Whisky Connosr
Menu
Shop

Discussions

A non-entry level dram (for a beginner)

0 25

@mintydog
mintydog started a discussion

I am a very recent convert to all things Single Malt. All that I know is that I don't know much. So far I have very happily bought bottles at entry-level prices, and I'm feeling the urge to stretch out a little.

What can anyone recommend in the £50-£75 range? I am currently very much enjoying an Aberlour A'bunadh, but the dram that got me started was a bottle of Bowmore (Enigma, 12yo). Highland Park 18yo looks very tempting? Suggestions? Opinions?

10 years ago

25 replies

@Victor
Victor replied

Sure, Highland Park 18 is a wonderful whisky. But it might require 3-4 months after opening the bottle to be at its best. So if you do buy it, don't assume that the drams on day 1 are the full story.

10 years ago 2Who liked this?

@Nozinan
Nozinan replied

If you're using £, does that mean you're in the UK? We have a London in Canada too.

If you're willing to go below 50, you could get a Bladnoch 10 or 11 year old, or if you order from the distillery you might be able to get a 12 year old (which I have not yet tried) for under that as well.

I prefer to look at non-entry drams by their character, not the price. Some more complex drams that may be within or below your range could include an Amrut (fusion, Portonova or intermediate sherry), compass Box PeatMonster, many of the standard islays ( Ardbeg 10, Caol ila, lagavulin 16), a Balvenie single cask 15 YO, or any of the cask strength Springbanks ( my fave is the 12 year old claret wood matured)

I think once you've tried a few entry levels, now that you've successfully transitioned to a (branded) scotch with a craft presentation (A'Bunadh), you might consider the many mid-range craft presented whiskies out there. Clues to look for are no chill filtration, cask strength or 46% or above, and (although I have no proof it affects the taste, no caramel colour added. These things often go along with quality.

Let me know how it goes...

10 years ago 0

@Nozinan
Nozinan replied

The other thing that I'd mention is that smelling and tasting is only a small part of the experience. This forum is a good place to learn, and the more you learn about the intricacies of production and maturation the more interesting the journey is. Some of us actually have more time to read than to drink,

I would highly recommend the video series at Ralfy.com and I would suggest starting at the beginning in March 2009 and progressing in order until you catch up. As long as you watch more than 2 videos a week you'll catch up. The earlier ones are shorted and to the point. The later ones become more esoteric but still fun. 2 of them I have used to teach about the (mis)use of social media in health education (I will let you decide whether the word in brackets applies). The first of these comes before the actual scotch reviews (March 2009) and the longer, more eye-watering one is in November 2011. I'd love to hear others' impressions...maybe I should start a thread...

Some useful videos of Ralfy include a 7 part walk through every stage of production at Springbank. It is from his videos I learned a out Bladnoch and because of that ordered it for a friend to bring over to Canada. The quality of the spirit has kept me ordering more, and hopefully I will drink more of it soon.

The Canadian site All Things Whisky also mixes commentary with story telling (about trips to Islay).

I often like to find a review or two of a Whisky from some of my favourite sites to watch or read while sipping the same spirit. Great for educating the palate.

10 years ago 1Who liked this?

@PMessinger
PMessinger replied

First I have to preface what I'm going to suggest with the fact that I don't know about the conversion from British pound sterling and Yankee dollar's. That said if you are currently enjoying your journey through Speyside then why not stay there for a while. The Islay's that Bowmore represent will always be there.

I would recommend some others not in your cabinet. Old Pulteney 12yr, Deanston 12yr, Dalwhinne 15yr, Glenfarclas 12yr, Red breast 12yr. Some of these are not from Speyside but are good for beginners. Hope this was helpful. :)

10 years ago 0

@jeffilli
jeffilli replied

@mintydog I really enjoy the Auchentoshan 3 wood, and the laphroaige quarter cask. This is coming from somewhat of a beginner.

10 years ago 1Who liked this?

@mintydog
mintydog replied

Well, thanks all for your very helpful comments. Sorry to assume people would be comfortable in £'s, next time I'll try to be clearer.

@Victor: very interested in the idea that a whisky would be better after a few months... a new one on me. Thanks.

I will be poring over everyone's excellent suggestions... which is, I suppose, part of what I like about whisky in the first place.

Ah, the consideration of exciting choices!

M

10 years ago 0

@Jonesz
Jonesz replied

Don't know about London but several of the Whisky specialty shops that I visited on a trip to Scotland last fall had a variety of open bottles that one could taste. Do not be reluctant to ask and many shop owners were only too happy to give some advice on selection if they knew my taste preferences. They were very helpful for the most part. Shop at a time when the shops are not busy with Friday evening crowds etc and pick the shopkeepers brain. They are usually run by people who are very into whiskies and want to keep you as a return customer. Being in the UK you have a far greater selection than we do in Canada. 50-70 Pounds equates to approx 80-115 Canadian dollars and from what I saw in UK shops will buy some very nice whiskies indeed. I am envious.

10 years ago 0

@BlueNote
BlueNote replied

@Nozinan. Can you be more specific about exactly which Ralfy reviews you are referring to? You've got me quite curious now. Cheers.

@mintydog. Glenmorangie Sonalta PX is excellent and I think around 70 GBP. Balvenie 21 Port Wood is a beauty if you can stretch to a bit more cash. Laphroaig 18 is fabulous and just in your price range as is Lagavulin 16.

10 years ago 0

@BlueNote
BlueNote replied

Oh, yeah, Glenfarclas 15 is a good one or the 105 if you like cask strength big sherry casked whisky.

10 years ago 1Who liked this?

@teebone673
teebone673 replied

Glenlivet Nadurra. You won't be disappointed.

10 years ago 0

Rigmorole replied

Since you are from London, I recommend Glenfarclas 15 since you like A'bunadh. The 15 is a very reasonable price for what it is. It's unavailable in the USA but I think it's in London. You live in a great place to get hard to find scotches.

Others choices based upon your preexisting tastes include: Small vintage bottlings of Clynelish such as the distiller's edition or the Signatorys (not the typical 14 year); Glengoyne 17; Suntory Hibiki 12; Cadenhead's Campbeltown blended pure malt.

10 years ago 0

@Abunadhman
Abunadhman replied

@mintydog: Glenfarclas 15yo. is a superb Whisky and will certainly not disappoint - Why not start with a fine dram that is, in fact, where more than a few of the faithful finish up!

Cheers and Good Luck!

10 years ago 0

@Nozinan
Nozinan replied

@BlueNote For education and enrichment I would start from the beginning . Go to Ralfy.com, click on "whiskyreviews blog". on the left there are archives. click open the arrow on 2009 and do the same for March. Start from the bottom and work your way up. There are now over 400 individual entries (some numbers have multiple parts).

Foe entertainment, the March 2009 entry called "tasting and awareness" is worth a try:

whiskyreviews.blogspot.ca/2009/03/…

For what not to do (in my humble medical opinion) about prostate cancer screening go to November 2011:

whiskyreviews.blogspot.ca/2011/11/…

10 years ago 1Who liked this?

@Andrea
Andrea replied

If you like "sherry notes" you can't Miss Glendronach CS Batch 1 or 2. Fantastic drams that you can buy at £ 60 c.a.

10 years ago 0

@Nozinan
Nozinan replied

@Andrea Is there a "Mr." Glendronach to go along with the "Miss"?

10 years ago 0

@Maltmark
Maltmark replied

Since you are loving sherry, Here's my take: Glendronach 15 if you want a unique sherry finish. Yamazaki 18 is complex, amazing and sherried. Now, I've been really excited about my springbank 10 lately. And it's amazing with a cigar. Not sherried, but along the lines of Highland park. Best 10 year old I've ever had and it's definitely not entry level.

10 years ago 0

@Nozinan
Nozinan replied

@Maltmark If you want unique, rich dry sherry go with Bladnoch 55%, from the current owner. I've had the 10 and 11 year old, both under 50 GBP, and they are among the best sherried malts I've ever had. That and A'Bunadh are my 2 favourite Scotches.

10 years ago 0

@valuewhisky
valuewhisky replied

@Nozinan, wow, I just took a gander at that prostate cancer video... hadn't seen that one before. Wow. I was going to say more, but I think I'll just leave it at that.

10 years ago 0

@Nozinan
Nozinan replied

@valuewhisky

Not an uncommon reaction. I'm sure it's because of the inaccuracies in the cancer statistics, right?

10 years ago 1Who liked this?

@Andrea
Andrea replied

@Nozinan do you like joking eh...... In my opinion Miss Glendronach loves Mr Kilchoman Loch Gorm...

10 years ago 0

@Nozinan
Nozinan replied

@Andrea

I have to admit that when it comes to Kilchoman I'm rather "gormless""... (look it up...I had to)

It's not available much over here

10 years ago 0

@BlueNote
BlueNote replied

@Nozinan. I have seen all of Ralfy's vlogs, and I remember the "Movember" one now. Bit of a misguided attempt by Ralfy to bring some awareness to an important issue. For the most part, he is well worth watching, despite his trying too hard to be eccentric. He missed the mark on this one though, and much of what he was recommending are procedures best left to trained physicians.

Back on topic: Talisker Distiller's Edition has a nice mix of peat and sherry and is well within the price parameters.

10 years ago 0

Rigmorole replied

How did we go from drams to prostates? I don't see the segue. My advice on whisky: drink it. My advise on prostate health: eat plenty of organic leafy greens, organic fruit, and less red meat. Choose meats that are not subjected to steroids and high amounts of antibiotics. When you eat beef, choose grass fed pasture raised, not grain fed barn (factory) raised.

Choose grains that are GMO free. Swim if you can three times per week. It's a type of exercise that is fantastic for the body. If you can't swim, jog in water. Salt water pools are much healthier than chlorine, which is toxic and can be absorbed through skin pores.

Eat four to fives times per day with smaller meals and make the last one the smallest with no grains or meats.

A glass of whisky is excellent for the health, especially scotch. Fluoridated water is not. It is pure industrial waste from the fertilizing industry and is terrible for your "pipes."

I have another dram suggestion for mintydog: Ardmore peated and The MacTarnahan (which is a 9.5 year Glenfarclas that has a bit of coloring). These two pure single malts blend quite well together, and they are both very inexpensive (both under $40 American Dollar).

Try blending one third Ardmore with two thirds Glenfarclas. It will really surprise you how good it tastes.

10 years ago 0

Rigmorole replied

When I say "Ardmore peated" I mean the Traditional Cask Highland Malt whisky.

10 years ago 0

@Nozinan
Nozinan replied

@rigmorole

But you'll agree that Bladnoch is the most prostate-friendly dram?

10 years ago 0