Scotch, Scotch, Scotch


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My first Scotch was Johnnie Walker Black. I was later introduced to Glenfiddich 12. For my wedding I was given a bottle of Glenfiddich 21. During a Super Bowl in 2006 I had Johnnie Walker Blue. However, I have since discovered the joys and wonders of Macallan. This weekend I had a Kirkland 20. Good, but I wouldn't put it over Macallan.


Kirth Gersen wrote:
Drinking Cu Chulainn Irish Whiskey in honor of St. Patrick's Day.

I'll be having a Connemara later tonight.


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Lagavulin & Laphroiag are two of my favorites, although Oban is my go to stuff more often than not. I also was recently given a bottle of Spinnaker, which is new to me, and quite nice. I'll take them all basically neat, with just a drop of water.

For bourbon, I have to go with Elmer T. Lee, and please, for the love of Cayden Cailean, don't mention that honey flavored crap in the same breath as the words "good bourbon." Seriously.

Also, don't get me going as to Southern Comfort, which as far as I'm concerned is a candy flavored drink and not whisky/ey at all.


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I had an Irish dog for the past 12 years who just died. He was a Kerry Beagle, a very rare dog breed. To celebrate his life, I bought a bottle of Middleton Very Rare, which is distilled in Cork county, adjacent to the county that gives its name to the dog breed.

I shared some of it with friends last night. The remainder will be reserved for me, to sip, savor and remember.

It's also by far the best Irish whiskey I've ever had. Very smooth, mellow. Lots of sweet notes, both in the nose and the taste. Toffee, vanilla, a light oakiness. It really lingers too, letting you enjoy it. This is a 2013 bottle and a blend, but the number of casks used is so small that there are variations from year to year. They only produce about 5,000 bottles or so every year.


Ah, Middleton Very Rare. Quite a nice Irish one, indeed. I must admit I am more of a fan of the 21 year old varieties of Bushmills or Redbreast when it comes to Irish whiskeys, though.

As far as scotch whisky goes, I seem to be in love with a couple of Lowlanders. Some Rosebanks or St. Magdalenes I have enjoyed so far are nothing short of divine, in my opinion. Unfortunately, both distilleries have closed down (St. Magdalene in 1983, Rosebank in 1993), so prices for any remaining bottles have risen to... annoying heights.

As a side note: Although one wouldn't believe it at first, the Japanese make some damn fine whiskies. You might want to try an 18-year old Yamazaki if you can get it at an affordable price; it's pretty good.

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Glad to see this thread revived and looking for more stories folks those who enjoy this fine beverage.

I have not had any scotch lately as I find drink it more as the air grows colder. But I think I will want to pick some up soon as the Fall is upon us.
Not sure which yet just moved so I need to break in a new liquor store


Gruumash . wrote:
lately as I find drink it more as the air grows colder. But I think I will want to pick some up soon as the Fall is upon us.

That's VERY interesting to me, because I notice the opposite -- I crave bourbon a lot more during the cold months, and only really like Scotch in the summer and spring.


By the way, I should mention that last week I tried an Icelandic whiskey. Very Islay-like; the fine fellow who ordered it (a still constructor) decided he didn't care for it, and donated the remainder to me, which I was happy to sample. I liked it, but not enough to try and smuggle any of it back. Also, I think it was like $30 US per glass -- and I thought liquor was expensive here in PA!


My daughter's just had her place confirmed at Glasgow University.
Cue 10 minute overview of scotch whiskeys at the local supermarket (not a great selection here in Kent) and an excuse to treat ourselves (well, me anyway) to a bottle of Tamdhu.


Lagavulin, Caol Ila, Talisker are three of my favorites.
Also like Springbank (especially 18y +), Longrow
Glenlivet
Macallan
and lots of others

And even whisky lovers shouldn't go without a good rum, Ron Zacapa 23y has been my fav since i was in Guatemala in 2003.

I drink it straight (preferably in a nosing glass) btw.


Kirth Gersen wrote:
Gruumash . wrote:
lately as I find drink it more as the air grows colder. But I think I will want to pick some up soon as the Fall is upon us.
That's VERY interesting to me, because I notice the opposite -- I crave bourbon a lot more during the cold months, and only really like Scotch in the summer and spring.

Speaking of Bourbon: I tried Elijah Craig a while ago and found it too sweet for my liking. It worked quite nicely in Highballs, though.

Are there any Bourbons that are not as sweet?


Chief Cook and Bottlewasher wrote:

My daughter's just had her place confirmed at Glasgow University.

Cue 10 minute overview of scotch whiskeys at the local supermarket (not a great selection here in Kent) and an excuse to treat ourselves (well, me anyway) to a bottle of Tamdhu.

I looove Tamdhu

I once had a bottle of single cask 13 year old unfiltered Tamdhu from an indipendent Bottler - one of my favorite bottles ever


I just bought a 25 year old Talisker single malt for my dad. I hope he'll like it!


Fabius Maximus wrote:
Kirth Gersen wrote:
Gruumash . wrote:
lately as I find drink it more as the air grows colder. But I think I will want to pick some up soon as the Fall is upon us.
That's VERY interesting to me, because I notice the opposite -- I crave bourbon a lot more during the cold months, and only really like Scotch in the summer and spring.

Speaking of Bourbon: I tried Elijah Craig a while ago and found it too sweet for my liking. It worked quite nicely in Highballs, though.

Are there any Bourbons that are not as sweet?

One of the distinguishing characteristics of bourbon (compared to scotch) is that it is sweeter. They shouldn't be syrupy, but that hint of sweetness (and compared to a scotch, a hint is a lot) should be there.

If you don't like the sweetness, try some rye whiskey instead.

Bulleit makes a decent rye for about $20-25/bottle. Nothing exceptional, but it'll give you an idea of what you're in for without costing a lot.


If you like Bulleit Rye, try Dickel's Rye -- it's Bulleit (same distillery, mash bill, etc.) that's been charcoal-filtered.

Re: Bulleit bourbon, the only redeeming quality is that it's in a VERY bad Stallone movie. Joke:
Sly walks into a bar, says, "Do you carry Bulleit bouron."
Bartender: "Nope, just what you see."
Stallone (whips out bottle): "Well, I do. One glass, please!"


Thanks to both of you. I might try those. I take it the Bulleit's Bourbon is not very good, Kirth? ;)

It wasn't a hint of sweetness, though, but a rather cloying finish. Maybe I've been drinking to much Connemara lately to enjoy Bourbon.


Like a lot of "craft" whiskey's right now, they're both distilled by MGP Ingredients. It used to be a Seagram's distillery that has changed hands several times. One of the notable things right now is that they distill various spirits and sell them to bottlers. I think something like 80%+ of the various brands that have appeared in the past 15 years are actually distilled by these guys.

Companies buy the whiskey, maybe do another year of aging, make a blend out of it, add whatever else they're going to add and then bottle and sell it.

Bulleit has a bourbon and a rye. Both are inexpensive ($20-25 range). It's fine. There aren't many whiskeys at that price that I would classify as perfect for sipping in general anyways. I think they're great for mixed drinks though.


Fabius Maximus wrote:
I take it the Bulleit's Bourbon is not very good, Kirth?

Bourbon: After all the hype that Sly gave it, I thought Bulleit Bourbon didn't live up to the billing; to my mind there are better, equivalently-priced ones. For example, I'll go back on record, if I may, of shamelessly plugging W.L. Weller 12-Year-Old Black Label. It's distilled by Buffalo Trace -- be warned, their own brand and pretty much all the other Weller variants are pretty much undrinkable (W.L. Weller "Special Reserve" and "Old Antique" both really suck) -- but they somehow hit it out of the park with the 12-year-old. It's made with winter wheat in addition to the corn/rye mash, so you get a nice break from the typical sweetness of most bourbons. In terms of quality to price ratio, I've never found its equal, except maybe Dickel's #12 Brand Tennessee Whisky where it's sold cheaply.


Scotch: Unable to obtain my favorite Scotches in PA (either at all, in the case of Lismore, or at a reasonable price, in the case of Lagavulin), I've turned to Bastille Whiskey from France of all places. It lacks the peaty bite of my beloved Lagavulin, but makes up for it with a very nice, complex medley of flavors. It runs about $30/bottle.


Irontruth wrote:
Like a lot of "craft" whiskeys right now, they're both distilled by MGP Ingredients.

Rye: In April I enlisted Mrs Gersen to help me do a single-blind taste test between Bulleit, Redemption, and Dickel's Ryes, all from MGP. She poured them into shot glasses from different (unrelated) cities, secretly recorded which whiskey was in which glass, and then presented all three to me; I made tasting notes for each, and then she revealed which one was which after the test.

As predicted, Dickels was indeed my favorite of the bunch, probably because of the charcoal filtering. The Bulleit was very flavor-forward, somewhat reminiscent of Dad's Hat Pennsylvania Rye in that regard, but with much brighter butter/toffee tones. The Redemption was more subtle (a la Old Overholt, but much tastier), and tended to get overwhelmed by the other two, but I like it a lot by itself.


Rye (Continued): More recently, I've been comparing ryes from traditional mass-market bourbon brands: Wild Turkey vs. Jim Beam. They're both very cheap, price-wise; Beam more so than Turkey. Both have flavors that are more muted than the MGP ryes discussed above -- in that regard, they're somewhat reminscent of Canadian whiskeys (of which Pendleton's and Collingwood really stand out, to me). Beam Rye, to my surprise, was infinitely better than their bourbon, and the taste to cost ratio means that, although I'll preferentially keep smuggling in Dickel's Rye by the bottle when I can, at least I'll have something affordable to drink here in PA, too.

At the other end of the spectrum, I really, really want to try Mt. Vernon Rye, reputedly made using Washington's original recipe -- George supposedly supported his whole estate and ran for president on the proceeds of his rye sales. Alas, that stuff is hard to get.


I'm going with Billzabub in that Laphroaig and Lagavulin are my favorites too, enjoyed while barely wetting my tongue in cool water every other sip.

I also greatly enjoy Glenrothes and Tobermory if I'm in the mood for a smoother, less peaty Scotch. Would be very intrigued to try some Japanese whiskey, alas it's not very easy to come by where I live.


Last week a good friend realized he had too much alcohol in his house (not all of it fit in his liquor cabinet), so he gave me 2 bottles, a bottle of Jameson (someone who didn't know much about whiskey gave him a bottle, but I'm not complaining, it's free) and a bottle of Caol Ila 12.

Caol Ila 12 yr
It's very typical of an Islay single malt IMO. Lots of earthy type flavors, smoke and peat. A little bit like wet smoldering grass. I like it. It's fairly smooth and mellow. Nothing really jumps out and assaults you, but it passes through and leaves it's mark.

I'm heading up to the BWCA (canoe wilderness camping) and a flask of this will be my companion. Only one of us will return to civilization (I'm hoping it's me).


Quite fond of Glenfiddich and Jura (the ones I've tasted, at least - haven't tried them all).

I take it neat, preferably at room temperature. You get so much more taste than if you cool it down.

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I am hoping some bottles of scotch are coming my way for my birthday. My scotch supply is almost completely depleted at this point.

Not sure what I want to get my hands on at this point.

My tastes run towards Mcallan, Edradour, Glenmorangie and Abelour but open to suggestions. I am not much for the heavy peat and the Islay who have that medicinal flavor like Bowmore, Laphraoig and Lagavulin are not to my taste.


Bjørn Røyrvik wrote:

Quite fond of Glenfiddich and Jura (the ones I've tasted, at least - haven't tried them all).

I take it neat, preferably at room temperature. You get so much more taste than if you cool it down.

I'm really in the 'adding water/ice is sacrilege' camp, but I try to be polite. Perhaps if I wasn't drinking a good single malt, but then I'd probably pass anyway


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Chief Cook and Bottlewasher wrote:
Bjørn Røyrvik wrote:

Quite fond of Glenfiddich and Jura (the ones I've tasted, at least - haven't tried them all).

I take it neat, preferably at room temperature. You get so much more taste than if you cool it down.

I'm really in the 'adding water/ice is sacrilege' camp, but I try to be polite. Perhaps if I wasn't drinking a good single malt, but then I'd probably pass anyway

Adding water and adding ice are entirely different matters.

Adding ice will cool the liquid and the aromatics don't move as freely, so you don't experience them as readily. Adding water, or "breaking", the scotch is widely recommended as a method for opening up flavors. The slight dilution lets the tannins move more easily on your pallet and makes each profile note more accessible.

The master distiller at glenlivet drinks his single malts 1:1 water:scotch.

Lately, I've been enjoying some blends from compass box. Hedonism (pear, caramel, smoke) and Flaming Heart (vanilla, peat). Both highly recommended (by me!)


Scotch is an acquired taste. The first time I ever tried it I didn't even finish the glass. The second time, I forced myself to drink the entire thing. The third time....I actually started to like it. It's definitely something that grows on you, and it's something I actually enjoy now, rare as the opportunity is. I tend to favour Glenfidditch and Glenmorangie, and a Scotsman friend of mine told me never to settle for anything less than 18 year Scotch. An expensive treat, but well worth the money.


Chief Cook and Bottlewasher wrote:
Bjørn Røyrvik wrote:

Quite fond of Glenfiddich and Jura (the ones I've tasted, at least - haven't tried them all).

I take it neat, preferably at room temperature. You get so much more taste than if you cool it down.

I'm really in the 'adding water/ice is sacrilege' camp, but I try to be polite. Perhaps if I wasn't drinking a good single malt, but then I'd probably pass anyway

I always try them with water first, then a little water (maybe 1/10) and see how it changes. Some I like neat, some get water.

Also, don't skip blends just because they're blends. Some blends are amazing. The best description I've heard for the difference is that singles are a mile deep in flavor profile, while blends are a mile wide. Both have their advantages.


The day after I finished my last BWCA trip a friend called me and asked when my next one was. I hadn't planned one, but I never miss an opportunity to try and get someone hooked on wilderness camping. Since we were leaving town the day before my birthday, I decided to buy a bottle of something nice to fill the flask. Since I knew it would be cold, I wanted something strong.

Springbank - 12 year cask strength

The bottle I got was 53.1% alcohol, which makes for a fairly strong whiskey. When backwoods camping, strong flavors are great, though I find my palette isn't the sharpest at that time. The high alcohol felt nice during those 40 degree nights.

Getting it home to drink out of a glass (more smells) I can actually pick it apart a little more, albeit unsuccessfully. It smells like a damp soft-wood. Not pine necessarily, but it just smells "smooshier" than other woody malts I've had. Like everything (the smoke, salt and wood flavors) are all covered in a layer of dampness that sort of mutes and muddles them.

Without water the alcohol is too sharp for me to say anything other than I like the taste.

With water it gets a deep and robust flavor that keeps changing, but is still hard for me to pin down. It tastes dark is all I can say. Not coffee, chocolate or some other dark flavor, just dark. You get an earthiness similar to an islay, more salt, wood and peat (very, very light on the smoke) but it's all on the dark and muddled side, with a sharp and rising note to it.

It definitely feels rough and unrefined, but I kind of like that about it.

I also picked up a bottle of my current favorite whiskey to have around the house, Breckenridge Bourbon.


Umm... Irontruth; just a heads-up: Springbank is not an Islay whisky, but from the Campbeltown region.


I stand corrected. My first Campbeltown. I have zero background in Scottish geography.

I'm still going to compare it to a mild islay. So take that as you will.


Irontruth wrote:
I'm still going to compare it to a mild islay. So take that as you will.

*laughs* I have no intention of stopping you from comparing what you want to whatever else you'd like.

After all, the most important question in these things is 'How much do you like it?'

Cheers, and keep on exploring!


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Heads to drinks cabinet.

Huh. Only got a few bottles in, currently.

Glenfiddich 1991 Vintage Reserve
Laphroaig 10 year
(Unopened) Inverey 12 year

And for special occasions, Lagavulin 16 year.

There are two pieces of advice for drinking Scotch:

First, I believe that the only thing you need to add to Scotch is more Scotch.

Second, don't let anyone else tell you how to drink Scotch. If you like it over ice and drowned in Coke, that's fine. If you like it neat, that's fine. The important thing, and the only important thing, is that you're enjoying Scotch.


Last week I was finally able to tour the George Dickel distillery. This was a great treat: Cascade Hollow in Tullahoma, TN is a beautiful spot all by itself; the buildings are rustic, quaint, and pretty on their own; and the extended tour was pleasant and informative. I was shocked at how low-tech and small-scale the operation was: 29 employees, and they still hand-fire the charcoal stacks, carry the charcoal across the road, and so on. Even the grains (84% corn, 8% rye, 8% barley) are hand-ground. The mash is distilled in a 3-story column still, then distilled again in a large copper pot still, before being filtered for 7-10 days through the charcoal and then barreled in new American white oak and aged for 5 years (for the #8 brand) or 7 years (for the infinitely superior #12 brand).

Sampled their "corn whiskey" straight from the still, plus the #8 and #12, and also the Barrel Select (at 9 years old), and brought home bottles of the latter two. Happy holidays to me!


Last night I finally sampled The Yamazaki 12-Year Old Single Malt Japanese Whiskey. I don't care if it's a ripoff, the stuff is GOOD, comparable more to a MacAllen than to a Glenfiddich (if we're talking Speysides). I'm a little leary of the price tag ($68 + 7% + 18% tax here in PA), but the stuff is definitely worth sampling.

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Ah the famed Japanese scotch. They worked hard to get that scotch going I have enjoyed it a bottle or two of the stuff on occasion.

I got a very nice bottle of Abelour low-land scotch. Might be looking for another bottle of something different as it is running out right now. Any suggestions out there?

I enjoy Glenmorangie, Abelour and some others ...see above but looking for some suggestions.


Kirth Gersen wrote:
Last night I finally sampled The Yamazaki 12-Year Old Single Malt Japanese Whiskey. I don't care if it's a ripoff, the stuff is GOOD, comparable more to a MacAllen than to a Glenfiddich (if we're talking Speysides). I'm a little leary of the price tag ($68 + 7% + 18% tax here in PA), but the stuff is definitely worth sampling.

I suspect it's mostly that bit of culture shock that people have when thinking about Japanese whiskeys, it just doesn't sound like it should make sense. I haven't had any myself, but I've been wanting to try.

I was on a trip to visit family in Texas a couple weeks ago. While there I noticed a bottle of local bourbon, TX Blended Whiskey from Firestone & Robertson. It was $35, so I grabbed it. Overall I like it. It's decently smooth and has a nice variety of flavors, vanilla, cinnamon and caramel stand out to me. It's decent straight or a touch of water/ice. I've found it's also an extremely good mixer, if it were available around here and a little cheaper, it would be my go-to for this purpose. It mixes great with anything that has some sweetness to it, or shares one of it's flavors.


Irontruth wrote:
I was on a trip to visit family in Texas a couple weeks ago. While there I noticed a bottle of local bourbon, TX Blended Whiskey from Firestone & Robertson.

Garrison Brothers is THE Texas bourbon!


Gruumash . wrote:

Ah the famed Japanese scotch. They worked hard to get that scotch going I have enjoyed it a bottle or two of the stuff on occasion.

I got a very nice bottle of Abelour low-land scotch. Might be looking for another bottle of something different as it is running out right now. Any suggestions out there?

I enjoy Glenmorangie, Abelour and some others ...see above but looking for some suggestions.

Hedonism

For reals.


Chemlak wrote:
Second, don't let anyone else tell you how to drink Scotch. If you like it over ice and drowned in Coke, that's fine.

Er, to quibble, I'd say that's fine if you drink it alone and not when other people might smell it. Scotch and Coke?! That's like saying "You want a bite of cooked carrots mashed into chocolate milk?" No one is going to thank you for sharing.


Kullen wrote:
Chemlak wrote:
Second, don't let anyone else tell you how to drink Scotch. If you like it over ice and drowned in Coke, that's fine.
Er, to quibble, I'd say that's fine if you drink it alone and not when other people might smell it. Scotch and Coke?! That's like saying "You want a bite of cooked carrots mashed into chocolate milk?" No one is going to thank you for sharing.

Naw, he's right.

I agree, scotch* and coke is horrible, but if someone likes it, more power to them.

*IMO scotch is one of the worst mixing alcohols in general. Even if I didn't appreciate it's more subtle aspects, it just has something about it that doesn't mix well. There are a few cocktails that work, the exception that proves the rule and all that.

Rusty Nail
Scotch
Drambuie (a scotch based liqueur)
Bitters (Angostura is a popular choice)

I've seen ratios from 1:1 to 4:1 (2 ounces of Scotch, 1/2 ounce of Drambuie), so experiment and find your ratio.

Silver Crusade

I am enjoying my christmas present from my father. A bottle of Johnnie Walker Blue Label.


Kirth Gersen wrote:
Last night I finally sampled The Yamazaki 12-Year Old Single Malt Japanese Whiskey. I don't care if it's a ripoff, the stuff is GOOD, comparable more to a MacAllen than to a Glenfiddich (if we're talking Speysides). I'm a little leary of the price tag ($68 + 7% + 18% tax here in PA), but the stuff is definitely worth sampling.

If you are able to get your hand on it, try the 18-year old Yamazaki.

In my opinion, it's a league above what the 12y can deliver.

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I do mix blended scotch with soda water to give it a bubble as needed.

Just finished the last of my Aberlour last night and I am in need of a new bottle now. The question is what shall it be? I am guessing what is on sale for single malts. Stay tuned and I will surprise yee all.


Kullen wrote:
Chemlak wrote:
Second, don't let anyone else tell you how to drink Scotch. If you like it over ice and drowned in Coke, that's fine.
Er, to quibble, I'd say that's fine if you drink it alone and not when other people might smell it. Scotch and Coke?! That's like saying "You want a bite of cooked carrots mashed into chocolate milk?" No one is going to thank you for sharing.

What? I thought your were supposed to mix it with hot strawberry crush?!?

Dark Archive

Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path Subscriber

Yummie, can you send me that recipe please?

Paizo Employee Chief Technical Officer

I heartily endorse The Balvenie Caribbean Cask 14 Year. Yes sweet, no peat.


I got two bottles for Christmas: 10 year old Bushmills Single Malt and 12 year old Glenlivet. The Bushmills is rather nice, tasting quite a bit of fruit. I haven't come to terms with the Glenlivet yet. It's not bad, surely, but I cannot distuingish any particular flavours yet. But I'm a relative newcomer to Scotch, so I guess my nose still needs a bit of training.


I'm back in TX, the land of cheap liquor, and I feel like a kid in a candy store. The local liquor store (like 2 blocks from my house) has a bourbon isle that stretches the full length of the store -- and it's a big store (about 3 or 4 of the typical PA state liquor stores would fit inside). Even Costco has a discount liquor warehouse attached to it.

I immediately bought a 1.75-L bottle of the Weller's 12-year-old (which, by the way, is the same recipe and distillation as the legendary Pappy Van Winkle). That goes into the decanter at home, so I can feel like a proper Southern gentleman.

I also acquired a bottle of Sazerac Rye, a bottle of Herbsaint, and Angostura and Peychaud's bitters, so that I can mix proper Sazerac cocktails (by far my favorite mixed drink).

Also threw a bottle of Armenian brandy into the cart (surprisingly good); a bottle of my beloved Lismore scotch; some Rekya vodka in commemoration of my Iceland trip last year; and a bottle of Bombay Sapphire for G&Ts later in the summer.

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