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I recently got a bit tired of drinking mostly red wine and Canadian whisky mixed with ginger ale, so at the beginning of the year I decided to try out some different Scotch whiskys for a change. I stumbled upon Horst's videos and found them very informative, so I decided to make this post. Here is a list in chronological order of whiskys that I have bought so far with my thoughts on them.
Monkey Shoulder: Recommended to me at the local store for a first Scotch, and I loved it! Great recommendation, and for the price, it's probably the best bang for the buck Scotch I've tried so far. Hints of vanilla with a bit of orange and lemon zest. Left me wanting just a bit more of a finish to linger on, but definitely got me hooked on the journey!
Glenfiddich 12 and 15 year: Tasted these at the local pub. I didn't have a whole bottle to sit on and really contemplate the nuances, but I really enjoyed both versions! Easy to sip on, nothing bad to say about them. I would happily buy a bottle of either!
Famous Grouse: Not wanting to spend a lot of money yet, I picked up a bottle since it was inexpensive. Flavor wise it was quite good I thought, though it basically had no finish. Even as a novice, I was yearning for more complexity and some sort of aftertaste.
Lagavulin 8 year: I had heard so many good things about this Scotch that I was very excited to finally buy a bottle of "the good stuff". At $77, I wish I had done some research first, because I do not like it at all! The campfire aroma and flavor I don't mind so much, but the medicinal, Band-aid, burnt rubber flavor of the peat is just not for me. I honestly can't see how people enjoy this stuff. I'll hold on to the bottle and see how I like it in a year or so, but I can't see my tastes changing that much!
Talisker Storm: Saw it on sale for $40 and picked it up. Not a fan. Not near as smoky and peaty as the Lagavulin, but still had those flavors. Also had a briny flavor that reminded me of olives, which I hate. This bottle was at least somewhat drinkable to me though, while the Lagavulin was not at all.
Lismore 18: Bought this because it came in a gift set with 2 Glencairn glasses. Luckily the Scotch was really good too! I enjoyed the oak flavor and buttery smooth finish. Made me realize I seem to enjoy Speyside Scotch the best, and to stay away from Islay.
Glenmorangie sampler pack: This sampler had 4 different small Glenmorangie bottles; the Original, Lasanta, Quinta Ruban, and Nectar D'Or. This was my favorite purchase so for because it allowed me taste the flavors of different cask finishes. It was a lot of fun trying them all, and I loved every one! the sherry cask Lasanta and port cask Quinta Ruban were my favorite, though the original was great as well. I actually bought a full bottle of the original as my next purchase and is what I'm drinking right now! I taste vanilla, almond, and lemon zest with a spiced, dry finish. Yum!
So these are my thoughts so far as I journeyed from noob to enthusiast. Based on my experiences so far, what whiskey's would you all recommend me? I want to try Highland Park 12 next, but am worried I might not like it. Is it very smoky and peaty? I seem to like vanilla and oak flavors the most. Thanks for looking, hopefully this might help other Scotch noobs too!
welcome to the journey!
@7StringShredder You seem to desire affordability and no peat. Stay away from the Islays!My suggestion is Speyburn Single Malt Scotch ($30 750ml) for another journey to Speyside.If you're okay with bourbon, try Wild Turkey Kentucky Straight Bourbon ($25 750ml).
For more sherried whisky Glendronach 12 and Glengoyne 12 would be nice to try.
For whisky which has been stored in Bourbon barrels. The Bablair 2005 is a good one.
a relative beginner here also, not a fan of Islay either.
a few good ones to try no Peat.
Glencadam 15, my #1 they also have a 10 if you want to go cheaper
Aultmore 12 a bit on the drier/bitter side but quality is there if you take your time
Hazelburn 10 or 12 I usually pick the 12
Kilkerran 12 gets hi marks from a lot of reviewers
Old Pulteney 12, they also do a good 17 but not that good to warrant the price
Off the general radar but decent quality for the price
I don't mind spending a bit of money for something nice every now and then, I just learned the hard way that higher price doesn't always mean better flavor! I'll give the Speyburn a try, thanks for the suggestion!
I do also enjoy bourbon, I did recently pick up some Knob Creek and Col. EH Taylor small batch bottles in between my scotch hunting. Haven't had any Wild Turkey in quite a while, I'll have to revisit it at some point.
Thanks for the suggestions everyone! Glenrothes and Aberlour are on my radar, and Shmotch, the way you describe the Highland Park sounds fantastic!
My first experience with a peaty malt (Laphroaig 10 year old) was very different from yours. From its reputation, I was initially reluctant to even pour a dram for fear of the offensive emanating odors. Once I finally got up the courage to sample it, I was actually shocked at how it just tasted like good whisky to me. Don't get me wrong -- I could smell the phenolic smoke infused into it, but it didn't seem overwhelming or even unpleasant; rather, it complemented the whisky and heightened the overall experience. I guess tastes vary and, accordingly, so should our choices in malts.
if you are in Calgary we can swap some open bottles I've got quite a few that I tried but now that I settled on my favourite I don't think I will ever finish them. Anyone else in Calgary interested, give me a shout. Andy
My experience was actually the exact opposite of 7 strings. I started out with a medium peated Bowmore (care of my Dad) and loved it. I went out and bought a bottle of Glenlivet 12 and was dismayed by the taste! I have since learned to enjoy the Lighter style whiskies but I guess it goes both ways with peat. It also helps if your first peat experience is lower in phenols with some age to mellow out the medicinal taste.
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