Not a member? - Register and login now.
All registered users can read our entire magazine archive.

New to Whisky

All your whisky related questions answered here.

New to Whisky

Postby IlPug » Thu Jan 12, 2006 6:38 pm

Hi there...im new to whisky in general, and at some point i would like to work my way up to single malt whisky, but for the moment im trying to decide on some johnnie walker. as such, i was wondering what experience seasoned drinkers like yourselves have had with some of the different labels - in particular johnnie's Green and 'Swing' (i'm really interested in the Swing, as ive heard very little about it *marketing ploy?*, but i know about it being on ships in the 20's etc.) but also Gold and Blue, for future reference...any help with taste and nose would be appreciated and how these compare to single malts would also be quite interesting (ie the benefits of single malts over blended malts in laymans terms).

Really looking forward to your responses guys, and its great to have found such an experienced community!

-Pug

PS would have searched, but the function wasn't working the last few times i tried:S
IlPug
New member
 
Posts: 5
Joined: Thu Jan 12, 2006 5:47 pm

Postby parvus » Thu Jan 12, 2006 10:50 pm

Greetings.

Being rather new to this myself, I'll offer you some advice that has done me well.

If you enjoy a particular flavour in a blend, find a local whisky shop that has good prices and great staff, and ask them to suggest a single malt of a similar taste.

eg. Johnnie Walker Blue has a large influence by Royal Lochnagar. Chivas Regal has Strathisla and so on.

Don't feel that you have to work your way to anything, if you enjoy blends, continue to drink them. However, a good introduction to singles would perhaps be to get some friends together and go buy a range of miniatures and have yourself a tasting evening.

If you want some recommendations, i'm sure we will be able to help you out.

Welcome aboard.
parvus
Silver Member
 
Posts: 452
Joined: Sat Dec 31, 2005 12:03 am
Location: New Zealand

Postby MGillespie » Fri Jan 13, 2006 2:37 am

Pug:

Parvus makes some good suggestions...if you like JW Gold, Clynelish is one of the major elements...and Talisker plays a similar role in JW Black. Depending on your location, you might want to look for tasting events in the area where you can try several different types at once.

Mark
MGillespie
Double Gold Member
 
Posts: 1704
Joined: Tue Dec 28, 2004 10:17 pm
Location: New Jersey, United States

Postby jimidrammer » Fri Jan 13, 2006 2:58 am

Boy, have you got some reading to do. Just go back through several pages of the "Whisky Tastings" & "Question & Answers" links, almost everything you thought you might have wanted to know has been discussed. Or just use the "Forum Search" at the top of this page, but still ask questions as we love to give our opinions. :wink:
jimidrammer
Gold Member
 
Posts: 918
Joined: Tue Feb 01, 2005 4:00 am
Location: Arkansas, US

Re: New to Whisky

Postby Frodo » Fri Jan 13, 2006 7:45 am

IlPug wrote:but for the moment im trying to decide on some johnnie walker. as such, i was wondering what experience seasoned drinkers like yourselves have had with some of the different labels - in particular johnnie's Green and 'Swing'... but also Gold and Blue, for future reference...any help with taste and nose would be appreciated and how these compare to single malts would also be quite interesting (ie the benefits of single malts over blended malts in laymans terms).

-Pug


OK, I'll have a stab at your question as I understand it- please correct me if I misunderstood.

1)Johnny Walker blends:
Interesting concept by the company - Diego - to market different tasting blends at escalating price points. I'm not into marketing, but I'm sure there's a name for this. The blends have very different tastes IMO - not just older versions of the same blend.

JW Red I found a little rough, but it did have loads of flavours dominated by the Islay region (salt, seaweed, iodine), but balanced by some other flavours. The Islay tastes are in the foreground, but balanced by others (I don't remember the others).

JW Black has a great reputation on this board. Although I don't personally go for it, I have no problem recommending it. A much quieter dram than the Red, but I remember it being a complex dram in that the tastes unfurl in subtle layers. Something that you don't have to take out a morgage to buy, but has a lot to offer someone who wants to examine a whisky. Does well on ice I've heard.

JW Green is a vatted malt - a bunch of single malts blended together - no grain whisky here. The dominant taste I got was "fruity" with a big HELLO.

JW Gold was an interesting dram for me. Very "honeyed" taste - more about mouthfeel than complex flavours IMO. If someone doesn't want to be challanged by flavours, this would do well. Not austere or lacking in flavours presisely, but they don't come barrelling out at you. Haven't had much like it. Nice dram.

JW Blue is universally seen as overpriced by a wide margin on this board. Islay flavours like JW Red, but more pronounced, and much softer. Obviously an older blend with a georgeous sherried nose. A well crafted dram IMO. Hard to argue with this one unless you want something really soft or beligerent. I'd pay $120 cdn for it, but not the $220 the LCBO is asking for.

Never heard of Swing. Sorry - no help there.

2)Malts have a different mouth-feel. More interesting flavours and the malts are usually aged more. Sorry I can't be more definitive. It's a subtle question that is beyond my keen to answer responsably. Perhaps someone could build on this?
Frodo
Triple Gold Member
 
Posts: 2472
Joined: Fri Sep 17, 2004 2:22 pm
Location: Toronto, Ontario

Postby Frodo » Fri Jan 13, 2006 7:51 am

MGillespie wrote:Pug:

Parvus makes some good suggestions...if you like JW Gold, Clynelish is one of the major elements...and Talisker plays a similar role in JW Black. Depending on your location, you might want to look for tasting events in the area where you can try several different types at once.

Mark


Interestingly, I bought Clynelish with the idea that I might be able to taste the JW Gold in it. Boy was I out to lunch! The Clynelish I got had this smokey, something taste (H&B 10yr sherry casked) that I couldn't locate anywhere in the Gold (soft, no smoke). Clynelish is supposed to have mustard and watercress notes - nothing like that in JW Gold.

Talisker is smokey and peppery - JW Black is laid-back and subtle. I'm not saying the malts aren't constituent parts of the blend, I'm just saying in my personal experiance, I can't detect the malts in the blend.
Frodo
Triple Gold Member
 
Posts: 2472
Joined: Fri Sep 17, 2004 2:22 pm
Location: Toronto, Ontario

Postby IlPug » Fri Jan 13, 2006 5:49 pm

Thanks for the responses guys, i feel i've learnt some things. since i have been quite comfortable with drinking JW so far, i think Green Label will be a good step forward and maybe then i will be better able to pick out some single malts i would like.

However, i would still be interested in ANY info on Johnnie Walker 'Swing'...i saw a post on this forum about it being a 12yo (and i assume) blended scotch, but still cant find out much. ive been googling endlessly, but the most i have been able to find is some anon. poster saying it 'was a good dram' and finding that its big in japan (lol) so if anyone out there has had any experience with it, i would be much obliged. It sometimes is called 'Swing Superior' if that helps.

thanks for all the info so far, and i will continue to troll the site, and maybe even post occasionally!
IlPug
New member
 
Posts: 5
Joined: Thu Jan 12, 2006 5:47 pm

Postby MGillespie » Fri Jan 13, 2006 6:43 pm

Pug:

If I remember correctly (and I've never tried Swing), it is primarily sold in the duty-free store end of the business. The swing comes from the design of the bottle, whish had a rounded bottom for use on cruise ships so that it would rock with the ship's motion. It is popular in Asia, but is fairly rare in the rest of the world...

I'm supposed to interview one of the key people at Johnnie Walker in a few days...will get some more details from him and post them here.

Mark
MGillespie
Double Gold Member
 
Posts: 1704
Joined: Tue Dec 28, 2004 10:17 pm
Location: New Jersey, United States

Postby IlPug » Fri Jan 13, 2006 6:48 pm

Thank you very much mark, i would appreciate it (and i'm sure some other people would too)!
IlPug
New member
 
Posts: 5
Joined: Thu Jan 12, 2006 5:47 pm

Re: New to Whisky

Postby patrick dicaprio » Sat Jan 14, 2006 5:43 pm

IlPug wrote:Hi there...im new to whisky in general, and at some point i would like to work my way up to single malt whisky, but for the moment im trying to decide on some johnnie walker. as such, i was wondering what experience seasoned drinkers like yourselves have had with some of the different labels - in particular johnnie's Green and 'Swing' (i'm really interested in the Swing, as ive heard very little about it *marketing ploy?*, but i know about it being on ships in the 20's etc.) but also Gold and Blue, for future reference...any help with taste and nose would be appreciated and how these compare to single malts would also be quite interesting (ie the benefits of single malts over blended malts in laymans terms).

Really looking forward to your responses guys, and its great to have found such an experienced community!


-Pug

PS would have searched, but the function wasn't working the last few times i tried:S


honestly i dont think it matters too much. you shoudl try as many as you can or as many as you are inclined to, and then just try to develop a taste for what you like. i would go with gold first if i were starting just because i think it is the best place to start, but others might disagree. just dont waste $$ on the blue!!!

another thing though is that if you want to eventually drink single malts why not just start there!!!! there is no reason to start with blends; not that there is anything wrong with it but if you want to go for single malts then just do it.

pat
patrick dicaprio
Silver Member
 
Posts: 298
Joined: Tue Jan 04, 2005 3:22 am

Postby IlPug » Sun Jan 15, 2006 6:39 am

i just figure if i drink crap for long enough, ill really appreciate the good stuff:P i want to go on to single malts, but i also want to have some ideaof what i like first... though the big bottle of glenfiddich 12yo special reserve tempts me every time i walk into the bottle shop.. ah so many options!
IlPug
New member
 
Posts: 5
Joined: Thu Jan 12, 2006 5:47 pm

Postby Lord_Pfaffin » Sun Jan 15, 2006 6:19 pm

A clinical approach to malts looks good from afar, but as you will learn it's not all cut and dried for you. Standard bottlings as well as IB's change from most distilleries over time and even releases as well as one's palate swinging from one zone to the next on a daily basis as well as oxidation changing the contents of the bottle as you drink it to emptiness.
Get on with it. Dive in the whisky it fine. Drink and have fun and please do, tell us what you drank and how much fun it was. :wink:
Lord_Pfaffin
Silver Member
 
Posts: 498
Joined: Sun Mar 27, 2005 10:54 pm
Location: Toronto

Postby IlPug » Tue Jan 17, 2006 5:48 am

Thanks for all your comments! i really do think they have been informative (for me at least). With regards to the mystery of Johnnie Walker Swing, i found out from a reliable source (my father:P) that it was just about on par with Johnnie Black (which makes me wonder in what regard the walker corporation holds the asian market, as it was being sold for more than Green Label - slightly misleading, but proving, once again, that price is not everything!)

-Pug
IlPug
New member
 
Posts: 5
Joined: Thu Jan 12, 2006 5:47 pm

Postby MGillespie » Tue Jan 31, 2006 2:54 pm

Pug...I'll have more information on Swing for you in the next episode of WhiskyCast. When I interviewed Ian Williams of Johnnie Walker the other day, I asked him about it, and will have his comments on the show. It should go live this evening...

Hope this helps...

Mark
MGillespie
Double Gold Member
 
Posts: 1704
Joined: Tue Dec 28, 2004 10:17 pm
Location: New Jersey, United States

Return to Questions & Answers

Whisky gift and present finder