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Scotch Whisky: The Topic


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I think it's cool to have some extremely-limited-edition bottlings. I have several bottles of Red Hook Rye of various issue, for example.

Needless to say, with a $200 initiation fee, $35 yearly dues and average prices in the $85 to $140 range, one would need to have a goodly amount of money allocated to "special sipping spirits" on a yearly basis to make this worth it. I wouldn't think it makes sense to join if one were to purchase only one <$140 bottle a year.

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Agreed, if this is the only reason for joining.

I go regularly to the whisky tastings which are fun social events and allow you to taste a wide range of malts that you might not buy.

If you are just interested in the whisky without the joining and ongoing expense, why not ask a local member to buy for you?

ps. the joining fee actually includes a bottle of whisky so it's not as expensive as you might think

Nick Reynolds, aka "nickrey"

"The Internet is full of false information." Plato
My eG Foodblog

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I have mixed feelings about the SMWS bottlings: I've never had one, so I'm not referring to the quality, but to the fact that they are almost too unique. The idea of something so ephemeral is both intriguing and saddening to me: I'd hate to fall in love with bottle 819 from distillery 42, never to encounter it again.

It is a little tragic knowing you'll never taste this whiskey again. But it's better to have loved and lost...

:wub:

There Will Be Bloody Marys
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  • 5 months later...

I just finished my bottle of Cragganmore 12 Year single malt. I am new to drinking scotch and I want to pick up a new bottle to try. What do you recommend? I did like the Cragganmore, so I guess something similar. I want to try as many as possible to find exactly what I like/dislike. I guess $50 +/- a few bucks.

Is it possible that the nose changed on this scotch? It seemed as if the last glass had a butterscotch smell that I did not remember in previous glasses.

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As you work your way through a bottle, the increasing amount of air being left after each pour can cause some measure of oxidation. Opinions seem to differ on exactly how much; I've found it to really be the case only when I'm down to <300 ml, and even then it doesn't necessarily harm the whisky, it just differentiates the flavour profile.

If you want to try various whiskies to see what you like, I'd seek out a more sherried one (e.g., Macallan, Glenfarclas) and a more peated one (Laphroaig, Ardbeg, Lagavulin). If you want to keep purchasing 12s for a more apple-to-apple comparison, unfortunately none of the latter 3 produces a regular bottling at 12 yr, so I'd opt for the less medicinal Caol Ila.

Highland Park is also very well regarded, while Talisker & The Balvenie are my 2 favourite distilleries right now. You should be able to locate 10 or 12 yr iterations of each of these for $50 or under, with the exception of the Lagavulin. You could also try a lowlands whisky, though I personally find them a bit thin for what I'm seeking in a SM.

Hope this helps

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I'd suggest going to a bar with a decent selection of scotches and try them by the glass. There's no easier way to understand scotch and wine than by direct comparison, plus you don't have to worry about having a whole bottle of something you don't like. Then, you can decide what you like easier and go deeper into that distillery or region.

nunc est bibendum...

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If you'd like to dip your tastebuds into the more peated Islay malts, I concur with db_campbell's recommendation for Caol Ila, though the 10-year-old is more easily attainable. It's an excellent introduction to the style, from which it's easy to "graduate" to the peatier malts.

Bob Libkind aka "rlibkind"

Robert's Market Report

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Ardmore is back with a very nice malt. Matured in quarter casks. Superb.

Edited by brinza (log)

Mike

"The mixing of whiskey, bitters, and sugar represents a turning point, as decisive for American drinking habits as the discovery of three-point perspective was for Renaissance painting." -- William Grimes

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Ardmore is back with a very nice malt.  Matured in quarter casks.  Superb.

I was impressed with Laphroaig's quarter casking, haven't happened upon Ardmore's unfortunately. It seems like distillers are coming up with more creative ways to bottle & ship younger - and excellent - whisky with no age statement.

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I enjoy the bruchlaiddah line of islay's..

for others you may try Glenrothes, the younger one runs about $60/bottle..

I concur with the Talisker , Balvienie (12yo double wood being the best value and one of my fav's) and Highland Park comment above...

you may also try to find Clynelish, Glenfarclas or Edradour, I find these all complex but fairly approachable for the newcomer..

I would have to say the Caol Ila is a bit advanced for a newbie..I may take the other posters suggestion and try that in a bar before commiting a newbie to a bottle of that...It is great, but not at all approachable..

shanty

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See if you can get a copy of Michael Jackson's (no, not that one) guide to pure malt scotch whiskies.

It is opinionated but that's the aim of a guide book and it will give you good information for your new obsession (sorry, search) for pure malt. :wink: Welcome to the club.

Nick Reynolds, aka "nickrey"

"The Internet is full of false information." Plato
My eG Foodblog

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A very good introduction to Islay malts is Ardbeg's new expression - Blasda. It retains a lot of the house style whilst cutting down on the peat, it's 8ppm as opposed to 24ppm (I think) in their standard bottlings. I was lucky enough to have a tasting of this (and others from the range) with the Master Distiller and he certainly seems happy with it.

The price, I imagine, would be about right - it's about £35 / 70cl over here. No idea what the availability would be like in the US though.

Cheers,

Matt

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I was at a restaurant last night and tried a glass of Highland Park 18. That is some tasty stuff. I was going to buy a bottle but I figured as a newbie I would stay with the 12 year and not spend the $75 on the 18. So, I have a new bottle of Highland Park 12 year that I will try later tonight.

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I was at a restaurant last night and tried a glass of Highland Park 18. That is some tasty stuff. I was going to buy a bottle but I figured as a newbie I would stay with the 12 year  and not spend the $75 on the 18. So, I have a new bottle of Highland Park 12 year that I will try later tonight.

Great choice, will be suprised if you are disappointed...

enjoy your explorations of this part of the spirit world

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The Compass Box line of blended and pure malt whisky is really incredible. Asyla for the first timer, Oak Cross for the Speyside lover, and Hedonism for anybody who wants something unique. All the whiskies are approachable, complex, and enjoyable.

Find a whiskey bar and ask for tasting portion options or custom flights.

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The Singleton is a great introduction to single malts.  great price.  smooth and rich with a sherry finish

I have been holding off on this one, as I havent seen a tasting review..for the price point seems worth a go..

The Compass Box line of blended and pure malt whisky is really incredible. Asyla for the first timer, Oak Cross for the Speyside lover, and Hedonism for anybody who wants something unique.  All the whiskies are approachable, complex, and enjoyable.

Find a whiskey bar and ask for tasting portion options or custom flights.

must agree Compass Box is a well thought out line..

did you happen to try Orangerie when it was around?

Spend a little more and get 18 year old Highland Park.  Perfection!!  It will spoil you though. Enjoy.

great...yet another must try! I will have to research local prices for this one...

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  • 2 weeks later...

I was at the liquor store killing time before my wife's train came in. I saw they had a sale on glenrothes single malt scotch. $25 bucks down from 40 or something. Is this a screaming value? Should I pick a couple bottles? It would kind of screw my booze budget for the month, but if its a great deal, it'd be worth it.

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Glenrothes bottles their scotches in vintages--the most common one these days is the 1991 which I think normally retails around $65 or thereabouts. Then there's Glenrothes Private Reserve (at least I think that's what it's called) that typically retails for about $40 which is actually a vatted scotch, a mixture of a number of different ages. Vatted scotch differs from blended scotch in that it must be a mixture of single malt scotches and blended scotch can have "unaged whiskey," i.e. neutral grain spirits (vodka) mixed in.

I imagine it's the vatted product you're talking about. I personally don't like the vatted scotch much, though the 1991 Glenrothes is excellent. I'd say buy one bottle and taste it before you buy a case--then you'll know if it's worth it or not.

nunc est bibendum...

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The place I work has a relatively extensive vertical of Glenrothes vintages, and while I prefer Islays and the like, Glenrothes Select Reserve (the one referred to here) is a fine whisky and a good buy for $40. If you are finding it for $25, then I would say that yes that probably qualifies as a screaming value. The vintages are infinitely more interesting, but the Select Reserve is a very good intoduction to the Glenrothes house style, with its characteristic orange peel notes. We go through quite a bit of it.

And just to clarify, the whisky in question is a single malt, not a vatted malt, since it all comes from the same distillery. Vatted malts are made by combining the malt whiskies from more than one distillery. This is not to be confused with "vatting" which is the mixing (don't call it blending! :shock:) process that pretty much any scotch whisky that is not a single cask bottling undergoes. Even the Glenrothes vintage releases are bottled after mingling the casks from the year in question. The exception is the near legendary and very rare 1979 Single Cask, which is on my very short list of most amazing things ever tasted.

Edited by thirtyoneknots (log)

Andy Arrington

Journeyman Drinksmith

Twitter--@LoneStarBarman

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The place I work has a relatively extensive vertical of Glenrothes vintages, and while I prefer Islays and the like, Glenrothes Select Reserve (the one referred to here) is a fine whisky and a good buy for $40. If you are finding it for $25, then I would say that yes that probably qualifies as a screaming value. The vintages are infinitely more interesting, but the Select Reserve is a very good intoduction to the Glenrothes house style, with its characteristic orange peel notes. We go through quite a bit of it.

And just to clarify, the whisky in question is a single malt, not a vatted malt, since it all comes from the same distillery. Vatted malts are made by combining the malt whiskies from more than one distillery. This is not to be confused with "vatting" which is the mixing (don't call it blending!  :shock:) process that pretty much any scotch whisky that is not a single cask bottling undergoes. Even the Glenrothes vintage releases are bottled after mingling the casks from the year in question. The exception is the near legendary and very rare 1979 Single Cask, which is on my very short list of most amazing things ever tasted.

Thanks for the clarification of the terminology.

And just to clarify: I wouldn't say the Select Reserve isn't a good drink or it's not a deal at $25, it's just not my style.

nunc est bibendum...

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