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Good introductory whiskies

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@jeanluc
jeanluc started a discussion

I've just picked up a bottle of The Balvenie Signature 12 year old (connosr.com/reviews/balvenie/…) as a Christmas present for my little brother. We've enjoyed a few drams together in the past and he's shown an interest but he is fairly new to whisky. I think this will suit his tastes perfectly.

I often get asked "What's a good whisky for a beginner?" and would be interested to hear your thoughts....

14 years ago

24 replies

@jdcook
jdcook replied

If I were to choose a single whisky from my own experience, I would probably lean towards the Abelour 10 year old. Although the Glenfiddich 15 year old would also be worth a look. I've only tried the one Balvenie (the double wood I believe), and it tasted like it had been on the shelf for a few years - a bit flat and boring, so my experience of the Balvenie range is limited...

14 years ago 0

@jwise
jwise replied

I think a good double-cask matured whisky. The Sherry-casked whiskies offer a lot of taste over the milder Highland malts, or the Lowland malts. The Islay malts tend to overpower newbies.

14 years ago 0

@markjedi1
markjedi1 replied

For a novice, I think it is a smart thing to stick to the sweeter, less peated drams. Several lowlands come to mind (Auchentoshan 12 Year Old for example) as Irish whiskey (Greenore 8 Year Old). If you really want to start off with a Speyside, then I would suggest the easy drinking ones such as Glenfiddich (12 or 15) or Glenlivet 12 Year Old. Get a novice started on an Ardbeg and you'll probably chase him/her away.

14 years ago 0

Youngupstart replied

I would like to re-open this for the sake of fun. I will start off with a price range of 125-150 for 3-4 whiskies. For starters, The Glenrothes Select Reserve (40.00 to keep this easy rounded numbers), for a smooth honeyed Speyside that will introduce a palate to the lighter side of things, devoid of strong peat smoke or cask strength expressions. Next Strathisla 12 year for the Highlands(45.00), a little more complex but once again, without anything perturbing to a young palate. Next I would say Springbank CV of Campbeltown(52.00), strictly to introduce a touch of peat smoke, along with being a lovely dram. I think the Springbank has the oppurtunity to be switched with a Highland Park 12 year(48.00) from the Islands (Orkney), due to the fact they are both cost efficient, both serve a lightly peated aspect, and both have wonderful tasting profiles. That is my take on good starting point for beginners who are ready to spend a little on a few decent bottles.

13 years ago 0

@Alanjp
Alanjp replied

Being a fan of Japanese whiskies as it is, i would recommend the Yamazaki 10yr as a good introductory whisky. It's smoothness and simple flavours won't overload your tastebuds, it's easily available at a decent price, and is a lighter way to get into the world of the dram than some of the heavier scotch whiskies around.

13 years ago 0

@mateusmendes
mateusmendes replied

I have introduced many newbies to the whisky world and I agree with markjedi1 that sweet, fruited, unpeated and light bodied are better to the novice. In my list are Auchentoshan 12, Macallan Sherry Oak 12, Jura Origin 10 and a blend: Famous Grouse Standard (although it's made from Highland Park, it's absolutely unpeated and fruited).

13 years ago 0

@michaelschout

My girlfriend absolutely hates scotch and most hard alcohol but the other day I bought a bottle of Bushmills Black Bush in honour of St. Patrick's day and she gave my dram a little sniff and said that she really liked it. She took a sip of it and still found it too strong, but at least liking the nose is a start.

13 years ago 1Who liked this?

@MFish85
MFish85 replied

My Introduction to scotch at least was Glenlivet 12. Although my tastes have changed to the point where I am not too fond of it, it's my recommendation for a good starter.

13 years ago 0

Peatpete replied

I started on strong Islay scotches, and they are still my favourites, but for a beginer I would probably recomend (just to be a heathern) Either JW Green, or Blue, depending on finances. Both have a nice amount of complexity, with enough going on to make them interesting, whilst being very easy to drink.

13 years ago 0

@mster
mster replied

I have, on a contrary, a different opinion and experience. I have introduces a couple of friends to whiskey (recently, as I'm a newbie to this as well), And just like myself, most are more intrigue with the bolder stuffs. As most of us do have on and off some whiskey, but most seldom have them neat, usually with water (lots of it), ice or even mixes. Thus to most, whiskies taste about the same. As one usually don't quite pay attention to the nose and palate of it after all the mixed of water/mixers. Until I got them to try the whiskey neat. Like this friend of mine, got him to try a macallan 12. He was just ok with it, and thinks that, with it neat, he does taste 'more' of the whiskey, He opinion totally changed, after given him a dram of the Ardbeg 10. He goes 'wow'.. never knew whiskey can nose and taste so different! And starting to appreciate them more so.

13 years ago 2Who liked this?

@Alan
Alan replied

I think what people like to drink prior to their first dram dictates the kind of introductory whisky they end up liking. A lot of wine drinkers seem to prefer an unpeated, light and fruity or spicy malt like Dalwhinnie 15. Beer drinkers on the other hand go for more robust, richer malts like Highland Park 12, while people who drink Bacardi (or JD) and Coke will end up loving The Balvenie.

Peat and smoke (OK, not too much peat and smoke) will not scare away beginners necessarily, but they will discourage some. OTOH, if a beginner is used to drinking rich, malty and yeasty real ales from microbreweries, many of what we consider 'starter' scotches will not excite their palate.

13 years ago 1Who liked this?

@mateusmendes
mateusmendes replied

@mster I agree that peated ones have a WOW effect more than unpeated, so i put them in the last positions at the tasting queue. After the newbie be accustomed to other tastes, I think he is ready to medicinal and peaty Islay malt (that are absolutely amazing!)

13 years ago 0

@two_bitcowboy

I love the reaction of bourbon drinkers when I pour their first single malt Scotch: usually a bourbon cask aged Speysider or Highlander. Most love the vanilla, and many respond with, "It's not smokey like people say." Deanston 12 (46.3%), Balblair 1997, and especially The Glenrothes Alba Reserve are my favorite pours for "first-time" whisky drinkers.

13 years ago 0

@OilerKiwi99
OilerKiwi99 replied

Here's my list of what I consider introductory drams: -

Lowland, Highland & Speyside Aberlour 10 Year Old, Deanston 12 Year Old, Dalwhinnie 15 Year Old, Oban 14 year Old Balvenie Doublewood 12 Year Old, Old Pulteney 12 Year Old, Cragganmore 12 Year Old, Benromach 10 Year Old, The Glenlivet 12 Year Old, Glenfiddich 12 Year old, Glengoyne 10 Year Old, Auchentoshan 12 Year old

Island & Islay - Try in this order Arran 14 Year Old, Highland park 12 Year Old, Talisker 10 Year old, , Bunnahabhain 12 year Old, Bowmore Legend, Caol Ila 12 Year Old, Laphroiag Quarter Cask, Lagavulin 16 Year Old, Ardbeg 10 Year old.

O_K

13 years ago 0

Hydron replied

I will buy my next whisky tomorow: What should I buy? I hace easy acces to Macallan 12yr Sherry, Balvenie 12 yr Double wood, Glenfiddich 15yr, Cragganmore 12 yr, Glengoyne 10yr and 17yr Thanks

13 years ago 0

@Victor
Victor replied

@Hydron, I suggest the Cragganmore 12, sweet, lovely, gentle, but quite good.

13 years ago 0

Youngupstart replied

@Hydron I would suggest the Glengoyne 17 year, a very layered highland in comparison to the 10 year. I am not a personal fan of the Cragganmore 12 year, though it is a decent dram it just doesn't speak to me. The 15 year is a decent Glenfiddich expression, but the double wood out classes it. Lastly, I am biased to Macallan, so I will not say anything about that particular one.

13 years ago 0

@BlueNote
BlueNote replied

I think the Glenmorangie Original 10 yr. old is a pretty good training whisky.

13 years ago 1Who liked this?

@tedtiv
tedtiv replied

I love a strong bourbon... what's a good intro Scotch?

13 years ago 0

@LeFrog
LeFrog replied

@tedtiv if you want to start with something that has a high ABV and good flavour perhaps go with Glenfarclas '105'?

13 years ago 0

@phillyslick
phillyslick replied

Personally I think it's better to start with a blend so one can really appreciate the step up to the single malts. I'd recommend Teacher's Highland Cream and Ballantine's. Tasting these whisky's allows one to taste the difference between malt whisky and grain whisky. then it's on to the laphroig 10 yr cask strength!

13 years ago 0

@BlueNote
BlueNote replied

@phillyslick, Good point, a person could do a lot worse than starting with Teacher's, then maybe move up to a good 12 year old blend, then a good vatted malt like JW Green, then maybe HP 12, and then on to the hardcore, big peat, big smoke, big flavour.

13 years ago 0

@jasonbstanding

When I'm introducing beginners, I'll usually start them off on something spicy & vanilla-ey (My bottle of Glen Rothes 1991 launched the whisky enthusiasm of about a dozen people - I should get a medal for my efforts, I really should), pour myself a peaty belter, and while they're enjoying theirs I'll offer them a sniff/taste of mine, just so they get an eyeball of the sort of range of possibilities.

But if you're talking about a bottle to buy for a beginner... nah, actually, I wouldn't buy a beginner a whole bottle to start with.

www.masterofmalt.com/drinks-by-the-dram/ is a wondrous invention.

13 years ago 1Who liked this?

Youngupstart replied

@tedtiv LeFrog is leading you down the right track, any Glenfarclas expression will do you fine, and the prices are superb, no fancy extra case attachments and the bottle isn't made of cut crystal. A very cost effective and quality whisky.

13 years ago 0