View Full Version : Is it true what they say?
Is the saying "There are scotch drinkers and there are bourbon drinkers, but not one who drinks both" or something like that...true? If so why?
While I'm new to bourbon, I think I can go back and forth. But I prefer bourbon.
If you read enough postings here, you'll see that this is false. But I have found that bourbon drinkers are more down to earth when it comes to broadening their horizons and trying scotches than vice versa. Let's face it, scotch is generally considered to be 'sophisticated' and anyone wanting to 'put on airs' will drink scotch to try to make an impression on someone. It doesn't matter whether or not they actually like the stuff as long as they have made a good impression. I used to think that way years ago because it was ingrained by my peers. I never particularly liked scotch but if I wanted to 'show good taste' I ordered a scotch on the rocks at a social function. Now, I am too old to give a hoot what they think. I drink a scotch now and then but only when the mood hits me. During the Sampler this year, I had the opportunity to taste a rare and unique scotch, Lagavulin Sherry Cask finished and found it not unappealing but still lacking all the wonderful flavors I find in an average bourbon. But this is all IMHO.
I have tried both. I can get scotch down but I really enjoy bourbon. You know why?....because in my opinion it simply tatses better.
There are scotch drinkers and there are bourbon drinkers, but not one who drinks both
Whoever came up with that one is full of...well...
That's like saying there are people who eat apples and people who eat oranges, but not one who eats both. Geez! Give me a break!
Much of the anti-Scotch sentiment around here I've always sensed as being tongue-in-cheek, mainly because this is a bourbon-oriented site and the moderators understandably want to keep things on-topic.
That said, there's no reason one can't appreciate both whiskies.
The idea of limiting yourself to some segment or category is fundamentally at odds with the very concept of connoisseurship. People who appreciate and want to explore bourbon invariably have other interests, whether they be malt whiskey, ales, tequilas, wine, even vodkas.
I prefer bourbon. I don't hate scotch.
I stock a lot more bourbon than scotch and feel I have a better understanding of bourbon, it's history, flavor profile etc. I really like the folks who participate on this board and haven't found an equivalent for any other beverage, sport or special interest.
This is a unique place and bourbon a unique product.
It makes me smile. http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/grin.gif
I have much more bourbon than Scotch, but I do have Scotch, and especially enjoy the Speysides -- though my personal favorite is Highland Park Ornkney Islands 12yo.
But, really great bourbon can be had much cheaper than really great Scotch and, I think, is a much more versatile and timeless drink, even without taking into account mixing it in cocktails. About the only time Scotch seems perfect is when it's cold, damp and wintry.
My meager experience with hard spirits has tended to steer me toward bourbon rather than scotch. At a recent wedding reception, I had some Johnnie Walker Red Label on the rocks. Maybe it was just to remind myself that scotch isn't my thing.
Even being a little tipsy from several drinks prior to this, I still almost couldn't bear to drink the scotch. It didn't taste good at all. I know very little about scotch- maybe JW is just a "well" drink, but I didn't like it either way. My bourbon drinking adventure has started from the bottom shelf, and I can say thus far that I personally prefer the cheap bourbons to scotch ANY day...
as far as drinking bourbon to the exclusion of scotch in general? I am discovering that drinks are like music- there's always the possibility you'll find something you like in a genre you never thought you'd listen to...
Very well put, the only rule is, there are no rules.
And the first rule of Fight Club is, you do not talk about Fight Club.
Your impression of the superiority of (even) well bourbon over well scotch is well-founded. I have heard many similar comments, whether from those with a lot of technical knowledge or those with much less. The reason for the instinctive rejection of a scotch like Johnnie Walker Red over, say, Jim Beam or Wild Turkey, is that the scotch is blended. A good chunk of it is composed of aged but very bland, high proof, alcohol. On the other hand, all bourbon, even the cheapest, is made from a mash distilled at much lower proof than the grain spirit adjunct of scotch whisky. A better comparison of scotch and bourbon is to compare, say, Glenlivet, an all-malt, pot still (low proof, flavorous) whisky, to, say, Wild Turkey. You may find the scotch adds up much more than Johnnie Walker Red or even JW Black (not in price but in quality). Putting it a different way, I would compare JW Red to, say, an American blended whiskey such as Seven Crown or Kessler's. Both use a goodly amount of neutral-type spirit to leaven the real whisky in there so you are comparing like and like and the results gain more validity..
OK, I have to admit that I like straight bourbon, straight rye, single malt scotch and several Irish whiskeys. I started with single malt scotch, because my friends were into it, after enjoying beer almost exclusively (and wine only rarely). But beer you only rent. It took more than a decade before I found I actually enjoyed the widely varying tastes of different single malts, but, based on reading (The Bourbon Companion), web sites (including this one, early on), etc., I realized that I would missing out big time if I didn't try straight bourbon and straight rye, so I bought a bottle of Maker's Mark (and was duly amazed at how inexpensive it was compared to single malts). Gave it a try and really hated it! Several more tries and same result. I assumed I just didn't like wheaters, so I next tried Old Grandad 114, and liked it. From this, I assumed I liked rye, so I bought a bottle of Old Overholt and liked it. Then I tried Blanton's (loved it) and Van Winkle 15 year old, 107 proof bourbon (loved it even more, despite the lip burn), and was stunned: one rye-mash bourbon and one wheater, and they were both just great! Turns out I like wheaters as much as rye mash bourbons and also like straight rye (Van Winkle 13 and 12, Sazerac 18).
I have tried more and more straight bourbons and ryes since then and, at this point, I think I like straight bourbon and single malt scotch about equally, with maybe a slight edge for peaty single malts (sorry): I drink whatever the mood seems to call for and sometimes I will have a straight bourbon follwed by a single malt and sometimes vice versa. This really shows the vast differences between the two, and, in my opinion, makes them both even better.
Maybe it's better to be a purist, but I rather like the variety and I have found that my bourbo-bunker is increasing faster than my malt-vault, so I assume my tastes are still evolving and I see that as good. I wouldn't want to just buy the same thing all the time, just because it is Good Old Reliable. And, as others have pointed out, great bourbon costs less than most good single malts. Cheers, whatever your'e drinking! Ed V.
About the only time Scotch seems perfect is when it's cold, damp and wintry.
But, that is my favorite time for bourbon, too!
My other interests are cognac, gin, pale ale, and full-flavored rum. Also, good red wine (such as cabernet sauvignon, Bordeaux, pinot noir). But, I pretty much stick with bourbon.
Why do I like bourbon and not scotch? It's the taste! If you think about it, you can imagine bourbon being poured over ice cream, and it would taste really good. But scotch would taste terrible with ice cream. For some reason, that sums up the difference to me.
I had some scotch last night and it IS really tasteless next to bourbon. Maybe there is some truth to the statement.
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