I'm a fan of big, peaty Islays. If you like foods with intense, savoury aromas and tastes like blue cheese, fish sauce, hot salami, and smoked foods, then the chances are that you'll like these whiskies as well. I can only go on what I've tried, but here are my suggestions for starting with Islays:
If you're the type to test the water with your toes before entering: Bowmore Legend.
If you're the type to jump into the deep end and don't mind a bit of chlorine: Laphroaig 10yo.
My first single malt, about three years ago, was Springbank 15, hardly one normally suggested to novices. The other, suggested at the same time by the guy at the liqour store, was Ardbeg 10!!?? Shit, I mean heavy duty stuff!
I've read many times that members were really turned on to whisky by Laga 16, not exactly 'Livet 12 is it.
If your going to become a whisky lover I can promise there is something out there for you, if it's not the first one you try, then just try something else etc etc, you will stop pretty soon if whisky is not in your blood. Oh, then go back and try the first one again, it might have been better than what you first thought.
The first six hard liquors I had were:
I will be honest in that I didnt find Scotch (Blends) to my taste. In retrospect it might be wise to revisit them. I might have a very different opinion today.
Fast forward 20 years and I decide to try SMSW. A 1-2 on the 5 Point Intensity Scale is usually recommended for beginnners. I think that usually means a Lowland... although their are a few exceptions. The first three I tried did not fit that recommendation.
1. Highland Park 12 (4)
2. Macallan 12 "Sherry" (3)
3. Laphroaig 10 (5)
I liked every one of them. That from a longtime (although not in great quantities) Bourbon drinker.
While I did find the Laphroaig very different I did not find it "challenging". I would be willing to bet most Booker's drinkers would find it interesting.
My thought is the extremes will help you define your taste better than the more mainstream choices.
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