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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

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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

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.

Remy Marathe
Mar 15, 2007



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

Remy Marathe
Mar 15, 2007



When you say home distilling is worth it, you mean for the learning experience and fun of seeing how your experiments come out, right? I mean if home distilling is cost effective I'd consider it in a heartbeat, but I don't really have room for a labor intensive hobby that could make me go blind unless it saves me money too

Regarding glasses, I'll drink out of any functional glass and can't say I've ever honestly noticed one improving my ability to smell or taste the contents, save for broader glasses' abilities to swill the whiskey around and aerate it a bit. That said, these are my homies:


From left to right:
[top] Rocks glass (hefty portion), rocks glass (small portion), nosing glass for when I feel like paying attention, stupid bailey's glass for variety,
[bottom] tough oversize shotglass for bulk and hazardous drinking situations, break it I have more. Two shotglasses for remembering old friends and a thimble for when I just want a taste.

These all see regular duty depending on mood, but my favorites are the second and third shotglasses on the bottom- the second I'm told is an Anchor Hocking piece from the 20's or 30's and the third is just old, and I think really pretty. I suspect they all have subtly different sipping properties due to weight, size and shape since on any given night one will appeal more than the others, but that could be in my head.

Remy Marathe
Mar 15, 2007



Has anyone here tried Buffalo Trace's "White Dog Mash #1"? I almost picked up a half bottle last night but didn't want to blow $15 on a gimmick. Reading reviews on it today has piqued my curiosity again, I've only tried new make once before at a Bruichladdich tasting and I don't really remember what it was like, just that it was inoffensive.

Remy Marathe fucked around with this message at Oct 13, 2011 around 17:52

Remy Marathe
Mar 15, 2007



More or less agreed, I bought the half-bottle tonight. Seems more a novelty item worth (one) try for anyone curious as to what unmatured bourbon tastes like.

Beyond that, I'm not good at describing tastes, but I guess I was expecting a sort of alcoholic, malty karo syrup, but what I got is more like a cheap vodka infused with corn and brackish water with notes of a recent yeast infection. Also brutal before adding water, as you'd expect from 60%. Can't see buying it again, don't mind having it around for others to try, and I guess I'd consider taking it camping if weight was a factor .

e; Next-day note, maybe I was unduly harsh- the taste grew on me a little with the second glass. Still can't say I see the vanilla or icing though, just corn, corn, funky yeast and corn. I keep thinking I smell/taste it today, as though it's seeping from my pores like a meal at White Castle.

Remy Marathe fucked around with this message at Oct 17, 2011 around 19:24

Remy Marathe
Mar 15, 2007



I never used their online service and they didn't have it back when I worked there, but Binny's Beverage Depot of Chicago was and I'm sure still is a top-notch operation. There were certain states we couldn't mail stuff to because of their liquor laws and I imagine that's still the case, can't remember the list though.

Remy Marathe
Mar 15, 2007



^^ That buffalo trace white dog mash grew on me in the same way- I find myself craving that corn flavor for all its brutality. I also recall some clear homemade poo poo a couple friends kept in the freezer when they were banding ducks that went down like water all night (after the first few), and I'd guess that was corn whiskey as well. I wonder if there are mass-market options that are cheaper than the buffalo trace?

Blue_monday posted:

Glad I found this thread!

Theres a WhiskyFest happening in my city at the end of the month that I'm going to. I've got some odeas of what I want to try but I want to see if I have any other goon recommendations. The main things I'm interested in trying are the Highland Park (all) yr, Blantons, Jack Daniel's Honey, Isle of Arran Port Cask Finish, Battle of the Glenn 15 yr, Grants Sherry Cask and The Balvenie Single Barrell 15 yr.




http://www.nlliquor.com/events/down...0by%20Booth.pdf

I always assume things like JD's Tennessee Honey are ways to use whiskey that's not up to snuff by masking it with something even cheaper for them to produce, in this case a "proprietary honey liqueur", and relying entirely on marketing rather than taste to get it on all the shelves. C.f. Alize and Hpnotiq.

I'm not against mixing things in principle, just paying them to do it for me with garbage. I was on a sort of hot toddy kick last month: big mug, 2 shots bourbon, heaping spoon of clover honey, a couple cloves, squirt of lemon juice, add hot tea to fill.

The Glen Grant 16 I'd be kinda curious, and yeah the Highland Parks for sure.

Remy Marathe fucked around with this message at Nov 7, 2011 around 17:12

Remy Marathe
Mar 15, 2007



Whiskey that sits out in a glass is gross after a day or so, so I guess it's possible.

Not that I'd bother, I've never noticed a problem with closed bottles of hard liquor at any level, but just buy a couple little guys (375ml or 200ml) next time and keep the bottles when you're done.

Remy Marathe
Mar 15, 2007



mojo1701a posted:

I guess I was wrong. I thought I read here that there was some trick involving eating the air in a less-than-half-full liquor bottle so the alcohol doesn't... something.

Glad I don't have to.
There are reuseable rubber stoppers with one-way valves and vaccuum devices (Vacu Vin makes one ), and cans of heavy gas that can sit on the surface keeping oxygen at bay that one could use if they were so inclined, but those are generally marketed more at wine to buy yourself a day or two.

Honestly I think even for wine it's more of a high-markup impulse upsale thing for liquor stores than anything else, but I guess if someone liked popping expensive wines with nobody around to help them finish it it might be worth the effort.

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Remy Marathe
Mar 15, 2007



pork never goes bad posted:

putting sterile glass beads or marbles into the bottle
Do people do this? It's kind of a neat idea (more or less non-problem aside) I just never heard of it.

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