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How to begin drinking scotch?

post #1 of 134
Thread Starter 
I'm a pretty young guy, 21 to be exact, but I find myself to be a little more refined and mature than other men my age. My grandfather, rest his soul, drank scotch and I always admired the way he sat on the couch with a glass in his hand. Given that, I feel it's time to carry my tastes into manhood. I'm unsure of where to start, and need some help with direction. What kind of scotch should I buy, Single malt or blended? Should I start drinking it with soda or water and then slowly move towards drinking it straight? Neat or on the rocks? Should I eat before/after/during drinking? One more thing, I am a student so I can't really afford anything over $50. All comments and recommendations are greatly appreciated. Thanks gentlemen.
post #2 of 134
there are a ton of scotch threads if you do a search.

glenlivet 12 and johnny walker black label are good choices to start. the glenivet is a single malt and the black label is a blend. both can be found for about $30 a bottle.

definitely do not mix with soda. ice is debatable, and is more of a personal preference. i personally do not ever use ice. i would try it with just a few drops of water to start with.
post #3 of 134
What kind did your grandfather drink?
post #4 of 134
You're gonna look like a douche if you bring it up around anyone. To start drinking scotch you need to kill your tastebuds first. Drink shitty whiskey from the bottle at room temperature for a week first. About 5 ounces a night should do it for you. Move on to an okay whiskey from there, same gig. Eventually you won't gag, and then you can start trying $50 bottles.
post #5 of 134
drink blended first... you gotta work your way up to single malt...

it is acceptable to mix scotch with mineral water if u can't drink it straight

if you do use ice, use just one cube or two
post #6 of 134
If you start with single malts, I'd recommend beginning with Speysides; Macallan, then Cragganmore. Then when you want to move to higher end stuff, I'd recommend Oban. I'd stay away from Islay unless it's maybe Bruichladdich Rocks or Caol Ila... definitely not Lag/Laph or Bowmore yet.
post #7 of 134
Cheaper but decent is the way to go if you've never drunk spirits straight, which I'm guessing is the situation with you. Start by sipping something like Evan Williams (bourbon, not scotch, but still whiskey, so similar enough), which is cheap but still decent, and when you stop noticing the burn and start picking up flavors, start trying out the nicer stuff.
post #8 of 134
Drink a Johnny Walker Black on the rocks first... move into drinking it neat. There's nothing better for under $40. if you want to experiment, get an Ardbeg 10 year to get acquainted with the smoky side of Whisky.
post #9 of 134
Quote:
Originally Posted by kjamesuvic View Post
I'm a pretty young guy, 21 to be exact, but I find myself to be a little more refined and mature than other men my age. My grandfather, rest his soul, drank scotch and I always admired the way he sat on the couch with a glass in his hand. Given that, I feel it's time to carry my tastes into manhood. I'm unsure of where to start, and need some help with direction. What kind of scotch should I buy, Single malt or blended? Should I start drinking it with soda or water and then slowly move towards drinking it straight? Neat or on the rocks? Should I eat before/after/during drinking? One more thing, I am a student so I can't really afford anything over $50. All comments and recommendations are greatly appreciated. Thanks gentlemen.
Scotch is my spirit of choice. Whenever I recommend a 'starter' scotch I usually rec Cragganmore (<$40) as it is a fine example of a Speyside whisky (that is a whisky from one of the most renown areas) but it is a mild-er scotch than the peat-monster Islays that scotch snobs feel are the only whiskys worth drinking. Cragganmore has one of the most eloquent noses of any whisky I've ever had, however and is in no way lame. But it doesn't have any of the 'extras' that some scotches these days have, like Macallan's heavy sheery notes -- things that cloud the experience of a Scots whisky when you are just starting out. Nor does it have as much peat as a blend like JW Black (which was my first schotch). If you wanted a little bit heavier of a whisky, I think Highland Park 12 is within your budget, and it has a little bit more peat, and is a little fuller than Crag. Not necessarily better (though many would say that) just different -- I like to think that there is a whisky for every mood. I would start tasting straight, but then add some water (most don't go beyond like 10% the volume of the whisky) and see how you like it. I admit I did statt with a lone ice cube, and still do so. Try different things to find what you like!. Enjoy, H
post #10 of 134
Does anyone truly enjoy scotch the first time they have it straight? I always though it was a learn to love it kind of thing. Maybe that's just me.

Some good advice here.
post #11 of 134
My first scotch was JW Black with a sprinkle of water, and I enjoyed it by about the third sip or so. So here's one.
post #12 of 134
Quote:
Originally Posted by Huntsman View Post
Scotch is my spirit of choice. Whenever I recommend a 'starter' scotch I usually rec Cragganmore (<$40) as it is a fine example of a Speyside whisky (that is a whisky from one of the most renown areas) but it is a mild-er scotch than the peat-monster Islays that scotch snobs feel are the only whiskys worth drinking. Cragganmore has one of the most eloquent noses of any whisky I've ever had, however and is in no way lame.

But it doesn't have any of the 'extras' that some scotches these days have, like Macallan's heavy sheery notes -- things that cloud the experience of a Scots whisky when you are just starting out. Nor does it have as much peat as a blend like JW Black (which was my first schotch). If you wanted a little bit heavier of a whisky, I think Highland Park 12 is within your budget, and it has a little bit more peat, and is a little fuller than Crag. Not necessarily better (though many would say that) just different -- I like to think that there is a whisky for every mood.

I would start tasting straight, but then add some water (most don't go beyond like 10% the volume of the whisky) and see how you like it. I admit I did statt with a lone ice cube, and still do so. Try different things to find what you like!.

Enjoy,
H

I think Cragg is wonderful. Wine drinkers often appreciate it a lot. Scotch doesn't have to be an assault on your palate (which Islays will be to someone who hasn't been drinking for a few years.)

Cragg has very attractive qualities and it should never be ignored.
post #13 of 134
you could also just start by drinking bourbon. solid bourbon can be had for $30 a bottle. woodford would be a good choice. If you don't actually have a taste for the scotch yet, why spend the money?
post #14 of 134
woodford reserve sooo good
post #15 of 134
Quote:
Originally Posted by scourage View Post
you could also just start by drinking bourbon. solid bourbon can be had for $30 a bottle. woodford would be a good choice. If you don't actually have a taste for the scotch yet, why spend the money?

Bourbon is a bit stronger (for me), than scotch. I don't know if that would be the best idea.
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