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post #16 of 65
Thread Starter 
Quote:
the best cheap whiskies are jameson and makers mark. there was one that they sold at trader joe's last year fro about $20 and it was as good as anything else. i just can't remember the name and i didn't save the bottle.
TJ's was (and is still) selling their own bottlings of Aberlour 10-yr and MacAllan 10-yr (a really nice single malt) for $20-$25. Great bargains both.
post #17 of 65
A few others that haven't been mentioned yet: Van Winkle -- a lot of good bottlings. Julian Van Winkle makes a wheated bourbon that's a step up from Maker's Mark (although MM certainly is very good whisky). I have the 10 YO, and I lust after some of the older bottlings. Van Winkle Family Reserve Rye is also the best rye whiskey I've tried. Johnnie Walker Black -- I know, I know, it's a blended Scotch. But it's blended so well. More enjoyable to me than many single malts that I've tried, and not a bad price, either. Crown Royal -- Just the regular old Crown Royal, not the Special Reserve stuff, which I don't particularly like. Very mellow, and yet it has character. And there's always Laphroig...
post #18 of 65
Thread Starter 
Quote:
A few others that haven't been mentioned yet: Van Winkle -- a lot of good bottlings. Julian Van Winkle makes a wheated bourbon that's a step up from Maker's Mark (although MM certainly is very good whisky). I have the 10 YO, and I lust after some of the older bottlings. Van Winkle Family Reserve Rye is also the best rye whiskey I've tried. Johnnie Walker Black -- I know, I know, it's a blended Scotch. But it's blended so well. More enjoyable to me than many single malts that I've tried, and not a bad price, either. Crown Royal -- Just the regular old Crown Royal, not the Special Reserve stuff, which I don't particularly like. Very mellow, and yet it has character. And there's always Laphroig...
The Van Winkle Family Reserve is on my list to try--everyone I know who has tried it has recommended it. And anyway, I like rye. Also, I agree with you regarding Johnnie Black. Its base is Lagavulin, plus a little bit of Talisker, and that nice smokiness really comes through, with enough non-Islay in the blend to really round things out nicely. And, much as I like Johnnie Gold, I think Black really holds its own and represents a far better overall bargain at under $30, versus over $50 for Gold. In stark contrast, I think Green and Blue are far, far overpriced for what they are. I'm not sure what Green wants to be, and for $50 I'm not up for sharing its journey of self-discovery. Blue, at over $150 these days, has almost no body and very low complexity. It has no age statement because the youngest whisky in the blend is about 8 years old, but the oldest whisky in the blend is something like 30. Unfortunately, the character of the blend says to me that 30 years was too long, and whatever strength of character that may have existed in the new make was aged out of it. And if you like Laphroaig, surely you'd drink Lagavulin or Ardbeg...
post #19 of 65
For a good "starter" single malt, I'd recommend the Glenmorganie 10 year old (I believe Glenmorganie comes from the Northern Highlands region). This is supposedly the most popular scotch in Scotland. It's reasonably priced for a single malt (around $40 maybe), and I enjoy it quite a bit. Glenmorganie also produces some older scotches, and the prices go up accordingly. Most seem to get good reviews Laphroaig is an Islay scotch and has quite a bite to it. Most people either love Islay scotches or hate them (their unique flavor has something to do with more peat in the Islay water, and more salt in the Islay peat). I have a bottle of Laphroaig, and I pull it out only when I'm really in the mood. For me, it's definitely not an everyday drink. For more information on scotch, this link is a great resource. Regarding blends, I don't have the natural aversion to them that "serious scotch drinkers" seem to have. I read an article (can't remember where) which took the position that scotch drinkers have been brainwashed into believing that a single malt is always the best. The article argued that these people are missing out on some good blends (which, per their name, are blended with the intent to create a better tasting whiskey). I do agree that Johnnie Walker Blue is very overpriced for what it is. I've tried it, and I didn't find it worth the price (of course, when I tried it, the price to me was "free", so I can't complain). Regards, Jeff
post #20 of 65
Thread Starter 
So, aside from Johnnie Black and Johnnie Gold, what are other blends that folks here prefer? I nominate Ballantine's, as well as Haig & Haig's Pinch. I have mixed feelings about Famous Grouse, but I'll give it another shot next week.
post #21 of 65
Regarding blends, a friend turned me on to Teacher's back in college. I haven't had it in years, but I remember enjoying it. Chivas Regal isn't bad, but it's not worth the price ($5 to $10 more than Johnnie Black if memory serves, and not any better - perhaps even a little worse). Jeff
post #22 of 65
I am a big fan of Rock Hill Farms Bourbon. A bit expensive, but delicious.
post #23 of 65
Quote:
Quote:
(Stu @ April 27 2005,16:26) ....for when your girlfriend dumped you and you want to get comatose....
Hey I love 101 for sitting around and having a high ball each night after work, nothing wrong with that
No, of course not. I just have certain memories of college. When I needed to get hammered, I'd call a buddy and we'd sit at a table with a bottle of "Kickin' Chicken" and go to town.
post #24 of 65
Quote:
the best cheap whiskies are jameson and makers mark. there was one that they sold at trader joe's last year fro about $20 and it was as good as anything else. i just can't remember the name and i didn't save the bottle.
Jameson's makes an 18-yr-old that goes for quite a bit more. But still, it is less than $40, I believe, and a hell of a deal at that price point. It is far superior to the cheapest one, altho you are right that the cheap Jameson's is fine stuff. I like a glass of Jameson's, with a capful of water swirled around in it, and Montecristo No. 2.
post #25 of 65
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And if you like Laphroaig, surely you'd drink Lagavulin or Ardbeg...
I have Lagavulin and Ardbeg. Perhaps this marks me as an Islay wimp, but I like Laphroig better than either. They're just a bit too much.
post #26 of 65
I haven't tried Jameson's 18 year old, but the 12 year old is my standard. I first had it when I went to Ireland about 10 years ago. The "age not mentioned" Jameson's doesn't quite do it for me.
post #27 of 65
If this is veering from bourbons into Scotch and Irish whiskeys, I would include Scapa 12 and Macallan 18. I find that both have that smooth and slightly sweet bourbon character. Goes great with tweed and tartan.
post #28 of 65
Bourbon AH Hirsch 20 yr. Actually distilled at the Michter distellery in '74 in Pa. Pappy Van Winkle. Julian also makes the Buffalo Trace and Eagle Rare. Great guy. Wild Turkey as a daily drink. Single Malt Glenkinchie. lived down the road from the distillery Blend Usquaebach. Hard to find but worth it. Grouse as a daily.
post #29 of 65
A bit of a compendium from an older thread on Scotch...
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The two primary divisions in scotch are the blended scotches (Johnnie Walker, Ballantine, Ambasssador, Cutty Sark) and Single Malts, which are a product of a single distillery. Now, Blended scotches have a high proportion of grain whiskey blended with the malt whiskey, which dilutes the character. Of the Blended whiskeys, I second Kalra's reccomendation of JW Black Label, and I'll explain the reasons why in a moment. As for single malts, they are the best because they are not diluted and they show the unique character of the ingrediants (especially the water), the house style, and the land in their flavours. The 80-odd Single malt distilleries are generally divided into certain regions, and of them, Highland, Speyside, Lowland, and ISlay are the most common. I drink scotches from all the regions, depending on mood -- their is a whiskey for nearly all moods -- but Highland and Speyside whiskeys are my usual drink. They are elegant and gentle. Available favs for me are Macallan (quite common in a decent bar), Cragganmore, and the aforementioned Dalwhinnie. The Islay scotches are the most distinctive of all, having their malt roasted over peat-fed fires, and believe me, the smoke really comes through. Bowmore is a good first if you want to try and Islay, and Laphroig (sp) is a seriously smoky scotch. I also like Talisker, which is a compromise between a Speyside and an Islay -- a little smokey, but has the nice caramelly notes of a Speyside. As for Glenfiddich, yes it is an approachable scotch. But I do find that of all the scotches, Glenfiddich has the most herbal notes -- by herbal I mean it has a nose and flavour of grassy, green things, and is unique in that manner. I personally prefer the richer caramel notes of other scotches. Back to JW Black -- that particular blend has a quite low proportion of diluting grain whiskey, and most of the malt whiskey in it is from Highland and Speyside, so it is my standard indulgence. Best way (generally agreed) to drink scotch is at ambient temp, or slightly chilled, with water added up to 20% the volume of the scotch. Some like soda, or scotch on the rocks. I do rocks sometimes, but most often just drop one in my scotch -- it cools it a little and dilutes it just right for me. Oh, and if you need a dessert-y scotch drink, do, do, do have a rusty nail as Kalra mentioned. it's 1:1 or 1:1.5 ration of scotch to Drambuie, Drambuie being a sweet scotch liquor. Oh, and Kalra, a 'dram' is a unit of measure...
. And from JFK, who's probably THE scotch man here:
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let me suggest the Bicentenary Edition Highland Park Vintage 1977 Reserve (Michael Jackson calls Highland Park "the greatest all-rounder in the world of malt whiskey"). It's not an Islay (Highland Park is on Orkney; it's the northernmost distillery in Scotland), but it's definitely an island malt - although with more heather than peat... The Bicentenary Edition is a beautifully complex 24-year-old, and it's right at your price point; I recently got a bottle from D & M Wines and Liquors in San Francisco for around $145.00 delivered, and it's well worth it. D & M also has a 28-year-old Glenlivet Murray McDavid Bottling for around $144 that I've been meaning to try (I really like the Glenlivet; they make some of the most subtle of the Speyside whiskies, but they generally have great depth and complexity, too). Oh; the URL for D & M (they have an incredible selection of scotches; many of them I've never found anywhere else): http://www.dandm.com/scotch.php
And this, too:
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John Glaser, who used to work for "a very large whiskey company" (which he does not further identify) started a company called Compass Box (http://www.compassboxwhisky.com/) several years ago to make his own blended whiskies. He makes the most amazing blend entirely from grain whiskies; it's called "Hedonism", and, at under US $100 a bottle, it's a bargain. I highly recommend it. As to single malts, I favor the Lagavulin 16-year-old (the quintessential Islay malt, in my opinion) and the MacAllan 12 or 15-year-old (for the Speyside experience), but my current favorite (of what's in my cupboard right now) is the Highland Park Bicentenary Distiller's Reserve; an amazing 21-year-old distilled in 1977 (and, actually, I'd say Highland Park is my favorite distillery so far).
Will compile some more in another post. Regards, Huntsman
post #30 of 65
Someone upthread mentioned Midleton Very Rare. Let me just second this recommendation. It's an Irish whiskey, which puts it in a less followed category, which is a shame in my opinion. This is simply the best whiskey I've ever tasted. Period.
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