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Converting from Blends to Single Malts

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Converting from Blends to Single Malts

Postby Choochoo » Thu Mar 16, 2006 5:26 pm

So let’s say you have a friend who mainly drinks blends, often going with the scotch and soda thing, and knows absolutely nothing at all about single malts. If you were to suggest a brand or two to try, with the aim of converting them, which ones would you go with?

I’m close to making a recommendation to one such fellow that he should invest roughly $100 (or slightly more) and get a bottle of Glenmorangie Port Wood and Talisker Distillers Edition. I figured these show characteristics not seen in most blends, are fairly accessible malts, and give some of the smoke/sweet variety without being too far out on the extreme ends. What do you think?
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Postby Photon » Thu Mar 16, 2006 6:53 pm

I've had some success with Highland Park 12 and Balvenie 10/12.

HP12 would make Carry Nation a single malt drinker (OK well maybe not...)

-P.
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Postby Lawrence » Thu Mar 16, 2006 7:02 pm

Yes, I think the Balvenie 10 and the HP 12 would be a good introduction.
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Postby Choochoo » Thu Mar 16, 2006 7:20 pm

Yes, I've made two "converts" with the Balvanie. A friend of just recently bought herself a bottle of the 12yo after having a glass at my house.

However, I've been scared off letting people try the HP 12. I was very suprised to recently get two very poor reactions to it. One friend, after trying the 12, 18, and an IB 15yo, said that he though Highland Park was the most over rated distillery he's tried. I was sad to hear this, and said that maybe he should give it another chance sometime down the road.

So do you think the Talisker DE and Glenmorangie Port might be too advanced or complex to recommend to someone with no experience with single malts?
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Postby Frodo » Thu Mar 16, 2006 7:21 pm

Talisker perhaps. The 'morangie probably not!
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Postby Mr Ellen » Thu Mar 16, 2006 8:05 pm

I would say Glenmorangie Port Wood is an excellent choice. I've used just that whisky to convert a few non-whisky drinkers myself. Others worth considering might be:

- Aberlour 10, 12, 15
- Balvenie 10, 12 or 1991 Port Wood
- Glengoyne 10 or 17
- Highland Park 12
- Old Pulteney 12
- Strathisla 12

Cheers
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Postby Robocod » Thu Mar 16, 2006 8:34 pm

I have also tried to convert blend malt drinkers to single malt lovers and I usually start of with focusing on the nose. The difference is so large that after nosing on a single malt the brand of single malt is not an issue.

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Postby Choochoo » Thu Mar 16, 2006 8:35 pm

Ahh! I was beginning to doubt my own opinion of the Port Wood (and thanks for the other recommendations)

In mid-January I bought my first bottle of the Port finish, right before an active social period where many guests were going in & out of my house. Well, it was consistently a popular choice with all, & the bottle was empty within two weeks - I barely had a sip of it. Being so popular with a large assortment of non-scotch drinkers, I naturally figured it would be a worthy introductory malt

However I’ve found smoky malts to be a much harder sell to the uninitiated. You should have heard the many harsh words directed toward my Ardbeg 10 during that period of time - it was brutal! :cry:
Last edited by Choochoo on Fri Mar 17, 2006 3:18 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby Choochoo » Thu Mar 16, 2006 8:59 pm

Hi Robocod & Welcome (I'm quite new to the forum as well, so my welcome may be somewhat unofficial)

I hadn’t thought about focusing on the nose when introducing single malts to blend drinkers. Sometimes it’s hard enough to convince them that they should use a snifter rather than a tumbler.

There have been times where I’ve poured a snifter of Springbank, & let someone spend some time nosing it to really get the aromas. Then I have this very large, oversized brandy inhaler (it looks like a vase for flowers), and I’ll warm it up & put some Laphroaig in there, swirl it around, give it to the person, and tell them to stick their nose right in. They usually don’t enjoy that at all, in fact it often makes people less interested in drinking my whisky.
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Postby bamber » Thu Mar 16, 2006 11:29 pm

Lagavulin 16yo - kill or cure.
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Postby Paul A Jellis » Fri Mar 17, 2006 1:19 am

often going with the scotch and soda thing


Forget it, these people are obviously beyond help. And, anyway, I spend a lot of time try to convert malt drinkers to the joys of blends.

Cheers

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Converting from blends to single malt

Postby Danny » Fri Mar 17, 2006 1:25 am

Depending on what blends they have been drinking, the blend may have a higher or lower peat or sherry influence. Well I take that back, if they are mixing with any thing but water, the influence may not matter.

Personally I would go with an Aberlour, Balvenie, Glengoyne.
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Re: Converting from blends to single malt

Postby Muskrat Portage » Fri Mar 17, 2006 3:01 am

Danny wrote:Depending on what blends they have been drinking, the blend may have a higher or lower peat or sherry influence. Well I take that back, if they are mixing with any thing but water, the influence may not matter.
Personally I would go with an Aberlour, Balvenie, Glengoyne.

Choo Choo:
Danny is on to something basing single malts on what blend they drink.
I was a rye drinker and rolled from rye and water to Glenlivet 10 yo easily. (Of course I also drank "Screech" and "Everclear" neat that year so may not be the best source for advice.) Possibly a TeBheag blend to drift them towards single malts first? Then, on Glenlivet and finally to Aberlour and Balvenie which opens the door to a plethora of single malts and the end of the rainbow; Laphroaig and Lagavulin.
And to our brethren in the East, Happy St. Paddy's! Musky P.
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Postby Choochoo » Fri Mar 17, 2006 4:18 am

Balvenie gets mentioned quite often when reading back through the posts. I’m thinking of trying Balvenie as a “Magic Silver Bullet” of malt conversion. Between the JWR devotees, those who enjoy their Captain & Coke, the great unwashed masses of straight beer drinkers, the incalculable legions of wine zombies, and not to mention all the martini drinkers everywhere, I’m thinking Balvenie may the best malt as an easy introduction for all imbibers.

So far, Balvenie has been the best received by most newcomers who I’ve let try it. Their range offers enough options to adjust to individuals personal tastes. It's easy to find in stores and while it isn’t necessarily cheap, most can afford it if they view it as a “luxury item”. So going forward, or until proven wrong, I’m recommending Balvenie to those who know not of single malts.

All I have to do then is recommend the 10, 12, 15, or 21 (and if they’re getting the 21yo, they're giving me some).
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Postby Admiral » Fri Mar 17, 2006 1:26 pm

I was a rye drinker and rolled from rye and water to Glenlivet 10 yo easily


Glenlivet 10yo? I didn't think there was such a beast?

My only comment about the original suggestion is that Glenmorangie Port Wood can be very variable. Some bottlings are fantastic, and then the next release is very, very ordinary. (Same goes for the other Glenmorangie Finishes). Taste your bottle first before pouring the dram for your friend.

Cheers,
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Postby Choochoo » Fri Mar 17, 2006 3:14 pm

Ahh! Good to know about the Glenmorangie bottle variation. I was unaware of such inconstancies, but it does explain a lot of the varying opinions on their product. Thanks.
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