Patterico's Pontifications

2/26/2007

*Cough, Cough* — Mmmmm, Smooooooth

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 8:32 pm

When I was growing up, my Dad’s drink of choice was scotch. I was in the Trader Joe’s and saw that they sell single-malt Scotch whiskies, so I thought: what the heck?

I got Laphroaig, which is the same whisky described by a Lawrence Block character in a passage I have quoted before:

Slow sipping, that’s the way to do it. You take little sparrow-sized sips, and you keep telling yourself that you like the taste, and by the time you get to the bottom of the glass, it’s true.

. . . . Somewhere around the fifth sip, it had achieved the virtue of familiarity. I was accustomed to it, and the question of whether I actually liked it no longer seemed pertinent. It was like, say, a cousin. The man’s your cousin, for God’s sake! What do you mean, you don’t like him? You don’t have to like him or dislike him! He’s your cousin!

I tried a little this evening, with no mixer or chaser. Tasted pretty much like wood.

But I’m going to go give it another chance — this time drinking it like Tim Worstall suggests: mixed with an equal part of flat spring water. I’m nearing the end of L.A. Rex. Nothing like kicking back with a good book and a glass of liquid wood.

I see Goldstein’s drinking Glenkinchie.

Any scotch lovers out there? What’s your favorite?

87 Responses to “*Cough, Cough* — Mmmmm, Smooooooth”

  1. Tobermory. But that’s a celebratory drink. Mostly I stick with Irish.

    Uncle Pinky (300784)

  2. I like Glenlivit and Glenmorangie. Laphroaig is good too. It has a unique flavor.

    Jungle Jim (c89248)

  3. I think the wood taste put me off drinking it neat long ago …

    If I decide to drink scotch, it is mixed with Drambuie (Rusty Nail). Amazingly, the last time I ordered it, I had to explain what it was to the bartender.

    Darleen (543cb7)

  4. I’ve always WISHED I could drink scotch – just because it sounds so cool: “I’ll have a scotch.” “Pour me a scotch.” “Scotch, please.”

    It’s just so noir.

    Tracy (4b4242)

  5. You probably have already guessed the answer, Patterico. It’s not the taste which seduces you, it’s the alcohol. Like an ugly courtesan with extraordinary erotic skills. By the second drink you could not care less what you are drinking as long as it’s 80 proof. I prefer a good sour mash, myself, and a Jameson’s Irish Whiskey when I’m feeling less hillbillyish.

    BTW: Lawrence Block used to claim brag that he served time in Joliet Prison for “tearing the tag off a mattress”. Although that is probably long before either you or I came of drinking age.

    nk (4e36bc)

  6. You probably started with something a bit too peaty for most. I’ve heard it described as like chewing on a piece of dirt; I guess you get over that. I like it.
    Try a Macallan. The 12 yr old is nice and easy to sip. You probably don’t need water with that.

    My current favorites are Glenrothes and the Auchentoshan Three Wood–be careful; don’t confuse the ten yr. old label that says triple distilled for the 17 y.o. three wood. A buddy and I found it for what seemed a pretty cheap price and gave it a try. We quite enjoyed it, but haven’t found it that cheap again.

    Barney15e (7f9027)

  7. Try Balvenie Double Wood, Trader Joe’s carries it. Dilute with a little bit of water (mix should be at least half whisky). Most single malts are a lot better if they are cut with a little bit of water. NO ICE!!!!!

    kaf (0c510a)

  8. THE MOST RICHLY FLAVOURED OF ALL SCOTCH WHISKIES

    Found that on the Laphroaig web site.

    Heh.

    Barney15e (7f9027)

  9. water it down.

    TCO (1c4d1b)

  10. lagavulin is my favorite single malt. i tell folks it’s what god drinks.

    assistant devil's advocate (67c46d)

  11. I don’t think I have any Laphroaig in the house at the moment, and I can’t remember if it’s usually sold in “cask” strength. If your bottle is cask strength, water it down some (I use about 1/8 to 1/4 water — but tastes vary). This dilutes it enough that the alcohol is not numbing your taste buds.

    In any case, try some other brands; single malts vary quite a bit in taste. Some people like the darker, “peaty” flavors, while others prefer a lighter taste.

    Mark (005214)

  12. Growing up in Brooklyn, I always heard the old men in the Irish bars order Bourbon, never Scotch. I asked this old pisser why he didn’t drink Scotch. He said: “Hell, whaditbe the sense of chasin’ that wit a beer?”

    PC14 (9e9f3c)

  13. Patterico, leave the alcohol to the frat boys. I think you and I have something in common: we were both born without the ‘alcohol can actually taste good’ gene. The only drinks I can ever even half enjoy are those liqueurs tarted up like candy: Midori, Kahlua, etc. etc.

    If you want to impress your friends, it can actually still be done with good ol’ soda pop. Go to BevMo or Bristol Farms and getcherself some of Jeff’s Chocolate or Vanilla soda (“Do Not Shake!”), or even some red- (actually hot-pinkish) cap Blenheim ginger ale; like drinking a feisty liquid jalapeno from a bottle. Tasty sweet too.

    qdpsteve (cd214a)

  14. And here I thought Jack Black was high brow. This is one classy blog.

    DRJ (605076)

  15. Starting with the Islays is a bit like starting smoking by inhaling cigars.

    Laphroaig, Lagavulin, Bowmore, Ardbeg, Bruiccladdich, Bunnahabhain – the whole idea is to get a lot of the smoke from burning peat into the malted grain, which these distillers do with great enthusiasm. Sometimes the stuff tastes more like iodine, but these are my favorites.

    Talisker is a good place to start – one of the components of the Johnny Walker blends. The Macallan is also a very nice Highland.

    JohnS (e28e82)

  16. Lemortedarthur is good.

    pigilito (6cc896)

  17. It’s been a number of years since I’ve had any Laphroaig, but as I recall it had “wee bits of peat” floating in it. They advertised this as a selling point. I thought it was a clever piece of misdirection; they couldn’t be bothered to filter the freakin’ _dirt_ out of their liquor, and they sell it to rubes as a feature.

    Ernst Blofeld (352c23)

  18. Patterico:

    I have never understood the obsession with single malts, as if blending two or more malts together produces a catastrophic chemical reaction that could blow up your basement.

    Single malts have a flavor. Blends have a flavor. Everything has a flavor; saying one is necessarily better than the other is silly.

    I’ve settled on an Irish blend called Tullamore Dew: it’s great, excellent flavor, extremely smooth, and lots of folks who drink a lot more whiskey than I agree that it stacks up against any other… even the mystical “single malts,” which are popularly supposed to be supernatural, conferring psychokinesis or invisibility upon their drinkers.

    And you can buy Tully in the grocery store for a heck of a lot less than Glenlivet or Glenfiddich.

    (Jameson’s is fairly good; Bushmills is battery acid.)

    Dafydd

    Dafydd (445647)

  19. Patterico–

    If you really must go for sipping scotch, once in a while, the Macallan 30 is pretty good. Can’t imagine why you would, but people tell me it’s pretty good.

    But if what you want is something you can drink day in and day out, Cutty Sark worked fine for me. Cheap, too.

    Then again, this may have something to do with me being cold sober in AA for nearly 20 years…

    Anonymous (0b2493)

  20. All good advice up above. Tullamore Dew is an entirely respectable whiskey, no problems there. Of the Islays I prefer Bowmore myself, not quite so strongly flavoured as the Laphroig. The point about the water isn’t so much to stop the alcohol from numbing your tastebuds, rather, the addition releases some of the esthers. As we all know, at leat 50% of taste is in fact smell, and this makes for a more intense taste experience.

    Tim Worstall (70eed2)

  21. The rule on Scotch is the less pronounceable the name, the better the whisky. My favorite is twenty-year cask-strength Ch’lluchfroiargraethlichthslaesburn, with a rare New York Strip chaser.

    Or as I call it, “breakfast”.

    See Dubya (8493a9)

  22. One day you’ll grow up and graduate to bourbon. And wonder what took you so long.

    great unknown (a90377)

  23. I no longer drink it, but at one point I liked Glenlivit best. Expensive but Smooth.

    Psyberian (de47c4)

  24. “I have never understood the obsession with single malts, as if blending two or more malts together produces a catastrophic chemical reaction that could blow up your basement.

    Single malts have a flavor. Blends have a flavor. Everything has a flavor; saying one is necessarily better than the other is silly.”

    The supposed problem with blends is that they use different quality scotches to achieve the finished product. You have some good scotch and you blend it with some crappy scotch to get your blend. Whereas a single malt is simply an excellent scotch that is unsullied with the crappy stuff. That is why single malts are almost always priced much higher than your blends; they’re not compromised.

    Ken (769c23)

  25. Glenmorangie is an excellent scotch with out the peat, woody flavors. Otherwise the “rusty nail” is the choice after dinner.

    art zimmerman (88d3ea)

  26. Yeah, it’s that peaty taste that really takes some getting used to. The Rusty Nail is smooth.

    For drinking neat, especially if you’re doing it for the sake of literature, I’d go the Tom Clancy route and try Famous Grouse or Bushmills. Half the price of the Glenlivit and easier to get used to.

    don (f05ca3)

  27. The first time my wife and I visited Scotland an older Scotish Lady suggested the Famouse Grouse and the the Scottish thrift has governed my wife’s taste ever since

    art zimmerman (88d3ea)

  28. Any of the Islays are fine by me. famous grouse is a very good blend. Some may consider it sacrilage, but try adding a bit of water. Room temp water, not bubbly water, use bottled spring water if your tap water is chlorinated. I saw a program on the Discovery channel once, touring a distillery. The master “brewer” said you can add up to half as much water (1 finger water for 2 fingers Scotch). Never add any ice; William Wallace will rise from the grave and smite you with his claymore.

    mer (c1d7be)

  29. Stay away from scotch. Nobody likes it. It’s the “emperor’s new clothes” of alcoholic drinks. Any Irish whiskey is better, but Jameson is best.

    Michael Alexis (676106)

  30. All these excellent choices are leaving me thirsty, but unfortunately I’m home with a 101+ fever, and mother always said “Scotch isn’t medicine, and I don’t care what your father said, and nevermind the bagpipes and sporrans on the wall either.” I prefer blends personally, and have watched hundreds of dollars worth of my single malt wasted on people who have no idea what they are drinking. Now I hide my single malt,usually Glenfiddich or Glenlivit. For a cheap blend, I like Grants, mixed with water. Drambuie I always have readily to hand, as you either love it or hate it. Cheers!

    Todd G. (c3b5fe)

  31. Lagavulin 16. Liquid gold.

    TheManTheMyth (56001e)

  32. I gotta say, Pat, my reccomendation for someone who is not used to getting his tongue dissolved by the peaty varients is to start with famous grouse. it had a good flavor, and doesnt smell like you’re drinking fermented bogwater. as you get more adventurous you should move up to a glenfidditch, then back to your Laphroaig. you will appreciate it more.

    Pol Mordreth (e154a8)

  33. No need to go to Macallan 30, the 18 is quite excellent. My wife favors Lagavulin and Laphroaig. Any woman you can give a bottle of single malt to as a Christmas present is a keeper.

    Scotch can be a very useful medicine. When you have one of those blazing sore throats, toss back a shot 80 proof and then sip another shot. The pain will be diminished, you won’t care about whatever pain is left and in the moring the sore throat will be gone. One of the better doctors in the country shared this with us … it works goooood.

    quasimodo (edc74e)

  34. Single malts, and all the distillers in Scotland, are all very good. But Bourbon, a Kentucky Bourbon like Bookers, thats the drink.
    My brothers in Edinburgh, and for a season I was a member of the Single Malt of the the Month Club. Now that was a good year. But Bourbon is still the sipping drink of choice for me.

    de Navarre (29f726)

  35. Glendronach; finished by aging in Sherry casks. It lacks the “iodine taste” of some of the other scotches–actually has a slightly sweet finish like a good bourbon or sour mash. And the other folks are right; a small splash of water helps bring out the taste of whatever single malt you’re drinking.

    If you get to Edinburgh, there is a Scots Whiskey Museum on the west end of the Royal Mile; part tourist attraction, part tasting room, you buy a ticket which gets you an “educational tour” sort of like a distiller’s version of the Pirates of the Caribbean ride at Disneyland, followed by access to a tasting room where you can sample flights of different single malts and buy bottles of what you like at a slightly reduced price. Not a bad deal at all.

    Mike Myers (4e1716)

  36. New Mexicans vote for Tequila.

    And don’t add water to any alcoholic beverage: it worsens an already terrible flavor. If you want something that tastes good, have a Dr. Pepper (or high quality Ginger Ale, as was previously mentioned); if you want something that gets you blasted, go for the booze, but don’t mince around with it.

    By the way, I’m not a connisseur by any shake of the die. It’s just that I’ve had watered and unwatered drinks, and the water makes ’em really nasty.

    Let it burn: it makes you feel alive.

    Leviticus (43095b)

  37. I’m inclined to agree with Justice Hugo Black: “I was brought up to believe that Scotch whisky would need a tax preference to survive in competition with Kentucky bourbon.”

    For sipping bourbons Woodford Reserve is very good. For an incredibly smooth bourbon that’s easy to drink try Evan Williams Single Barrel. Most Evan Williams stuff is cheap mixing whiskey but the Single Barrel is amazing.

    Les Jones (514bb2)

  38. I have always liked Balvenie Double Wood or their single barrel, likewise the Macallan is good too.
    Like many of the above, I have migrated from scotch, to bourbon.

    Vmaximus (773b7d)

  39. Never liked single malts much. I don’t say much about it, because it marks me as trailer trash to scotch snobs.

    I do like a Dewars on ice with a splash of water.

    Dwilkers (4f4ebf)

  40. […] …Like, for instance, the fact that Trader Joe’s sells Laphroaig and other fine single malt Scotches in California, at reasonably-reduced prices, no less. Trader Joe’s. Stupid PA liquor laws. […]

    One Can Learn All Manner Of Interesting Things On The Internet at Literal Barrage (c59e7d)

  41. The Balvenie Double Wood is remarkable — it finishes with a vanilla flavor — if you are less into the peaty Islays. It is also one of the least expensive of the fine single malts.

    I have yet to try Bowmore, but I do like Laphroaig (particularly the cask strength) and Lagavulin. Of course, I’m a radical — I drink my scotch with crushed ice and soda — so be careful of my EDGINESS; it’s just my way of sticking it to the Man — and you conservatives, well, your cultural antidisestablishmentarianism just really chafes the buttocks of my inner child.

    Others I’d recommend that I haven’t seen mentioned are Dalwhinnie and Oban. There are several others that I’m going to try, as well.

    Jeff G (6ce048)

  42. Spirits In A Bottle

    In this post, Patterico begins to suspect that drinking Scotch whiskey is an acquired taste ….

    nk (4e36bc)

  43. All you’all are totally missing the VALID points.

    What ARE you after:

    1. You want to TOTALLY IMPRESS people, so you have “acquired” a taste for the really GOOD stuff. You have promised yourself over and over “I really DO like it”.

    Do not be confused. The bartenders do not care one whit, except they love you because you also have to demonstrate you are one of the “swells” with the size of your tip.

    Check # one out. Give a five year old two glasses. One Doctor Pepper. One your “choice of the best”. Videotape their reaction to “sipping”. Make sure you give them the Dr. Pepper first, or you may have to issure a police alert to find them for the second part of “the comparison”.

    2. You want an alchohol hit. Legally. Otherwise, you’d switch to pot, but it’s not always cool in certain public situations. Or, maybe, you’re on probation, so you’re being cool at home too. Or, your last stash was laced with “extra chemicals”, and you’ve decided to go back to the “Federal Tax Stamp” stuff.

    And, being a good little citizen, you are waiting for machines to be converted to “Slide in a Benjamin, and get your evening supply legally, with a big slice for the Fed’s”, after tobacco finally bits the dust.

    For # two the world’s cheapest vodka in V-8 juice or your soda pop of choice is “the best”. OK, 180 proof “Everclear” grain alchohol is really THE best. But, not available in every state. For you South-Easterners, the stuff in the “really clean and brand-new Mason Jars” is just as good as tax-stamped and taxed Everclear. Cheaper too.

    You can do a lot of GOOD things with the $ difference between # 1 and # 2.

    And, all you wine snobs fall into the # 1 category too. You lying SOB’ing poseurs really know that the best ever was Boone’s Farm Strawberry Hill liberally mixed in-between tokes.

    All you’all have fun with your “choices”.

    Dan Pursel (883ad4)

  44. TYPO’S ! ! !
    #)@($^(*^(@ TYPO’s

    Stiff Vodka hits in your Diet Pepsi’s after breakfast,
    while waiting for your girlfriend to arrive,
    will do that to anyone.

    At least, now I wait until AFTER breakfast.
    THAT is a considerable improvement.

    Dan Pursel (883ad4)

  45. Am I the only one who likes Cardhu? No chunks of peat, just a nice atomic meltdown on the tongue. Tried Glenfiddich but didn’t care for it.

    Bad Cat Robot (c94338)

  46. “You lying SOB’ing poseurs really know that the best ever was Boone’s Farm Strawberry Hill liberally mixed in-between tokes.”

    Yup. But not too many tokes. I could not afford the marijuana. The Boone’s Farm was a way better value.

    nk (4e36bc)

  47. Laphroig is too strong flavored for a first time experience with Scotch. It’s tastes of burned peat a/k/a smokey dirt. Try Dalwhinnie. It’s has the scent and taste of heather and has a comparatively mild flavor.

    Dave S. (e1964d)

  48. Does anyone know how to correctly pronounce Laphroig? Laugh-fro-ag? La-frog?

    BeachBumBill (bf0c49)

  49. Having tasted many (but not all by far) of those mentioned, I can say Macallen and Glenfiddich suit me fine, but I’d like to try some of the stuff I cannot afford one day, especially more Islays. “Bird sip” is a great description for the way to drink Laphroiag, a taste that grew on me as I continued. I won Jim Beam as a door prize while another won Glenlivit. He was willing to trade. Cool. I did the taste test with my teen son, and now that he is in his 20s, he confessed that it cured him of Scotch and other non-mixer liquors all through college, not a bad result. I like it neat, but as for ice making William Wallace come after me from the grave, I think he’d have to find all his pieces first – wherever they may have ended up.

    Michael Hunter (107675)

  50. Craiganmore, Macallan, Jameson 18yr, Bushmills Malt. In that particular order.

    MOG (c949f7)

  51. Does anyone know how to correctly pronounce Laphroig? Laugh-fro-ag? La-frog?

    Comment by BeachBumBill — 2/27/2007 @ 11:09 am

    Luh-Froyg. Just like it’s spelled :)

    For an easier-drinking Higland single-malt, try the Dalmore.

    carlitos (b38ae1)

  52. accent on the second syllable, so I guess luh-FROYG

    carlitos (b38ae1)

  53. Islay’s Superstition (tho I like the peat!)

    Metzger (e03adc)

  54. Redbreast Irish is an oustanding single.

    Bill (0ff731)

  55. “…Boone’s Farm Strawberry Hill liberally mixed in-between tokes.”

    I always liked Annie Greensprings and some Maui Wowie

    BeachBumBill (bf0c49)

  56. I would suggest Aberlour as an entry Scotch. I have the 10 year old in my collection. If you want to impress people but can’t handle the peat and salt air I have a 20 year old Highland Park (Signatory bottling) which justifies its price with subtlety.

    Famous Grouse is pretty good, but I sip it only while reading Butterworth Griffin’s Marine Corps novels. I do, however have a blended Scotch, a Whyte and Mackay 21 which is a match for any single malt I’ve encountered.

    It should also be noted that the difference between the best single malts and Clan MacGregor is less than the difference between White Rhino and schwag brickweed.

    triticale (9151a2)

  57. Our esteemed host quoted:

    Slow sipping, that’s the way to do it. You take little sparrow-sized sips, and you keep telling yourself that you like the taste, and by the time you get to the bottom of the glass, it’s true.

    I suppose that one could get used to the taste of feces, if one took small enough bites and doggedly kept at it.

    I’m sorry, but the notion of an “acquired taste” seems incredibly strange to me; if I don’t like something the first time, I’m not going to force myself to continue eating/ drinking/ smoking it until it doesn’t make me want to puke.

    Dana (556f76)

  58. If you can find it “The Dram”

    and I just finished a very,very fine 17yr GlenGoyne

    seePea (38fcb2)

  59. The thing about drinking scotch whisky (never “whiskey”) is that it never becomes gummy, sweet, or cloying. (That’s my complaint about bourbons, which I like just fine in small doses.) Nor is it something you drink for the alcohol kick and the taste of a mixer (which is the attraction of most vokda and rum-based concoctions). Rather, a good whisky is something you drink for its own unique taste, which should always be clean, sharp, and smoky-metallic.

    No less than coffee, however, scotch whisky is indeed an acquired taste. But once you’ve acquired it, you can stick with it forever without getting tired of it, either over the course of an evening or over the course of a year. (Ditto for gin or straight vodkas, but I tend to drink those too fast, resulting in numb lips and tongue, which isn’t good.)

    When I was a smoker, I particularly liked the interactions between tobacco and scotch whisky.

    I agree with the commenters who’ve said that Laphroaig is a bad choice for acquiring the taste. I also agree with Dafydd that it’s irrational to automatically scorn blended and favor single-malts. However, blended scotches — especially the major brands like Dewars or Cutty Sark or Johnny Walker or Chival Regal — tend to be less exotic and more center-of-the-bell-curve, whereas the standard deviation for single malts is higher. If you’re into comparisons, you’ll find a bigger range among the single malts, in other words; but that doesn’t mean you couldn’t become entirely satisfied with a particular blend, nor that you won’t find variations among blended brands. The distilleries that specialize in single malts sometimes will intimate that blends are created out of lesser stocks and that blending is intended to cover flaws that would be apparent in the unblended components, but I think that’s mostly marketing talk.

    I’ve tried just about every kind of scotch whisky at one time or another. In 1981, a buddy and I did a three-week driving tour of Britain, in which a good ten days was spent roaming the Scottish highlands and lowlands from distillery to distillery for the free-tour-and-samples. (Every scotch whisky distillery smells overwhelmingly of malted milk balls, which overcomes the other main smell, peat smoke.) They uniformly serve their products without ice, but with a small pitcher of cold (non-carbonated) spring water, and the uniform recommendation was to add a dash of water “to bring out the taste of the whisky.” (How, exactly, the water actually does that appears to be a state secret that must be kept from the English and the Irish.)

    I am a heretic in that I sometimes will put an ice cube into my tumbler (only one), and allow it to melt before I begin. I prefer to start a drink with it cooler than room temperature, and finish with it slightly warmed by my own body-heat from my hand. Call me crazy, but the first sip is for refreshment, the last sips are for savor, and that temperature variation floats my own particular boat.

    I don’t completely dismiss the importance of cachet when you’re drinking with others; people do notice what others order, and fairly or unfairly, silly or not, they draw conclusions from that. Nevertheless, because it’s now almost universally available, I typically drink The Glenlivet — the standard 12-year-old version — unless I’m feeling especially adventurous. It is indeed smooth, and still (to my taste) more complex and satisfying than the mass-market blends, and it has an adequate cachet without any hint of braggadocio.

    Beldar (c00003)

  60. Balvenie Double Wood. Its been my favorite for years now. I even like it a little bit better than the Balvenie 20 year. (I’m no connoiseur)

    I also like Springbank quite a bit.

    I’ve never really been able to develop an appreciation for the more peatie scotches.

    C Student (c949f7)

  61. Re #59:
    Hi Beldar – when is your next update?

    Single v Blended – the blended has the advantage that you can be sure that what you tasted last time (even years ago) is what you are going to taste now.
    To me, the blendeds are too ‘flat’.

    The Single’s have the disadvantage that despite the best efforts of the distiller, you have no guarantee that you are going to get the taste you got the last time, even from a month ago. I do not know what the equivalent term for “vinegar” is in the ScotchWhiskey(sp?) world is, but I’ve had it.

    As for the water, use it when the taste of the drink really hits your spot. The water will help prevent the drink from leaving the tongue so quick and let you savor it a .5 second more or so. :)

    seePea (38fcb2)

  62. When I was drinking, it was usually scotch: the 12-year old blends (depending on my mood – Chivas Regal, Walker Black, or Pinch), or if I felt like a single-malt: Glendronach (also 12-years old). Glendronach always neat, or on-the-rocks. The blends on-the-rocks, or with a splash of water. If I just needed to get drunk, but wanted to take my time: Any good table scotch (Cutty/J&B/White Label), tall with water.
    And, this did coincide with my smoking years. The two definitely went together. I gave up the smoking first, and it wasn’t too much longer that the drinking just didn’t seem important anymore.
    Now, if I have six drinks/year, I’m probably over-doing it.
    Still love a good dry Martini over, though.

    Another Drew (8018ee)

  63. Chivas is my end-of-a-hectic-day drink. John Blue for cachet and celebrations amongst my Scotch drinking friends. Glendfiddich 18 y/o is my private joy with a nice cigar (Macanudo Maduro or a nice H. Upmann) one every other week. I’ve just started taking a little Makers Mark to remind me how I really do Like Scotch over other Liquors.
    Cutty, J&B tie my gut in knots the morning after.
    I don’t understand Gin Drinking and Tequila…well it makes for great stories the next day.

    paul from fl (967602)

  64. Bourbon (preferably Jack Daniels) is for chatting with friends. Scotch is for communing with God.

    The important thing about single malts is that they are like humans. Every one is different; every batch is different. So it’s almost an adventure each time you put a new bottle’s contents in your mouth. And since everyone has different taste preferences, every single malt will seem different to every drinker.

    But my favorite drink is neither bourbon or scotch. The recipe is simple: pour a glass of Stoli, and top it with liberal amounts of pepper.
    I learned it from a professor of mine, now deceased. The beauty of it is that it’s not something you can drink more than a sip or two at a time, so it takes more time to drink it. While your companions are on their third or fourth, you’re just getting to the end of your first. With a little bit of caution, it can last most of an evening.

    kishnevi (ba7408)

  65. I don’t drink scotch. But, as someone else mentioned, drinking scotch does make you sound manly and cool. So, I recommend it unless you share some genes with Britney or Mel. 😉

    David N. Scott (599abe)

  66. At a Scotish pub on the western coast, I asked a local to explain the particulars of Scotch. He said there are two types: those that come from the Isle of Islay and those that don’t. What was it about those from the Islay, I asked. “They taste like deer piss,” he said.

    Well, they just have a stronger flavor. It doesn’t hurt to throw in a splash of water. And Scotch tastes best on a cold, stormy night such as tonight. By the way, Laphroaig comes from the Isle of Islay.

    B.C. (cbac7b)

  67. Johhnie Walker, black for special occasions. Good enough for me – smooth, and I can read a book or chat with friends while enjoy it, because I don’t have to work at liking the tase – I actually do. I have friends who spend thousands on Scotch whiskey, and theirs tastes like crap to me. I bring a bottle of my own when I go to their places because it would be pearls before swine otherwise. YMMV

    Sherlock (365627)

  68. ps. Over two small ice cubes.

    Sherlock (365627)

  69. Laphroig?

    Laffroyg is I think the pronounciation.

    Tim Worstall (574551)

  70. For variety, Patterico, consider trying some of the Irish blended whiskeys, too. Tullamore Dew is one of my favorites for when I’m not up to drinking a peat bog.

    BC (d1d1d2)

  71. Had the pleasure of traveling thru the beautiful island of Ireland, all around it and stopped at the Jameson distillery outside of Cork for a late afternoon tour.
    The guide was terrific and explained how the Irish did it better by distilling the liquid “dtree toimes” not just the once as the Scotch whiskey is made. This was to make a purer drink and she asked for “dtree volunteeers” “Oh please”, I said, “pick me!” and she did. (To my defense I did demure and say I would be a complete waste as I never was a drinker of the hard stuff) but that seemed to suit her as she stuck with me and lead us off to the tasting room.
    There she lined up 5 generous shots, 3 were Irish, one Scotch and one Jack Daniels, all clearly marked and asked us to drink them all and choose which we liked best.
    I sipped, I judged; indeed I got hammered on five shots and declared Jameson’s the one I liked best followed by another Irish and then JD. The Scotch whiskey did taste harsher but really, by the fourth shot the world was a beautiful place and every man in it my friend.
    She sent on our way with a warning that the “shop would be closing and thanks for coming by” and propelled us out of the tasting room and into what in fact was a shop. Hours later as the fog of brotherly love cleared I asked my kids “Where the hell did all THIS (purchased scarves, assorted liquor chocolate, golf caps, airliner-sized bottles of booze, key chains and postcards) come from.
    (sigh) 9 months later and I’m still hearing about it.
    Jameson’s. Excellent.

    Chris (47bbb2)

  72. The best date I ever went on began with a nice glass of scotch. I’ll take it in any way, shape, or form. It’s hard to get a bad scotch, although you know when you have a good one.

    I guess it’s kind of like that Old Spice commercial that talks about experience.

    Helo (f1e0dc)

  73. How about SARIAN BRANDY and ROMULAN ALE?

    krazy kagu (05214f)

  74. Bourbon (preferably Jack Daniels) is for chatting with friends. Scotch is for communing with God.

    Comment by kishnevi — 2/27/2007 @ 8:16 pm

    God or no, Jack Daniel’s ain’t bourbon. It’s tennessee whiskey. If you’re drinking american bourbon (and you should be) have a nice Knob Creek or a Jim Beam Black.

    carlitos (93a23f)

  75. Sorry, Carlitos, but I was baptisted into the Church of Jack Daniels at the start. Jim Beam is merely a fallback when the host, inexplicably.
    Sherlock mentioned Johnny Walker Black. Cuban emigrants at a neighbor’s party sort of explained to me (their English is about as good as my Spanish) that Juanito Camerero is much prized in Cuba.

    kishnevi (d50358)

  76. I was introduced to Laphroig by a math prof / mentor / chess grandmaster / boss many decades ago, when I mentioned that I liked Scotch. Wow! I was hooked. Not what I recommend people start with, either as a Scotch or as a single malt, Laphroig is a monster that comes from the smokey peat bogs, dripping iodine seaweed from his jaws.

    Yum.

    I don’t know how many bottles of single malt there are in the bar downstairs (many, although not too many.) Most frequently imbibed are the Laphroig(s), Talisker(s), and Bowmore(s).

    htom (412a17)

  77. I haven’t read everyone else’s comments, but my personal favorites:

    Lagavulin
    Talisker
    Scapa (a very delicate flavor, good for someone who’s never had scotch before)
    Bunnahabain (27 year cask-strength. 109 proof. Very smooth, somewhat syrupy texture because it hasn’t been diluted down to 80 proof).
    Glenmorangie

    Steverino (d27168)

  78. I’m pleased to see that C Student mentioned Springbank, which has long been my favorite distillery. [I made a pilgrimage to Campbeltown for my 50th birthday specifically to visit them.] Over the past decade I’ve accumulated just under 200 singles and most definitely agree with the posters who speak about sipping and savoring. If I want to get drunk for some reason, a rum and coke will do just fine; why waste a single.

    I never start a whisky novice on any of the Islays, although Bunnahabhain is quite approachable in its commonly avaiable form. Rather I start them on a Springer, Glen Grant, or Macallan then work up to an Ardbeg, Lag, or Laphroaig if they wish to try them. I personally love the Islay malts but the extreme peatiness of most can take some getting used to. They certainly pair exceptionally well with a good cigar.

    ManWell (5d5969)

  79. Talisker and Oban are good.

    I tried cheaper stuff, Maker’s Mark, Jim Beam, etc. Tasted like varnish. Yech awful.

    If you don’t want to go the price point of a Single Malt, a nice Bushmill’s or particularly Bushmill’s Black (aged in sherry casks) is great. Jamesons tasted like varnish to me.

    Thing is, everyone’s taste buds are different, so if I think Maker’s Mark, Beam, and Jameson’s taste like varnish, well that’s valid for me. But your taste buds might be different, so you might like them and not like what I like.

    A lot of people like Bushmill’s and Maker’s Mark, so you might want to start there. Trader Joe’s usually has various cheap whiskey and scotch (Bushmill’s Jamesons, Oban etc) so you might try there first.

    Jim Rockford (e09923)

  80. My favorite whisky in the world is 12-year old, triple barreled Bushmill’s. As Col. Potter would say, “Not enough o’s in smoooooth.”

    My favorite Scotch is Glenmorangie with the Portwood Finish. The sweetness from the port barrels smooths it out wonderfully.

    And I second the comments about single-malt compared to blends . . . particularly the Johnny Walker Blends. I’ve tried ’em all–red, black, green, gold, blue–and actually like Green the best, FWIW.

    Finally, my builder gifted me on completion of a renovation project with a 12-year old Glenlivet, finished in oak casks (I think I have that right), and it was absolutely wonderful. I’ve only had the one snort, so I’m not prepared to move it into the favorites column yet, but it was tasty.

    And I always either hit the whisky with either a little water or one solitary ice cube, sacrilege be damned. Tastes better to me that way.

    Cheers . . .

    Charles Purvis (25afd7)

  81. Bourbon (preferably Jack Daniels) is for chatting with friends. Scotch is for communing with God.

    Comment by kishnevi — 2/27/2007 @ 8:16 pm

    God or no, Jack Daniel’s ain’t bourbon. It’s tennessee whiskey. If you’re drinking american bourbon (and you should be) have a nice Knob Creek or a Jim Beam Black.

    Comment by carlitos — 2/28/2007 @ 9:25 pm

    Sorry, Carlitos, but I was baptisted into the Church of Jack Daniels at the start. Jim Beam is merely a fallback when the host, inexplicably.

    I hear you. But it still ain’t bourbon. No offense.

    carlitos (b38ae1)

  82. Well, I bet if I tried, I could have screwed up the quotes more on that last post. Ugh.

    carlitos (b38ae1)

  83. So I was bored and went through the comments. A plus is another mention, recommendations with years, etc are in a comma separated list (some with pluses). Somewhat in alphabetical order, spellings not guaranteed. Booker’s and Knob Creek are both excellent, btw, but not Scotch!

    Aberlour
    Ardbeg +
    Auchentoshan Three Wood 17 Year
    Balvenie Double Wood +++, 20 year, single barrel
    Bowmorei ++
    Bruiccladdich
    Bunnahabhaini ++
    Ch’lluchfroiargraethlichthslaesburn
    Craiganmore
    Dalmore
    Dalwhinniei +
    The Dram
    Famous Grouse +++
    Glenlivit +++++
    Glenmorangie +++
    Glenfiddich ++, 18 year
    Glenrothes
    GlenGoyne 17
    Glen Grant
    Glendronach +
    Highland Park 20
    Jura Superstition
    Laphroaig ++++++++, cask strength +
    Lagavulin +++++, 16 year
    Lemortedarthur
    The Macallan +++++, 12 year, 18 year, 30 year
    Oban +
    Scapa
    Springbank +
    Springer
    Talisker ++++
    Tobermory

    (Irish blend, Tullamore Dew) ++
    (Irish, Jameson +, 18 year)
    (Irish, Redbreast)
    (Kentucky, Bookers)
    (bourbon Woodford Reserve)
    (bourbon Evan Williams Single Barrel)
    (bourbon Knob Creek)
    (bourbon Jim Beam Black)
    Bushmills +, Black, Malt, Triple Barrel

    htom (412a17)

  84. My universal favorite is Macallans. 12, 15 etc. Can’t go wrong with this classic Speyside. However, when I’m chillaxin at home and my wife isn’t around (she hates the smell) I do love a Laphroaig. Trick with the Islays is you need to have some water in it as it is so pungent. Once you go Laphroaig you have to stick with it for the rest of the night. Around the 3rd dram you wont regret it. But the smell will ooze out of your pores the next day.

    NeoCon Don (eb497d)

  85. Laphroaig and Talisker – my favorites. For a change of pace, much less smoky & peaty, I like Oban.
    Cheers!

    Claudia (dc22e6)

  86. glenlevit, it IS an acquired taste. But once appreciated…mmm.

    bbmoo (2f840e)

  87. If you’re really serious about Scotch, check this out.

    DRJ (8b9d41)


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