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Suggestions for a Newbie

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Suggestions for a Newbie

Postby toca » Sat Oct 10, 2009 3:27 pm

I'm new to this forum and hobby and rapidly becoming addicted. However, my tastings have been limited. One of my first was Bruichladdich 15 and really enjoyed it. I can't seem to find this in my area any longer so I'm trying to figure out my next bottle or three ;-).

The ones I'm considering are:
Bunnahabhain 18, Balvenie 15, Highland Park 15 and maybe Caol Ila 18.

My other samplings have been limited but at this point I'm not a fan of peated single malts so not sure if the Highland Park or Caol Ila have high levels of peat.

Reviewing many of the posts here, it appears their are many knowledgeable in this area, so please don't hesitate to offer your opinons about the ones listed above or one I have overlooked (which I'm sure I did).
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Re: Suggestions for a Newbie

Postby Wub » Sat Oct 10, 2009 4:21 pm

When you say you're not a fan of peated whiskies it might help to mention what you've tried to give you that impression: don't give up on peat just because you didn't like, say, Laphroaig. You're probably pretty safe with the Highland Park. I'd say Caol Ila has a "medium" level of peat, which tends to manifest as smokiness.
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Re: Suggestions for a Newbie

Postby johan brugge » Sat Oct 10, 2009 4:31 pm

I've had a Caol Ila 18yo. It was ok but I don't like the citrussy notes in the palate that much. You might want to try a Bowmore 17 or 18. It's not that peaty with lots of gentle flavours. The Highland Park is also nice. It's IMO somewhat sweeter and saltier. But just like me, I think you need to learn to appreciate the strongly peated whiskies. I got hooked on them anyway.
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Re: Suggestions for a Newbie

Postby toca » Sat Oct 10, 2009 5:07 pm

Thank you for the quick replies. WUB, I can't recall the one I disliked. Had one glass that was ordered by someone else and all I know is I didn't enjoy the taste of smoke. Can't say if the level was medium or heavy based on my experience level, but after having Dalwinnie 15 and Bruichladdich 15 then Bruichladdich Rocks in that order, I didn't like the smokey taste. Collector57, thanks for your order of suggestions. I saw that the Bunnahabhain 18 won an award for best unpeated Single Malt (published in Whiskey Magazine) and is why I put it on my short list. And Johan, I agree with you - I have a lot to learn. I'll add the Bowmore 18 to the short list, thanks!
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Re: Suggestions for a Newbie

Postby Drammed » Sat Oct 10, 2009 5:34 pm

If you do not like peat at all then you might want to start with malts from the Speyside region. Balvenie is a fantastic whisky in all forms. The Highland park will not have much smoke on the nose but you will taste it on the finish. Caol Ila will have lots of smoke (but not as much as say Ardbeg). Other Speysiders that you might want to try are Macallan 12 (if you like the sherry) or Cragganmore 12 if you do not like sherry.
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Re: Suggestions for a Newbie

Postby toca » Sat Oct 10, 2009 5:48 pm

Drammed, how about the Macallan Fine Oak 15 or Cask Strength vs the Macallan 12? Any differences?
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Re: Suggestions for a Newbie

Postby Whisky1978 » Sat Oct 10, 2009 6:36 pm

Taste is personal but from the range I would take the Highland Park 15Y (Not to much peat nor sherry)

If your reasonably new in whisky tasting why not explore you're taste first in the more "affordable" whiskies to find out what kind of whisky you like before make the step to the more expensive bottles?

If you try the Highland Park 12y you probably also like the 15Y and why not try the Balvenie 12 Double wood first before the 15Y which is almost double in price?

In het Netherlands and Belgium there are 2 good websites where you can buy whisky staples for just a couple of Euro's. I think they also ship outside Europe but then the shipping costs are much higher.

See:
http://www.whiskysamples.eu
http://www.rarewhiskysite.com

I buy a lot of samples from this kind of websites so that I can sample 3 to 4 new whiskies every week (just a hint if you want to explore whiskies)
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Re: Suggestions for a Newbie

Postby toca » Sat Oct 10, 2009 7:13 pm

I like the idea of getting a whiskey sampler kit and would go a long way to determining my likes/dislikes. If you tried the Balvenie 12 DW and 15Y, are you saying there is not much of a difference? Unless they are similar, I would go for the 15Y as it is only a $15 difference in price.

Also curious if anyone has tried the Bruichladdich 15 and if so, your thoughts compared to some of the ones listed here.
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Re: Suggestions for a Newbie

Postby johan brugge » Sat Oct 10, 2009 7:28 pm

Whisky1978 wrote:In het Netherlands and Belgium there are 2 good websites where you can buy whisky staples for just a couple of Euro's. I think they also ship outside Europe but then the shipping costs are much higher.

See:
http://www.whiskysamples.eu
http://www.rarewhiskysite.com


There is also another shop that sells samples (in Europe and worldwide). It's Jurgen's Whiskyhuis at http://www.whiskyhuis.be You can find a list of the samples in pdf on the left of the webshop page (underneath the item 'nieuwsbrief').
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Re: Suggestions for a Newbie

Postby toca » Sat Oct 10, 2009 7:47 pm

Yes, I don't know my way around here just yet and the best place for information, so thanks for the tip
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Re: Suggestions for a Newbie

Postby Drammed » Sat Oct 10, 2009 8:55 pm

toca wrote:Drammed, how about the Macallan Fine Oak 15 or Cask Strength vs the Macallan 12? Any differences?


Quite a lot of differences actually. The cask strength is a sherry beast and around 57% abv you can dilute it until you find your taste. The fine oak is much less sherry than the 12 and for my taste not the best Macallans. The Cask strength is good, and if you like it you might want to try the Aberlour A'bunadh as it is a cask strength sherry monster too (and much appreciated on the forums).
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Re: Suggestions for a Newbie

Postby jazz lover » Sun Oct 11, 2009 2:39 am

Good starter scotches;
Cragganmore
Strathisla
macallan 12 sherry
Longmorn 15
Springbank 15
Aberlour
Balvenie DW
Dalmore
Glengoyne
Glen Moray.....
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Re: Suggestions for a Newbie

Postby Reggaeblues » Sun Oct 11, 2009 2:43 am

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Post Sat Oct 10, 2009 8:53 pm

Drammed wrote:if you like it you might want to try the Aberlour A'bunadh as it is a cask strength sherry monster too (and much appreciated on the forums).


C57 wrote: "I still have a batch 20 stashed somewhere... (No spare batch 14 though, unfortunately)"

Nick, you jammy b*****!! I luuuurved batch 20. Remember being handed a HUGE helping by my wife, when Lewis won the F1 title last year - i asked her to pick one for me!

Almost finished the B15 I bought from you. Very good, but...20 shades it!
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Re: Suggestions for a Newbie

Postby Ardbeg311 » Sun Oct 11, 2009 11:16 am

I like the suggestions of the Balvenie 12yo DW or the Mac 10yo/12yo (sherry) as good exploring options. They are fine whiskies that won't break the bank.

To add something different here though, I might recommend as well the Longrow CV. I am aware that you said initially that you are "not a fan of peaty single malts" and I would classify Longrow in general as a peaty malt. But you later clarified this, at least I think you did, by saying you "don't like smoke." The CV is not smokey, at least not like some of the famous Islays Ardbeg, Laphroaig, and Lagavulin and so has a very different tasting profile. Best of all, the Longrow CV is also very affordable, one of the best 'bang-for-your-buck' whiskies out there.
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Re: Suggestions for a Newbie

Postby toca » Sun Oct 11, 2009 2:07 pm

Guys, thank you for all the replies - much appreciated. With all the affordable suggestions, it looks like I'll be picking up a few bottles instead of the one I originally planned. Yes Ardbeg311, I'm not found of the smokiness - yet. I like your suggestion of the Longrow CV as this may move me in a different direction and broaden my tasting experience. Checking the price it certainly is affordable. Will try to sample it first though, before purchasing.
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Re: Suggestions for a Newbie

Postby johan brugge » Sun Oct 11, 2009 7:31 pm

Yes, I also think Ardbeg311 has a point about the Longrow. I have a Longrow 1993. You can taste peat but hardly any smoke. The palate is refreshing and quiet complex.
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Re: Suggestions for a Newbie

Postby schitzengiggles » Tue Oct 13, 2009 4:28 am

caol ila 18 wasn't excessively peaty in my books. it was a delightful whisky.

my off the clock whisky reviews:
http://schitzengiggles.net/wp/tag/whisky/
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Re: Suggestions for a Newbie

Postby dramtastic » Tue Oct 13, 2009 4:50 am

schitzengiggles wrote:caol ila 18 wasn't excessively peaty in my books. it was a delightful whisky.

my off the clock whisky reviews:
http://schitzengiggles.net/wp/tag/whisky/


Agreed.
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Re: Suggestions for a Newbie

Postby Reggaeblues » Tue Oct 13, 2009 10:58 am

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Post Sat Oct 10, 2009 3:24 pm
Nick wrote: "The Caol Ila will be fairly peaty and you may not like that."

Let's remember that Toca does not (yet) have a taste for peated malts. To someone in that position, I would rate both the CI 18 and the CV in this category. Me, i love them both, esp. the CV, which reminded me of a less in-yer-face alternative to the Ardbeg 10! But I think he might find both overpowering.

Highland Park is a good idea. Also, having just got my tastebuds back after a heavy cold(and no whisky!) i am really enjoying a bottle of Johnny Walker Green label at the moment!

Toca, this is a vatted malt, containing both sweet and gentler, fruity Speyside malts, and the more rugged, Island malts - Talisker and Caol Ila. It starts off nice and round, even sweetish...and tails off with some lovely dry, subtle maritime "seashore" elements. you might like to try this.

Meantime, don't be afraid to investigate and educate your palate to the peatier, smokier malts. Take a friend to a bar or two, where you won't have to invest in a whole bottle, and just for fun, look out for, order shots of, enjoy and discuss, the following(not necessarily in one sitting!! but the more you drink, the more your tastebuds become acclimatised to the "hidden depths" of flavour, so make sure you are not driving!)

Lagavulin 16
Talisker 10
Ardbeg 1o
Caol Ila 12 or 18
Laphroaig

...in that order!

Cheers!!
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Re: Suggestions for a Newbie

Postby toca » Wed Oct 14, 2009 3:38 am

Again, thanks for all the advice. Unfortunately, there are more suggestions than I can drink (or afford) in such a short period of time, although I have created quite the list.
Picked up 2 bottles Monday - Macallan 12 and Balvenie 15. Started with the 12 and picked up all the candy and fruit senses (nose and mouth) that have been mentioned in various threads. I will say it's not a bad after dinner drink!
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Re: Suggestions for a Newbie

Postby Reggaeblues » Wed Oct 14, 2009 9:13 am

Yes! Macallan(the sherry casked versions) were one of my first malt loves, and I still enjoy them! good choice...

Let us know what you think of the Balvenie.
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Re: Suggestions for a Newbie

Postby Drammed » Wed Oct 14, 2009 11:43 pm

toca wrote:Again, thanks for all the advice. Unfortunately, there are more suggestions than I can drink (or afford) in such a short period of time, although I have created quite the list.
Picked up 2 bottles Monday - Macallan 12 and Balvenie 15. Started with the 12 and picked up all the candy and fruit senses (nose and mouth) that have been mentioned in various threads. I will say it's not a bad after dinner drink!


Both very good choices. I look forward to what you have to say about the Balvenie 15
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Re: Suggestions for a Newbie

Postby toca » Sat Oct 17, 2009 1:49 am

What can I say, I like them both. Macallan 12 seems thicker and sweeter in comparison to the Balvenie. With the 15 my nose catches a bit of oak and maybe an essence of orange? I found it spicy in comparison to the 12. And that was on my palate as well as a spicy ginger flavour. But I really enjoyed the finish on the Balvenie. It just stayed with me much longer than the Macallan. Again, both are good but I must say the Balvenie is very good.

Cheers!
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Re: Suggestions for a Newbie

Postby Pure Pot Head » Sat Oct 17, 2009 2:08 am

The major Irish Whiskies, Jameson, Powers, etc are all definitively unpeated traditionally over the centuries. You might want to explore and get to know.

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Re: Suggestions for a Newbie

Postby The Third Dram » Sat Oct 17, 2009 1:42 pm

toca wrote:But I really enjoyed the finish on the Balvenie. It just stayed with me much longer than the Macallan. Again, both are good but I must say the Balvenie is very good.

It's a beautiful malt, to be sure. :thumbsup:

There have already been many excellent suggestions made on this thread. However, I don't believe anyone has yet mentioned a Lowland whisky. This is perhaps not surprising, as the Lowlanders (as a lot) do tend to be overlooked. And this is a crying shame!

Personally, I feel that no whisky selection is quite complete without a representative bottle from south of the Highland Line. My recommendations? In rough order of preference...

Rosebank: Yes, it is becoming harder and harder to find, not to mention more and more expensive. At its best, though, a veritable explosion of aroma and flavour with great complexity. Quite unlike anything else around.

Bladnoch: I've just tasted the 'Spirit of the Lowlands' 17-year old bottling of this one (55%ABV) and am 'hooked'. Sticky sweet citrus with a lovely counterbalancing dryness born of herbs, grass and oak. Almost liqueur-like, yet unmistakably Scotch.

Auchentoshan: The 10-year old offers a syrupy sweetness similar to that of the Bladnoch, and lots of pure malt intensity to boot. Fairly reliable. I haven't as yet tried the newer 12-year old. The 21-year old possesses a deeper tonality, with greater impact from the oak and furniture polish nuances creeping into the picture.

Glenkinchie: Not my favourite Lowland malt by a long shot. Nevertheless, the Distillers Edition does display a decent degree of complexity and good balance between malt sweetness and a dryness on the finish.

Back to the Highlands for a brief moment... Don't overlook Glen Garioch from the eastern portion of the region. The younger bottlings can have a rather delicate smokiness to them that won't threaten your taste buds at all. The 15-year old ups the ante somewhat, but is quite a unique pour, what with its combination of mild to medium peat and earthy-vegetal characteristics.

Springbank? Yes! Especially as you've so enjoyed that 15-year old Bruichladdich.

Happy explorations, toca!
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Re: Suggestions for a Newbie

Postby Reggaeblues » Sun Oct 18, 2009 2:15 am

*Make that the new S'bank 18! :thumbsup:
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Re: Suggestions for a Newbie

Postby toca » Thu Oct 22, 2009 12:35 am

yes, Bruichladdich. You're the first to mention it and searching the forums, I get the impression it isn't all that popular. I liked the 15 yr quite a bit so if Springbank is similar, I'll have to give it a try. Thanks.
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Re: Suggestions for a Newbie

Postby Drammed » Fri Oct 23, 2009 2:36 am

toca wrote:yes, Bruichladdich. You're the first to mention it and searching the forums, I get the impression it isn't all that popular. I liked the 15 yr quite a bit so if Springbank is similar, I'll have to give it a try. Thanks.


What did you think of the Balvenie 15 yr?

I personally find it the best (when the batch is perfect) of the Balveine lineup. The Balvenie 21 suffers from too much time in the port cask for my taste.
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Re: Suggestions for a Newbie

Postby toca » Sat Oct 24, 2009 3:01 pm

Drammed wrote:What did you think of the Balvenie 15 yr?

I personally find it the best (when the batch is perfect) of the Balveine lineup. The Balvenie 21 suffers from too much time in the port cask for my taste.


I like it quite a bit. Both nose and taste I get a nice combination of sweetness, vanilla, oak, and spice that although I can't really identify (maybe ginger), I find appealing. But again, the finish is nice with what I can best describe as a hint of bitterness at first but ending in a mellow smoothness. Had some last night and thoroughly enjoyed it.
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