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[Whiskey] Getting into the SPIRIT of things

LewishamLewisham Registered User regular
edited December 2007 in Help / Advice Forum
I want to try whiskey. My palette is beginning to mature; I can handle spicy food, I can take coffee, beer I can drink like a funnel.

But I can't seem to manage hard alcohol. It tastes... of booze. Not the clear running streams, crisp breezes or the malty grains that whiskey adverts might have me believe. As far as I can discern, it just has the eye-watering burn of alcohol.

My gf drinks whiskey sometimes, and says I should get darker ones to start off with, as they are "sweeter" and so I could actually discern a flavour.

What should a whiskey newbie try? How should it be served? On the rocks? Straight up? With a twist? Cocktail umbrella?

Thanks muchly guys.

Lewisham on
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Posts

  • chuck steakchuck steak Registered User regular
    edited December 2007
    Crown Royal is pretty smooth. Just drink it with coke, a slice of lime (or squirt of lime juice) and a lot of ice. Delicious.

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  • Nitsuj82Nitsuj82 Registered User
    edited December 2007
    If you want a taste for whiskey, I recommend Irish whiskeys. Bushmill's or Powers are a good start.

    If you're looking for sweet (none of these are actually sweet, though there are hints of caramel in the flavor) and sophisticated, then skip whiskey and drink scotch. Johnny Walker Red is my recommendation.

    Best way to drink it? Ice, splash of water (it brings out the flavors that are concentrated in the liquor).

    Spoiler:
  • ZsetrekZsetrek Registered User
    edited December 2007
    Hold it in your mouth for longer. Savour it. It should still taste alcoholic, but the better the whiskey, the more flavours it will have beyond that.

    Also, just drink scotch. Aside from Irish whiskeys, it's the only palatable variety.

    I'm a big advocate of just splashing out on something awesome and expensive, and enjoying it infrequently. Go to a nice, quiet bar/lounge with friendly, experienced wait-staff. Something like a bar in an expensive hotel would be good. Ask the bartender what nice, flavourful whiskeys they have. Buy a glass, sit back, relax with friends and enjoy it. If you like it, buy a bottle and break it out for special occasions, or whenever you have time to enjoy it. I have nice single malts that barely get touched except for Christmas and those nights after a long day at work when I need a battery recharge.

    Purists will warn you against ice (it kills some of the subtler flavours), but everyone agrees that water is fine.

  • ViolentChemistryViolentChemistry __BANNED USERS
    edited December 2007
    Zsetrek wrote: »
    Hold it in your mouth for longer. Savour it. It should still taste alcoholic, but the better the whiskey, the more flavours it will have beyond that.

    Also, just drink scotch. Aside from Irish whiskeys, it's the only palatable variety.

    You are so very wrong.

    DAMM
    Drunks Against Mad Mothers
  • ErandusErandus Registered User
    edited December 2007
    Get this:

    361190503_41750a1b02.jpg

    Fer serious.

    [SIGPIC][/SIGPIC]
  • themightypuckthemightypuck MontanaRegistered User regular
    edited December 2007
    Irish Whiskey is pretty sweet. The single malts tend to taste like a chunk of bog to newcomers (who may also be put off by the price.) Lots of range in Bourbon and Sour Mash. Jack Daniels is pretty popular. In my personal experience, avoid anything made in Canada.

    “Reject your sense of injury and the injury itself disappears.”
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  • Uncle LongUncle Long Registered User
    edited December 2007
    See if there aren't any whiskey bars in your area. A lot of them will have a sampler you can order on their menu which nets you a bunch of different whiskeys; and though you'll probably be hammered after you're done they do give you less than a shot of each so you're at least able to try a bunch of different whiskeys without having to pony up for a full shot and find out that you hate it.

    Also look into scotch. Johnny Walker Black is widely available and fairly cheap. If you have a liquor store near you that deals in single malts than talk to the counter fellow/lady, they usually know enough about their product to guide your tastes in things like coffee and beer to other products. (This is definitely the case with a good tobacconist as well)

  • themightypuckthemightypuck MontanaRegistered User regular
    edited December 2007
    Uncle Long wrote: »
    See if there aren't any whiskey bars in your area.

    I've never seen a whiskey bar. I've drunk a lot of whiskey too. I heard about them from that Doors (Kurt Weill) song.

    “Reject your sense of injury and the injury itself disappears.”
    ― Marcus Aurelius
  • LewishamLewisham Registered User regular
    edited December 2007
    Uncle Long wrote: »
    See if there aren't any whiskey bars in your area.

    I've never seen a whiskey bar. I've drunk a lot of whiskey too. I heard about them from that Doors (Kurt Weill) song.

    I've seen a few, and there is one in Wellington, but it is miserable. A bar that decided serving whiskey would differentiate itself, rather than actually being a whiskey bar with chairs and cigars and what have you.

    I'll have a go at Johnny Walker next time... what's the difference between Red and Black?

    Thanks for all the suggestions!

  • KivutarKivutar Registered User regular
    edited December 2007
    Personally, I started with Jameson.

  • ZsetrekZsetrek Registered User
    edited December 2007
    Red is pretty average. Black is good. Not great, but good.

    Bourbon just isn't to my palate. Too sweet. I love deep, peaty scotch, which I've never really come across in a bourbon.

    Which is to say, Lewisham - there is a fair bit of difference between whiskeys.

  • DalbozDalboz Registered User regular
    edited December 2007
    Lewisham wrote: »
    Uncle Long wrote: »
    See if there aren't any whiskey bars in your area.

    I've never seen a whiskey bar. I've drunk a lot of whiskey too. I heard about them from that Doors (Kurt Weill) song.

    I've seen a few, and there is one in Wellington, but it is miserable. A bar that decided serving whiskey would differentiate itself, rather than actually being a whiskey bar with chairs and cigars and what have you.

    I'll have a go at Johnny Walker next time... what's the difference between Red and Black?

    Black is good. Red is disgusting. They also have Gold (sort of sweet, almost vanilla-flavored), and Blue, which is good but is horrendously over-priced for what you get. Green is...well, it doesn't really fit into the Johnny Walker pantheon in a normal sense.

    It really depends what you're talking about for whiskey. Out here (California), when someone says whiskey they usually mean bourbon. If that's that case, Maker's Mark or Knob Creek are decent.

    I myself am a scotch drink and usually stick to Johnny Walker Black when I go out since everyone carries it and tastes decent. At home, I have a wider selection that ranges from Balvenie to Glenlivet to LaPhroaig. I've never had Irish whiskey, oddly enough.

  • scarlet st.scarlet st. Registered User regular
    edited December 2007
    I can get a Glenlivet 18 here for $49
    I'm going to be absolutely spoiled when I go back to America.

    I recommend going to a bar and trying whiskeys so you're not buying bottles. I mean, I hope that's not what you've been doing. Anyway, order 'em all, it's good to find out what a bad whiskey tastes like.

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  • Track NineTrack Nine Registered User
    edited December 2007
    This topic is kind of scary.. it's like whisky 101 taught by a non-alcoholic.

    Don't drink whiskey, drink scotch? what? really!?

    Okay, first, you say whiskey, but would I be correct in assuming you mean to include Scottish (whisky), or are you going specifically for the Irish stuff?

    Anyway, I'm sure your GF is a nice girl and means well, but assuming the flavor of a whisky based on colour is just wrong and will lead you straight into some nasty surprises. Contrary to her remarks, from what you describe of your tasting issues, going in for the darker blends and malts will quickly lead you to trying a peat-monster, which, if you're finding whisky overpowering now, will likely put you off for life.

    Whisky has a lot of variety in flavor and if you're going to try and get a taste for it, you need to start reading about what you're buying a looking for the flavor traits you're after. Some whisky is smooth and lightly flavoured, some is rich and full, and others are thick, smokey and rough.

    Also, it's worth noting that even in those malts from the same distillery, you'll find a remarkable difference between bottlings.

    Decide what you're looking for, do you want it smooth? a little bite? a great big smack in the mouth?
    How about flavour - light? rich? smokey? creamy? nutty? oakey? salty? Spicy? sweet? a little fruity?

    If you're anything like me, the smoother malts might be a better way to start. I used to force myself into tasting whatever whisky I was given and really wasn't keen on the stuff until I started finding the right ones to suit my tastes.

    I'll try to recommend a small variety, that way you can get an idea for some different tastes, or just choose whatever taste catches your interest.

    Glengoyne: The 17yo is smooth and unoffensive, and not too expensive. Sweet, it has a good rich flavour and a distinct taste of apples. The 21yo is one of the smoothest I've had, though the flavour is quite different and lacks apples (not a loss, just different).


    Glenmorangie: The 10yo makes for a fair drink - mellow and a little spicey, a little nuttiness and a noticable oakiness about it. It's not overpowering and gives you a bit more of a feel for this kind of flavoring.

    One which I think would be good for you to try, would be the port cask. It's a reasonable priced bottle, can be had in minatures and the port flavoring in it adds a sweet, fruitiness which should make it easier for you to tolerate. It's a fantastic easy drinker and in no way offensive to the uninitiated.

    Aside - you will find some distilleries do various malts matured in casks such as port and sherry. It doesn't always work, but can make for an interesting flavor if pulled off like the one above.

    others:

    Dalwhinnie - Sweet. Honey and heather.
    Edradour - Light. Quite rich. A bit of peat, if you're looking to sample that flavour in a whisky.
    Glen Grant - A dry one. Sweet and nutty. An easy drinker.


    Balvenie: I'm going to go straight to recommending a widely regarded favorite among many - the 12yo doublewood. It is quite complex - sweet and spicey, with a taste of oranges and honey. A little perfume to it, but you won't know if you like that until you try it. A lot of whisky drinkers keep this in the case, and with good reason.

    If you can't get the doublewood, the 10yo OB will give you a similar taste, but has a little peatiness to it which, if you find isn't to your taste, may ruin it for you.

    Others:

    Glenlivet - Flowers and fruit. Quite a malty one, so maybe not one to start with given what you're said, but nice nonetheless.
    Glen Moray - A fairly smooth one and with a fairly light flavor. Creamy-ish. Not a bad one to try.
    Macallan - Usually quite sherried and fruity, though some bottlings have a buttery nature about them.

    At this point, I'me getting into whiskys which you're going to find a lot stronger, so if you're having trouble with the one's you're on tasting too harsh, then then stop here


    Talisker: Spice, pepper, aniseed and peat. This kind of whisky is very much a matter of personal taste. Personally, I can't stand it, but know many who do. Quite overpowering, harsh on the palette and with a really strong flavour. It might be for you, but personally, I wouldn't recommend this kind of whisky until you've tried a few of the lighter ones.

    Other notable malts in this vein:

    Ardbeg - Very peaty, salty and sometimes has a hint of ginger.
    Bowmore - Spice and peat, often with a little fruitiness.
    Lagavulin - Smoke and peat. One bottling had a distinct medicinal quality about their scent and taste - not for me, but I've heard others take to it without complaint.


    Read the bottle, see if it sounds good, and if you're looking to find your taste, pick up minatures when you see them, so you can try them in your own time. Just because you don't like one whisky, doesn't mean you don't like all whisky. That being said, it's an individual taste and not all people take to whisky - there's no shame in it.. well, not unless you then take to drinking Jack Daniels or Southern Comfort and call yourself a whisky drinker.

    Also, you shoudn't wince, twist your face and let out a groan ("euuughaahhh") when you drink whisky like so many americans seem to in TV and movies. Franky, if it draws that kind of pained reaction from you, then you're drinking the wrong drink and perhaps should consider yourself a sherry man. I don't know if that's how all Americans think they should react when they drink the stuff, or if it's just a mannerism Hollywood has conjured up.. but really, don't, it looks bloody ridiculous and is a sure fire way of discrediting and emasculating yourself in front of other whisky drinkers.

  • SzechuanosaurusSzechuanosaurus Registered User, ClubPA regular
    edited December 2007
    Dalwhinnie is, without a doubt, the easiest starter single malt I've ever tasted. It's also nice enough to keep coming back to as well, I always keep a bottle in the house.

    I like my single malts, but I'm not snobbish either. When I'm out, I'll happily drink JD and coke and I'm not averse to pouring Johnny Walker Black over some ice cubes when I want some easier sipping.

    I'd say any of these are light enough that someone new to whisky isn't going to be put of for life at the mere aroma of them.

  • mastmanmastman Registered User regular
    edited December 2007
    My favorite single malt is Evan Williams.

    It's pretty cheap too.

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  • LewishamLewisham Registered User regular
    edited December 2007
    Track Nine wrote: »
    [legendary post]

    Track Nine, you are a star. It definitely sounds like I should be looking for Dalwhinnie (after Szech's recommendation too) and Glen Moray. I'll try and find the minitures on the next shopping trip, so I have something to try for Christmas. Sweet/creamy are what I'm going for to start with, I don't get along well with smack-in-the-mouth "earthy" flavours, like overly hoppy beer.

    I'm looking forward to shopping now :)

    Thanks everyone!

  • Track NineTrack Nine Registered User
    edited December 2007
    A good set of choices.

    A word of advice though - if you do find them too strong, the Moray OB goes very well with water, which gives it an almost wine-like quality. Try it straight first, then if you want to try your hand at distinguishing taste or find it too harsh, add some water and try again.

  • ED!ED! Registered User regular
    edited December 2007
    Wow, so I'm the only one that'll admit to frequently strolling into Safeway and buying a couple bottles of Jack Daniels?

    "Get the hell out of me" - [ex]girlfriend
  • DrZiplockDrZiplock Registered User regular
    edited December 2007
    Track Nine, thank you for coming into this thread and clearing up the clusterfuck that it was becoming.


    As for a decent irish whiskey to start your pallate on that won't set you back too much, Jamesons. If you're feeling up for it, a bottle of the 12 year. You will most assuredly noticed a difference between the regular and the 12, obviously this also applies if you are plunking down 80 bucks for the 18 year.

    I have a bottle of distillery reserve (can't get it anywhere in the world other than the distillery in Dublin..even though they don't produce out of there anymore) that is 12 years old and has zero bite..it's smooth as silk.

    My personal taste is the Jameson with an ice cube in the glass....just enough Jameson to float the cube. Experiment with what, and how, you like your whiskey. Splash of water, straight, on the rock(s)...your taste will develop with time and experience with the drink.


    Primary difference between a Scotch and a whiskey is how the grain is warmed (to keep the terminology really simple). Scotch allows direct smoke to touch the grain, while whiskey is straight heat.

    Thus..scotch tends to have a smokey flavor in comparison. There are also blends, distillations, etc...but really...if you're just getting into it, don't sweat that stuff yet.

    Enjoy!

    snap02869.jpg "zip, i dunno what it is about you, but there's something very cat-like about your face. i can't really place it. like, a puma or something. you'd make a good mountain lion." Hail, Satan!
  • virgilsammsvirgilsamms Registered User
    edited December 2007
    http://www.whiskygalore.co.nz/ - A really good shop/resource for whisky in NZ.

    I found that Glenmorangie (https://www.whiskygalore.co.nz/store/docs/pd-1322267404.htm, https://www.whiskygalore.co.nz/store/docs/pd1197437972.htm) is a good starter single malt, and it's readily available in duty free stores for extra savings if you're coming back into NZ or have friends who are.

  • LewishamLewisham Registered User regular
    edited December 2007
    http://www.whiskygalore.co.nz/ - A really good shop/resource for whisky in NZ.
    .

    Epic find, thanks! :)

    I am also very pleased to now know the difference between scotch and whiskey :)

  • Limp mooseLimp moose Registered User regular
    edited December 2007
    OH scotch whisky, Whiskey, and Bourbon. The bestest of the boozes.

    I highly recommend you get one of each and try them for yourself. You will be surprised by just how different they are.

    For bourbon give Knob creek a try.
    Scotch a great starter is glen levit.
    And for whiskey give Jamison a shot.

    All 3 serve in a rocks glass neat. (no ice) Add a few drops of water to each glass and drink slowly. They are for sipping not pounding. Put about a shot of each one in 3 separate glasses and you will notice huge differences in the flavor.

    A few donts.
    Do not kill them with water.
    DO NOT MIX THEM WITH COKE ever. Anything that is a single malt or comes from a small batch should never be mixed with soda. If you want whiskey and coke get your self some cheap stuff. The coke will overwhelm any natural flavor the whiskey might have.
    No soda. Scotch and soda is a no no.

  • musanmanmusanman Registered User regular
    edited December 2007
    Okay, I love love love whiskey of about all types, and I'm struggling with a lot of the posts...here are my thoughts:

    First of all you're going to have a develop a taste for this stuff, and it takes a while. I remember practically vomiting at the smell of my first bottle of scotch. I couldn't possibly imagine how awful it tasted straight, so I had to work around it.

    I started off taking johnny walker red, pretty crappy blended scotch, but decent enough to not just be total dogshit. I mixed it with sprite or 7up and a few cubes of ice. When I developed the taste for it (pretty easy to do that's a tasty drink) I would take less and less soda and more scotch. After a while I would just throw a couple of cubes of ice and let them melt a bit, and drink the scotch straight. At this point, it's probably time to upgrade your whiskey as red isn't very good. I moved to black (still blended but easier to drink straight).

    Once you develop a taste for straight whiskey, and I drank a lot of johnny walker black (I have a cat named johnny walker), I moved onto single malts. I have always found scotch to be more accessible than bourbon or tennesse whiskeys like jack daniels. It's smoother, but can be the most comlex of the whiskeys (usually as a result of age. But I have been on a bourbon kick lately and man that's good stuff.

    Once you have a taste for it (and I really believe you shouldn't waste your money on complicated, expensive single malts until you can drink it straight, maybe a cube of ice) here are my suggestions in the $30-50 price range.

    Macallan 10 is pretty good stuff, and it generally regarded as some of the best scotch for its age. I like it quite a bit, but it's a little harsh compared to some of the other single malts. It's good, and I drink it when I'm out, but I prefer some of the other single malts for laid back home consumption.

    Glenlivet 12 is probably my go to scotch. Under $40 and very easy to drink and enjoy. I will just leave it at that.

    Somebody mentioned Talisker, and that's a good scotch but it has one of the most distinct smells of any of the scotches. It really smells like lighter fluid, and while I developed a taste for it I'm not sure it's going to be something you should try right away.

    GlenFiddich is in the same price range as these, and personally I think it's a bit overpriced and lacking, not a fan even though it's usually pretty easy to come by.

    If you decide to expand to some of the american bourbons or tenn. whiskeys here are my recs:

    Woodford Reserve is perhaps the best bourbon I've had. It can be had for $30 a bottle and it's absolutely fantastic. I love this stuff, it's got all the classic bourbon flavors with hints of vanilla and just...rocks.

    Evan Williams is also excellent. Usually aged whiskeys have a much smoother taste, and it's aged like a scotch for 10 years before they bottle it. Highly recommended, but the only downside is that it's pretty simple and doesn't require much work to appreciate.

    Makers Mark is super cheap and always available. It's ok, but I have access to a lot of better stuff so I generally only get it when I'm out and want a cheaper drink.

    Jack Daniels Tenn. Whiskey single barrel comes in a cool bottle and is pretty good. I haven't gotten it for a while because it's probably not worth the $10-15 more than a bottle of woodford reserve. I like it quite a bit, it's worth a try, but I would like to see it drop a few bucks in price.


    I don't claim to be a whiskey expert, but I have developed a taste for it and have cleaned out my local stores looking for different stuff. I hope some of this info helps.

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  • DrZiplockDrZiplock Registered User regular
    edited December 2007
    A lot of people are listing scotch as whiskey.


    I can't really stress enough that the difference is really rather broad when it comes to flavor, aroma, and sometimes general mouth feel (does it bite your tongue, etc..).


    Whiskey
    Scotch
    Bourbon

    All different.

    snap02869.jpg "zip, i dunno what it is about you, but there's something very cat-like about your face. i can't really place it. like, a puma or something. you'd make a good mountain lion." Hail, Satan!
  • musanmanmusanman Registered User regular
    edited December 2007
    DrZiplock wrote: »
    A lot of people are listing scotch as whiskey.


    I can't really stress enough that the difference is really rather broad when it comes to flavor, aroma, and sometimes general mouth feel (does it bite your tongue, etc..).


    Whiskey
    Scotch
    Bourbon

    All different.

    that's...not true

    they're all whiskeys they're just made differently

    bourbon is whiskey made in kentucky, scotch it whiskey made in scotland, whiskey isn't even a real term it's like "soda"

    sic2sig.jpg
  • DalbozDalboz Registered User regular
    edited December 2007
    If I can hijack for a moment but still stay on topic, I'm somewhat curious about Irish whiskey. The difference is that I am an experienced drun...connoisseur of fine liquor. Can someone recommend something that is not a starter? I drink scotch regularly, and my taste vary mostly on my mood from anything from Macallan to LaPhroaig (sweet to peaty).

  • stevesteve Registered User
    edited December 2007
    Makers Mark is my favorite straight whiskey probably. Jameson is my favorite whiskey if we get to include Irish and Scotch.

  • DrZiplockDrZiplock Registered User regular
    edited December 2007
    musanman wrote: »
    DrZiplock wrote: »
    A lot of people are listing scotch as whiskey.


    I can't really stress enough that the difference is really rather broad when it comes to flavor, aroma, and sometimes general mouth feel (does it bite your tongue, etc..).


    Whiskey
    Scotch
    Bourbon

    All different.

    that's...not true

    they're all whiskeys they're just made differently

    bourbon is whiskey made in kentucky, scotch it whiskey made in scotland, whiskey isn't even a real term it's like "soda"

    You are very correct (with the exception of the term whiskey..the folks in ireland would like a word with you). However, I was (likely) oversimplifying it for someone who isn't all that versed in the family of drinks.

    My fault on that one. Still, each have a distinct enough flavor that for someone starting out a very clear distinction should be made between the members of the family.

    snap02869.jpg "zip, i dunno what it is about you, but there's something very cat-like about your face. i can't really place it. like, a puma or something. you'd make a good mountain lion." Hail, Satan!
  • ViolentChemistryViolentChemistry __BANNED USERS
    edited December 2007
    It makes me want to punch someone when I find Jameson's shelved as a scotch. And also laugh. Perhaps laugh while I'm punching.

    DAMM
    Drunks Against Mad Mothers
  • Descendant XDescendant X Registered User regular
    edited December 2007
    If you're looking for the easier-drinking scotches, here's rule numero uno (as far as I've learned, at least)

    - Avoid anything that's made on the Isle of Islay.

    This is not to say that Islay makes bad scotch - far from it. What I am saying is that it's pretty strong stuff and probably not what you're looking for. To reference Track Nine's post, Bowmore is an Islay malt, as is Laphroiag, which I'm surprised has not been brought up thus far. Both are very good, but they are very, very peaty and Laphroiag smells like iodine. I personally started into whiskey the wrong way: I tried J&B Rare and then moved on to Jameson's followed by Laphroiag. The next bottle I was given was a bottle of Bowmore 12 year, so obviously I'd like to swing back a little into the more easy-drinking territory. I think I'm going to get either Dalwhinnie, Glenmorangie, or Balvenie next.

    And for you folks living in British Columbia, Laphroiag Quarter-Cask can now be had at your local BC Liquor Store. I'm thinking of picking up a bottle the next time I'm allowed to.

    EDIT: I was inspired and poured myself a finger of Bowmore with a bit of water. This stuff is way better than I remember it being the first time I tried it. Yummmm....

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  • Nitsuj82Nitsuj82 Registered User
    edited December 2007
    Bourbon is made with corn...which happens to be quite plentiful in the south. Tennessee, Kentucky, et al. It's also charcoal filtered and ages in charred oak.

    Irish whiskey gets its smoky goodness from peat.

    Scotch...well, actually, I was never quite sure what the differences were there except for the age.

    Spoiler:
  • Steel AngelSteel Angel Registered User regular
    edited December 2007
    - Avoid anything that's made on the Isle of Islay.

    This is not to say that Islay makes bad scotch - far from it. What I am saying is that it's pretty strong stuff and probably not what you're looking for.

    I quickly developed a liking for Scotch due to the peaty, smoky taste but Islay stuff is on the stronger side of what I can handle. There's a HUGE range in flavors in Whiskey and Islay malts are on one of the extremes. You'll want to try a smaller amount of stuff from this region before committing to a bottle.

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  • poshnialloposhniallo Registered User regular
    edited December 2007
    Bourbon and Irish are good for the newbie. I really recommend Tullamore Dew - it's really smooth and easy-to-drink, and we always have a bottle in the cupboard in my house.

    My gag (grandad) always used to drink Powers or Paddys. They're both fine.

    I don't agree with the notion that the true whisky drinker ends up drinking those iodine island malts. I hate them, and I've been drinking whiskey for 20 years and loving it - I even used to study booze as part of my job.

    Don't underestimate good blends or bourbons - they're better than a lot of scotch.

    If you're American, the brands which are well-marketed there are not necessarily the popular ones back in Scotland or Ireland. I've heard Americans waxing all rhapsodical about stuff like Grants, which sounds quite odd to me. Try to find a website or shop that is in Scotland or Ireland to find out about good stuff there.

    As for how, with ice is nice if you want to learn about the taste, as it gets watered down. When I was in Ireland, most older men drank it with a little water, but I like chilled drinks so ice does the same thing.

    I figure I could take a bear.
  • Psycho Internet HawkPsycho Internet Hawk Registered User regular
    edited December 2007
    Nitsuj82 wrote: »
    Irish whiskey gets its smoky goodness from peat.

    Scotch...well, actually, I was never quite sure what the differences were there except for the age.

    Buh? Actual Irish whiskey is almost always peat-less.

    A scotch's unique flavor, on the other hand, is pretty much defined by the peat used.

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  • Psycho Internet HawkPsycho Internet Hawk Registered User regular
    edited December 2007
    Nitsuj82 wrote: »
    Irish whiskey gets its smoky goodness from peat.

    Scotch...well, actually, I was never quite sure what the differences were there except for the age.

    Buh? Actual Irish whiskey is almost always peat-less. What separates it from bourbon is that it's made from barley, not corn.

    A scotch's unique flavor, on the other hand, is pretty much defined by the peat used. This is why Scotches from different areas have Scotland have different flavors-different earth, different peat.

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  • Track NineTrack Nine Registered User
    edited December 2007
    Like the enthusiasm guys, but I can't agree with the widespread suggestion of going straight to adding water or ice to whisky.

    Yes, adding a touch of water brings out the flavour in some and can work well to make a nice drink in certain malts (see the Moray), but equally, it can ruin others and some whiskys just fall apart with water. Bowmore for example, tends to suffer terribly with water and of those I've tried, one ended up leaving a particularily unplesant sulphur-like taste after a little water was added. Likewise, using examples from this thread, one of the Balvenies doesn't take to water at all, though some of the other bottlings will take it reasonably well.

    Sure, adding ice or water works for many, but when trying a new malt you should be tasting it straight first, and then perhaps adding a little water if you see fit. Going straight to ice or water can leave a bad first impression if your whisky of choice doesn't water down well, and, it's going to leave a bad impression on anyone trying to get a taste for the stuff under the expectation that water will enhance, or make the flavour more palatable.

  • MidshipmanMidshipman Registered User regular
    edited December 2007
    Dalboz wrote: »
    If I can hijack for a moment but still stay on topic, I'm somewhat curious about Irish whiskey. The difference is that I am an experienced drun...connoisseur of fine liquor. Can someone recommend something that is not a starter? I drink scotch regularly, and my taste vary mostly on my mood from anything from Macallan to LaPhroaig (sweet to peaty).

    I'm far from an expert, but I've been trying different Irish whiskeys lately. I've seen both a Bushmills 10 and 16 year old single malt, as well as an aged blend called Black Bush. I've tried both the 10 year and Black Bush, both are very smooth. The Black Bush is a bit sweeter and the single malt has more depth to its flavor. I've also tried a 12 year blend from Jameson that was also quite good. I recall it having a bit of a smokier flavor to it. I should probably try them all again in one sitting now that I think of it.

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  • Nitsuj82Nitsuj82 Registered User
    edited December 2007
    Nitsuj82 wrote: »
    Irish whiskey gets its smoky goodness from peat.

    Scotch...well, actually, I was never quite sure what the differences were there except for the age.

    Buh? Actual Irish whiskey is almost always peat-less.

    A scotch's unique flavor, on the other hand, is pretty much defined by the peat used.

    I could have sworn that's how it's filtered. Maybe I have it backwards.

    Spoiler:
  • nexuscrawlernexuscrawler Registered User regular
    edited December 2007
    One note. If you want to really enjoy a good Scotch or other Whiskey you should drink it with no ice diluted with about half water. Watering it down a little brings out the flavor and makes the alcohol taste less overwhelming.

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