Originally Posted by Jenflower8
ok here is my opinion. i used to drink blends quite frequently in college and even up until i went to Scotland. then i tried single malts and i can definitely tell a difference. single malts have more flavor and are much smoother. blends tend to be harsh. i can now tell the difference between a blend and a single malt. as i was told by the tour leader at Glengoyne - blends are ok to have. they are really meant for mixing. but single malts are meant to be enjoyed and savored.
soooo, if you are looking to just mix a drink and not enjoy the flavor of the liquor itself - go for blends. if you want to just sit, sip and savor, go for the single malts.
Respectfully, I think if you do quite a bit of research, you will find that most experts will emphatically disagree with you. As my preference is single malts as has been for 20 years, you will find there are excellent blends on the market that can be drunk without any ice or mixer; for example, as the world's foremost whisky guru ( Jim Murray ) will attest. Try drinking blends the same way as single malts; from a tulip shaped glass. There are harsh single malts as there are blends. The harsh single malts are usually because of poor cask selection or a bad heart-cut which normally can lend to the harshness; but this necessarily does not indicate the style of the distillery; just unusual circumstances. I must also disagree that blends are traditionally harsh because they are blended with grain scotch. It is usually the ratio of malt whiskies to grain scotch that many times dictate the quality of a blend. There are excellent value blends on the market as there are superior blends. One must experiment over a long period of time to find out for themselves as the nose and palate take an inordinate amount of time to discern the hundreds of aromas and tastes of scotch whiskies. For some unknown reason, many people confuse harshness with complexity. I have on many occasions attended blind tastings of single grain scotches along with single malts and in the end most people thought they were tasting a single malt when in fact it was a single grain scotch. Due to the maturation of the single grain like the single malt and the years spent in the cask, it was virtually impossible to pick out the grain scotch. We can find all over this forum that people are looking for SMOOTH
scotch. And yes, I will be the first to step up to the line and admit that taste is subjective, but to only look for SMOOTH
scotches is to MISS
out on the hundreds of nuances of scotch itself. SMOOTH
normally does not translate to COMPLEXITY. SMOOTH
many times only translates to a RESTRAINED and AUSTERE
dram that is pleasant but not challenging. It all comes with the development of the nose and palate. If new to single malts, start with malts that ARE SMOOTH
( restrained and austere ), such as Glenfiddich 12 YO and work your way up to the more complex and higher ABVs ( i.e., cask strengths ). And use a tulip shaped glass; NEVER A TUMBLER.
Using a tumbler will cheat the nose, as the nose and palate are equally important in experiencing ANY