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wormil
Sep 12, 2002

Hulk will smoke you!

Old thread here: http://forums.somethingawful.com/sh...hreadid=1833104

quote:

Always carry a flagon of whiskey in case of snakebite and furthermore always carry a small snake.
-W. C. Fields

Brief Introduction

Whisky - a distilled spirit made from fermented grain mash and aged in oak barrels (Scotland, Japan, Canada)
Whiskey - the above but from Ireland or the United States
[note: the spelling tends to be cultural or traditional but especially in the US, they are sometimes used interchangeably.]

The main types of whisk(e)y you'll encounter are:
Scotch Whisky - distilled and matured in Scotland
Bourbon Whiskey - made from 51% corn and aged in new, charred, oak barrels; must be distilled and aged in the US, no requirement it be made in Kentucky
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bourbo...al_requirements
Tennessee Whiskey - bourbon made only in Tennessee and sometimes filtered through charcoal
Irish Whiskey - made in Ireland
Canadian Whisky - made in Canada
Single Malt - a whisky from one distillery made of malted barley
Blended - whisk(e)y mixed with another whisk(e)y or neutral spirit.
Single Barrel - what it sounds like, whiskey from one barrel, premium product but expect inconsistency
Small Batch - a whiskey, generally bourbon, mixed from a small number of select barrels, could also be a blend of whiskeys, there is no legal definition, normally produced as a premium product
Straight Whiskey (U.S.): Essentially a whiskey aged for 2 years in new oak barrels. The legal definition is longer but that's the gist.
American Rye Whiskey - made from 51% rye mash and aged in new, charred, oak barrels.
Canadian Rye Whisky - must possess the aroma, taste and character generally attributed to Canadian whisky. Basically this means it could be just about anything.

==============================
How to order whiskey in a bar:

Neat: whiskey and a glass, no ice, no water, room temp
Straight or straight up: whiskey strained over ice
[note: some bartenders may use "straight" when they mean "neat"]
On the rocks: whiskey and ice
Two fingers: whiskey, neat, in a glass poured to the height of 2 fingers, rarely used in bars but generally 2 oz. Three fingers would be 3 oz.

==============================


Some goon recommended introductory whisk(e)ys:
    Irish Whiskey:
  • Red Breast 12
  • Bushmills 10
  • Green Spot

    Canadian Whiskey:
  • Forty Creek Copper Pot
  • Crown Royal Northern Harvest Rye

    American Rye:
  • Rittenhouse Rye Bond (Heaven Hill)
  • Sazerac Rye (Buffalo Trace)
  • Pikesville Rye
  • Russell's Reserve Rye

    Scotch blend:
  • Johnnie Walker Black
  • Islay Mist

    Mild Single Malt
  • Glenlivet 12 (15 or 18 for $$)
  • Aberlour 12 (sherry)
  • Balvenie 12 Double Wood
  • Springbank 10

  • Highland Park 12

    Peaty Single Malt:
  • Talisker 10
  • Lagavulin 16
  • Laphroaig 10 or Quarter Cask
  • Ardbeg 10

    Bourbon:
    Down on your luck friend (>$10):
  • Early Times

    About $10-19:
  • Ancient Ancient Age (made by Buffalo Trace)
  • Evan Williams
  • Fighting Cock 103 proof

    About $20-29:
  • Elijah Craig 12
  • Evan Williams 1783 and Single Barrel
  • Wild Turkey 101
  • Old Grand-Dad Bonded 100 proof
  • Buffalo Trace

    About $30-$39:
  • Four Roses Single Barrel and Small Batch
  • Woodford Reserve
  • Russell's Reserve
  • Knob Creek
  • Jefferson's Small Batch

    About $40+ :
  • Bakers 107 proof
  • Rare Breed, barrel proof (112)
  • Kentucky Spirit Single Barrel
  • Bookers, unfiltered, barrel proof (121-130)
  • Woodford Double Oaked
  • Blanton's Single Barrel

    Bourbon acronyms:
  • EC = Elijah Craig
  • EW = Evan Williams
  • WT = Wild Turkey
  • OGD = Old Grand-Dad
  • 4R = Four Roses
  • Beam = Jim Beam (not an acronym)

wormil fucked around with this message at May 5, 2018 around 03:55

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wormil
Sep 12, 2002

Hulk will smoke you!

I made a new thread because I wanted to talk about this Evan Williams 1783 small batch and the old thread was done.

Anyway, being on a budget this month I decided to try something less expensive than my usual drinks and found this expression of Evan Williams (86 proof and 10 years old) on the shelf for $13. It's a screwcap whiskey (I'm biased) and I wasn't fond of the regular Evan Williams when I tried it a year or two ago but I have to say that this is unexpectedly tasty. The flavors aren't very complicated and it's a bit on the sweet side but really there is nothing offensive about it and I would definitely buy this again.

Gregorio
Aug 8, 2010


I recently opened my 25yo Highland Park. Incredible dram. It has loads of vanilla-y custardy sort of creme brulee kind of flavours. The notes it provides say that it was matured in Sherry Oak so it's kind of surprising it isn't more fruitcakey. Still amazingly soft and sweet, a big change from some of the younger varieties.

For New Thread Info, Highland Park falls into one of several Scottish Whisky geographical categories. It is an "Island" whisky (specifically Orkney Isles). Other common Island whiskys are Talisker (Isle of Skye), Arran (Isle of Arran) and Jura (Isle of Jura). They tend to carry more seaside flavours, a bit of salt and peat and iodine. The Arrans I have tried I think were more sherry influenced relative to some of the other Island whiskies.

Hirsute
May 3, 2007


As a native Kentuckian I strongly feel that you should add the phrase "must be distilled in Kentucky" to the description of bourbon please TIA.

While I do love bourbon, I've recently started drinking more scotch, and as much as it pains me to say this, I think I like scotch better than bourbon... For any whiskey fans in the DC area, there's a bar out in Silver Spring called Quarry House that has a wonderful weekly event called "Whiskey Wednesday," where all their whiskeys are 20% off all evening. While I generally try to avoid going out to the suburbs of VA or MD, that's an awesome deal, and it's just a cool bar, which I honestly did not expect to find in Silver Spring.

Stultus Maximus
Dec 21, 2009

USPOL May

wormil posted:

I made a new thread because I wanted to talk about this Evan Williams 1783 small batch and the old thread was done.

Anyway, being on a budget this month I decided to try something less expensive than my usual drinks and found this expression of Evan Williams (86 proof and 10 years old) on the shelf for $13. It's a screwcap whiskey (I'm biased) and I wasn't fond of the regular Evan Williams when I tried it a year or two ago but I have to say that this is unexpectedly tasty. The flavors aren't very complicated and it's a bit on the sweet side but really there is nothing offensive about it and I would definitely buy this again.

I got some of that last sippin' whiskey purchase. I like it, it's a good small batch for today's economic times.

indoflaven
Dec 10, 2009


Scotch is always made in oak barrels that have previously been used to make bourbon.

Remy Marathe
Mar 15, 2007



Hirsute posted:

While I do love bourbon, I've recently started drinking more scotch, and as much as it pains me to say this, I think I like scotch better than bourbon...
Tastes change I think; bourbon was always too sweet to me and I far preferred scotch for many years, but I have a bottle of Bulleit's rye right now (and just finished off a fifth of their straight bourbon). It's become delicious to me.

I remember Bulleit being cheaper though, it's priced like Knob or Woodford so I think someone told them they had a good whiskey

Gregorio
Aug 8, 2010


indoflaven posted:

Scotch is always made in oak barrels that have previously been used to make bourbon.

Nice misinformation

As stated in my post, my Highland Park 25yo was aged in ex Sherry casks. Port and Rum casks are also common and newer Scotches are coming out in Moscatel and other weird and wonderful finishing casks.

Something like 98% of Scotch is aged in ex bourbon barrels, if for no other reason than it's cheap. Since a new barrel is legally required for all bourbon production there are millions of cheap, only used once barrels coming from the bourbon market.

wormil
Sep 12, 2002

Hulk will smoke you!

Hirsute posted:

As a native Kentuckian I strongly feel that you should add the phrase "must be distilled in Kentucky" to the description of bourbon please TIA.

Bourbon doesn't have to be distilled in Kentucky, just in the US, common misconception. Tennessee whiskey does have to be distilled in Tennessee.

indoflaven posted:

Scotch is always made in oak barrels that have previously been used to make bourbon.

By legal definition though, it only has to be aged in oak barrels, they can be used or new.
http://www.scotch-whisky.org.uk/swa...uidance2009.pdf


I had started writing a more comprehensive OP but it got too long. The wikipedia articles on various whiskeys are easy enough to find if someone wants in depth reading.

Kenning
Jan 10, 2009

I really want to post goatse. I wish I had 10bux


I cannot find Rittenhouse Bonded anywhere. It's an excellent rye, under $25, and 100 proof. And impossible to find. I mixed my first proper Manhattan (i.e. with rye) with it a month or so ago and it was revelatory, but that was with my last couple ounces.

bolo yeung
Apr 22, 2010


wormil posted:

I made a new thread because I wanted to talk about this Evan Williams 1783 small batch and the old thread was done.

Anyway, being on a budget this month I decided to try something less expensive than my usual drinks and found this expression of Evan Williams (86 proof and 10 years old) on the shelf for $13. It's a screwcap whiskey (I'm biased) and I wasn't fond of the regular Evan Williams when I tried it a year or two ago but I have to say that this is unexpectedly tasty. The flavors aren't very complicated and it's a bit on the sweet side but really there is nothing offensive about it and I would definitely buy this again.

Last time I went to the states I picked up a handle of this for $20. It's a really good "everyday" boubon for when I want a cocktail without using some of the better stuff.

Skeleton Ape
Dec 21, 2008

The most richly flavored of all drunkards.

indoflaven posted:

Scotch is always made in oak barrels that have previously been used to make bourbon.

Not always. Bourbon laws state that bourbon must be aged in a brand-new barrel, and after that the barrel can't be used anymore to make bourbon. Many scotch distilleries buy these barrels up in bulk because they can be had relatively cheaply. Scotch whisky is often aged in all sorts of other things though, such as port, sherry, and Madeira casks.

Bruce Leroy
Jun 10, 2010


So, what would any of you recommend as a good way for a novice to get introduced to whisk(e)y?

Is there a particular brand you'd recommend to begin with or certain whisk(e)y-based cocktails first?

If it helps, I think I'd be more interested in something smoother, at least to begin with.

Stultus Maximus
Dec 21, 2009

USPOL May

Bruce Leroy posted:

So, what would any of you recommend as a good way for a novice to get introduced to whisk(e)y?

Is there a particular brand you'd recommend to begin with or certain whisk(e)y-based cocktails first?

If it helps, I think I'd be more interested in something smoother, at least to begin with.

Canadian Club goes down like water.

Glenlivet is America's most popular Scotch for a reason.

indoflaven
Dec 10, 2009


My mistake. I went to a Glenlivet tasting and they said they only use bourbon barrels for scotch. Fucker lied. Obviously its different for other Scotches'.

wormil
Sep 12, 2002

Hulk will smoke you!

indoflaven posted:

My mistake. I went to a Glenlivet tasting and they said they only use bourbon barrels for scotch. Fucker lied. Obviously its different for other Scotches'.

Yeah, French Oak Reserve is matured in new oak barrels.


Bruce Leroy posted:

So, what would any of you recommend as a good way for a novice to get introduced to whisk(e)y?

Go to a decent bar and start tasting. If whiskey alone is giving you too much burn, dilute with water or try a few cocktails like a Highball, Manhattan, or Old Fashioned.

Remy Marathe
Mar 15, 2007



Bruce Leroy posted:

So, what would any of you recommend as a good way for a novice to get introduced to whisk(e)y?

Is there a particular brand you'd recommend to begin with or certain whisk(e)y-based cocktails first?

If it helps, I think I'd be more interested in something smoother, at least to begin with.
I'd try to narrow it down to something more specific like scotch or bourbons. Someone mentioned canadian club going down like water, for me it goes down like vomit, so you need to find out what seems tastiest/least nasty to you- if you're not a spirit drinker in general consider rums or vodkas as other possibilities.

Once you find something you can palate:

1) Stick with the same kind of liquor for a while. Differences between brands will begin popping out at you. Within that type, take the opportunity to try something new every time you buy some.

2) Start sniffing everything you drink. A sniff can become as enjoyable and interesting as a sip. Sniff often. Sniff well.

3) If you're alone and bored, take notes. Keep them private because they'll probably be really stupid. It's okay- the point is to be thinking about what you're tasting. Also it's hard to remember everything you tasted, especially if you're only switching it up one fifth at a time.

4) Forget cocktails, unless you have a favorite which might point the way to the liquor you like best. Forget shots, they are for people who don't like what they're drinking. If it's too rough or the alcohol overpowers any nuance you can detect, try adding a bit of water. If it's still too much, ice. Also, sipping is perfectly manly and there's not a bartender in the world who wouldn't respect you when you order a double of X and a pint of water. The whiskey's for taste, the water's for something to drink.

5) Taste, then read a professional like Michael Jackson's (not the musician) notes on the same thing, then taste again. See if you can spot what they're seeing.

6) Someone mentioned Glenlivet, that's a very good suggestion for a mellow scotch. Rather than expensive nuanced stuff older than 12, personally I'd start by trying the big mainstays so you can see how things vary and move on from there.

"Smoother" generally comes with age and quality. This can get expensive, so you may want to settle on "smooth enough" while you find where your tastes lie.

Single Malt Scotch: Glenlivet 12, Glenmorangie 10, Macallan 12. Balvenie 12 or the doublewood if it's not that much more. There are many other options, just try SOMETHING and then try something else.

You don't have to go single malt, blends aren't necessarily poo poo. I believe distillers developed blends partly so they could produce something consistent year after year, a signature flavor. Walker red, black, and green are all good and very different from one another. Famous grouse is great despite its modest apperance, I think that was the first liquor I liked rather than suffered for the sake of getting drunk. I never liked Chivas Regal but lots of people do.

I haven't tried nearly as many american whiskeys in my day, but even as a non-bourbon liker I always found Knob Creek, Woodford Reserve, Wild Turkey Russels Reserve, and Bulleit all very drinkable.

Remy Marathe fucked around with this message at Oct 6, 2011 around 04:55

TobinHatesYou
Aug 14, 2007
Not Dangerous

Anyone else going to WhiskyFest SF on Friday and want to meet up? I'd link the the event page, but it's sold out now.

Kenning
Jan 10, 2009

I really want to post goatse. I wish I had 10bux


Skeleton Ape posted:

Not always. Bourbon laws state that bourbon must be aged in a brand-new barrel, and after that the barrel can't be used anymore to make bourbon. Many scotch distilleries buy these barrels up in bulk because they can be had relatively cheaply. Scotch whisky is often aged in all sorts of other things though, such as port, sherry, and Madeira casks.

The economics of Scotch barrel aging is fascinating. For a long time used sherry/port/Madeira casks were just the thing, because said wines were imported from Spain/Portugal, and then there were just these barrels laying around. Since they used to be way more popular than they currently are, old Iberian wine casks just made sense. With changing tastes and the advent of legally-defined and widely-produced bourbon, the fruity/nutty flavors of the wine barrel-aged Scotch gave way to the vanilla and honey notes of old bourbon casks, since less wine was being imported, and bourbon barrels became dirt cheap. It's so cool.

Old bourbon barrels are also used in a lot of aged Caribbean rums for the same reason.

The Third Man
Nov 5, 2005

I know how much you like ponies so I got you a ponies avatar bro


I thought I liked Scotch. I thought I liked Islay Scotch a lot. Then I bought a bottle of Laphroaig Quarter Cask.

Everything changed.

The Third Man fucked around with this message at Oct 7, 2011 around 00:05

Bruce Leroy
Jun 10, 2010


Remy Marathe posted:

I'd try to narrow it down to something more specific like scotch or bourbons. Someone mentioned canadian club going down like water, for me it goes down like vomit, so you need to find out what seems tastiest/least nasty to you- if you're not a spirit drinker in general consider rums or vodkas as other possibilities.

Once you find something you can palate:

1) Stick with the same kind of liquor for a while. Differences between brands will begin popping out at you. Within that type, take the opportunity to try something new every time you buy some.

2) Start sniffing everything you drink. A sniff can become as enjoyable and interesting as a sip. Sniff often. Sniff well.

3) If you're alone and bored, take notes. Keep them private because they'll probably be really stupid. It's okay- the point is to be thinking about what you're tasting. Also it's hard to remember everything you tasted, especially if you're only switching it up one fifth at a time.

4) Forget cocktails, unless you have a favorite which might point the way to the liquor you like best. Forget shots, they are for people who don't like what they're drinking. If it's too rough or the alcohol overpowers any nuance you can detect, try adding a bit of water. If it's still too much, ice. Also, sipping is perfectly manly and there's not a bartender in the world who wouldn't respect you when you order a double of X and a pint of water. The whiskey's for taste, the water's for something to drink.

5) Taste, then read a professional like Michael Jackson's (not the musician) notes on the same thing, then taste again. See if you can spot what they're seeing.

6) Someone mentioned Glenlivet, that's a very good suggestion for a mellow scotch. Rather than expensive nuanced stuff older than 12, personally I'd start by trying the big mainstays so you can see how things vary and move on from there.

"Smoother" generally comes with age and quality. This can get expensive, so you may want to settle on "smooth enough" while you find where your tastes lie.

Single Malt Scotch: Glenlivet 12, Glenmorangie 10, Macallan 12. Balvenie 12 or the doublewood if it's not that much more. There are many other options, just try SOMETHING and then try something else.

You don't have to go single malt, blends aren't necessarily poo poo. I believe distillers developed blends partly so they could produce something consistent year after year, a signature flavor. Walker red, black, and green are all good and very different from one another. Famous grouse is great despite its modest apperance, I think that was the first liquor I liked rather than suffered for the sake of getting drunk. I never liked Chivas Regal but lots of people do.

I haven't tried nearly as many american whiskeys in my day, but even as a non-bourbon liker I always found Knob Creek, Woodford Reserve, Wild Turkey Russels Reserve, and Bulleit all very drinkable.

Wow, that was way more effort than I expected for a response. Thanks a lot for that.

#4 is especially interesting to me, as I feel a little intimidated by the sort of machismo that surrounds whisk(e)y so I always felt kinda wimpy asking for a glass of water to go with my booze.

I used to never drink at all, simply because I didn't like the taste of even things like beer. Then, I figured out that the stuff I had tasted was just pisswater or poo poo and started liking a lot of good stuff just for pure taste rather than getting shitfaced like my friends. I hope this extends over to whisk(e)y, too.

As a short followup question, are there basically any specific brands of whisk(e)y (of all kinds, including Scotch, bourbon, etc.) that I should just avoid?

Stultus Maximus
Dec 21, 2009

USPOL May

Bruce Leroy posted:

Wow, that was way more effort than I expected for a response. Thanks a lot for that.

#4 is especially interesting to me, as I feel a little intimidated by the sort of machismo that surrounds whisk(e)y so I always felt kinda wimpy asking for a glass of water to go with my booze.

I used to never drink at all, simply because I didn't like the taste of even things like beer. Then, I figured out that the stuff I had tasted was just pisswater or poo poo and started liking a lot of good stuff just for pure taste rather than getting shitfaced like my friends. I hope this extends over to whisk(e)y, too.

As a short followup question, are there basically any specific brands of whisk(e)y (of all kinds, including Scotch, bourbon, etc.) that I should just avoid?

Don't drink anything in a plastic bottle.

wormil
Sep 12, 2002

Hulk will smoke you!

Bruce Leroy posted:

As a short followup question, are there basically any specific brands of whisk(e)y (of all kinds, including Scotch, bourbon, etc.) that I should just avoid?

To start I would avoid really young bourbons (>5 yrs) or young scotch (>10) yrs. The younger the more alcoholic it will taste. Wild Turkey 101 is an excellent introductory bourbon. The high proof might give you pause but it's well balanced and smoother than many lower proof whiskeys. There have already been some scotch recommendations.

Bruce Leroy
Jun 10, 2010


wormil posted:

To start I would avoid really young bourbons (>5 yrs) or young scotch (>10) yrs. The younger the more alcoholic it will taste. Wild Turkey 101 is an excellent introductory bourbon. The high proof might give you pause but it's well balanced and smoother than many lower proof whiskeys. There have already been some scotch recommendations.

Thanks for the advice.

Another question, is there any sort of "pairing" that goes with whisk(e)ys like there is for other things like beer and wine or should they be drunk alone (with some water or whatever) to keep the taste pure?

wormil
Sep 12, 2002

Hulk will smoke you!

Bruce Leroy posted:

Thanks for the advice.

Another question, is there any sort of "pairing" that goes with whisk(e)ys like there is for other things like beer and wine or should they be drunk alone (with some water or whatever) to keep the taste pure?

I went to a bourbon tasting in Kentucky and they just had regular finger food, but I don't like to eat while drinking whiskey. I wouldn't worry about keeping the taste pure unless you are keeping notes. It will take a little while to acclimate your taste buds unless you already have a sensitive palate.

Bruce Leroy
Jun 10, 2010


wormil posted:

I went to a bourbon tasting in Kentucky and they just had regular finger food, but I don't like to eat while drinking whiskey. I wouldn't worry about keeping the taste pure unless you are keeping notes. It will take a little while to acclimate your taste buds unless you already have a sensitive palate.

Cool, thanks.

There have been several psychological research studies about how people can't differentiate expensive wines from cheap wines very well in blind taste tests and in other studies researchers found that people will rate wines as better if they are told that the wine is expensive. The latter researchers even found that they could serve the same exact wine to participants more than once and trick them into thinking they were different wines by telling them that the two blind samples of the same wine were of substantially different price, reflecting the same effect of people rating the pricier wines as better quality.

So, for everyone, do you think you'd be able to pick out the more expensive and ostensibly higher quality whisk(e)ys from the cheaper, poor quality stuff or do you think psychological effects similar to those affecting wine tasters may be affecting your perceptions of whisk(e)ys. Basically, do you think you could reliably pick out the more aged or better quality whisk(e)ys from the younger, crappier stuff?

Kenning
Jan 10, 2009

I really want to post goatse. I wish I had 10bux


The Third Man posted:

I thought I liked Scotch. I thought I liked Islay Scotch a lot. Then I bought a bottle of Laphroaig Quarter Cask.

Everything changed.

Wait, what happened? I loving love Laphroaig 10, I figured the Quarter Cask would be awesome.

edit: Like, I seriously love Laphroaig 10. My friends think I'm crazy, but I think I'm going to pick up a bottle for the winter, because it is like exactly what I want to drink when it's cold out.

forbidden dialectics
Jul 26, 2005



Kenning posted:

Wait, what happened? I loving love Laphroaig 10, I figured the Quarter Cask would be awesome.

edit: Like, I seriously love Laphroaig 10. My friends think I'm crazy, but I think I'm going to pick up a bottle for the winter, because it is like exactly what I want to drink when it's cold out.

It is awesome. Laphroaig Quarter Cask is by far my favorite scotch. It's everything the 10 year is but MORE and drat is it smokey.

Skeleton Ape
Dec 21, 2008

The most richly flavored of all drunkards.

Bruce Leroy posted:

So, for everyone, do you think you'd be able to pick out the more expensive and ostensibly higher quality whisk(e)ys from the cheaper, poor quality stuff or do you think psychological effects similar to those affecting wine tasters may be affecting your perceptions of whisk(e)ys. Basically, do you think you could reliably pick out the more aged or better quality whisk(e)ys from the younger, crappier stuff?

One of the first things to learn when it comes to booze is that more expensive doesn't necessarily mean better. Remember that we're talking about a highly subjective thing here, and there's really no way to decide if one whisky is objectively "better" (and therefore more expensive) than another. When you're first starting out it should be all about exploring, determining what flavors you enjoy, and developing your own taste.

Next, younger does not equal crappier. An older whisky will taste more mellow and refined, while a younger one will be bold and flavorful. Aging just tends to sand down the hard edges a bit and impart more of that delicious wood flavor and color. The primary reason older whiskies are more expensive is simply that 18, 21, or 30 years is a hell of a time commitment. When a company literally spends decades making something they want to get their money's worth when it comes time to sell it.

(EDIT - the bottle in my avatar is aged only 10 years but is an absolute favorite of myself and professional tasters alike.)

I love a lot of relatively cheap bottles, even to the exclusion of more expensive stuff of the same style (I like a lot of pricey bourbons, but I still think Elijah Craig 12 is loving awesome and on par with a lot of them flavor-wise). Unfortunately, I've also fallen in love with other bottles that happen to be very expensive. That isn't to say that there isn't a general correlation of price to quality—if you paid $9 for a fifth of plastic bottle bourbon you can be pretty sure it's going to taste like pure gasoline—but once you get into the $150+ range it's definitely a case of diminishing returns. I've tasted Johnnie Walker Blue, most non-whisky people's idea of "the best scotch", a few times and although it was very nice I just couldn't stop thinking about several other scotches I'd had before that tasted better to me and cost half as much. When it comes down to it, price and age are things that should inform your purchasing decision, but it's really about learning what you like and going with it. gently caress anyone who tells you differently.

Except for Laphroaigh quarter cask. If you don't like that you're wrong.

Skeleton Ape fucked around with this message at Oct 7, 2011 around 20:30

The Third Man
Nov 5, 2005

I know how much you like ponies so I got you a ponies avatar bro


Kenning posted:

Wait, what happened? I loving love Laphroaig 10, I figured the Quarter Cask would be awesome.

edit: Like, I seriously love Laphroaig 10. My friends think I'm crazy, but I think I'm going to pick up a bottle for the winter, because it is like exactly what I want to drink when it's cold out.

What happened was I found a new favorite Scotch. I didn't think I would find anything I liked more than Ardbeg, but goddamn if that quarter cask didn't jump to the top of my list. I think that bottle lasted maybe 2 weeks, and I was holding back on that, too.

Remy Marathe
Mar 15, 2007



I worked for a great wine & spirit chain in Chicago, and I remember one of our most knowledgeable salesmen telling me "Never, ever, try to identify a scotch completely blind, you will lose every time."

That said, and acknowledging the role foods, state of mind and expectations play, there are still plenty of real differences big and subtle among whiskeys.

A good noob-at-home pairing if you're still trying to accustom yourself to even liking whiskey is a can of coke or soda on the side. All the kindness of a girl drink while maintaining separation and control of flavors.

JacquelineDempsey
Aug 6, 2008

It's a horrible name for anything really but especially a shirt.


On a visit to Manhattan last year, I figured I ought to to try the drink. I am now hooked. I've been getting them at bars with Maker's, and have gotten pretty good at making them at home. But In These Economic Times, is there something else that makes a good Manhattan (ie., is cheaper but still mixes well with sweet vermouth and bitters)?

Also, while looking up Laphroaig so I can order one at a bar without making an rear end out of myself over the pronunciation*, I found this tidbit:

wikipedia posted:

In 1994 the Friends of Laphroaig Club was established, members of which are granted a lifetime lease of 1 square foot (0.093 m2) of Laphroaig land on the island of Islay. The annual rent is a dram of Laphroaig which can be obtained upon visiting the distillery.


*It's luh-FROIG, if you're wondering.

Remy Marathe
Mar 15, 2007



Islays are weirdly polarizing, I've never met anyone who didn't either love them or hate them.

Kenning
Jan 10, 2009

I really want to post goatse. I wish I had 10bux


Nostrum posted:

It is awesome. Laphroaig Quarter Cask is by far my favorite scotch. It's everything the 10 year is but MORE and drat is it smokey.

The Third Man posted:

What happened was I found a new favorite Scotch. I didn't think I would find anything I liked more than Ardbeg, but goddamn if that quarter cask didn't jump to the top of my list. I think that bottle lasted maybe 2 weeks, and I was holding back on that, too.


Oh thank god. poo poo, now I need to choose between this and a single village Oaxacan mezcal for my next fancy bottle of liquid smoke lightly flavored with spirit.

TobinHatesYou
Aug 14, 2007
Not Dangerous

Kenning posted:

Oh thank god. poo poo, now I need to choose between this and a single village Oaxacan mezcal for my next fancy bottle of liquid smoke lightly flavored with spirit.
Laphroaig QC and 10yr really have similar levels of smoke, at least in my estimation. The difference to me is 10yr has more iodine/medicine vs QC's purer wood smoke. QC tastes slightly more mineral and sweet as well. In general I find Laphroaig, Ardbeg and Kilchoman's house styles to be very similar.

wormil
Sep 12, 2002

Hulk will smoke you!

Bruce Leroy posted:

Basically, do you think you could reliably pick out the more aged or better quality whisk(e)ys from the younger, crappier stuff?

If I order WT101 in a bar and they give me something else, I know it instantly. If you're talking about telling the difference between something like Aristocrat and Elijah Craig (EC12) then absolutely; but say between EC12 and Evan Williams, probably not. Bourbons from the same distillery often have similar enough flavors that they can be difficult to distinguish except at the more extreme ranges unless you have a sensitive palate or a lot of experience with that distillery. Places like Jim Beam or Wild Turkey basically make one bourbon, the very best of which is chosen for it's premium expressions (Bookers, Bakers, Kentucky Spirit, Russell's Reserve, etc) and the rest get blended into their more mainstream brands (Black, 101, etc). 101 for example is a mix of 6, 8, and 10 year old bourbons. Then there are bourbons like Old Grand-Dad which is a 4yr 100 proof kick in your rear end but many people love it. That's why my original reply to your question about if you should avoid anything was, "No. Try it all." But I deleted it and wrote out a longer reply because I thought the younger stuff my put you off in the beginning.

edit: I'm not experienced enough with scotch to know if those generalities apply there.

wormil fucked around with this message at Oct 8, 2011 around 05:50

mojo1701a
Oct 8, 2008

Oh, yeah. Loud and clear. Emphasis on LOUD!
~ David Lee Roth

Thank you for bringing this thread up. I just came back from an overseas trip, and got a few bottles at the duty-free store at Heathrow. I generally stick with Canadian and American whiskies, since they're cheaper, so the fact that I got to take a few bottles at about half the price that the LCBO sells them was amazing.

I picked up a small bottle of Jura Superstition, Balvenie Golden Cask 14, Ardbeg Blasda, and a small Glenfiddich 15. I picked those mostly because Customs Canada only allows 40oz/1.14L duty-free, and I didn't want to just have two big 1L bottles (I was travelling with my dad, so he let me use his allotment).

Incidentally, while I was in London, I got to try the Yamazaki 12 at a Texas-style restaurant somewhere between Piccadilly and Trafalgar Square. That honestly surprised me. Well, that, and the Glenfiddich 18 at an Italian restaurant in Rzeszow, Poland.

The Clit Avoider
Aug 11, 2002

El Profesional


Bruce Leroy posted:

So, for everyone, do you think you'd be able to pick out the more expensive and ostensibly higher quality whisk(e)ys from the cheaper, poor quality stuff or do you think psychological effects similar to those affecting wine tasters may be affecting your perceptions of whisk(e)ys. Basically, do you think you could reliably pick out the more aged or better quality whisk(e)ys from the younger, crappier stuff?

Eh, first of all, as said but it bears repeating, young whiskies aren't necessarily any worse than older ones. In fact, a young Islay might very well be regarded as much better than an older bottling simply because the raw, untamed characteristics of the malt aren't tempered by years in a cask. Quite of a lot of people are very disappointed by older bottlings of Laphroaig when they first taste them. And Talisker 18 versus 10 is very much a matter of how wild you like your finish.

Start adding in things like first fill sherry cask versus 2nd fill, bourbon finished versus not, quarter casks, or even just a distillery like Amrut (where because of the heat, the maturation in casks is vastly accelerated) and the age on the bottle is completely inconsequential.

Price, similarly, is meaningless. There are a lot of very rare (and thus very expensive) whiskies out there that can only be described as terrible (loch dhu springs to mind at the cheaper end of that scale). And there's a lot of whiskies like Laphroaig QC, Glenfarclas 15/17/21yo, Amrut Sherry Cask and Aberlour A'Bunadh which are ridiculously cheap for the quality they represent.


Unless you're actually presenting someone with supermarket budget whisky, a poor blend, dud bottle or otherwise, it's difficult to tell what differences in taste aren't purely to down to the differences in distillery, water source, casks and maturation etc.

From within a distilleries own range, yes in most cases you could quite easily tell the difference between the 10/12 and 20/25. But in between that varies hugely by distillery in quality - some have excellent 15s, some superb 17s and 18s.

Kenning
Jan 10, 2009

I really want to post goatse. I wish I had 10bux


I picked up a bottle of Wild Turkey Kentucky Spirit today. Just had a little taste with my buddy, will give some better notes later tonight after I have a bigger glass of it. First thoughts though: overwhelming caramel and honey in the nose. The bouquet is incredibly sweet. Thick, heavy body with lots of oaky char flavors, and a surprising amount of spice for a bourbon. Rye levels of spice. Finish lasted forever. Very warm on the stomach.

Basically whenever it's rainy out and I have nothing to do, this is what I'm going to reach for. Very nice bourbon.

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smn
Feb 15, 2005
tutkalla

Bruce Leroy posted:

So, for everyone, do you think you'd be able to pick out the more expensive and ostensibly higher quality whisk(e)ys from the cheaper, poor quality stuff or do you think psychological effects similar to those affecting wine tasters may be affecting your perceptions of whisk(e)ys. Basically, do you think you could reliably pick out the more aged or better quality whisk(e)ys from the younger, crappier stuff?

The short answer: Yes.

The long answer:

I regularly taste stuff semi-blind, meaning that I know the what is in my whisky cabinet or the bar shelf but don't know what was poured. I've got around 40 open bottles in my cabinet and will more often than not correctly identify the whisky.

Blind tasting is another thing altogether. It's very interesting to try stuff without being affected by the 'taste of the label' and will often result in interesting revelations.

A crappy whisky is definitely very easy to distinguish when tasting blind. It's a whisky that is technically bad, meaning that it tastes alcoholic and harsh and has unwanted flavours like gym socks, yeastiness and such. After the crappy ones the whole tasting thing gets more complicated as people like different things, but I'll try to explain my view.

A bad whisky would be something that has no unwanted flavours but is horribly off balance, like being way too sweet or having a general lack of taste altogether. The line between bad and ok is blurry though, as what I see as a bad whisky might not be bad for another taster.

A dull whisky is something that doesn't have unwanted flavours, doesn't have too harsh alcoholic taste and is quite balanced, but is somewhat lacking in interesting or pleasurable flavours. Every now and then people declare whiskies in this category to be 'crappy', but I consider that to be a sign of ignorance on the part of the taster.

Lots of old and expensive bottlings fall into the dull category for me. Even here, if the whisky tastes dull in a young way, it's likely to be a cheap one, whereas if its dull in an old way (lots of oak), it could very well be something very expensive and 'highly regarded'.

Then there are the gimmicky whiskies, that are not really bad or dull, but they have been partly matured in something different, like red wine barrels or new oak barrels. Quite often these are very good and interesting when first tasted, but quite soon the gimmick starts to feel overpowering and becomes boring. Bunnahabhain Darach Ur is a perfect example of this for me. Very strong spicy new oak made it very interesting and I loved it when I tasted it for the first few times, but nowadays I find it way less desirable, in fact I almost dislike it.

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