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Old 11-29-2013, 02:54 PM   #1
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Default Help me get into Scotch

When it comes to spirits, I'm a Bourbon man, through and through. I love everything made by Buffalo Trace and my idea of a summer drink is a nice Old-Fashioned with a splash of club soda. I admit, I enjoy a good Rye too, and around St. Paddy's Day, I'll partake in some Jameson or Redbreast. But I'm a Bourbon man.

I've tried to like Scotch a few times, but never got into it. A buddy of men just brought a bottle of Johnnie Walker Gold home from the Carribean and I LOVED it. Granted, it's a premium Scotch, but I really honed in on the peaty, smoky flavors of it. IT WAS DELICIOUS! What single malts (and what region) should I look towards to showcase that smoky/peaty flavor?

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Old 11-29-2013, 03:00 PM   #2
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Here in Milwaukee, there are a couple places that let you get flights of whiskeys - three or four little tiny samples of whiskey. It ain't cheap, but it's a good way to sample a lot and find what you like. Look around where you are and see if you can find someplace like that.

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Old 11-29-2013, 08:33 PM   #3
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My love of all things whiskey started with scotch, but over the last few years my palate has drifted toward a preference for bourbon as well. In fact, I don't think I have any bottles of scotch at the moment, but I probably have at least 4 bottles of bourbon. When I do drink scotch, I really enjoy Dalwhinnie, Oban, and Macallan. The 10 yr are not ridiculously expensive but still very enjoyable. A friend bought an 18 yr Glenlivet as a gift that was just amazing.

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Old 11-29-2013, 09:38 PM   #4
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Look at the offerings from Michael Collins. It's Irish and not from Scotland but all the high end scotch drinkers I know say they drink MC up when no one is looking (way cheaper too)

Kind of like the line about sexxoring up a fattie. Sure is fun, just don't want your friends to see you doing it.

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Old 11-29-2013, 10:00 PM   #5
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I suggest trying to find a tasting somewhere, because buying an expensive bottle only to find you hate it really sucks. Or as mentioned, find a bar with a good selection and try a flight. Anything from Islay will generally be heavily peated, but most of them could be a bit overwhelming if you're looking for the relatively low peat levels of JW Gold. As far as smokey/peaty Scotches go, I'm partial to Lagavulin 16, although I like Highland Park a lot for the price too.

Here's an interesting "flavor map" that someone's drawn in the regions for. I enjoy most of the ones that fall on the right side of the map, but everyone's tastes are different.

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Old 11-29-2013, 10:24 PM   #6
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You'll find peaty in smoky in Islay, Speyside, and Cambletown, in that order (Islay most). The actual qualities vary from distillery to distillery but on average a tipple from Islay will be very peaty/smoky. Personally I like Springbank's Longrow label from Cambletown. Some of those are very peaty and it's one of the few that do it by malting over actual peat. Most have been bought out by the major booze conglomerates like Diageo and recreate the peat smoke using a cheaper shortcut process on grains malted em mass centrally for many distilleries across regions. Def try before you buy if you can. I'm also a big fan of Talisker 10 from Isle of Sky.

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Old 11-29-2013, 10:33 PM   #7
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I'm actually just the opposite of you. I too love Irish Whisky, but I love Scotch but not big on Bourbon. However I guess I have no real desire to get into Bourbon, so it is what it is.

Like these guys have said, Islay Scotches will get you the most peat. They're also my favorite region. I'd also highly recommend the Lagavulin 16. It's just fantastic. But yeah, an Islay may be TOO much peat for you. I'm also big on Laphroaig, particularly their Quarter Cask for a budge single malt, but again, that may be too much peat.

Macallan isn't bad. Aberlour is alright. Oban is good. Glenkinchie is tasty. I like Glenmorangie. Balvenie is fantastic, especially their DoubleWood. I'm not wild about Cragganmore.

And don't get sucked into the "older is better" trap. There are some damned fine single malts in the younger range that'll run with the older ones.

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