Originally Posted by Unregistered
Conventional wisdom has it that you should avoid, at the outset, extremely bold whiskies such as the more characterful Islay ones (Ardbeg, Lagavulin and Laphroaig in particular). But many novices actually enjoy exposing their taste buds to such whiskies right off the bat, so I won't necessarily caution you against taking this route.
However, if you indeed DO wish to start 'slowly', and with milder, easier-drinking single malts, might I suggest you check out those of the Lowlands and southern Highlands, such as Auchentoshan 10 Year Old and Glengoyne 10 Year Old, These sorts of whiskies will permit you to discern the flavour of MALT in a purer, less embellished way than would be the case with many others. Dalwhinnie 15 Year Old and Glenmorangie 10 Year Old up the ante very slightly (adding subtle spice, salt and very delicate smoky notes) without overwhelming, and are both excellent pours.
My first taste of Scotch was last month. I beat up the internet to locate a good bottle of Single Malt for a friend that turned 50. With the help of this site and cross referencing with the local liquor store I purchased a bottle of Lagavulin 16yo. Very interesting, I immediately tasted the peet I read so often about. Since then I have tried Macallan, Highland Park and Glenlivet. So if youíre new to this, donít be afraid to go for the bold.