HomeRoast Digest


Topic: OT: Single Malt Scotch ? (31 msgs / 777 lines)
1) From: Dave Huddle
Sorry for the way - OT question, but I remember some discussion on
this topic a few months ago.
After watching some TV show that discussed single malt Scotch,
someone suggested to me that they would like to receive a bottle of
Scotch for an upcoming birthday.
Neither of us has any knowledge or experience with Scotch, so I'm
asking the list for suggestions of an appropriate brand.
Thanks,
Dave
Westerville, OH
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2) From: Bob Hazen
Dave,
It will be interesting to see the variety of answers to your question. 
There are myriad flavors/styles/costs that make it difficult to single out 
any particular one for a gift.  I gravitate toward the bold peatier malts 
like Laphroaig, Lagavulin or Ardbeg that many label an "acquired taste." 
Others are light and sweet.
What are your friend's tastes?  Will the whisky be consumed neat?  or mixed 
with Coke on ice?  (shudder...)  How much do you want to spend?
It would be easy to suggest something middle-of-the-road like Glenlivet but 
that would be only a guess not knowing your friend's tastes.
Tell us more!
Bob
<Snip>
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3) From: Ken B
Heh, that is like asking 'what's the best coffee and roast?'  You will 
get many answers.  My personal favorite is The Maccallan 18 year old 
from sherry casks.  Some will say the sherry ruins the Scotch, but it 
adds an interesting sweetness counter-note to the smokiness of the 
scotch for me.  I also enjoy The Glenlivet 18 year old, which some do 
not think much of either, but is a more reasonable cost than The 
Maccallan and I find it enjoyable. 
Scotch is very much like coffee, it depends on your taste, and what you 
enjoy, and you should try many and find one that fits your tastes.  If 
you go out to eat, make it a habit to try new ones if the bar at your 
restaurant has some you've not tried.  You will soon zero in on some 
that you really enjoy.
Good luck on the quest...if you think coffee is expensive just wait 
until you see what good single malts cost. ;-)
Best Regards,
Ken B
Dave Huddle wrote:
<Snip>
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4) From: Ken B
Yeah, yeah, yeah...The Macallan vs. The Maccallan.  I haven't typed it 
in a long time.  Just looked at the bottle.  Silly Scotch spelling. ;-)
Ken B
Dave Huddle wrote:
<Snip>
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5) From: jon morgan
Exactly, I prefer little to no peat.I prefer a bourbon to scotch..
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6) From: Michael Dhabolt
Dave,
Single Malt has a wide variety of taste, some are quite dis-similar to
others.  For a good middle of the road variety that is usually
appreciated by the non-initiated, try The Glenlivet.  Another favorite
of mine but a somewhat more acquired taste is Lagavulin.
A good primer is "The Whiskey Trails" by Gordon Brown with a short and
enlightening forward by Sir Kingsley Amis.
At some time in the not to distant past there were well over a hundred
single malt scotch distiller's on the whiskey road,  many offer really
unique whiskey.
Mike (just plain)
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7) From: Michael Dhabolt
Bob,
<Snip>
As the Scottish (sp?) do ..... with about a teaspoon of water with a
shot.  Really opens up the flavor when compared to 'neat' as in
straight shot.
<Snip>
Egad, don't even present such a disgusting option (agree on the shudder).
<Snip>
ing
<Snip>
The Glenlivet is a good choice for both reasons. Pretty much in the
lower cost range for a high quality whiskey.
Glenlivet used to be a 'type' of whiskey that was distilled at a
number of distiller's.  The best won out and to my knowledge 'The
Glenlivet' is the only one left.  In my experience this is an
excellent first single malt for an individual who appreciates a
quality Bourbon.
Speaking of Bourbon, now to my third Ristretto of the morning from a
blend of Brazil Bourbon, IMV and Blue Batak.
Mike (just plain)
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8) From: John Mac
One of my favorites is The Balvenie 12 year old "Double wood" single malt.
It's aged first in a traditional oak cask and finished off in a used Sherry
oak cask, which gives it quite the pleasant flavor profile. It's around
$40/bottle but well worth it, very smooth and exceptionally drinkable.
Cheers,
John in Nor Cal
On Sun, Jul 5, 2009 at 10:46 AM, Dave Huddle <
137trimethyl26dioxopurine> wrote:
<Snip>
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9) From: MSMB
I recently started drinking single malts also.  They are just too good to
mix.  In fact I had some people over last night and prepared some Sangria,
which should be fortified with a shot of some other alcoholic beverage.  The
single malts are too good even for a shot in Sangria (I buy separate shots
of cognac for it).  I agree that starting with the Glenlivet 12 year old is
a good idea.  Actually my first bottle was Arbelour 10, which was also very
good.  I no longer see the 10 year one in my state liquor stores, but there
is a 12 year variety) that should be very good. I take it there is a
slightly different preparation for the Arbelour; aged in sherry casks or
something like that.  Both the Glenlivet and Arbelour are in the $35 - $40
range.  Last night with my guests I was "slumming it" a bit and tried a new
one for me which was much less expensive; Glen Garioch, 8 year old.  Not as
distinctive as either of the other two but still quite good for the money
($25); actually, maybe remarkable for the money.  In addition to the drop of
water people put ice.  If I am not mistaken, people who are really into
their single malts do not pour over the rocks and add just a couple of
cubes.  On the other hand, my friend who first introduced me to scotch likes
to fill his glass with ice.  I guess it is like everything else; a matter of
individual taste.   But I do not see any reason for mixing these fine
scotches with anything else; you would probably lose the qualities for which
you are paying a premium or super premium price. =

10) From: Greg Hollrigel
I was going to suggest the same one.  I think it is a nice scotch,
especially for someone just learning about it.  Very smooth.  Unfortunately
(or fortunately), the smoothness and drinkability made it go fast in my
hands.  :-)  I don't think you can go wrong with the Double Wood.
Greg

11) From: Derek Bradford
Something to consider, when you're initiating someone to something like
scotch, is that going a little further up the quality scale often makes a
difference in their first impression.  My first scotches were all quality
scotches (I was lucky to learn about it from scotch drinkers), but I went
into them with my cheap whiskey baggage.  I was stunned by the difference.
That was several years ago and I am a regular scotch drinker now.
My suggestion for this would be one of my favorites, Bowmore Islay single
malt, 18 years.  It's unobtrusive like some of the others mentioned (it's
not peaty, for example), but with some richer, better balanced flavours than
are had in some cheaper single malts.  It's fruity with a caramel/vanilla
sweetness, and pleasantly smoky.
Whatever you choose, I think it's a great gift idea.
Cheers,
--Derek
On Sun, Jul 5, 2009 at 2:46 PM, Dave Huddle <
137trimethyl26dioxopurine> wrote:
<Snip>
-- 
Every path but your own is the path of fate.  --Thoreau
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12) From: Sandy Andina
I'd hesitate to recommend any Islay (my favorite regional single  
malts) to a single malt newbie unless they freely admit they're  
adventurous enough. The peaty-iodine-y salt spray seaside smoky  
flavors are an acquired taste, IMHO.  Islays are sort of the roller  
coasters of the Scotch world--best to give a beginner something like a  
Highland or Speyside, which are more like sleek bullet trains.
On Jul 5, 2009, at 9:54 PM, Derek Bradford wrote:
<Snip>
Peace & song,
Sandy
www.sandyandina.com
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13) From: Seth Grandeau
My introduction to Scotch (thanks to a coworker from Scotland) was "The
Singleton".  Smooth, comfortable, and it just tastes like "scotch" to me.
No dominent flavor.  Though I have gone on to try and enjoy many other
single malts, I always come back to the Singleton for a true Scotch
experience.
My all time favorite is the Glenroths, which has a very strong, but pleasant
vanilla note.
Enjoy the journey!
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14) From: Allon Stern
On Jul 5, 2009, at 3:07 PM, John Mac wrote:
<Snip>
On Jul 5, 2009, at 8:45 PM, Greg Hollrigel wrote:
<Snip>
Thirded!
The Balvenie makes a number of fine scotches which have a broad  
appeal.  I've introduced a few friends to single malts with this scotch.
-
allon
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15) From: Jeff Wikstrom
I'm very happy for this OT.  I'm a Canadian drinker myself, and have always
been curious about Scotch.  It just seemed intimidating.  My problem here in
Oregon is that $40.00 bottle of Scotch will probably cost $60.00 here with
all the tax.
On Mon, Jul 6, 2009 at 6:46 AM, Allon Stern  wrote:
<Snip>
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16) From: John and Emma
For a first timer I would recommend Glenlivet. When I introduced my wife to
scotch I gave her Bowmore 12 year old. It had overwhelming peat flavour for
her. I then bought Glenlivet and through that she learned to appreciate
scotch.
Other fine scotches are Macallan, Glenmorangie, Balvenie Doublewood,
Cragganmore, Glen Garioch, Laphroaig and Ardberg.
John H.

17) From: Karl Schendel
Dave Huddle wrote:
<Snip>
As others have said, there's a very wide range.
If your friend has ever had Drambuie and liked it, you might
take a shot at giving Lagavulin.  There's no real resemblance
between the two, but for whatever bizarre reason, I've
found that people who like one very often like the other.
Lagavulin is one of the more extreme peaty/salty Islay malts.
Bowmore 16 is my other preferred Islay.  (Of course, I
like all the Islay whiskys.)
If you can find it, a 15 year old Glenfarclas might be a good
gift single malt, not as far-out as some, not as generic as
(say) Glenfiddich, which I don't really care for at all.
The 80-proof stuff is sipped neat or with a wee drop of water.
Anything higher proof will definitely want a bit of water to
open it up.  Cool room temp is ideal, ice is an abomination.
Karl
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18) From: Sandy Andina
Glenlivet, Glenfiddich, Glenfarclas, Glenmorangie, Macallan and  
Cragganmore are Highlands--the smoothest, "sweetest," most cognac-like  
single malts that are good introduction to single malt Scotch.  Think  
"the heather on the hill," green rolling meadows and low mountains,  
clear blue skies, etc. Bowmore, Oban, Laphroaig, Lagavullin, Caol Ila  
and (IIRC) Talisker are Islay malts, and carry a pronounced minerally  
(iodine, mostly) and peaty hit.  Imagine a rockbound lowland coastal  
cove, with mists swirling eerily about. Not for the faint of heart,  
but once you've been "bitten" everything else tastes boring. Balvenie  
is, I believe, a Speyside--gutsier than a Highland and more user- 
friendly than an Islay.
On Jul 6, 2009, at 10:41 AM, John and Emma wrote:
<Snip>
Peace & song,
Sandy
www.sandyandina.com
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19) From: Sandy Andina
That IS the definition of "neat" (use a good quality spring water).   
Taken plain without ice or water is called "straight up" or just  
"up."    The water (also works nicely in single barrel bourbons)  
releases some of the aromatic esters in the hitherto undiluted booze;  
the better to smell them with, my dear (she said, ending a sentence a  
preposition with, followed by a salutation).  And of course, smell is  
the greater part of taste (as any gastronome suffering through the  
misery of a stuffy nose will tell you).
On Jul 5, 2009, at 5:40 PM, MSMB wrote:
<Snip>
Peace & song,
Sandy
www.sandyandina.com
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20) From: Phil Palmintere
<Snip>
^^^ +1 ^^^  
Glenlivet is a good beginner's single malt.  It is not beginner in the sense
that you grow out of it, but rather that it is nicely balanced, not too
exotic, quite drinkable & likely to be enjoyed by all.
I also like the 12 year old Macallan at Costco for a first timer.
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21) From: Allon Stern
On Jul 5, 2009, at 6:40 PM, MSMB wrote:
<Snip>
Perhaps, but then again, mixed drinks made with quality ingredients  
are far better than mixed drinks made with dreck.
Wouldn't you expect a cappucinno made with the freshest milk and best  
espresso to be better than with charbucks kwality espresso and milk  
from an aseptic tetra-pak, with a shelf life of a couple of years?
A single-malt whiskey sour isn't a waste of single malt - it's a way  
to make an AWESOME whiskey sour.
Then again, if you're gonna go that far, you ought to be squeezing  
your own lemons for the sour mix, and for heavens sake, no maraschinos!
-
allon
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22) From: raymanowen
"... more like sleek bullet trains."
You trigger old memories-
Much fun April '67, visited my pen pal in Sakai City. "Take the Hikari
(Lightning) bullet train, Ray..." At 160mph, we went through tunnels with a
Poof! Only a little more local color (blur) than if I had flown down from
Tokyo.
No coffee, no San Miguel, but Sake dispensed from a little ??still?? when we
hit a neat sushi bar in Osaka. What do I know- Egad! You'll never catch Ray
in any sushi bar in this country, where we have to dance to federal
restaurant regulations that prescribe some toxic additives to foodstuff...
My friend, Sid, is CEO (Chief of Espresso Operations) of his coffee shop in
Parker. Doesn't roast his own- "Regs, not enough space." It'd be pretty
primary of me to cite the counter examples on this list- He's a spiritual
brother, I don't argue.
Gotta support the habit- maybe my roastery will have a coffee window and a
Jazz stage...
Hiroko (Yoshizaki) didn't take her own advice, but survived a 747 crash on
approach to Tokyo on a Holiday trip some years later.
Cheers, Mabuhay -RayO, aka Opa!
Got Grinder?
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23) From: Dave McCracken
On Monday 06 July 2009, Sandy Andina wrote:
<Snip>
Oban is a Highlands malt.  I believe it's the only active distillery left in 
county Argyll.  It definitely has the smoothness of a Highland.
Dave McCracken
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24) From: dennis true
So do you sip, slurp, swril (like Tom does for coffee tastings) or  
just open up and down it goes?....
Dennis
On Jul 7, 2009, at 12:15 AM, Phil Palmintere wrote:
<Snip>
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25) From: Bob Hazen
. . . and as long as we're setting the record straight, Talisker is from the 
Isle of Skye.  I think it's quite tasty.  Anyone detect a peppery character 
in it?  It's a favorite of mine when I don't have my nose in an Islay.  I 
confess, though, that I like nearly all of the malts.  They're all good in 
their own ways, with the exception of some McClelland's gasoline I received 
as a gift one time.  That one was a surprise.  It should have had an MSDS 
sticker on it.
These delectable variances in whisky are akin to those in the coffees I've 
tasted from SM's.  They're all good in their own ways.  With the sole 
exception (IMHO) of a tart (as in suck a lemon) Kenya that I had trouble 
drinking.  I'm sure some folks liked it, but it made me pucker.  I ended up 
roasting it to FC++ and letting it rest for a week to tame it.
Slainte Mhath!
Bob

26) From: Jason Riedy
And Sandra Andina writes:
<Snip>
Alas, not all barkeeps know this.  A shift change left my neat a
tad flat last weekend.  Funny how you can tell as the waitress
walks closer...
Jason
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27) From: Seth Grandeau
". . . and as long as we're setting the record straight, Talisker is from
the Isle of Skye.  I think it's quite tasty.  Anyone detect a peppery
character in it?"
Not only do I detect it, I quite like it!  I would not recommend it as a
first time scotch, because the peppery taste is not to everyone's liking.
On Tue, Jul 7, 2009 at 4:40 PM, Bob Hazen  wrote:
<Snip>
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28) From: Alchemist John
I am a real fan of one that I don't hear a lot about.  It's a 
non-peat Islay, Bunnahabhain.  Very soft and creamy, with touches of 
brine and honey.  There are a couple different expressions, a 12 and 
18 year old.  The 18 is good, but pricey, but overall, I believe I 
like the 12 better.  A really great intro and every day single malt.
I too am a fan of many of the sherried expressions.  Although 
reviewed as a bit heavy handed, I happen to really like Lasanta 
expression from Glenmorangie.  Sweet and nutty.
I would tend to stay away from the heavily peated Singles as an intro 
scotch, although I adore Laphroig, Lagavulun and Talisker.
Oddly, I have never been a fan of any of the Macallans.  Just don't 
hit the spot for me, but I know many people who like them quite a bit.
At 09:15 PM 7/6/2009, you wrote:
<Snip>
John Nanci
AlChemist at large
Zen Roasting , Hand Grinding, Blending & Espresso pulling by Gestalthttp://www.chocolatealchemy.com/Homeroast mailing list
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29) From: Demian Ebert
Bunnahabhain is pretty darn tasty. I'm in a club where we get a bottle every
other month. Last month's was a 19YO Scapa (an Orkney malt) at cask strenght
(52.7%), non-chill filtered, natural color. What an awesome malt! The nose
was like green apple Jolly Rancher candy. A spot of water and that taste
continued into the actual malt. It was truely amazing. But at a list price
closing in on $200 it's not an easy gift bottle (heck, I couldn't even
affort it if it weren't for the club).
Introductory malts I'd recommend have mostly been mentioned: Oban, Macallen,
etc etc. I'd stay away from the peaty whisky's like Talisker and Lagavulin,
but then I don't like them much now and have been tasting and drinking
scotch for years. All time favorites for routine drinking: Macallen cask
strength, Oban, and if I have the money any of the Longmorns.
A better introductory gift, as someone mentioned, would be a tasting.
And I'd recommend a guided tasting in this case over a whisky expo
or festival.  I've been to several in San Francisco over the years. Most
organized by the store that manages the club we're in
http://www.dandm.com/)and
hosted by Signatory (an independant bottler). But the best all time one was
a Macallen only tasting led by one of the sales guys from Macallen. That was
a truely great tasting.
Demian
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30) From: Frank Parth
Demian,
By the time I caught onto this thread, there were so many great comments I didn't want to add another one (except that 
a Bruchladdich goes very nicely in the evenings).
This is a great club. Thanks for suggesting it. I just joined.
Frank Parth
<Snip>
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31) From: stereoplegic
great OT. as something of a Scotch noob myself, i'll be starring this
thread for future reference.
BTW, i wholeheartedly agree w/ The Glenlivet recommendation. I've had
the 12, 15 French Oak Reserve, 16 Nadurra, 18, and XXV (not a
beginner's bottle price-wise, but you may have to clean yourself up a
little after the first sip). i prefer the 15 French Oak over the 12,
16, and 18. all of these are wonderful introductions to Bourbon fans.
perhaps not for those who avoid sweeter whisky/whiskey though.
Laphroig and Bowmore are a bit much for me w/o a healthy dose of
rocks. Glenfiddich isn't bad, but I'll usually just have a bourbon if
that's the only Scotch they offer (a few bars around here like that).
On 7/10/09, Frank Parth  wrote:
<Snip>
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