wanting to drop $200.00 on a whisky that you only heard was great. I can also appreciate the fact that if there are only whiskies around that you don't like that you won't buy anything. However, you live in Manhattan? You have an incredible whisky shop that should let you sample some fantastic whiskies. I know the Brandy Library is not cheap, but where else could you try the famous Oban 32yo? I shudder to think how much they would charge for a mini of this.

I would not be opposed to minis if they were, as someone else pointed out, larger (c.200ml) as it takes at least 4 drams to begin to properly assess a whisky. And if they had better seals (if this was indeed the problem for me).
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Postby emondhavi » Fri Nov 10, 2006 10:57 pm

I would not be opposed to minis if they were, as someone else pointed out, larger (c.200ml) as it takes at least 4 drams to begin to properly assess a whisky.


If as someone said before "a dram is whatever you want it to be" ... I get almost four drams out of one mini in my 1/2 ounce shot glass where I drink my whisky - enough for me to tell.

At a recent "Rum Fest" a friend of mine attended, all the samples were 1/4 ounce. I wonder what they are at Malt Advocate's Whiskey Fest, an event I keep missing.

Another good use I find in minis is variety, it allows you to have a few shots of different things when you are not in the mood for any one particular thing. There is stuff I enjoy now and then, but not enough to justify keeping a bottle around. Bourbon is one of those things.

But I would welcome a 200ml mini, and even a half bottle. Macallan makes one of those for the 12, and I've bought it a couple of times.

My first Macallan 18 came in a mini, and for a while I kept buying one or two now and then just to enjoy a few shots of the liquor because I liked it a lot, but couldn't part with over $100 at one time. They used to be very easy to find (at $4) now all I see is the 12. Eventually I got a full bottle as a present - loved it. Got hooked, followed up with my own purchase, and drank the whole thing in a week!.

Now I make an effort to I stay within the $40 - $60 range, because when I like a whiskey, a bottle doesn't last me more than two weeks, and that's what I can afford to live within my means.

Ardbeg311,

Thanks for the recommendation. I checked their site, and The Brandy Library does seem like an awesome place, though not my scene, I'm not the suit and tie type and I won't feel comfortable at a place like that. I also enjoy my liquor best without the social element.

Nice place if one can afford it, worth patronizing. In the end, it all comes around to the same issue: money.

Thanks,

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Postby Scotchio » Wed Nov 15, 2006 10:29 pm

Definitely, they also provide a great opportunity to sample old bottlings due to their collectable nature and affordable availability. A mini of Talisker 10 or lagavulin 16 from say 10 years ago would set you back around £4 max,relatively cheaper and easier to find than a 70cl bottle.

There is also something perversely satisfying about opening and drinking a 15 year old mini that has been carefully preserved for all that time by some collector specially for me to neck it in one night.

Tomorrow Oban 12 from a pear shaped late 80s bottle!
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Postby Drrich1965 » Wed Nov 15, 2006 10:42 pm

There are certainly pros and cons to the whole mini issue (as opposed to a small issue). On the negative side of things, I certainly have changed my mind about a malt after more then the two or three small “drams” that a mini affords me. One of my most interesting malt experiences was with a Signatory Bowmore 12yo 1989; I started hating it, and then something miraculous happened over the course of the bottle. I came to “understand” the malt, it began speaking to me more clearly, or perhaps I even surrendered to it in such a way that I grew to love it (hum, sounds like marriage, but than again….). Now, had that been a mini, I would never had had that experience.

On the positive side, I am not a wealthy man, but have a huge desire to try as many malts as I can. Towards this end, I like swapping samples of 50ml bottle with people. While a sample does not give me the definitive “view” of the malt, it goes give me a good introduction, and the pleasure of trying something new.
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Postby DramMeister » Mon Nov 27, 2006 9:36 pm

While on a christmas shopping expedition (in Ashby de la Zouch - a small town with two malt whisky shops :) ) I went into a deli. They had a selection of Cadenhead bottles but the missus was with me so I couldn't slip one into the basket. :?
Then I noticed a few minatures, standard mostly, but one was a Murray McDavid Laphroaig 13.
It was £2.60, pocket money price.
It made the whole trip worth it. 8)

Guilt free whisky.
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