Single Malt Novice accepting Recommendations

  • Noodles
    Topic creator
    Member Noodles
    Joined: 23.03.2017Posts: 40CollectionThe Noodles CollectionRatings: 22
    , edited March 24 2017 at 12:04AM

    Hello from New Jersey, USA!
    My friends and I have a "guy's night" every Thursday for many years. In the past, we always drank hard Cider. Last October, we decided to finally switch to something new (and with less calories): Scotch.

    We began with Glenfiddich 12yr. This was an excellent introduction to Scotch! We all liked it, unanimously. (Four 28-year-olds.)

    Next, we tried Bowmore 12yr. Three of us did not like it. One of us *loved* it. I think it was too smokey for us beginners.
    Next, we tried Cardhu 12yr. This was unanimously enjoyed, however, it tasted *very light* and had much less flavor than Glenfiddich 12yr.
    So, we decided to try Glenfiddich 14yr. This bottle disappeared very quickly!! Lol.

    And because the 14yr was more expensive, the next time we had to purchase a bottle, we went for something much cheaper. We made the mistake of purchasing Johnny Walker RED. Oops! This was not fun to drink. We had a good laugh watching Horst and his son taste this together. This is the only blend we have tried.

    We did Balvenie 12 Double Wood, and for me this had too strong of an alcohol taste, like vodka. Did not get the "double wood" flavor. 

    Most recently, after watching more Horst Leuning vlogs and watching the BBC documentary on Scotch, we tried Springbank 10yr. Two of us were very happy. For us, it was the perfect amount of peat flavor. (Very little.)
    Other than Scotch, we have tried Knob Creek bourbon (3/4 of us enjoy) and Maker's Mark (the same 3/4ths).

    So, what should we try next? I was thinking Highland Park 12yr, based on Horst's vlog.

  • DaFin Member Joined: 23.05.2016Posts: 103CollectionDaFins CollectionRatings: 15


    Hi Noodles. Welcome.

    Highland park is quite peaty, so take care if too much smoke is not for you and friends. But if smoke is ok, then try talisker 10 for a "sea" experience with medium peat and sweet. 

    To keep yourself on entry level scotch, then you can try glenmorangie 10, very nutty. Edradour 10 is also a good option on my point of view. With tomatin 12 you will get strong spicy aftertaste. Cardhu special cask reserve is a little more complex than 12 yo just for some more bucks. It worth. 

  • [Deleted User] Joined: 26.08.2016Posts: 0CollectionEmpty Bottle ClubRatings: 160


    Welcome to the forum! I think the whiskies below would stand a good chance of pleasing you and your friends. They are all approachable but characterful malts with little or no peat influence (and they won't break the bank :smile:).

    Aberfeldy 12 Year Old

    Arran 10 or 14 Year Old

    Aultmore 12 Year Old

    Benriach 10 Year Old

    Dalwhinnie 15 Year Old

    Deanston 12 Year Old

    Glen Grant 10 or 12 Year Old

    Glenlivet 12 Year Old

    Glen Moray 12 Year Old

    Macallan Fine Oak 10 or 12 Year Old

    Old Pultney 12 Year Old

    Speyburn 10 Year Old (This one is vastly underpriced for the level of quality!)

    Tomatin 12 Year Old

    Clear alcohols are for rich women on diets. (Ron Swanson)
  • kroman Member Joined: 16.04.2016Posts: 261Collectionkromans CollectionRatings: 21
    , edited March 23 2017 at 3:06PM


    I would recommend a flight night!  Flights can be very fun.  The intent is to add more "focus"  to your experience (ie. Sampling from the same distillery, or all sherry-finished, etc).  A perfect example for you guys would be a "Glenmorangie flight night" (It's pronounced like the fruit).

    If you have four guys, they can each buy a bottle of their core releases: one buys the 10yr Original ($37-50), another the Glenmorangie Lasanta ($50-60), another the Glenmorangie Quinta Ruban ($55-65), and the one with the most money can buy the Glenmorangie Nectar D'or ($65-78 ).

    If you don't have the money for everyone to buy a bottle at once (hey, scotch is expensive!!!), maybe you could have a Glenmorangie flight month, where you buy one bottle each week.  I've also seen them come in a 4x100ml sample pack for about $50 if you want to go that route...

    I picked Glenmorangie because 1) they are easy to find 2) great tasting for both novices and experienced scotch tasters 3) no peat 4) affordable 5) very diverse range of flavors, while still retaining the glenmorangie "character".

     Personally, my favorite is the Quinta Ruban, then Nectar D'Or, the Original, then the Lasanta.

    Once you have all your liquid, you guys can sample one whisky at a time, working in the order I showed you in the second paragraph.  At the end of the sampling period, you guys can just kick back and drink your favorites and share among yourselves!

  • Noodles
    Topic creator
    Member Noodles
    Joined: 23.03.2017Posts: 40CollectionThe Noodles CollectionRatings: 22

    Thank each of you for your helpful comments! This truly is a place "where fine spirits meet." Haha.

    I am going to share these comments with my friends in advance of tonight's gathering, and I will share my experience with you tomorrow, should that interest you (or should you wish to make further suggestions based on tonight's tasting).

  • hwchoy Member hwchoy Joined: 28.07.2015Posts: 462CollectionHeng Wah’s CollectionRatings: 3
    , edited March 23 2017 at 6:15PM

    don't forget Glenrothes Vintage Reserve (either NAS or 12 years 12 vintages). Horst loved the NAS one.

    and also the Aberlour 12 and 15 years.

  • bedlamborn Member bedlamborn Joined: 18.09.2016Posts: 611Collectionbedlamborns CollectionRatings: 21


    For a very delightful and slightly smoky whisky I would recommend anything from Benromach.

  • Noodles
    Topic creator
    Member Noodles
    Joined: 23.03.2017Posts: 40CollectionThe Noodles CollectionRatings: 22
    , edited March 24 2017 at 12:23AM

    So we did go forward with Highland Park 12 and got a special box with Highland Park Dark Origins trial sized. 

    Highland Park 12, as Horst might say, is "dangerously sipping." Wow. Quite delicious. Also feels like "Entry-Level Peat," a bit lighter  than Springbank 10.

    This and Springbank are my personal favorites.

    Dark Origins has great and noticeable flavor, however, we do not think it's value ($80) is worth the price point over Highland Park 12  ($45) or Springbank ($55).

    Next week, we will select from your considerate recommendations. 

  • Markscotchcrazed Member Joined: 05.02.2017Posts: 33Ratings: 0


    Sounds like you might be developing a taste for peat smoke. If you want to explore more intense but delicious peaty whiskies, I would recommend that you try an Islay whisky. Laphroaig Quarter Cask and Lagavulin 16 are delectable but a jump up in Phenols. If that's a bit too aggressive I recommend a reasonably priced medium peated  Bowmore 12  (also Islay) which was my personal gateway to the wonders of peat. Happy dramming!

  • oldnavy Member oldnavy Joined: 01.08.2015Posts: 20CollectionThe chief's stashRatings: 0

    I'm also a semi-beginner, a couple of good ones I've tried.

    Kilkerran 12

    Glen Cadam 15

    Craigellachie 13

  • Mathis Member Mathis Joined: 26.10.2016Posts: 105Ratings: 33

    @Noodles Hi there fellow whisky-lover! Welcome to the forum and thank you for posting such a nice, and also entertaining way of writing. 

    I would suggest you to try the Glenfiddich 18 Small Batch Reserve! Try out an older bottle. Other than that;

    GO!! For the Highland Park 12y
    Also the Japanese entry blended malt NIKKA from the Barrel is a wonderful whisky at a descent price.

    List of other malts to consider;
    Mackmyra Svensk Rög - this CRISP smokey and FRESH swedish single malt is for me one of the best smokey whiskies to start with. Wow, its wonderful. Also the Svensk Eg is nice.
    Balvenie Single Barrel 12
    Yamazaki 12

    If you need more recommendations or maybe some detailed info on the bottles your welcome to contact me by mail or private message :smile: 

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