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New Scotch drinker needs some advice...

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New Scotch drinker needs some advice...

Postby SteveZZZ » Sat Aug 23, 2003 4:03 am

I've started to become a Scotch fan within the last few months. For those of you who'd like to hear the story, here it is... for those of you who wouldn't, feel free to skip to the next paragraph. It all began a few months ago when I moved across town. A good friend helped me out quite a bit with the move, and after riding across town in 110 degree heat with no air conditioning (#%$&@ U-haul) and helping me carry quite a bit of large furniture up a nice curved staircase, I felt he deserved a nice thank-you present. So, when the guy behind the counter at the local liquor store told me the best stuff he had was Johnnie Walker Gold Label, I said I'd take it and took it to my friend. From his reaction I got the impression that the Johnnie Gold was quite good stuff, and between that and a little run of luck in Vegas a couple weekends later, I became the proud owner of my very own bottle, and a bottle of Johnnie Blue (and a few nice Tequilas). Anyways, after a couple weeks of enjoying the Gold label, I started looking around for some more information on Scotch, and picked up a few new bottles for myself today.

So as it stands right now, my collection includes Johnnie Walker Gold and Blue, The Glenlivet 12 year old, The Macallan 12 year old, and Lagavulin 16 year old. Of course, I ran home like a kid with a couple new toys and after dinner sat down to choose my favorites. So, after much hard work (yeah, right) and careful consideration, I've managed to rank them in order of preference...

1. The Macallan 12
2. Lagavulin 16
3. Johnnie Gold
4. The Glenlivet 12

And as for the Blue Label? Damn, the packaging is pretty. It cost me so much that I still feel compelled to save it for a special occasion. Maybe someday once I've opened it I can add it to the rankings. Anyways, so based on my preferences stated above, any ideas on what I should keep my eyes out for? Preferably stuff that's readily available in the US, and nothing much more than about $75 a bottle, unless it's really worth it. Cheaper is never a bad thing, as long as its good stuff.
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Postby Aidan » Sat Aug 23, 2003 8:23 am

Steve

There are so many. A good idea would be to go to the "Tasting Room" section in this website and look up your choices. You can then compare them to other stuff in the section. You won't always agree with the raters, but it's usually quite accurate.

Other than that, the Highland Park 12 is very good...
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Postby Jeroen Kloppenburg » Sat Aug 23, 2003 8:29 am

Seeing you have a very sherried Macallan on top, maybe try a Balvenie Doublewood next. The heavy peated Islay malt Lagavullin has two neighboors that might interest you as well, Laphroaig and Ardbeg.

Enjoying Whiskies is all about a ongoing process of discovery Image
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Postby Deactivated Member » Sat Aug 23, 2003 8:43 am

Steve,

Nice to see that you'r a fan of Scotch too. Aidan is right, there are so many blended Scotch whiskies and Single Malt Scotch whiskies the range seems alsmost endless.

To name but a few.
The Macallan 18Y
The Glenlivet 18Y
The Glenturret 10Y or their vintages.
Bunnahabhain 12Y
Tamdhu 10Y
Famous Grouse (12Y and vintages)

Well I could go on forever. Some I described are just an extension to others you allready have.

Slainte Image

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Postby WestVanDave » Fri Aug 29, 2003 4:56 am

SteveZZZ - welcome - it sounds like you've made a great start...

Here are a few thoughts:

If you liked the Macallan (a true sherry experience)and the Lagavulin (one of many glorious Islay's) - then you might enjoy the Lagavulin Distiller's Edition (Lag with a Pedro Ximinez cask finish) - or the Bowmore Darkest...or the Aberlour A'bunadh...

If you are wanting another sherry-type - try the Glendronach 15 - a great alternative/comparison to the Macallans.

As for others that are great value - my list of "must have" favourites that belong in every collection (IMHO)include:

Highland Park 12 (as Aidan mentioned)- considered "the great all-rounder"

Longmorn 15 - I always come back to this gem

Balvenie Doublewood 12 (Jeroen's recommendation) - well priced value

Glenfarclas 15

Bruichladdich 15 - head and shoulders above the 10 year old - and better value than the XVII...

...and anything ARDBEG - it's hard to argue with the 10 as a bargain...the 17 is more subtle, if that word could ever be applied to an Ardbeg - and everything else is incredible - if you don't mind the price tag(s). The 1977 seems to be in short supply - so if you find one - grab it!!! (usually around $105 Cdn or $75 US in Alberta - but as much as $145 Cdn - $105 US in British Columbia - FYI.)

Enjoy - Slainte, Dave.
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Postby SteveZZZ » Fri Aug 29, 2003 5:06 am

I grabbed a bottle of Bowmore 17 over the weekend... I'd consider it good but I doubt I'll buy it again or finish this bottle soon, I just dont think it's as good as the Macallan or Lagavulin. I also picked up a 6 pack of Minis that had Glenkinchie 10, Talisker 10, Cragganmore 12, Dalwhinnie 15, Oban 14, and some more Lagavulin 16 (could never have too much of this stuff IMO). I also grabbed some Glenfiddich 12 and Glenmorangie 10 to try out.... and that's not even counting all the bourbon I picked up... I love minis. Anyways, looks like I'm going to be quite busy this week, but hopefully I've found a new favorite or two. I'll probably pick up the Highland Park next week, but I managed to stretch my budget thin this week.

Steve
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Postby WestVanDave » Sat Aug 30, 2003 6:16 pm

SteveZZZ... The Bowmore 17, while an enjoyable beast is a very different animal than the Bowmore Darkest - the latter adding a "sherry finish". I'd agree that the Bowmore 17 ranks a few notches behind the Lagavulin 16, but then what doesn't???

Bowmore is a prolific producer with a great range...so don't give up on them just yet...

You've given yourself a good range with the 6-pack. It's a great way to experiment. Bowmore and Bruichladdich do similar combo packs. The Bowmore version has 5 X 200 ml bottles of the 12, 15, 17, Darkest and 21 year old and for $80 Cdn ($58 US)it works out cheaper per ml than buying the bottles separately - kudos to Bowmore for this great intro Image . Bruichladdich on the other hand does some combos that charge a significant premium Image .

Enjoy - Slainte, Dave.
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Postby whiskyjack7 » Tue Sep 30, 2003 1:27 am

my first bottles to start

Dalwhinnie 15 year is light and aromatic ideal as pre dinner dram highland

Cragganmore 12 year Speyside smokey finish

Cardhu highland
very good for the novice

Talisker 10year fullbody rich peaty flavour

the Glenrothes highland which is my fave. the best tasted 1969 or 1973


blends

johnny walker red ,black
famous grouse

cost about 1000. cad
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Postby begbiescotty » Thu Oct 09, 2003 10:50 pm

One great "starter" Scotch that's really inexpensive ($18 American) is Glen Moray (no age given, think about 8 years). Sure it's not very complex but is quite pleasant with an aroma and palate of fresh-cut apples and pears....about as far away from an Islay as you can get!
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Postby SteveZZZ » Sat Oct 11, 2003 5:50 pm

After a few more weeks of drinking, and bringing home a few new malts, I'm even more confused. The Bowmore 17 has become my favorite. I grabbed the Dalwhinnie 15, Balvenie doublewood, and Highland Park 12. I have to say I'm a big fan of all of them. I've come to really enjoy the peatiness/smokiness, whether strong or subtle. I dont think I can really rank them in order of preference now, but I do find myself wanting the Bowmore slightly more often, and the Macallan slightly less recently... Next month's shopping trip, I'll be looking at some Laphraoig and Ardberg. Strangely, I prefer to spend more on a bottle of whisky. When I'm drinking $50-$75 a bottle scotch, I tend to drink less than I would drinking $25 a bottle stuff. I make one trip per month to the liquor store, and try (usually unsuccessfully) to keep my spending under $200. As always, I'm open to any suggestions you guys have, the next trip is coming up soon!

Steve
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Postby begbiescotty » Mon Oct 13, 2003 9:13 pm

Since you seem to gravitate towards Islays, you should love Laphroaig! It's def. the "boldest" of the Islays I've tried. The Ardbeg is a bit more well-rounded (I'm talking about the standard bottlings of each of course).

Curious if you've tried your Blue label yet. I too recently bought it and between the price and the packaging, I'm also debating when to drink it..if at all!
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Postby Jim » Tue Oct 14, 2003 5:29 am

You might give a try to Caol Ila, and in particular, the 18 yr. After enjoying single malts from Bowmore, Ardbeg, Lagavulin, etc., I never gave much thought to Caol Ila, but it has clearly become one of my favs.

It's also hard to go wrong with Springbank. If you can get your hands on the 21 yr, jump on it, for it is one of the best.

Some of my favorites, in no particular order, are:

Springbank 21
Ardbeg 17
Bowmore 17
Caol Ila 18
Highland Park 12 & 18
Macallan 18
Lagavulin 16
Laphroaig 15

This does not include more expensive whiskys I have, such as Macallan 25 yr, Bowmore 30 yr, Laphroaig 30 yr, that I consider more of the "special occasion" drams, unless, of course, your last name might be Gates!!
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Postby SteveZZZ » Mon Oct 27, 2003 7:56 am

At my local liquor store, I picked up a Signatory 27yo Macallan bottling this week, and just had my first taste of it today... Wow. I was blown away... I had no idea what to expect from a cask strength whisky that old, but I enjoyed every sip of it. Unfortunately it wasn't cheap, so I may have to wait a little longer to make another big trip, but it was worth every penny.

Steve
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