Advice on Discerning Flavors
New here and to the world of single malts at the age of 49.
Having been a blended scotch drinker, mostly at events and functions, I had occasion to try a single malt at a recent neighborhood gathering as the only other option was wine, which I never cared too much for, until someone brought scotch.
Not paying too much attention, I poured myself some and upon that initial taste, had to see what it was, as it was not like what I had been used to. Without previous exposure to anything but Chivas, Dewars, etc, I of course did not hear of the name on the bottle, Macallan. It was the 12 year. I had several more that evening.
Since then, I realized there was a whole world I wanted to get to know better. I searched for forums and found myself here a lot the last few weeks, reading all I can about single malts and specific reviews.
What intrigues me is discerning all the different flavors of a particular variety.
For the Macallan, for example, which I since bought for myself, I definitely can pick up on the aroma of toffee, caramel, etc, that I have read about. I also get the smoothness. What I am having trouble with is actually tasting all of the different flavors described and smelled.
I should mention that I am having this neat and in the proper glass which tapers toward the top.
Since the initial taste of the Macallan 12, I had a chance to try Balvenie 12 doublewood, which I had read about, at another function. I liked this one very much as well and also found it smooth with some similar attributes.
In an effort to broaden my horizons, I read all the reviews I could (thanks jwise for providing much reading material!) and, with price a factor, decided on Glenmorangie 10. I found it to be somewhat different from the Macallan.
First, upon smelling, it seemed much more floral than sweet. It wasn't quite as smooth as the Balvenie or Macallan (had more burn) and tasted dry, for lack of a better word. Like a dry wine in a way.
Anyway, that's where I'm at. I have been holding the sips in my mouth for varying amounts of time trying to pick up different flavors but find it difficult. I suppose it will come, however, just as the aromas are getting a little better.
I have others I want to try but need to wait in between purchases since this is an expensive hobby! As a result I think I will stay with the younger ones (12 yrs to perhaps 15). On my list from the reading I have done are:
Balvenie 15, Glenmorangie 15 and Nectar, Glenrothes reserve, Macallan 15 oak (would love to try the 18 but just too expensive). It seems, at least at this early stage, I am tending towards the sweeter and perhaps sherried varieties, but can't be sure
Any thoughts, advice, ideas, etc would be appreciated.
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