Full bottles, under US $100.
And I wish I had had this list when I started.
Laphroaig 10yo (dark and peaty)
Dalwhinnie 15 (light and sweetly crisp)
Balvenie 12y/o Doublewood (sherried)
Bowmore Dawn (Port wood finished)
perhaps some of the Edradour finishes - I'm rather partial to the Marsala finish.
Not 10 but a good start I'd say.
After they see it's not so bad, then I increase the quality and intensity.
I think a lot of people have it in their minds that Scotch is like Jack Daniels or something, and think that's it's borderline undrinkable by itself, or they have it with ice, which dumbs down the flavors.
If they're liking the progression, we end up at Ardbeg and Lagavulin, and by then they're hooked
GreyArea wrote:Keep in mind though that a lot of people who love whisky can't stand the deeply peaty ones
Maybe, but for some, they're what gets them hooked in the first place.
If I'm introducing someone to malts, ten is way too many to think about. I want to show the broad range of flavors available in as few drams as possible. Not show all the flavors, mind you, but just how big the range is. So maybe two for starters, no more than four. Maybe Balvenie 10 and Lagavulin, with perhaps a heavily sherried one for the third, and then I can say that most everything else will fall in between. Gauge the reaction, and go from there; offer something more balanced, say Clynelish or Highland Park. Or if the person seems to favor one corner of the triangle, explore that.
Rosebank 12, Glengoyne 17, Glenlivet 18, Glenfarclas 15, Glen Garioch 15, Clynelish 14, Bruichladdich 15, Highland Park 12, Talisker 10, Ardbeg 10: all quite affordable even though I threw in some which are not the 'standard' expressions.
The next challenge is to demonstrate that there are different flavours and styles within single malts. I discovered this through the Classic Malts range - and you could probably do worse than this approach yourself. But I would start with a light Speyside, a sherried Speyside, a fruity Highland and an Islay. Perhaps throw in a Lowland too. You could try Glenfiddich, Aberlour, Pulteney and Ardbeg - and perhaps Glenkinchie.
Once you have got over the fact that there are differences, and if you still have interest, then you could try exploring nuances of different styles - e.g. a few Speysides, a few Islays, a few Highlands, etc. according to initial preferences. I would be tempted to do it in a bar with Glencairn glasses to avoid outlay on lots of bottles.
I think ten bottles is for once you have got the beginner well and truly hooked. Remember, for a beginner, every single bottle will be a new experience and too much choice at the start could reduce the salience of each experience.
Balvenie 15 or 12 or 10
Highland Park 12
Macallan cs or Aberlour a'bunadh
Ardbeg 10 or Laphroaig 10 or Lagavulin 16
That should be enough to get anyone thinking.
Ardbeg 10 Islay
HP 12 Orkney
Clynelish 14 North Highland
Legaig 15 Mull
Springbank 15 Campbeltown
Talisker 10 Skye
Glen Garioch 15 East Highland
Ben Nevis 10 West Highland
Glengoyne 17 South Highland
Rosebank 12 Lowland
Glenfarclas 15 Speyside
Not a bad cabinet any day I'd say.
I now know enough to order a drink or buy a bottle of something with a little edge on it so she'll most likely be apt to leave it alone.
These are some of the ones that she really likes: Ardbeg 17yo, Balvenie(Portwood) 21yo, Ben Nevis 10yo, Blair Athol 12yo, Bowmore 17yo, Clinelish 14yo, Glengoyne 17yo, Glenrothes(1971) 13yo, Glenturret 15yo, HighlandPark 18yo.
If they must make one or more purchases, the Balvenie 10 or Balvenie Doublewood are both very agreeable whiskies. Even a Macallan is close enough to the middle of the road not to offend anyone's senses. Especially the new Fine Oak line that makes it less distinctive than before. If you wanted to get really unoffensive, the Dalwhinnie is actually marketed as "The Gentle Spirit" or something like that. It's not bad by any means, it's just not especially memorable. Very smooth though.
If you want to educate them, I suppose you should have them try whiskies that are representative of each region. In that case, Ardbeg, a real, all sherry finish Macallan, Talisker, Dalwhinnie, Clynelish, maybe one or two others to get an appreciation for the range that single malt scotches offer. I suppose it depends upon what your goal is.
Lagavulin 16yo (the first sip was magic for me !)
Glenfarclas 15 (Harry made me think of this one, and Admiral recommended it to me)
Bladnoch 10yo ff
My theory is to use the peaty ones to grab their attention.
Balvenie 10 -for honey-
Ardbeg 10 -for peat-
Bowmore 12 (new release) -for accesseble peat,balance and complexity-
Bladnoch Cask Strength -Lowland-
Glenrothes 1992 -honey, balance-
Highland Park 12 -everything is there, try and find it, challenging-
Glenfarclas 10 -bourbon and sherry-
Cragganmore 12 -floral-
Macallan 12 -Sherry-
Invergordon or Greenore 8 (Irish) -Grain whisky, I think any beginner should try a grainwhisky as soon as possible-
For a first few I’d prolly also include:
Edradour 10 - cos I get a great taste of custard from it Also people who are new to whisky are finding things out, and they can learn it’s from the smallest Scottish distillery – it’s nice to feed ppl’s learning.
Auchentoshan or Bruichladdich – so they learn that the impossible-looking words aren’t unpronounceable after all, and sometimes it’s worth persevering with the strange names to get a nice dram
Talisker – just to introduce them to peat and gauge their reaction before progressing to Ardbeg & Lagavulin.
Also it depends on what the person already drinks – if they drink Jack Daniels, I’ll try them with Highland Park 12. If they drink brandy, I’ll suggest something warming, sherried, and a bit more oomph than our starter whiskies - maybe Macallan or Mortlach 16.
Highland Park 12
From here it's usually a question of what's available in my whisky collection or at the local bar. Now the list would include these:
Laphroaig 10 cask strength
Talisker 10 (old bottle; haven't tried the new 10 yet)
Balvenie Double Wood
Not all of these are among my favourites, but they don't have to be. I just want something that my buddy is likely to enjoy on the first sip and that will spur him to buy some bottles of his own for me to sample from.
If they don't like "hard liquor" there will be very little you can do to get them over to the dark side.
When I encounter a Bourbon Drinker, I give them Balvenie DoubleWood - Very similar to a good bourbon.
If someone likes wine/sherry, I'll likely give them a Macallan 12, Aberlour 10, or MAYBE a Glenfarclas 12
If they have tried and like blends, I might wean them in with a light unassuming standard - likely Glenlivet, or something like Dalwhinnie or Auchentoshan.
I would NEVER start with a smokey Islay.
At least that's my $0.02.
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