Can any one recommend an good beginner scotch?

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Postby Aidan » Thu Nov 04, 2004 8:19 am

Admiral wrote:Frodo,

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.


Many standard blends are marketed to be used with mixers because they want younger people to take them in their hand. This then will be a market for years to come. Then they can "progress" onto more sophisticated/more expensive whiskies if they want.

I'm sure the manufacturers don't care how anybody drinks their whisky as long as they drink their whisky.

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Postby Frodo » Sat Nov 06, 2004 7:12 am

Aidan - you just made me think of something:

At our state liquor stores, very often you can get a minature of something nicer by buying a bottle of house blend. For example, if I buy a bottle of Jim Beam white label, I can sometimes get a minature of Knob Creek au gratis (I think that's the term anyway). You just fleshed out for me how the LCBO roped the distileries into giving them the minatures. Ingenious idea! :) Way to get more value from the booze companies :D . And I never thought of the "vertical progression" aspect of it. Three cheers for the LCBO...


I guess I just feel the vast majority of house blend whiskies are substandard, and not drunk because they taste good. I can't remember the last time someone I know raved about a glass of Dewars or Canadian Club although doubtless these have loyal brand followings.

My mom hates straight whisky, but loves to nose the better quality ones that I drink. I notice she has no interest in nosing the house blend whiskies her husband likes. My point is this: Although personal taste plays a part in choices made, I feel that most of the house blend whiskies out there are made CHEAPLY and this shows in the taste. House blend Scotch having 30% malt content will certainly taste worse (to the majority of drinkers) than one with 60% malt all other things being equal. It's amaising to watch the faces of people I know when they have their first sip of Talisker, and to note the suprise and exitement. "wow, this is scotch"... :shock:

I realise drink companies like Diego probably don't hinge their decision to sell a brand based on what it tastes like in coke. What I meant was, I think most people need to mix it for the house blends to be paletable. There will always be exceptions - Powers Gold Label comes to mind. And individual preferances play a part - I happen to find Jim Beam drinkable but not exiting :oops: . Overall though, I still think that house blends are meant to be drunk as opposed to enjoyed. Otherwise we would see forums like this comparing dearly held emotional views on the relative merits of Sullivan's Sock compared to New York Bathtub Gin.


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