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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2005

    Best \"Bridge Whiskies\"

    I've been thinking about the bourbon I could share with a Scotch-drinking friend that would best open up his eyes to the qualities of bourbon. It should be a pleasant transition, not jarring, and should have a mixture of familiar elements and unexpected new experiences.

    For added fun, what would be a good example of Scotch that would be a "bridge" to malts that could cause a Bourbonite to stray across the pond?

    I have a couple of bourbon thoughts, but will hold back for now.


  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2005

    Re: Best \"Bridge Whiskies\"

    Roger, you have posed a very thought provoking set of questions...I suggest the following:

    Bourdon Bridge:

    Short list:

    *Old Taylor, BIB pre 1980
    Old Forester, BIB pre 1980
    Old Grand-Dad, BIB pre 1980
    Van Winkle, anything
    Eagle Rare, 101 10yo (Old Prentice)
    Wild Turkey, RR (101)

    Longer list;

    Wild Turkey, 12yo
    Eagle Rare, 17yo
    Anything, Van Winkle
    And if you’re doing it blind, get sneaky, slip in some Sazerac Rye

    Scotch bridge:

    Short list:

    Clynelish, 14yo
    Balvenie, 12yo double wood
    Knocando, 12yo, 18yo or 21 yo
    Springbank,12yo black label
    Glenmorangie, 18yo

    Longer list:

    Strathisla, 12yo paper label
    Dalmore, 12yo
    Glenfarclas, 21yo
    Royal Lochnagar, select reserve
    Linkwood 12yo, John McEwan edition
    Anything, Mortlach

    Best regards, dougdog

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Moscow Mills, MO

    Re: Best \"Bridge Whiskies\"

    I may be wrong, but I think maybe throwing an Irish whiskey in between might help to bridge the gap. To me they're not as sweet as bourbon and not as smoky as scotch.

    Doug, you have a lot of good bourbons on your list but not everyone has access to all the older bourbons you find on your hunting trips. I certainly can't find any of the older ones around here. Believe me, I've looked! But then again it was Roger who asked and he might have a few of those that I don't.

  4. #4
    Bourbonian of the Year 2010 and Guru
    Join Date
    Aug 2005

    Re: Best \"Bridge Whiskies\"

    I thought I'd give this a try, though individual tastes vary, I think this is the approach I'd take.

    Bourbon Bridge: by region
    Highland- Blanton's, Russel's Reserve 101
    Lowland- Maker's, Basil Hayden
    Islay- Old Grand Dad 14, Noah's Mill
    Highland Park- Baker's, George Dickel Special Barrel Reserve 10yr...(I know Highland Park isn't a region, but it holds a special place in my mind, so....)

    Scotch Bridge: (by typical bourbons)
    Makers- Glenkinchie, Glen Moray
    Tennessee- Bunnahabhain
    Wild Turkey- Springbank
    Van Winkle 12- Macallan 18
    Beam Black- Bowmore Legend

    There we go, not THE definitive list, I'm sure but maybe enough to make someone try something new, or revist something with a different point of view.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jul 2005
    Mentor, Ohio, USA

    Re: Best \"Bridge Whiskies\"

    For me, the premise is flawed. The things I like in Scotch are completely NOT the things I like in Bourbon. For me, this question is like asking which Pizzia to recommend to a friend who enjoys pasta.... I like both and there are elements of commonality (tomato sauce etc) but I would never define one in 'terms' of the other. Rather I would pick my favorite expressions of each and present them independantly.

    If you look at my personal favorites:

    Bourbon: Bookers, Ridgement Reserve
    Scotch: Lagavulin 16, Lapgroaig 10

    Even the elements of commonality are pretty different.

    There is so much variety within the range of Scotch, I find them as (if not more) different from each other as from other whiskys. To say you enjoy Bourbon or Rye says something a lot more specific than to say you enjoy Scotch. The former is 'I like Lasagna', the latter is 'I like Italian' (so many analagies, so little time

    Anyway, just my opinion.



  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2000
    Midland, MI

    Re: Best \"Bridge Whiskies\"

    > For me, the premise is flawed. The things I like in Scotch
    > are completely NOT the things I like in Bourbon.

    I absolutely agree 100%. I think every whisk(e)y style requires
    a "learning period" where you drink a few exapmles that highlight
    different aspects of the style... and you don't taste any difference.
    Then, later on, you start to develop your palate figure out what it's
    really all about. How soon we forget the "learning period"! I suppose
    that the memory lapse can be forgiven, because it's soon followed
    by a period of absolute enchantment...

    In my experience, some people really have a hard time learning to
    appreciate things that aren't their favorite... and trying to fool
    them doesn't work at all! You can't just say to them, "Here, try
    Aberlour A'bunadh, it's similar to Stagg." They'll taste it and
    immediately think "No it's not! It's missing something! It's missing
    a lot! What do you guys see in this stuff?"

    I've never been able to introduce a new style of whisk(e)y to anyone
    who wasn't already 100% pre-modivated and already trying to learn.

    My advice is to give people the extremes: Laphroaig, Rosebank, Macallan,
    Glenmorangie... it's also good to give people things that they can
    easily find over and over again, so that they can order it at bars and
    restaraunts and find it at stores.

    And on another note...

    If you think the Scotch - Bourbon divide is big, try getting anyone
    to drink unaged/underaged whiskies... West Virginia Distilling Co's
    Mountain Moonshine is fabulous, but it's dismissed with a chuckle
    as inferior junk. The divide is just too great.

    SB.com is just starting to come around to Conecuh Ridge and Old
    Potrero, but it's taken years...

    Tim Dellinger

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Japan, (American)

    Re: Best \"Bridge Whiskies\"

    One bourbon that I haven't seen mentioned that I belive is highly regarded by many scotch drinkers is Elijah Craig 12 year old.

  8. #8
    Advanced Taster
    Join Date
    May 2005
    Colorado Springs, CO

    Re: Best \"Bridge Whiskies\"

    As a scotch drinker, I wonder how well you could bridge an Islay to any bourbon. There's is so much peat. There were some interesting pairings; I wonder though if just one pairing would simplify things (and make a convert). How about a Glenmorangie Port Wood finish (maybe their sweetest)and a EWSB Vintage '95? It would also come in at almost half the price as the Glenmorangie, another consideration.
    Then move on to the sweeter expressions, such as Pappy Van Winkle 12yr Lot B or ORVW 10yr. If they are into cask strength scotch, then maybe an OGD 114, or one of our higher proof (but readily available) bottlings. But this is the musings of a relative newcomer to bourbon.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Sep 2001
    Pelham, AL

    Re: Best \"Bridge Whiskies\"

    I used to really enjoy simple scotches (JW Red, Cutty, Black & White, etc). Then around '76 a friend introduced me to The Glenfiddich and The Glenlivet single-malts. Definitely nice, but too expensive for my budget, at the time. I pretty much became a rum and gin drinker. I always enjoyed JW Black, though.

    Then a few years ago, after I had started my bourbon tasting adventure (which continues), I was in a well-stocked bar in Atlanta. For reasons unknown to me, I asked for a glass of The Balvenie 15-year old single barrel. It was gorgeous, absolutely delicious. It did not remind me of any scotch I had ever tried and I loved it.

    Alas, when I got home and found it in the ABC store, it was way more than I could afford. I don't remember exactly what it was. $80? $90. Something like that.

    So far, the most expensive bourbon I have bought (Rock Hill Farms) was $52. I am totally unprepared for the $100 per bottle range.

    But, The Balvenie is good stuff to this confirmed bourbon lover.


  10. #10
    Advanced Taster
    Join Date
    Oct 2003

    Re: Best \"Bridge Whiskies\"

    I've thought about this over the past two years or so, spurred on in part by having lots of colleagues who routinely enjoy single malts but are not into bourbons, for whatever reasons. So I have a practical interest in this (I want to introduce them to fine bourbons) as well as a hypothetical one. My opinions are these:

    Straight bourbon bridges for single malt scotch drinkers: Hirsch 16, Elijah Craig 18, Old Rip 15, 107 proof (Lawrenceburg), and Blanton's. The first two especially, because they are drier than most bourbons, not sweet (to me, anyway), and have some significant barrel/cask oak in their tastes. Definitely not Stagg!

    Single malt scotches for straight bourbon drinkers: Balvenie 15 single barrel (I think Tim nailed this one to the wall: it is aged in ex-bourbon barrels, no sherry or peat. Wonderful honey notes. BTW: it costs $53 here, as of today), Glenmorangie 15 (matured in ex-bourbon barrels, then matured for a final shorter period in new, charred Missouri Ozarks oak barrels, costs $52 here, today; even more wonderful honey notes), Clynelish 14 ($40) and a few others that have no peat or sherry at all, e.g., Bruichladdich 15 ($62 today). There are some less expensive malts, but even the least expensive ones are priced very high compared to bourbons of the same quality. It is hard (but not impossible) to find a worthwhile single malt for $20, but no problem at all with bourbon: that is the price here for each of Elijah Craig 12, EWSB 1995 and Henry McKenna SB 10 BIB.

    I also like Dane's suggestion of Irish whiskey as a bridge for bourbon drinkers wanting to try the dark side. Bushmill's 16 is fine and Black Bush gets excellent reviews, though I have never tried it. And the Sazerac 18 is something single malt drinkers would probably like: I cetainly do.

    Not sure how to make a meaningful correspondence between bourbon and either sherry or peat: just too different, in my opinion.



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