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  1. #1
    Virtuoso
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    I need a scotch recommendation or two...

    I'm an american whiskey drinker and don't enjoy scotch much but I have some friends who do and would like to keep 2 or 3 bottles available if they're over.
    My questions are:
    Are there any really good CHEAP SMS's? Is there a scotch equivalent of VOB BIB? of SW Old Fitz BIB?
    Or maybe a scotch or two that are universally loved as much of the VW whiskeys are appreciated here at SB?

    I'll hang up and listen for my answer.
    "Brownest of the brown liquors..so tempting. What's that? You want me to drink you? But I'm in the middle of a trial!" L. Hutz

  2. #2
    Disciple
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    Re: I need a scotch recommendation or two...

    Scotch is much more varied than bourbon is. A lowlands scotch tastes nothing like an Islay. Also, the cheap scotches often taste like cheap scotches.

    I would say something like Glenlivet is a good entry level scotch that would be enjoyed by a scotch drinker without having them turn their nose up at you. It is nice and mellow and easy to drink. Then, I would something of distinction from the other side of the scale. My suggestion would Lagavulin 16. It is highly regarded and in my opinion captures everything a scotch should be. You would only break that out for people you really like, but in doing so, they would probably be impressed. You can spend more and get more esoteric with your selection, but Lagavulin 16 is about as solid as you can get.
    Hope is subversive, for it limits the grandiose pretensions of the present by calling into existence the possibility of something better.

  3. #3
    Virtuoso
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    Re: I need a scotch recommendation or two...

    Single malts generally aren't cheap. If you have Trader Joe's where you are, you can find Finlaggan, a smoky, sourced single malt that is around $16 and not bad. Bowmore Legend is also pretty decent at around $20.

    Beyond those ultra-cheapies, you are probably looking at around $40 for malts like Dalmore 12, Old Pulteney 12 and Laphroaig 10, all of which are very good.

    Another option would be to go for decent blends. Famous Grouse is pretty standard and usually around $20 for a liter, for a smoky option, Black Bottle is a good blend in the $20 range.

  4. #4
    Connoisseur
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    May 2005
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    Near York, PA
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    Re: I need a scotch recommendation or two...

    Since you are in Chicago I'm going to assume you are somewhat close to a Binnys. As a long time scotch drinker/collector I'd recommend having a blend, a Highland or Speyside and an Islay to cover almost all the bases. Any scotch drinker who turns down a decent blend is too much of a snob to be friends with anyway.

    For a blend you can't go wrong with any of the below.

    Johnnie Walker Black
    Pinch
    Chivas Regal

    For an Islay any the following will be decent

    Black Bottle (5yo Islay blended scotch)
    Islay Mist (8yo Islay blended scotch)
    Bowmore Legend (Single Malt)
    McClelland's Islay (in reality 5 yo Bowmore Single Malt)


    Highlands/Speyside could include:

    Ardmore Traditional Cask
    Speyburn 10
    Balvenie Doublewood (one of my favorite "everyday" drams)
    Dalmore 12
    Singleton of Glendullan
    Glenlivet 12

    There are a whole bunch of others you could substitute but none of the above should be over $40 - 45 with most under $30
    Illuminati in training

  5. #5
    Enthusiast
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    Re: I need a scotch recommendation or two...

    AVB probably nailed it best with a rock solid list of blends.

    My two go-to's are JB Black 12 yr & Black Bottle

    As far as SM's

    Highland Park 12 yr
    Old Pulteney

    I would stay away from any of the "peat monsters" Ardbeg or Laphroaig, unless you know your friends like strong peat/smoke stuff.

  6. #6
    Connoisseur
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    Sep 2006
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    Re: I need a scotch recommendation or two...

    A lot of times you can find good malts on sale at low prices. Per example, Tamdhu distillery was recently mothballed. I was driving through OK and found Tamdhu at $16/bottle if you bought by the case. If you want to keep an inexpensive variety, try McClellans. They have a Highland, Lowland, and Islay. They don't own a distillery but buy from those regions. While not anywhere near top of the line, they are usually quite passable for guests, especially those who realize that you're not a scotch or malt drinker.
    There's no such thing as bad whiskey, there's only over priced whiskey.

  7. #7
    Guru
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    Re: I need a scotch recommendation or two...

    I'm a Scotch neophyte myself, but under the "universally beloved" category I think anything from Highland Park would qualify.
    bibamus, moriendum est
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  8. #8
    Bourbonian Of The Year 2013 and Guru
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    Re: I need a scotch recommendation or two...

    Scotch neophyte here, as well. Opened a Highland Park 12 last night, as I thought it would help with my understanding of my daughter's Algebra studying. Well, it didn't help me understand, but it was quite tasty. <$30, too. (Note "less than" symbol )
    JOE

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    Bark less.

    "Every bottle is its own learning experience." -- Sensei Ox-sama

  9. #9
    Guru
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    Re: I need a scotch recommendation or two...

    Quote Originally Posted by smokinjoe View Post
    Scotch neophyte here, as well. Opened a Highland Park 12 last night, as I thought it would help with my understanding of my daughter's Algebra studying. Well, it didn't help me understand, but it was quite tasty. <$30, too. (Note "less than" symbol )
    As my elderly uncle used to say, "Holy cannoli!" How on earth you managed to find HP12 for less than $30 is beyond me but I'd head back and fill up my cart at that price. I love HP12 and still consider it the best value in SMS at $40. Drink up Joe and enjoy!
    "I distrust a man who says 'when.' He's got to be careful not to drink too much, because he's not to be trusted when he does." Sydney Greenstreet

  10. #10
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    Re: I need a scotch recommendation or two...

    I'll be next in line to echo AVB's suggestions but would substitute Glenmorangie for the lighter Glenlivet 12 as a terrific Highland/Speyside all-rounder. You really can't go wrong with any of his recommendations but if it were me (and keeping budget as a major factor in my selections) I'd go with Johnnie Walker Black (roughly $25) as my classic blend, Ardmore Traditional Cask ($30 or less) to fulfill my need for peat and Highland Park 12 ($40-ish) for the perfect balance of Speyside fruitiness and subtle smoke/peat which tends to be found in all of the off-the-mainland products. It should be noted that although Ardmore Traditional Cask is produced on the mainland, it has far more in common with the island-style whiskies that one associates with Islay due to its heavier presence of smoke/peat. But it is not so intense as to chase away those who find Lagavulin, Laphroaig, etc. too challenging.
    Last edited by unclebunk; 11-12-2010 at 09:15.
    "I distrust a man who says 'when.' He's got to be careful not to drink too much, because he's not to be trusted when he does." Sydney Greenstreet

 

 

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