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Old 01-18-2020, 09:28 PM
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Recommend me a good scotch under $100


Inspired by another thread - you can find it if you look - I discussed that I'm primarily a rum guy. Good for me.

But from time to time scotch does it for me. And I for it, for that matter. But not often. I have a nice bottle from someplace in the UK given to me by an elderly client as a gift but it's about halfway done.

I have a party coming up and one of my attendees is a good friend of mine from Ireland. I thought I'd lay in a nice bottle of something to tempt him with. This man can drink me under the table and is experienced. So I thought I'd come to you fine people.

What can you recommend? Not more than $100 per bottle, please. I looked up some Macallan - Neil Peart recommended it - but am just unsure.

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Old 01-18-2020, 09:35 PM
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Try this site: the #2 on the list is my favorite.
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Old 01-18-2020, 10:59 PM
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Try this site: the #2 on the list is my favorite.
Yes, you'll never go wrong with Laphroaig. They had a gimmick awhile back where you could claim a foot of land in Scotland. Or was it an inch? Not sure now, but I have my deed squirreled away somewhere.

Although it's nothing fancy, I have a particular fondness for Glenfiddich.
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Old 01-18-2020, 11:05 PM
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Yes, you'll never go wrong with Laphroaig.
Oh, no, no, no. I love Laphroaig's line, but you absolutely could go wrong with it if you have no idea what to expect. The Islays are like the IPAs of whiskeys. You love 'em or hate 'em. I would strongly recommend visiting a good whisk(e)y bar and trying something like Laphroaig and Ardbeg before committing to a bottle of it.

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Old 01-19-2020, 12:22 AM
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Oh, no, no, no. I love Laphroaig's line, but you absolutely could go wrong with it if you have no idea what to expect. The Islays are like the IPAs of whiskeys. You love 'em or hate 'em. I would strongly recommend visiting a good whisk(e)y bar and trying something like Laphroaig and Ardbeg before committing to a bottle of it.
If you get the "Classic Malts of Scotland" assortment, either boxed or at a whisky bar, you can taste different stuff including Talisker and Lagavulin to see if you like it.

ETA I don't know if you can find Johnnie Walker Blue for $100, but you can try the Black or Double Black (or other colours), why not?

Last edited by DPRK; 01-19-2020 at 12:26 AM.
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Old 01-19-2020, 12:33 AM
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If you get the "Classic Malts of Scotland" assortment, either boxed or at a whisky bar, you can taste different stuff including Talisker and Lagavulin to see if you like it.

ETA I don't know if you can find Johnnie Walker Blue for $100, but you can try the Black or Double Black (or other colours), why not?
I like the Blue, but I wouldn't pay Blue prices for it (typically around $180-$220). That said, the Green is rather tasty and usually found for around $70. It's popped out of existence a few years back, and now seems to be selling again. I haven't had the new version, but the classic green I felt was the best bang-for-buck in the line.
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Old 01-19-2020, 01:11 AM
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Oh, no, no, no. I love Laphroaig's line, but you absolutely could go wrong with it if you have no idea what to expect. The Islays are like the IPAs of whiskeys. You love 'em or hate 'em. I would strongly recommend visiting a good whisk(e)y bar and trying something like Laphroaig and Ardbeg before committing to a bottle of it.
This is pretty much what I was going to add. Peaty Scotches are very polarizing, and unless the OP knows that his friend likes that style, it might be best to avoid it.

I like many of the ones already mentioned here, but I'll add in Balvenie as another fine brand -- it comes in a range of varieties and prices, but I've never had a Balvenie that I didn't like a great deal.

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Old 01-19-2020, 03:42 AM
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I like many of the ones already mentioned here, but I'll add in Balvenie as another fine brand -- it comes in a range of varieties and prices, but I've never had a Balvenie that I didn't like a great deal.
I'll second that, the 21 year old portwood is my treat of choice, that's nearer $200 but lots of the more reasonably priced versions are still pretty darn good.
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Old 01-20-2020, 05:48 PM
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I like many of the ones already mentioned here, but I'll add in Balvenie as another fine brand -- it comes in a range of varieties and prices, but I've never had a Balvenie that I didn't like a great deal.
I'll second this... I think it is one of the best for the price. Many options under $100.
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Old 01-19-2020, 12:24 PM
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Although it's nothing fancy, I have a particular fondness for Glenfiddich.
Glenfiddich is my go-to for regular consumption. Glenmorangie is also good.

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Yes, you'll never go wrong with Laphroaig.
While I like an occasional Laphroaig myself, it does taste a lot like a fire in a boot factory. A bottle lasts me a long time. I wouldn't make it a first choice unless you know your guest likes peaty scotches.

Recently, I've being drinking Caor Ila as a somewhat milder alternative to Laphroaig.
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Old 01-18-2020, 09:37 PM
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A couple of my faves:
Aberlour A'Bunadh
Ardbeg Uigeadail

Last edited by blondebear; 01-18-2020 at 09:39 PM.
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Old 01-18-2020, 11:04 PM
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A couple of my faves:
Aberlour A'Bunadh
Ardbeg Uigeadail
I love the Ardbeg, but you gotta love your peat for that one. The Macallans are always a safer bet as crowd-pleasers, so I'd go with something straightforward like a Macallan 12. If you want to add some peat to the palette without getting overwhelming and staying in the same general price range, Oban 14 has always been one of my favorites, but that could also be because living near Oban for a couple of months was where I learned to appreciate my scotches.
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Old 01-19-2020, 11:32 AM
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If you want to add some peat to the palette without getting overwhelming and staying in the same general price range, Oban 14 has always been one of my favorites, but that could also be because living near Oban for a couple of months was where I learned to appreciate my scotches.
I love that stuff. Most Scotches take me a glass or two to get acquainted with, but the Oban was wonderful from the first sip.
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Old 01-19-2020, 11:55 AM
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I love that stuff. Most Scotches take me a glass or two to get acquainted with, but the Oban was wonderful from the first sip.
As someone pointed out above, the thing with single malts is that they are often so strongly flavored that one either loves or hates them.

I thought Laphroig (the ten year old) was wonderful from the first sip, many, many years ago, but Oban puts me off. There's something syrupy in the flavor that I don't like.

On the other hand, my wife loves it. She's an infrequent sipper, so a bottle lasts forever, but there's always a bottle of Oban at home.
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Old 01-19-2020, 12:29 PM
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Start with something smooth. Redbreast is the smoothest I've found, and it's my "I'm saving up for a bottle" whisky ($65-100).

But Monkey Shoulder is wonderful, especially for the price ($30-40ish). At that price, you could buy two bottles: a smooth, and a peaty/smoky scotch. Maybe Oban, Ardbeg, or Talisker (or to really save money, Trader Joe's Islay Storm* - surprisingly classy, but very peaty).


*Note: I call it their "Twenty Dollar Talisker". Took some to a poker game full of scotch snobs, but disguised it in a Finnerty's bottle. One guy says, as he takes a sip "Just got back from the Scottish islands, visited a lot of distilleries..." (uh, oh, the jig is up!) "... and this is as good as anything I tried there. Ooh, I'll have to find a bottle of this."

I had to fess up quickly, before anyone googled Finnerty's Scotch...

(it's what Tom Selleck often drinks with his daughter or dad, at the end of an episode of Blue Bloods... and it's just a prop).

Last edited by digs; 01-19-2020 at 12:31 PM.
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Old 01-18-2020, 10:07 PM
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Macallen double cask 12 year old, Ancnoc, Glenmorangie. All good.
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Old 01-18-2020, 10:43 PM
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Macallan Cask Strength or Highland Park 20 (Gordon & MacPhail)
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Old 01-18-2020, 11:25 PM
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On the mild side, I find that The Glenlivet Nadurra First Fill very worth drinking.

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Old 01-19-2020, 05:44 AM
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What, no Bourbon? ( Makers Mark 46 for that thread)
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Old 01-19-2020, 06:05 AM
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Black bottle, a cheap blended scotch with a bit of peat.
Monkey Shoulder, another scotch blend with nice smooth flavours.

Last edited by orcenio; 01-19-2020 at 06:09 AM.
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Old 01-19-2020, 08:28 AM
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Black bottle, a cheap blended scotch with a bit of peat.
Monkey Shoulder, another scotch blend with nice smooth flavours.
If you're looking for an inexpensive Scotch with a bit of peaty smoke, Teacher's is my favorite.

But that's me. I think smoothness is an overrated quality in whisky. I love Laphroig, and I think the 10-year-old is better than the expensive 25 year old cask strength whatever it is. I think Johnny Walker Red is better than Johnny Walker Black, or even than Johnny Walker Blue, which is so smooth that it's bland.

But to each their own.
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Old 01-19-2020, 09:36 AM
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Lagavulin.

Smoky goodness, but not for everyone.
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Old 01-20-2020, 11:12 AM
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Lagavulin.

Smoky goodness, but not for everyone.
Can you get a bottle of Lagavulin for under $100? I've thought about getting myself a bottle a few times, but it seems to start around $150 which is out of my price range.
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Old 01-20-2020, 11:19 AM
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Can you get a bottle of Lagavulin for under $100? I've thought about getting myself a bottle a few times, but it seems to start around $150 which is out of my price range.
The Lagavulin 16 is $90 at my local store. The 8 is $55.
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Old 01-20-2020, 11:23 AM
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Can you get a bottle of Lagavulin for under $100? I've thought about getting myself a bottle a few times, but it seems to start around $150 which is out of my price range.
www.mysupermarket.co.uk lists "Lagavulin Single Islay Malt 16 Years Old (700ml)" for £49 at Amazon, Tesco, Asda... Did you try a big supermarket or a Beverages & More?
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Old 01-19-2020, 09:58 AM
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If you're looking for an inexpensive Scotch with a bit of peaty smoke, Teacher's is my favorite.

But that's me. I think smoothness is an overrated quality in whisky. I love Laphroig, and I think the 10-year-old is better than the expensive 25 year old cask strength whatever it is. I think Johnny Walker Red is better than Johnny Walker Black, or even than Johnny Walker Blue, which is so smooth that it's bland.

But to each their own.
Laphroaig is great, Johnny Walker is much too over-priced, and Teacher's highland cream is, by far, the cheapest scotch blend I get in my locality. I wouldn't suggest Laphroaig as an intro due to the strength of it's smoke/peat or Teacher's due to it's roughness. Maybe if they're the type who enjoy their coffee black. (Johnny Walker is common enough that I would expect Jonathan Chance to already be well familiar with it).

Monkey Shoulder (or Black Bottle for an intro to peat) might be a better start as it is more likely to be inexpensive, inoffensive, and widely available. But everyone's taste is subjective.
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Old 01-19-2020, 08:08 AM
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Your buddy is from Ireland, so how about a bottle of Redbreast or Yellow Spot? Both high quality Irish whiskys.
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Old 02-10-2020, 09:13 AM
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Your buddy is from Ireland, so how about a bottle of Redbreast or Yellow Spot? Both high quality Irish whiskys.
Oh, so the fellow's from Ireland so get him Irish Whiskey? That's RACIST, yo!

If he's specifically interested in whisky (from Scotland), and you yourself are not "into" single malt Scotch or whatnot, then you can hardly go wrong with a high quality blended Scotch like Johnny Walker Gold 18 or their "Green" label of blended 15 year single malts (meaning, they haven't added the "neutral grain spirits" to smooth out the flavor - it's a blend, but all of single malts of 15+ years in the cask).

The Macallan 12 the OP mentioned would be nice and smooth and won't be too harsh (aggressively smoky and peaty) compared to other single malts.

If you're just trying to get a bottle of "interesting" hooch that's high level (would impress with some cachet) but not crazy expensive (in the sub-$100 category), that he may not have sampled before, try a Japanese whisky...?

Huh, I was going to recomment the Yamazaki 12, but it seems the cost of those have skyrocketed since I got my bottle a few years back, yikes. I guess they've been "discovered"...!
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Old 01-19-2020, 08:10 AM
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Monkey Shoulder. I paid about $25 a bottle for a fantastic highland blend.
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Old 01-19-2020, 12:29 PM
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Aberlour 12 year, if you can find it.
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Old 01-20-2020, 11:18 AM
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I drink the cheap stuff and the only one I really like is JB. It is what I started with 50 years ago and have never found one in my price range that has a close enough taste. I do enjoy sampling the expensive scotches and every once in a while I will try one that really makes me think about spending a little more once in a while. I don't care for the peat taste being too pronounced, very subtle works for me.
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Old 01-20-2020, 11:35 AM
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Single malts can be hard to take, if you aren’t into the heavy peat or smoke. Unlike many, I think the blended scotches add something by blending: if done right they make a flavor profile that’s better than the individual parts. Johnnie Walker, while no doubt masters of marketing, do know what they are doing when they blend. While the Blue may not be worth the price tag, few would argue that it is not a very fine blend. Possibly their smoothest blend is the JW Gold. Around $80/bottle. When you have a glass or 2 of it, there is no doubt you are drinking a very fine whisky, without having to acquire any taste you didn’t already have.
Regards to the Green mentioned above: when JW discontinue a brand, and then re-introduce it, it tends to not be the exact same. So while it is still a malt-only blend, it probably isn’t from the same sources as the first go-around - meaning a slightly different flavor profile. My palate isn’t refined enough to tell the difference, though.

Last edited by Isosleepy; 01-20-2020 at 11:36 AM.
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Old 01-20-2020, 12:02 PM
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For people new to scotch, I NEVER recommend peaty scotches like Ardbeg or Laphroig.

'Easier' single malt scotches include (maybe some Spelling mistakes in there):

-Macallan
-Auchentoshen
-Glen Goyne
-Glenmorangie
-Glenfiddich
-Glenlivet

In terms of Irish whiskey, I find that there's some nice blended scotches. I have enjoyed Bushmills (both black bush and red bush are good and inexpensive) and Glendalough, which might be a single malt.
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Old 01-21-2020, 10:25 PM
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For people new to scotch, I NEVER recommend peaty scotches like Ardbeg or Laphroig.

'Easier' single malt scotches include (maybe some Spelling mistakes in there):

-Macallan
-Auchentoshen
-Glen Goyne
-Glenmorangie
-Glenfiddich
-Glenlivet

In terms of Irish whiskey, I find that there's some nice blended scotches. I have enjoyed Bushmills (both black bush and red bush are good and inexpensive) and Glendalough, which might be a single malt.
This is almost word for word exactly what I was going to say.

To me, peaty scotches smell exactly like my grandmothers medicine cabinet and taste exactly like they smell. Avoid them without prior knowledge of preference.
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Old 01-20-2020, 12:16 PM
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Single malts can be hard to take, if you aren’t into the heavy peat or smoke
Depends on where your malt is from. Single malt is not at all synonymous with "peaty." There are plenty of low-peat or unpeated malts like the Macallan 12, Bunnahabhain 12, Glenkinchie 12, Glengoyne, the Lowland whskeys (see: Auchentoshan, bit more like an Irish whisky than a scotch), many of the Speysides (like Macallan mentioned above, but also Aberlour A’bunadh, and I find Glenlivet to be very peat light, if at all peated) etc. If you don't like peat/smokiness, there's plenty of single malts to make you happy.

I find blends generallyhave a detectable level of peat in them (which I do like), whereas there are a good number of single malts that have no or little peat in them. The Johnnie Walker Gold is probably the least peated of their line of blends. The other ones definitely have a peat characteristic to them.

Last edited by pulykamell; 01-20-2020 at 12:20 PM.
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Old 01-20-2020, 11:56 AM
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Another recommendation for Aberlour A'bunadh.
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Old 01-20-2020, 02:29 PM
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Glenmorangie is what I'd recommend to people who have no idea what they like. But why do you want to buy scotch for an Irishman? Jameson has a nice variety of single malts. And don't let a bottle of scotch sit around half full! All that dead air is just letting the liquor go stale.
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Old 01-20-2020, 09:50 PM
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I like Belvenie, in fact their double wood was my gateway to buying scotch by the bottle.

I'm blanking on the name, but the local booze chain whiskey expert led me to a really nice, lightly peated Isay for about $60. Agree with folks above thread that liken the peated single malts to being akin to American IPA's. Peat bombs don't do it for me, but I really like some of the less in your face ones.

Thing to remember on single malt scotches is that they generally fall into the category of "velvet glove" or "gnarled fist." Most of the peated ones, like the Laiphroag 10 year, definately fall into the gnarled fist category (to my palate, YMMV).

Jameson has some nice barrel aged stuff in the "caskmates" line. Jameson caskmates stout is aged in Irish Stout craft beer barrels.
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Old 01-21-2020, 08:52 AM
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I'm probably swimming against the tide here, but I'd think as a rum guy(what are your favorites?), you're probably going to want to ease into Scotch, as it can be awfully intense stuff depending on the bottling.

My overall advice would be to ease in to whiskey in general via bourbon and rye and then move to Scotch, but if you're determined to go straight to Scotch, I'd say that a good quality blend is probably your best bet, not a single malt. Something like Monkey Shoulder, Famous Grouse, Johnnie Walker Black (or higher), or one that I rather like, the Mackinlay's "Shackleton" blend, which is meant to evoke a similar flavor profile to the vintage Scotch found buried in Antarctica recently from Ernest Shackleton's South Pole expedition in 1907. None are going to pummel you like some single malts will, but all are good renditions of Scotch.
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Old 01-21-2020, 09:53 AM
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I'm probably swimming against the tide here, but I'd think as a rum guy(what are your favorites?), you're probably going to want to ease into Scotch, as it can be awfully intense stuff depending on the bottling.

My overall advice would be to ease in to whiskey in general via bourbon and rye and then move to Scotch, but if you're determined to go straight to Scotch, I'd say that a good quality blend is probably your best bet, not a single malt. Something like Monkey Shoulder, Famous Grouse, Johnnie Walker Black (or higher), or one that I rather like, the Mackinlay's "Shackleton" blend, which is meant to evoke a similar flavor profile to the vintage Scotch found buried in Antarctica recently from Ernest Shackleton's South Pole expedition in 1907. None are going to pummel you like some single malts will, but all are good renditions of Scotch.
I dunno. This makes scotch seem a lot more exotic and challenging than it has to be. If you're fine with a Makers or Knob Creek, you shouldn't have any issue getting into something like Aberlour Abunadh or Macallan or Balvenie. Yes, if you're talking about the peated malts, that may take some getting used to or require a particular fondness for smoky or unusual flavors, but these? Not so much. I became a scotch drinker before I started drinking any other kinds of whiskey. (I had been a beer, vodka, and rum drinker when I discovered scotch.) I personally started on Glenlivet 12 and Oban 14, then I got into Famous Grouse (which I feel is "rougher" than either of these, but still tasty for an inexpensive scotch.)
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Old 01-22-2020, 08:18 AM
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I dunno. This makes scotch seem a lot more exotic and challenging than it has to be. If you're fine with a Makers or Knob Creek, you shouldn't have any issue getting into something like Aberlour Abunadh or Macallan or Balvenie.
That's my point though - if he's coming from Ron Zacapa Centenario 23 or Diplomatico Ambassador, going straight to scotch is going to be a pretty interesting experience- they're not that similar at all, except maybe in color.

Something like bourbon is in between the two, which would be why I'd be recommending to start with it and then once accustomed, then move to Scotch.

But if you have to go straight from rum to scotch, I'd think a blend would be more approachable than a single malt.
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Old 01-21-2020, 04:27 PM
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I don't pretend to be a connoisseur but my introduction to scotches was the Laphroaig 10 year which I tell people tastes like how sitting around a campfire feels. Perhaps it's because it was my first and therefore my brain thinks that's how scotch should taste or I just have an insensitive palate, but other scotches often strike me as a bit wimpy. Just a data point in the tally of Is/Isn't Laphroaig a good beginner's scotch.
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Old 01-21-2020, 04:41 PM
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Originally Posted by Inner Stickler View Post
I don't pretend to be a connoisseur but my introduction to scotches was the Laphroaig 10 year which I tell people tastes like how sitting around a campfire feels. Perhaps it's because it was my first and therefore my brain thinks that's how scotch should taste or I just have an insensitive palate, but other scotches often strike me as a bit wimpy. Just a data point in the tally of Is/Isn't Laphroaig a good beginner's scotch.
Amusingly, when I first started drinking scotch, during my days of working at the Renaissance Faire in the early '90s, I once tried Laphroaig, and the immediate impression I got was "I just drank bong water."

Now, decades later, I actually kind of like Laphroaig with a splash of water in it, but it's definitely a different taste from a non-peaty scotch.
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Old 01-21-2020, 05:21 PM
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Originally Posted by kenobi 65 View Post
Amusingly, when I first started drinking scotch, during my days of working at the Renaissance Faire in the early '90s, I once tried Laphroaig, and the immediate impression I got was "I just drank bong water."
My first impression was that it tasted like a smoky shot of Listerine (original, golden colored version.) And, now Googling Laphroaig and Listerine, I see I'm not the only one: One chap described it "like a Band-Aid that had caught fire and been extinguished with Listerine." Sounds about right. Oddly, I like it.
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Old 02-09-2020, 02:40 PM
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Bumping this thread because I just came home from the liquor store with a bottle of Glen Garioch 1797 Founder's Reserve for about $55, and wanted to see if it had been mentioned. I haven't tried it yet, will pop it open after dinner tonight and have a taste.



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Originally Posted by pulykamell View Post
My first impression was that it tasted like a smoky shot of Listerine (original, golden colored version.) And, now Googling Laphroaig and Listerine, I see I'm not the only one: One chap described it "like a Band-Aid that had caught fire and been extinguished with Listerine." Sounds about right. Oddly, I like it.
I bought a bottle of Laphroaig a couple years ago after reading about it in one of these threads, and my first impression was that it had a very medicine-y taste and a kind of antiseptic smell to it. It took some work to polish that bottle off -- it definitely wasn't one of my favorites.
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Old 02-10-2020, 02:45 PM
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Bumping this thread because I just came home from the liquor store with a bottle of Glen Garioch 1797 Founder's Reserve for about $55, and wanted to see if it had been mentioned. I haven't tried it yet, will pop it open after dinner tonight and have a taste.

I bought a bottle of Laphroaig a couple years ago after reading about it in one of these threads, and my first impression was that it had a very medicine-y taste and a kind of antiseptic smell to it. It took some work to polish that bottle off -- it definitely wasn't one of my favorites.
I like Glen Garioch quite a bit, particularly older batches of it, where its smoky character really came out. The latest versions of it haven't had the smoke without the iodine, that made it an appealing sidestep from my normal Islays. Definitely let us know what you think.

Jonathan, is this $100 dollar bottle for you or for your friend? If your friend, do you know his tastes in Scotch? That said, if you are looking for something that you'd like as well, and since you like aged rum, I'd recommend an older Highlands for you. I find as they get older, all of them start losing the smokey, peaty character, and all of them, no matter their region start converging onto caramel, nutty, treacle flavors. Though even 25 Macallan still has that heavy sherry nose, at least it did the one time I tried it.

In that vein, I'd highly recommend some of the older Glenfarclas offerings, like the 17 year on up. The 21 is a bit more than your price point, but I think a aged rum drinker would find it delicious, yet different than anejo rum.

Some of Ardbeg's offerings stray far from the iodine, smoke, salt blast that you expect from Islay. 'Alligator' was a very sweet, almost PX tasting scotch, that was interesting, but not at all like I expected from Ardbeg.
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Old 01-21-2020, 05:27 PM
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You could also go for a single malt aged in rum barrels like this ~$75 Balvanie: https://rd.bizrate.com/rd?t=https%3A..._rid=446226589
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Old 01-21-2020, 06:40 PM
Jonathan Chance is offline
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So a visit to my local liquor store yielded 12 year Aberlour. It cost $51 plus tax.

I asked for Macallan - again recommended by Neil Peart - but they didnít stock it. Should I go out of my way to get a bottle anyway?
  #49  
Old 01-21-2020, 06:53 PM
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Originally Posted by Jonathan Chance View Post
So a visit to my local liquor store yielded 12 year Aberlour. It cost $51 plus tax.

I asked for Macallan - again recommended by Neil Peart - but they didnít stock it. Should I go out of my way to get a bottle anyway?
See how you get on with the Aberlour first - what flavour notes you like etc. I'd take Peart's recommendations on setting up a drum kit and playing it, but not anything else.
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Old 01-21-2020, 07:15 PM
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For the hellovit, pick up something purely niche and local for you and your Irish friend. Your local rumrunner should give you a good recommendation. Don't think on this one.

Last edited by orcenio; 01-21-2020 at 07:16 PM.
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