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Old 07-17-2013, 10:03 PM
 
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I just tried scotch for the first time. Bought mini bottles of Dewar's White and Johnny Walker Red. I put a few drops of water in a highball glass with each mini bottle. They both smell a bit like tequila to me, and I'm not a big fan of most tequilas. As with most things in my life, I like better stuff, but have little interest in or appreciation for the best. This attitude has probably saved me a bunch of money over the years. Are the two scotches I tried too low on the chain to get an appreciation? The Dewar's is supposedly halfway decent. "Best Selling" and all that, but I realize that the masses may not know any better.

Thoughts?
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Old 07-18-2013, 01:26 AM
 
Location: Volcano
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One of the primary distinctions of Scotch Whisky is the smoky taste, from the way the malted barley is dried over peat fires.

Tequila has a remotely similar profile, a little smoky, because of the way the "piña" is roasted to breakdown its starches into sugars so it can be fermented.

Scotch is more complex, and often takes a while to get into. No rush, take your time.
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Old 07-18-2013, 01:51 AM
 
Location: Philippines
122 posts, read 127,437 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by OpenD View Post
One of the primary distinctions of Scotch Whisky is the smoky taste, from the way the malted barley is dried over peat fires.

Tequila has a remotely similar profile, a little smoky, because of the way the "piña" is roasted to breakdown its starches into sugars so it can be fermented.

Scotch is more complex, and often takes a while to get into. No rush, take your time.
Impressive, you really know what you're talking about. I'd have to agree with you especially on that smoky taste of Scotch Whisky. Very well said.
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Old 07-18-2013, 02:57 PM
 
5,243 posts, read 2,664,171 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by vmaxnc View Post
I just tried scotch for the first time. Bought mini bottles of Dewar's White and Johnny Walker Red. I put a few drops of water in a highball glass with each mini bottle. They both smell a bit like tequila to me, and I'm not a big fan of most tequilas. As with most things in my life, I like better stuff, but have little interest in or appreciation for the best. This attitude has probably saved me a bunch of money over the years. Are the two scotches I tried too low on the chain to get an appreciation? The Dewar's is supposedly halfway decent. "Best Selling" and all that, but I realize that the masses may not know any better.

Thoughts?
Well, I doubt you'll get too many people raving about either of those scotches. Red Label is the bottom of the barrel (probably literally too) in the Johnnie Walker range. Dewar's white also at the bottom range for that company too. Although I think it's a bit better than red label. Really both those are mixing scotches. Not so much for drinking neat. You are much better off springing the extra few bucks and getting the Black Label or even the Green label (a malt blend [a mixture of single malts without grain alcohol]), which is my favorite Johnnie Walker. Don't go Blue Label, that's just overpriced imo.

As far as Dewars goes the 12 year old is pretty good. At least it's a considerable step up from white label.

You should check out a good single malt instead of a blended scotch (single malt with grain alcohol) too. Not that blended scotches are bad but a good single malt is really something else. Plus, there is such a wide range of flavors and smells in whiskies. Try a Laphroaig 10 year versus a Aberlour 10 year or a Talisker 10 year. Big difference.

It's good to find a benchmark whisky that you can judge all others by. Of course each persons taste is different so what you like may not be the same as others. If you never tasted greatness then it's pretty hard to compare whiskies out there. Go to a good bar and order something that is interesting. There are plenty of resources online too. One I like a lot is Ralfy's whisky site.. He does vlogs of whisky reviews. Good stuff. In the end whiskey is a great spiritual (pun intended) journey.

Last edited by biggunsmallbrains; 07-18-2013 at 03:09 PM..
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Old 07-18-2013, 03:43 PM
 
Location: An absurd world.
5,165 posts, read 8,247,545 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by biggunsmallbrains View Post
Well, I doubt you'll get too many people raving about either of those scotches. Red Label is the bottom of the barrel (probably literally too) in the Johnnie Walker range. Dewar's white also at the bottom range for that company too. Although I think it's a bit better than red label. Really both those are mixing scotches. Not so much for drinking neat. You are much better off springing the extra few bucks and getting the Black Label or even the Green label (a malt blend [a mixture of single malts without grain alcohol]), which is my favorite Johnnie Walker. Don't go Blue Label, that's just overpriced imo.

As far as Dewars goes the 12 year old is pretty good. At least it's a considerable step up from white label.

You should check out a good single malt instead of a blended scotch (single malt with grain alcohol) too. Not that blended scotches are bad but a good single malt is really something else. Plus, there is such a wide range of flavors and smells in whiskies. Try a Laphroaig 10 year versus a Aberlour 10 year or a Talisker 10 year. Big difference.

It's good to find a benchmark whisky that you can judge all others by. Of course each persons taste is different so what you like may not be the same as others. If you never tasted greatness then it's pretty hard to compare whiskies out there. Go to a good bar and order something that is interesting. There are plenty of resources online too. One I like a lot is Ralfy's whisky site.. He does vlogs of whisky reviews. Good stuff. In the end whiskey is a great spiritual (pun intended) journey.
I've been saying what's in bold for the longest time now. Black Label is really good. Green Label to me is the best bottling of Johnnie Walker. Gold and Blue are both overrated and overpriced.

It's really strange that blended malts (as opposed to blended whiskies) aren't more popular. Most can't name any besides JW Green. A good blended malt can often match the quality of a single malt.

To the OP, when it comes to getting into Scotch, it's best to start by going to a bar with a wide selection and a bartender that's knowledgeable. It's cheaper to try Scotch you've never had by the glass. If you know for sure you like a certain bottling, then of course, it's cheaper in the long run to just buy a bottle. However, you don't want to shell out large amounts of money for a bottling that you're unfamiliar with when you could just find it at a bar and try it for $10-$20 a glass. There is a wide range of flavors when it comes to Scotch. You could love the bottlings of one distillery and absolutely hate the bottlings of another. Also, to a degree, the region of Scotland the whisky is produced in will tell you ahead of time what you can expect. Different regions have different methods, water sources, etc.

This link gives a pretty accurate description of the differences in flavor(s) according to region.
Scotch malt whisky regions

Personally, I would say a really good single-malt for a starter is Highland Park 12-year. It's very balanced. It's got a little bit of everything that Scottish whisky has to offer. Fruitiness, smokiness, etc. Find a local bar that has some and try it out.

Also, I would avoid starting out with whiskies from Islay. Some people like them immediately (as I did), but most acquire the taste for them. Some never actually acquire the taste for them and just stick with other regions. You won't know how you feel about them until you try them, but I wouldn't advise them as a starting point.
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Old 07-18-2013, 05:49 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Haaziq View Post
I've been saying what's in bold for the longest time now. Black Label is really good. Green Label to me is the best bottling of Johnnie Walker. Gold and Blue are both overrated and overpriced.

It's really strange that blended malts (as opposed to blended whiskies) aren't more popular. Most can't name any besides JW Green. A good blended malt can often match the quality of a single malt.

To the OP, when it comes to getting into Scotch, it's best to start by going to a bar with a wide selection and a bartender that's knowledgeable. It's cheaper to try Scotch you've never had by the glass. If you know for sure you like a certain bottling, then of course, it's cheaper in the long run to just buy a bottle. However, you don't want to shell out large amounts of money for a bottling that you're unfamiliar with when you could just find it at a bar and try it for $10-$20 a glass. There is a wide range of flavors when it comes to Scotch. You could love the bottlings of one distillery and absolutely hate the bottlings of another. Also, to a degree, the region of Scotland the whisky is produced in will tell you ahead of time what you can expect. Different regions have different methods, water sources, etc.

This link gives a pretty accurate description of the differences in flavor(s) according to region.
Scotch malt whisky regions

Personally, I would say a really good single-malt for a starter is Highland Park 12-year. It's very balanced. It's got a little bit of everything that Scottish whisky has to offer. Fruitiness, smokiness, etc. Find a local bar that has some and try it out.

Also, I would avoid starting out with whiskies from Islay. Some people like them immediately (as I did), but most acquire the taste for them. Some never actually acquire the taste for them and just stick with other regions. You won't know how you feel about them until you try them, but I wouldn't advise them as a starting point.
Blended malts or vatted malts (I like that term better) can be just as good if not better than any single malt. My favorite is Sheep Dip 1990 (now discontinued). Man what a scotch! They took three single malts, a 19 year old Fettercain, 21 year old Ardbeg and a 25 year old Dalmore (I think) and then aged them in barrels for another 15 years! I don't know of any other Scotch that does such a thing. So basically you are getting well over 30 year old whiskey and a bottle of this goes for around 80 bucks, which makes it a great deal for such old booze. If you see a bottle out there grab it.

whisky review 242 - Sheep Dip Old Hebridean 1990 - YouTube
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Old 07-18-2013, 06:01 PM
 
2,538 posts, read 4,019,718 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by biggunsmallbrains View Post
Well, I doubt you'll get too many people raving about either of those scotches. Red Label is the bottom of the barrel (probably literally too) in the Johnnie Walker range. Dewar's white also at the bottom range for that company too. Although I think it's a bit better than red label. Really both those are mixing scotches. Not so much for drinking neat. You are much better off springing the extra few bucks and getting the Black Label or even the Green label (a malt blend [a mixture of single malts without grain alcohol]), which is my favorite Johnnie Walker. Don't go Blue Label, that's just overpriced imo.

As far as Dewars goes the 12 year old is pretty good. At least it's a considerable step up from white label.

You should check out a good single malt instead of a blended scotch (single malt with grain alcohol) too. Not that blended scotches are bad but a good single malt is really something else. Plus, there is such a wide range of flavors and smells in whiskies. Try a Laphroaig 10 year versus a Aberlour 10 year or a Talisker 10 year. Big difference.

It's good to find a benchmark whisky that you can judge all others by. Of course each persons taste is different so what you like may not be the same as others. If you never tasted greatness then it's pretty hard to compare whiskies out there. Go to a good bar and order something that is interesting. There are plenty of resources online too. One I like a lot is Ralfy's whisky site.. He does vlogs of whisky reviews. Good stuff. In the end whiskey is a great spiritual (pun intended) journey.
For a cheap scotch I love Mcclelland 12 year old single malt. It's about $30 a bottle where I live. To me it is no comparison to Johnnie Walker either Red or Black label. I can't even drink Red Label straight. It just tastes nasty to me.
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Old 07-19-2013, 01:02 AM
 
Location: Volcano
12,971 posts, read 23,542,360 times
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It's very strange to me that whenever a newcomer to Scotch asks what to try, the whisky geeks always press the high-end stuff on them, when I think that is pretty much a recipe for disaster. Seriously, y'all... that's NOT where you started, and it isn't where a newbie should start!

In my view, Single Malts are something to come to slowly, deliberately, and with intelligence. There's a good reason that Scottish grocers Johnny Walker and the Chivas Brothers and William Teacher and John Dewar ALL created blended whiskies that became famous around the world, by smoothing out the idiosyncrasies of single malts in the blending process, and by making them affordable to the working man by blending them further (and damping down the taste) with neutral grain spirits. But that's a very hard, and expensive experience to try to duplicate.

I mean, to tell the truth, Scotch whisky wasn't even all that popular in Britain until the Phylloxera plague sent brandy prices through the roof and Scotch whiskey blends became price-attractive for the after-dinner tipple with a cigar.

In other words, the popular blends are popular for a reason, and they are a good place to start... and since they are readily available in many places in single-serve "airline" servings, why not start there?

To the OP I say, yeah, keep trying different ones. Have shots of different kinds in a good bar, where they have a lot of choices. I got a master course from a wonderful barman in Keith, Scotland, Home of Strathisla Distillery, the oldest working distillery in Scotland and the base for Chivas Regal blend... I just said, "Teach me about whisky," and he poured them until I got it.

There's smoke to learn about, and iodine and salt from the ocean spray, but most of all there's the water filtered through the heather and the flowers and the air, and the distillery workers who are 5th and 6th generation at the same job, and it's really all there from the first sip, but you won't really get it until you try and celebrate and laugh and learn for a while.

Happy hunting!
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Old 07-19-2013, 03:03 PM
 
5,243 posts, read 2,664,171 times
Reputation: 3475
Quote:
Originally Posted by OpenD View Post
It's very strange to me that whenever a newcomer to Scotch asks what to try, the whisky geeks always press the high-end stuff on them, when I think that is pretty much a recipe for disaster. Seriously, y'all... that's NOT where you started, and it isn't where a newbie should start!

In my view, Single Malts are something to come to slowly, deliberately, and with intelligence. There's a good reason that Scottish grocers Johnny Walker and the Chivas Brothers and William Teacher and John Dewar ALL created blended whiskies that became famous around the world, by smoothing out the idiosyncrasies of single malts in the blending process, and by making them affordable to the working man by blending them further (and damping down the taste) with neutral grain spirits. But that's a very hard, and expensive experience to try to duplicate.

I mean, to tell the truth, Scotch whisky wasn't even all that popular in Britain until the Phylloxera plague sent brandy prices through the roof and Scotch whiskey blends became price-attractive for the after-dinner tipple with a cigar.

In other words, the popular blends are popular for a reason, and they are a good place to start... and since they are readily available in many places in single-serve "airline" servings, why not start there?

To the OP I say, yeah, keep trying different ones. Have shots of different kinds in a good bar, where they have a lot of choices. I got a master course from a wonderful barman in Keith, Scotland, Home of Strathisla Distillery, the oldest working distillery in Scotland and the base for Chivas Regal blend... I just said, "Teach me about whisky," and he poured them until I got it.

There's smoke to learn about, and iodine and salt from the ocean spray, but most of all there's the water filtered through the heather and the flowers and the air, and the distillery workers who are 5th and 6th generation at the same job, and it's really all there from the first sip, but you won't really get it until you try and celebrate and laugh and learn for a while.

Happy hunting!

That's kind of a weird and pompous way to put down others opinions on here. No one here on city data is the end all be all of information, including yourself. As far as whiskey geeks go, you are the one throwing out your credentials in order to gain some sort of authoritative take on the subject. Why not just start a thread saying "you want the answers then ask me or god, same thing."

The OP didn't like the basic blends much so I suggested bumping it up a notch and trying the black label or dewars 12 year, both are hardly high end and better value in my opinion. And actually many of the "high end" whiskey's are overpriced anyways. But you know, next time we'll just wait for you to speak first since you know so very much compared to the rest of humanity. And remember to be kind since everyone is fighting the hard battle, seriously y'all.
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Old 07-19-2013, 05:36 PM
 
Location: Volcano
12,971 posts, read 23,542,360 times
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Project much?

Good grief, if you are going to overreact so strongly to someone whose opinion does not agree with yours, perhaps it's time to step away from the computer for a while.
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