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Love bourbon but can't love Scotch


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5 hours ago, El Vino said:

I agree with the suggestions to find a bar with a good selection from the various regions in Scotland and try to see if any suit your palate. Finding a scotch with bourbon-like qualities makes little sense to me. If you like bourbon but not scotch, why try and force it? Just drink good bourbon.

 

Be aware, some of these finer versions of Scotch and Irish are quite pricey by the dram at a bar.  A fella bought us a round of Jameson 20 Yr recently, and it was $18 a shot!  Three shots would have bought a bottle of Redbreast 12. 

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Macallan 12-year is priced decently and is pretty nice.  Their 18-year blew me away at a restaurant.  I'm glad I didn't pay for the shot!  

 

I got interested in scotch two years ago, and find I like the nuanced flavors compared to most bourbon.  BUT, I've found that for my taste buds, a good scotch costs about twice as much as a good bourbon.  

 

Locally, there are at least two decent malt whisky companies that are starting to get some age on their distillates.  I'm hoping I can support their business in time.

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Just now, musekatcher said:

 

Be aware, some of these finer versions of Scotch and Irish are quite pricey by the dram at a bar.  A fella bought us a round of Jameson 20 Yr recently, and it was $18 a shot!  Three shots would have bought a bottle of Redbreast 12. 

Ha, the 18-year Macallan I drank at a bar in Seattle was $45 for the shot, paid for my wonderful boss.

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2 minutes ago, Prof_Stack said:

Ha, the 18-year Macallan I drank at a bar in Seattle was $45 for the shot, paid for my wonderful boss.

 

Wow..at $260 a bottle, thats a 400% markup.  That's outright ridiculous.  They could have been happy with a 200% markup, and still make more on that bottle, than they make on a bottle of Cutty Sark.

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Limegoldconvertible68

I have always shyed aware from Scotch because the "good stuff" was too expensive. If bourbon price keep going up I may start experimenting with some of the nice bottles that actually have age statements on them. 

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Harry in WashDC
23 hours ago, JRye said:

Can anyone recommend a starter Scotch to ease in to from bourbon?  Love bourbon but have yet to have a scotch that I have truly enjoyed.  Are there any bourbon like scotches for a noob?

[Late to the party, but . . .]

 

I'm not a scotch fan, much to wife's dismay, so I thought I'd try to expand my tastes beyond Cooley Distillery Irish whiskey I'd bunkered when the rumor circulated that Beam was buying it.  Joe (the other one, not THAT one:wacko:) suggested to me that I try Old Pulteney 12yr.  It's reasonably priced, not too peaty, not too homogenized (i.e., over-blended because it is not blended at all), and just enough different than Irish whiskey that you can tell it is "scotch".  Think $50 which isn't bad for a single malt.

 

OTOH, I love, and have multiple bottles (one opened, several bunkered) of Compass Box's Hedonism (about $90-95) which is a blend.  At WhiskyFest WashDC last March, I bumped into John Glaser, the owner/founder of Compass Box, and he recommended I try it if (1) I'm a bourbon lover and (2) not really found of classic scotch.  Did I tell you that, based on that taste, I bought multiple bottles?  YMMV, of course.

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1 hour ago, Prof_Stack said:

Macallan 12-year is priced decently and is pretty nice.  Their 18-year blew me away at a restaurant.  I'm glad I didn't pay for the shot!  

 

I got interested in scotch two years ago, and find I like the nuanced flavors compared to most bourbon.  BUT, I've found that for my taste buds, a good scotch costs about twice as much as a good bourbon.  

 

Locally, there are at least two decent malt whisky companies that are starting to get some age on their distillates.  I'm hoping I can support their business in time.

Westland is doing good things. I'm not a scotch guy at all, but I like some of their products. I even almost like the peated ones (and I hate peat, but theirs is light). The American Single Malt is a good bridge because it's aged in charred oak.

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3 hours ago, musekatcher said:

 

Wow..at $260 a bottle, thats a 400% markup.  That's outright ridiculous.  They could have been happy with a 200% markup, and still make more on that bottle, than they make on a bottle of Cutty Sark.

A month later, a friend bought me a shot of the 18-year Macallan at a different restaurant.  $18.  I couldn't believe it, but will be very wary when it's my turn to pay.

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Caskstrength

Not sure why people are looking for a Scotch that resembles bourbon, they are quite different and each should be approached on their own terms.

 

Some of the entry-level classics (EC12 equivalents):

 

- Talisker 10 (Isle of Skye; medium peat)

- Glenfarclas 105 or Abelour Abunadh (Speyside; sherry-dominant, high abv)

- Dalwhinnie 15 or Oban 14 (Highlands; classic well rounded with subtle aromas)

- Ardbeg 10 or Laphroaig 10 (Islay; heavy peat)

 

Each of these are very affordable.  Pick one in each category, and give them time.  Worthwhile even investing in a bottle and approaching over weeks/month.  Good luck!

 

 

 

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The first Scotch I really liked was Dewar's Scratched Cask. (Regular Dewar's with an extra aging in Ex-Bourbon barrels that have been scratched to enhance contact with the wood) At the time I called it the perfect introduction to Scotch for Bourbon drinkers. I've since picked up Black Grouse and Monkey Shoulder which I enjoy.

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What have you tried and not liked?

 

Glenmorangie and Dalwhinnie are light and easy going.  I jumped straight into Islay and peat and it worked out for me but many people either hate the stuff or need to work up to it.  I'll echo what others have said and tell ya to hit a well stocked bar if you can.  Go off peak and explain you want an intro to scotch.  Maybe you can get half pours.

 

Here's a decently put together plotting of flavor profiles:

 

http://scotchgit.bitbucket.org/#

 

 

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Not a scotch, but a single malt, trying one of the Kavalans wouldn't be a bad idea.

 

i too vote for Macallan though. That was the second scotch I ever tried and I've been hooked ever since. I'll likely always have the 18 in my bunker.

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I actually think the "heavier" flavors of Islay Scotch is actually more in line with a seasoned bourbon drinkers palate. While there are very good drams of Speyside and Highlands etc. I don't think they are as easily and readily appreciated right off the bat by someone new to Scotch. They are way more subtle than even the most subtle bourbon. Even smoother bourbon is more in-your-face than most Scotch. Of course I might be saying this because I personally love the in-your-face Islay peat bombs. Ardbeg is my favorite with Uigeadail my favorite expression of theirs.

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IncredulousNosco
12 hours ago, Clueby said:

I actually think the "heavier" flavors of Islay Scotch is actually more in line with a seasoned bourbon drinkers palate. While there are very good drams of Speyside and Highlands etc. I don't think they are as easily and readily appreciated right off the bat by someone new to Scotch. They are way more subtle than even the most subtle bourbon. Even smoother bourbon is more in-your-face than most Scotch. Of course I might be saying this because I personally love the in-your-face Islay peat bombs. Ardbeg is my favorite with Uigeadail my favorite expression of theirs.

 

I could have written this post word for word. I'm totally in agreement. I think bourbon barrel aged Speysides are among the most boring spirits available--not too much more exciting than a blended Canadian. Their subtle bourbonesque notes of vanilla and caramel are nowhere near as bold as any decent bourbon, and share nothing with a cask strength bourbon. 

 

And Uigeadail is my all time favorite malt. So far, anyway.

 

 

.

Edited by IncredulousNosco
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Scotch is often much less sweet than bourbon with a thinner mouth-feel so it's hard to compare. The problem is, both bourbon and scotch have a huge variety of flavors, especially if like many people you are including rye as well. The most accessible single malts would be Glenlivet and Glenfiddich 12, can be found at virtually any store, and less than $30. The flavors are fruity and light, somewhat close to an Irish whiskey, not overwhelming at all. If you want to try a blend, the only good one I buy is Johnnie Walker black, but do avoid red, gold, platinum, and especially blue. Blue Label is great tasting but for $200+ no way. Macallan 12 is sweet and nutty so that might be your best gateway, but a bottle will run you at least $50 it seems. My personal favorite malts would be Talisker, Lagavulin, Laphroaig  etc, but those are incredibly powerful in the peat and smoke department so approach with caution. Good luck

Edited by Surtur
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While admittedly not the greatest Bourbon region in Canada, here in the Province of Quebec, 10 years ago or so we were the largest $ Scotch consumers in Canada.  At the SAQ we used to drive this category with instore tastings big time to maximize the high scotch margins. We had big conversion objectives (converting self declared drinkers of various liquor categories to scotch)

 

On any given weekend (Thursday to Saturday) we would have about 30 demo teams working scotches from the Highlands, Speyside and the Islay peat bombs in store.  We would cross-tab the cash register receipts after tasting with the consumer profiles collected and brown liquor drinkers massively bought Speyside scotches as their gateways to the category (all three scotches from each of the three regions were the same price during the tastings).

 

I seem to recall at the time that about 15% of self declared brown liquor drinkers said that their favorite category was Bourbon (hey that was the local market at the time)

 

Data subset : sherry cask finished scotches were strong category door openers for brown liquor drinkers.

 

The data showed one exception with respect to First Scotches of brown liquor drinkers which was that self described Knowledgeable Consumers of brown booze (including Bourbon) would go for Islay scotches (confirmed by register receipts).  These people also had to have over $2000 a year in total SAQ spend.

 

Other interesting data subset was women tasting scotch in store and buying for their husbands or as gifts for others.  Speysides were big Father's Day sellers.

 

While it's been a few years, seem to recall us moving thousands of bottles of craggenmore 12.

 

Obviously Quebec, Canada isn't the US, but I thought i would share.

 

Eric

 

 

 

 

Eric

 

 

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Never liked scotch, but was given a bottle of Glenfiddich 15 for Christmas, and that was actually pretty good.  Lots of sherry notes and some sweetness.  

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Flavor country

Might try the glenlevit 15 . Some of those Irish whiskeys are a nice change of pace also. I enjoy the bushmills black bush quite a lot.  I tend to go for high proof bourbons, and sometimes anything less that 94-100 proof stuff is a let down. But when I need a change of pace, those Irish and scotch 80 proof s can bring flavor and drinkability together for a welcome diversion.  

 

 

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