Don't feel that you need to break the bank to get decent scotch. The McClelland's series will offer you pretty good value as well, being top quality product that isn't quite as long aged as some. Very drinkable stuff IMHO.
Johnny Walker Black is a nice blend. Gordon Highlanders is also drinkable, a little more woody then most of the cheaper blends.
Find a bottle of Aberlour and post back what you and your friends think of it, then we'll go from there?
Glenkinchie or Dalwinnie are nice drams without peat coming out your nose. And for the money, Highland Park at $50 at the LCBO is real good value.
SasquatchMan wrote:I'm not a big fan of sending a newbie to Balvenie - it is actually a very strong whisky, and most neophyte scotch drinkers find it very harsh.
I've always found Balvenie very smooth and almost liqueurish in it's sweetness.
Dalwhinnie 15 is quite sweet but more honeyed than Balvenie 10.
That said, maybe I just prefer sweeter whisky? I'll have to try Balvenie again, and see what I think of it compared to what I've been drinking more recently.
I just remember in my early days as a Scotch drinker, not enjoying Balvenie ten very much.... To be honest, I remember having some Aberlour 10 and thinking "Ah, this is why people like Scotch." My tastes have certainly developed since then, but since there are so many to try, it's tough to go back to something one didn't fancy (certainly I won't buy Jura 12 again for that reason).
In the case of malts, I would think Cardhu and Glenfiddich are very easy drinking malts. The Glenfiddich 18 YO in particular, offers some complexity whilst retaining the easy drinking quality of a glenfiddich.
Cragganmore? Would disagree that it is medium weighted. Think it calls for some experience before one can truly appreciate a Cragganmore in its entirety.
Usually its power players like Talisker, Laphroaig, Lagavulin, Macallan or even HP that really grab people in my experience.
Take the plunge - get a bottle of Talisker 10YO.
Admiral wrote:We're a strange lot, aren't we?
Recommending Laphroaig 10yo to a beginner!!!??!
That's a bit like recommending the 10m high diving platform to a bloke who's just learning to swim!!
Laphroaig is exceptionally smooth and I think it's lost a little of it's old attack in recent years.
Still a great dram though.
The glass is important to your enjoyment of the malt, flat sided tumblers are hopeless and the Glencairn glass is quite good. You can experiment with various glass types and the cost is minimal. Most thrift shops have a selection at very low prices, from approx. 60p to 90p per glass. Try brandy snifters of various sizes and even wine glasses of the tulip shape. At the very low cost per glass you can afford to experiment.
The addition of water (depending on quantity) will benefit most malts but not all. Generally whiskies that are matured or finished in various types of wines (port, sherry, Maderia etc) need the least or can handle the least water and those malts matured in new oak or bourbon can handle more water. Again it's a 'journey of discovery' if you'll forgive me for being new age.
Both the glass and the water (if, when & how much) are a matter of personal taste that can only be discovered by trial and error. The added bonus of over watering whisky is that you can simply add more whisky to even things out, a bigger dram is rarely a bad thing,
I will probably be shunned around here, but I think Jack Danieal Old 7 is fabulous whiskey. I don't care if it's not bourbon. I'd be real pleased with myself if I could brew up a whiskey that tasted that good, and was loved by as many folk as do love JD. And the thing is, the people who love, they don't even want to talk about it. You try telling a 300 lb biker that Jack Daniel isn't very good. You'll get a new face for your effort.
They have great advertising, great look, and great product.
Because it's so widely available, so mass-made, and so familiar, it is easy to scoff at, or assume that it mustn't be any good.
Truth is, Glenfiddich (12yo) is a very drinkable malt, Glenlivet is a beautiful Speysider, and Jack Daniels No. 7 is a pretty drinkable American whiskey.
Sure, none of these drinks are particularly challenging, but if they were, then they would hold a very different place in the market. Don't forget the origins of Glenfiddich - they launched their malt at a time when people were only drinking blends. They had to ensure their product was similarly light, pleasant, and not too challenging, or it would never have attracted the blend drinkers.
Jack Daniels competes directly with Jim Beam - from my understanding, U.S.A. whiskey drinkers affiliate themselves in one camp or the other. Neither drink can afford to become too outrageous or challenging, or they will lose their market share.
Jack Daniels was launched in India a few years ago. Surpisingly, they aggressively encouraged mixing it with Coke, even offering promotional glasses etc .
I found it rather strange that a whisky maker would ENCOURAGE folks to mix coke with it. Is this a standard entry strategy they follow so as to get people used to the different taste?
Or is it Jack Daniel marketing worldwide?
My observation on "badly made whisky" is not meant as an indictment of JD whisky. Gentlemen Jack is almost drinkable, and the single-barrel version is interesting - not what I'd buy but not bad either. Most house blend whisky -to me- is by definition, badly made whisky. Therefore it needs to be mixed to make it palatable to the consumer.
IMHO methinks you're being a bit harsh on the so-called "house blends".
I guess to most of us here, the entry-level whiskies like Jim Beam (White Label), Jack Daniels, Canadian Club, Ballantines, Bells, etc, etc, are a bit dull on the palate. But I doubt very much that their producers make the spirit with a view to it needing to be mixed to make it palatable!
The reality is that the vast majority of people find straight whisky too strong or unpleasant, but they don't mind it when mixed. I know a few people who happily shell out for better quality whiskies, (JW Black, even a few single malts) and still mix it with coke because that's how they enjoy their whisky.
But I doubt very much that the master blenders concoct their recipes and then add coke & other mixers to find out if they've hit the winning formula!!
I guess at the end of the day, one man's poorly made whisky is another man's elixir.
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