I've been lurking for a month or so, and registered over a week ago, so I figured it was about time to introduce myself. First, I'd like to thank the people on the board for many suggestions, colorful stories, and the wealth of shared information.

Hmm, my life in one paragraph or less. I grew up in California, but I'm in Madison, WI trying to get a Ph.D. in chemistry. It gets cold here and I'm very glad we only have 2 more months of winter. I hope to graduate by the end of the year, but I'll only get to move as far south as Chicago because I'm getting married in less than 3 months. Future Mrs. nmathew lives and works in Chicago, and she's very happy there.

How I found myself here probably isn't a particularly entertaining story, but I'll bore anyone willing to read it nonetheless. My early experiences with whisk(e)y were JD and William Grant's The Family Reserve. Well, one night Mr. Daniels and myself had a falling out, and he certainly got the better of me. I'm not talking about your head hurting and bright lights bothering you the next day. I'm talking your abdominal muscles hurting for a week due to their workout. It took some time before the smell of JD wouldn't make my stomach twist. I stuck to vodka+cola, gin and tonics, liqueurs, and beer for some time after that.

So, years later, and I'm in a bookstore which has a cheap hardbound book about the history, production, and enjoyment of spirits. Well, I'm a sucker for cheap books, so I buy it. Several chapters in and I get to the Irish whiskey and scotch section. Wow does this stuff look varied, complex, and interesting. Besides, there must be some reason people shell out so much money for it, right?

At this point, I barely gave the section on North American whiskey a skim. I mean, after all, whiskey made in the states and Canada are inferior, right? Furthermore, that bourbon stuff that's somehow related to whiskey is harsh stuff suited for shots and making your voice sound like Clint Eastwood's. A few google searches later, I've got myself a list of 4 or so "good value" Scotch selections and a few *sigh* fall back options if I can't find those.

Off to one of the larger booze shops near campus, and I quickly figure out that my Scotch selections must be esoteric. They don't have any of them, but I do see the Canadian Whiskey option I wrote down, and Knob Creek, which is also on my list of fall backs. Hmmm... The Knob Creek is $5 more than what I was expecting, but it's made in the states by some small company. Oh, right there on the side, a small batch bourbon from the Knob Creek Distillery. Wow, they must be a small operation if they only have one product.

National pride wins out over pocketbook considerations, and I take my bottle of very high proof (100! wow, that's strong) bourbon home and I fumble with the wax seal. I carefully fill a shot glass and pour it into a tumbler. First sip, and wow. I wasted $27. This stuff is awful. Way too harsh; it bites; it burns; I hope it mixes with diet coke. Well, people mix a little water with their scotch and claim it changes the taste, maybe it'll work here. A splash of water later and I'm stunned by the change.

The harsh alcohol oder is gone (more like my nasal passages aren't being coated by ethanol as I take in a massive snort). The liquid now drinks smooth, and it no longer burns. Ok, now I understand how people drink this straight. Wonder what those other bottles taste like......

At some point, I followed a link here. I'm yet to buy a single malt scotch, and you guys have my apartment looking like a mess. I've got opened bottles strewn about, but I'm slowly figuring out what I like. As near as I can gather, my tastes currently favor lighter flavors than many of the people here. For instance, OGD BIB tasted very thick and rough the first time I poured myself some. It gets better with each try, but it's no where near my favorite. Then again, I've gotten weird looks from waiters by ordering a light wheat beer followed by a heavy stout, so maybe my tastes are just odd to begin with.

I haven't been able to buy any of the Weller products yet. WL Weller Special Reserve was sold out, so I missed the BOTM fun. I do like Maker's Mark a lot, but I think that as my pallet gets refined, I'll like it less. It seems to lack the complexity of a few other ones I've tried. The ORVW 10 year, well, I want to like it. I think it'll grow on me. I don't dislike it, I just don't like it as much as the MM yet. The ERSB has a straightforward simplicity about it which I like. I'm looking forward to trying BT, but I don't want to buy or open anymore bottles for awhile. I've got a few unopened bottles here as it is. I also did a taste test of JD, Gentlemen Jack, and GD, but as this post is far longer that it should be, I'll save that for another day.

A few questions:

Is $63 reasonable for GTS 07?
I greatly appreciate the brands listing. Additionally, is there a list of which labels are related? For instance, a few people have suggested that Basil Hayden's is similar to OGD. Is it basically a few choice barrels from that line? Pappy Van Winkle gave a yeast strain to MM. That sort of thing.

Thanks for reading.