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biodork

Good whisky/whiskey

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Okay, so this came up in the Complaint Thursdays thread this week and since a lot of you seem to know your alcohol, figured I'd ask this here. I'm primarily a vodka drinker; I enjoy the clean taste and versatility in mixing, but I'm a little bored with it. I also enjoy light rum in a mojito during warmer weather, but I'd like to try whiskey or scotch. So what I'm hoping you guys might be able to help me with is: just how does one begin drinking whiskey or scotch? I'd eventually like to get to the point of being able to enjoy some of the good stuff neat or on the rocks, but I'm guessing I'll need to work up to that point since I don't drink it now. Two main questions come to mind:

 

1) What are some good "starter" liquors, i.e. something good enough I'll have a chance at liking, but not so good that I'll hate myself if I buy a bottle and don't end up liking it, and

 

2) Is it best to start with a mixer, or jump right in with the undiluted stuff?

 

Any suggestions would be much appreciated -- thanks in advance for the help!

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Okay, so this came up in the Complaint Thursdays thread this week and since a lot of you seem to know your alcohol, figured I'd ask this here. I'm primarily a vodka drinker; I enjoy the clean taste and versatility in mixing, but I'm a little bored with it. I also enjoy light rum in a mojito during warmer weather, but I'd like to try whiskey or scotch. So what I'm hoping you guys might be able to help me with is: just how does one begin drinking whiskey or scotch? I'd eventually like to get to the point of being able to enjoy some of the good stuff neat or on the rocks, but I'm guessing I'll need to work up to that point since I don't drink it now. Two main questions come to mind:

 

1) What are some good "starter" liquors, i.e. something good enough I'll have a chance at liking, but not so good that I'll hate myself if I buy a bottle and don't end up liking it, and

 

2) Is it best to start with a mixer, or jump right in with the undiluted stuff?

 

Any suggestions would be much appreciated -- thanks in advance for the help!

 

Depends on your taste. If you like mixed drinks, order a Manhattan to see how you like bourbon (order it made with something good but that won't break the bank, so try Maker's Mark).

 

If you want to try scotch, I would stick to single malts (not blended) and something pretty easy to start with is Balvenie. Mix a half teaspoon of water into the scotch before drinking. Scotch this way is good paired with food, meats / stinky cheeses, etc.

 

You can also go hardcore 1970s Buffalo with a 7&7 to try Canadian whiskey.

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Depends on your taste. If you like mixed drinks, order a Manhattan to see how you like bourbon (order it made with something good but that won't break the bank, so try Maker's Mark).

 

If you want to try scotch, I would stick to single malts (not blended) and something pretty easy to start with is Balvenie. Mix a half teaspoon of water into the scotch before drinking. Scotch this way is good paired with food, meats / stinky cheeses, etc.

 

You can also go hardcore 1970s Buffalo with a 7&7 to try Canadian whiskey.

 

lol on the 1970s Buffalo -- I've had Crown and ginger, and that isn't bad. It's just that I don't drink soda much (not a big fan) so I was sort of hoping to skip that stage of mixing. I've never heard of that brand of Scotch but I like your suggestion - thanks, I'll check it out!

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I truly believe that anyone can drink whisky, though it's acquired. I started drinking scotch because I watched Swingers one too many times. I would drink well scotch and soda at weddings, then after some time I started drinking it on the rocks, and now drink it neat.

 

As far as getting started, stick with a lighter whisky. The Canadians are smooth. If Scotch, Macallan 12, Highland Park 12. I would avoid the smokey single malts (Islay), although my wife says they taste like bacon and will sip off my glass. There are some serious Bourbon men on this board, I defer to their expertise on that.

 

If you go with Scotch, mixing with soda is palatable and a good place to start.

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As far as getting started, stick with a lighter whisky. The Canadians are smooth. If Scotch, Macallan 12, Highland Park 12. I would avoid the smokey single malts (Islay), although my wife says they taste like bacon and will sip off my glass. There are some serious Bourbon men on this board, I defer to their expertise on that.

Aw, I was going to recommend Talisker, too. It burns so good. :thumbsup:

(I also have a bottle of Bruichladdich Infinity, which is quite nice.)

 

@ Orange Seats: a blend could actually be a good place to start as they tend to be more balanced. JW makes some very good blends; not Red Label, but Black Label is OK, Gold Label is very good, and Blue Label is just amazing.

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I'm a scotch drinker and agree that one of the lighter single malts is a great starting point. I also agree with the recommendation of MacAllan 12 -- that is a consistently excellent scotch.

 

The purist rule on scotch is that you drink single malts with just a bit of water (about 10-15% of the drink) and blends with ice. This is what I do, and I generally stick to the single malts. However, I think most casual scotch drinkers drink it on the rocks regardless of whether it's a single malt or a blend. In any event, Johnnie Walker Black is a good blend and drinks well with ice.

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I am not a Whisky drinker. My Wife brought home a bottle of Bushmills Single malt Irish whiskey one holiday season. It is by far the smoothest alcohol I ever tasted.

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Aw, I was going to recommend Talisker, too. It burns so good. :thumbsup:

(I also have a bottle of Bruichladdich Infinity, which is quite nice.)

 

@ Orange Seats: a blend could actually be a good place to start as they tend to be more balanced. JW makes some very good blends; not Red Label, but Black Label is OK, Gold Label is very good, and Blue Label is just amazing.

 

Talisker 18 has been rumored to heal wounds and make the blind see. As for Laddie, have you had the Peat ? Soooooo good. Haven't tried Infinity yet, have had the 12 and Rocks.

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Very good thread, I do not really enjoy beer leaving my drink of choice to be whisky. I almost always drink mine neat, I'm kind of in the minority since I have since I started drinking whisky. I do however like a glass of ginger ale or sprite to sip occasionally. I don't know if they sell it back there though it is distilled in eastern Canada, but Wiser's is very good bottle of Canadian whisky for the money. Here in Idaho it runs $17 for a 1/5. I honestly like it better than Crown and it's very affordable. The Irish whiskies are very tasty in my opinion. Bushmills is my preference, to me they have a bit more of a "malty" flavor if that makes sense. Again I drink these neat at room temp, it's just what I like, I would recommend starting though on ice. Now, I also go through my Scotch phases, Johnny Walker Black being my favorite. I tried JW green label last week and it was AMAZING! There is no right answer here but I disagree with the above statement saying to start with single malts, they can be a bit inconsistent and the Islay's have a strong peat smoke flavor. That taste is a bit mellowed in the blendeds I think. There are a lot of good Scotch's out there for around $35. My buddy and I have what we call "Scotch Club" where we buy a different bottle each time and are not allowed to spend over $40. Keep in mind, a good way is to get into it with a buddy so you can share in the cost of trying new things. Bourbons are generally too sweet for me but when I do get a taste for one, I like Maker's Mark. Hope that was at least a little bit helpful, I enjoyed writing it though. If you travel between the US and Canada often, the duty free stores are a great place to get a good price.

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I truly believe that anyone can drink whisky, though it's acquired. I started drinking scotch because I watched Swingers one too many times. I would drink well scotch and soda at weddings, then after some time I started drinking it on the rocks, and now drink it neat.

 

As far as getting started, stick with a lighter whisky. The Canadians are smooth. If Scotch, Macallan 12, Highland Park 12. I would avoid the smokey single malts (Islay), although my wife says they taste like bacon and will sip off my glass. There are some serious Bourbon men on this board, I defer to their expertise on that.

 

If you go with Scotch, mixing with soda is palatable and a good place to start.

 

Swingers man, talk about a movie that has women pegged. It's so money and it doesn't even know it.

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Swingers man, talk about a movie that has women pegged. It's so money and it doesn't even know it.

 

That it does.

 

Trent: I wish they still had fights in this game so I could bitch-slap Wayne.

Mike: What? They don't have fighting anymore?

Trent: Doesn't that suck?

Mike: Why'd they get rid of the fighting? It was the best part of the old version.

Sue: I think kids were hittin' each other or somethin', man.

Trent: Yeah but you know what, Mike? You can make their heads bleed in this one.

Mike: Make somebody's head bleed.

Sue: No man, we're in the playoffs.

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I live right in Bourbon country. I didn't really start drinking any whiskey till I moved out here, now I just about rotate between beer and Bourbon depending on the type of drinking I'm doing (Dinner vs. Sports vs. Bar etc.)

 

I'm guessing the smoother more simple flavors of the scotches will probably suit a Vodka Drinker more than bourbon, but if you were tending to mix with sweeter mixers, you might try it. Maker's Mark is a reasonible place to start, but, if you can find it, Four Roses is delicious. Great Maple Syrup tones.

 

Also, If you like Mojitos, a Mint Julep is basically a bourbon Mojito. The Derby is coming up in a couple weeks, buy yourself some bourbon and mint, find a way to put a couple bucks on a horse, and enjoy. :D

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Okay, so this came up in the Complaint Thursdays thread this week and since a lot of you seem to know your alcohol, figured I'd ask this here. I'm primarily a vodka drinker; I enjoy the clean taste and versatility in mixing, but I'm a little bored with it. I also enjoy light rum in a mojito during warmer weather, but I'd like to try whiskey or scotch. So what I'm hoping you guys might be able to help me with is: just how does one begin drinking whiskey or scotch? I'd eventually like to get to the point of being able to enjoy some of the good stuff neat or on the rocks, but I'm guessing I'll need to work up to that point since I don't drink it now. Two main questions come to mind:

 

1) What are some good "starter" liquors, i.e. something good enough I'll have a chance at liking, but not so good that I'll hate myself if I buy a bottle and don't end up liking it, and

 

2) Is it best to start with a mixer, or jump right in with the undiluted stuff?

 

Any suggestions would be much appreciated -- thanks in advance for the help!

Try Canadian Club or Crown Royal and mix with 7 UP/Sprite. Start with the best. Never drink cheap liquor.

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Getting back to the OP and how to go about gettin gintroduced to whisk(e)y.....

 

Biodork, if you are used to vodka mixed drinks you are going to want to start with the softer whisk(e)ys. In bourbon, your best bet IMO is Makers Mark. It is made with a good percentage of wheat and that gives it a softer, rounder flavor. Starting with MM Manhattens or Mint Juleps is an excellent idea. As mentioned upthread, a Julep is basically a bourbon mojito. Vodka drinks tend to be on the sweeter side. Alot of bourbons have a sweetness on the tongue that most Scotches don't have. In general, I think this makes bourbon a better gateway whiskey than the others. And Makers Mark might be the ultimate gateway bourbon. Next Saturday is the Kentucky Derby. Head out to a local establishemnt and try a MM Mint Julep cuz they are probably making them on Derby Day. See what you think of a mint flavored, sweetened bourbon drink. Makers Mark is available in nearly every bar these days so finding a place to order a glass of it before you commit to buying a bottle should be easy.

 

And I think Irish Whiskey can be a good alternative starter too. Jamesons is smooth and slightly sweet on my palate. Bushmills is also a good place to start. Neither are terribly expensive and have a nice, soft character. Jameson especially is usually easy to find in a bar so it shouldn't be difficult to find someplace to buy a glass before spending the money on a bottle of it.

 

Scotch can be a turn off to a clear liquor drinker if you don't start off with a softer one. Many have significant peat and smoke flavors. They can be more robust on the palate. And often don't have the residual sweetness on the tongue that bourbon does. The recommnedation of MacAllan 12 is a good one if you want to get your first taste of Scotch. It'll be pricier than Makers Mark but offers a different, and tasty whisky experience. You might have to hit an upscale bar to find it though. I know the watering holes around me don't have it on the shelf. An alternative is Johnny Walker. Stay away from the Red Label. Johnny Black wouldn't be a bad sample though. The higher end Johnny Walker bottles are good tries too but are hard to find in a bar setting unless you frequent higher end places.

 

Oh, and whichever whisk(e)y you start with, start out added a splash of water or a couple ice cubes. The ice cubes will tone down some of the stronger flavors, and if you add water it "opens it up" a little bring out some of the more subtle characters (and reduces the hotness of the alcohol too).

 

All just my opinion of course.

 

ETA- And good on you by the way for knowing that there is a difference between whisky and whiskey. :thumbsup:

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There is a lot of talk of Macallan 12 if you chose to try a nice single malt though I personally believe that the 10 year is an easy one to drink for anyone, my brother has never been a scotch drinker and that's where I started him off...he and his group of friends we shared it with loved it ( not a group of 21 yr old kids they're all well into their 30's ). Though If you want to go straight to the acquired taste shoot me a line and we can have a glass of my Macallan UKDM 21 year, always looking for reasons to open her up.

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One more thing sir...Pendleton whiskey,cant go wrong there but just dont slap anyone please :thumbsup:

 

Very good stuff. I got sick on it a few years back and can't even look at the label anymore though. Pendelton is a very nice, smooth whisky. Apparently so smooth, you lose track of how much your drinking after a bit.

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There is a lot of talk of Macallan 12 if you chose to try a nice single malt though I personally believe that the 10 year is an easy one to drink for anyone, my brother has never been a scotch drinker and that's where I started him off...he and his group of friends we shared it with loved it ( not a group of 21 yr old kids they're all well into their 30's ). Though If you want to go straight to the acquired taste shoot me a line and we can have a glass of my Macallan UKDM 21 year, always looking for reasons to open her up.

 

 

Weave, you called me crazy for drinking high end single malt, ask Defeated how much the 21 year costs :)

 

Good call on the 10 year, it is definitely easier on the palate. Little tidbit, the 10 is Neil Peart's (from Rush) favorite, he prefers it over the more aged brethren.

 

Another option is the Macallan Fine Oak series, the 10 or 15 is very nice as it's aged in both Spanish and American sherry casks as well as American bourbon casks. The bourbon casks brings down the kick of the sherry, and makes for a smoother whisky.

 

 

All this talk about the angel's share has me drooling. It's time for Lagavulin and Pancakes.

 

 

ONE MORE THING:

 

I suggest you pick up a book about whisky as it will be easier to understand the differences and help guide you to your drink of choice. I like 'Whiskey' by Michael Jackson (sob, RIP sir......not the singer), link below.

 

Whiskey Book

 

If you get into single malt, Jackson was a guru that rated both beers and single malt. His book Complete Guide to Single Malt Scotch is the bible for malt drinkers.

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I suggest you pick up a book about whisky as it will be easier to understand the differences and help guide you to your drink of choice. I like 'Whiskey' by Michael Jackson (sob, RIP sir......not the singer), link below.

 

Whiskey Book

 

If you get into single malt, Jackson was a guru that rated both beers and single malt. His book Complete Guide to Single Malt Scotch is the bible for malt drinkers.

 

 

I used to have that book. Lent it away and never got it back. :censored:

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Wow, there sure are some highfalutin booze drinkers on here.

 

I agree with whoever said start with manhattans. Use anything brown (Canadian, American, Bourbon, etc) except Scotch. Add just enough sweet (red/rosso) vermouth to notice a color change, add a little grenadine and a dash of bitters. The whiskey doesn't even need to be that good. You're mixing it with vermouth and sugary syrup so the lesser quality whiskeys actually add more flavor.

 

After a month of drinking those you'll be able to move on to drinking the good stuff straight.

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Wow, there sure are some highfalutin booze drinkers on here.

 

I agree with whoever said start with manhattans. Use anything brown (Canadian, American, Bourbon, etc) except Scotch. Add just enough sweet (red/rosso) vermouth to notice a color change, add a little grenadine and a dash of bitters. The whiskey doesn't even need to be that good. You're mixing it with vermouth and sugary syrup so the lesser quality whiskeys actually add more flavor.

 

After a month of drinking those you'll be able to move on to drinking the good stuff straight.

 

Never heard of using Grenadine in a manhattan. That'll def sweeten it up.

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Never heard of using Grenadine in a manhattan. That'll def sweeten it up.

Most manhattans have a cherry in them anyway, so if you have Maraschino cherries and just pour a little of that juice in, it's basically the same thing. I just don't like cherries so I use grenadine instead.

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Most manhattans have a cherry in them anyway, so if you have Maraschino cherries and just pour a little of that juice in, it's basically the same thing. I just don't like cherries so I use grenadine instead.

 

Makes sense. I've just never seen it mixed that way. Probably a good way to make a manhattan for a 1st timer. Def should make for a sweeter drink.

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