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Scotch Basics? - Page 2

post #16 of 43
Quote:
Originally Posted by romafan
The majority of blends are not accessible as many malts? Interesting - I'd always been under the impression that blended whiskys were created as a smoother or, for lack of a better word, more generic alternative to the distinctive malts. As I said, I'm no Scotch expert - my main point was to suggest that the OP try a blend if he found the single malts not to his liking...

That's true -- blends are kind of averaged out whisky. But when you are including the potent Islays and complex Speysides in the average, it can still be a pretty scotchy scotch. At least in the States there are more Malts availalbe than blends (unless you're talking really cheap stuff), so that's why you can find more mild malts -- the three lowland distilleries, IIRC most of Campeltown, and most of the Highland malts are very easy drinking. Mind, I haven't had them all, but the regions do have a certain style, and I've had alot, to boot.

I think your point would definitely be correct depending on the malt and the blend in question -- if the OP tried Laphroaig's single to start, a blend like JW Black would be way more accessible, and perhaps be a better indicator of the general tone of scotch than Laphroaig's extreme. But perhaps it wouldn't work as well if the malt was Dalwhinnie, and the blend was still JW Black.

There's no way to capture the range of scotch in one bottle, but I think JW Gold comes closest. If I had to do it with two blends, I'd get JW Black and Chivas. If I had to do it with two malts (no, I can't actually), I'd get Lagavulin 16, Macallan 12, and Dalwhinne 15. If I could only use one scotch to try and introduce someone to the world of malt whiskys, it would be Cragganmore 12. If I was stuck on a desert island, I'd want a case of Macallan 18.

Regards,
Huntsman
post #17 of 43
Quote:
Originally Posted by Girardian
If you get a classic, it makes little sense to engage in bar tastings -- the economics are foolish, just by a bottle (if it's not to your liking, you'll always have some on hand for guests). If you have friend(s) into scotch, then start by doing a tasting over at his/their house, and for good measure bring along something you enjoy to share or as a thank you gift for allowing you to explore.


Oh, you're probably right, but bar tastings are one of my favorite things to do. I have two establishments within 20 miles that have better than 20 malts and I've learned alot there. If you're in a major city, bar tastings must make far less sense -- JW Blue was $50/shot in NYC last time I was there, yet one of my local joints sells it for $18/shot. To me, that's seriously worth it for a taste.

Regards,
Huntsman
post #18 of 43
Quote:
Originally Posted by Huntsman
JW Blue was $50/shot in NYC last time I was there, yet one of my local joints sells it for $18/shot. To me, that's seriously worth it for a taste.

http://eater.com/archives/2006/09/on_the_house_jwbi.php

http://eater.com/archives/2006/09/on_the_house_jo.php
post #19 of 43
post #20 of 43
Quote:
Originally Posted by Huntsman
I think your point would definitely be correct depending on the malt and the blend in question -- if the OP tried Laphroaig's single to start, a blend like JW Black would be way more accessible, and perhaps be a better indicator of the general tone of scotch than Laphroaig's extreme. But perhaps it wouldn't work as well if the malt was Dalwhinnie, and the blend was still JW Black

Laphroaig is exactly what I was thinking about when I posted Someone handed me a glass of that at my brother's bachelor party and I thought an old sock had been soaking in it!
post #21 of 43
Quote:
Originally Posted by Huntsman
Oh, you're probably right, but bar tastings are one of my favorite things to do. I have two establishments within 20 miles that have better than 20 malts and I've learned alot there. If you're in a major city, bar tastings must make far less sense -- JW Blue was $50/shot in NYC last time I was there, yet one of my local joints sells it for $18/shot. To me, that's seriously worth it for a taste.

Regards,
Huntsman

Have you had the JW Blue (and what did you think of it)?

I guess I can't figure out why the cost is so high if the component parts are probably (?) from singles that would go for $45-75/fifth, but maybe I'm missing something.
post #22 of 43
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mr. Checks
Have you had the JW Blue (and what did you think of it)?

I guess I can't figure out why the cost is so high if the component parts are probably (?) from singles that would go for $45-75/fifth, but maybe I'm missing something.

It's probably because they can. The whiskies in the blend are old, you can tell that on the tongue. I keep hearing that the youngest whiskies are one the order of 30yrs minimum, though some say 40 is more like it.

I'm sure the components in the blend would be more around the one bill mark on account of the age. I think the core is Royal Lochnagar, which you might not even be able to buy, and some of the components are probably in short supply -- or even limited to stock, as many distilleries have closed.

Oh, yes, I did try it -- nothing could have put me off. It was good. Not lifechanging, but very good. More in the line of Black with the edges rounded off than Gold (haven't opened my Green, yet), with a semidry character, old peat that had mellowed, no wineyness at all, and quite heavy, it doesn't dance on your palate. Honestly I can't call it like I go Crag or Dal because I only had it once and there were otehr pressures. Do I think it's worth the price? Well, I'll say it isn't just hype, and yes, I want a bottle because it deserves to be in my collection on its merits. I will get an older single before I go for the Blue, however.

What I do rather think is hype is the Centenary blend of Blue -- Cask strength and Baccarat makes the price go up an order of magnitude, then you double it? Until I taste otherwise, that's Johnnie Walker's poseur scotch to me.

~ Huntsman
post #23 of 43
Quote:
Originally Posted by romafan
Laphroaig is exactly what I was thinking about when I posted Someone handed me a glass of that at my brother's bachelor party and I thought an old sock had been soaking in it!

Yeah, Laphroaig is pretty, uh, potent stuff. I'm not too fond of it myself, truth be known.
post #24 of 43
Quote:
Originally Posted by Huntsman
It's probably because they can. The whiskies in the blend are old, you can tell that on the tongue. I keep hearing that the youngest whiskies are one the order of 30yrs minimum, though some say 40 is more like it.

Actually I've heard the opposite, that some of the whiskies in it aren't as old as you'd think. Hence no age given on the label, as for blends you have to use the age of the youngest whisky. Thus if the youngest was still 30 years old, wouldn't they brand it as 30 year whisky and bump up the price commensurate with other 30 years? (Admittedly comparing it to say, Macallan, is not apples-to-apples because JW is not a single malt, but I think if it was labeled as 30 year they could easily bump up to the $400-500 range.)

In short I think the current branding or positioning of JW Blue is that its components are rare above all else, rather than old.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Huntsman
What I do rather think is hype is the Centenary blend of Blue -- Cask strength and Baccarat makes the price go up an order of magnitude, then you double it? Until I taste otherwise, that's Johnnie Walker's poseur scotch to me.

The perfect bottle for the "Watches and bling" crowd!
post #25 of 43
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kent Wang
I started by jumping straight into Johnny Walker Black Label. I liked it on my first sip and it has really grown on me. I understand, though, that the high Islay content that gives it its smokey and peaty character may be off-putting to most beginners. To me, though, that was the attraction. Those characteristics are what set it apart from Bourbon and other whiskies.

I've been to a couple Johnny Walker tastings here in Chicago (if you have a chance, GO) and was really into them. For the longest time I'd order Johnny Walker while out at dinner or casual bars.

This year I finally decided to buy a bottle of Johnny Walker Black for my home. I think I've had one glass and it tasted like freaking gasoline. My buddy bought a bottle of Red and he remarked the same thing. He can't even drink it.

Did we get bad bottles? We LOVED this stuff a year ago and now it's absolutely awful. Is it a palette change?
post #26 of 43
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mr. Checks
Have you had the JW Blue (and what did you think of it)?

I guess I can't figure out why the cost is so high if the component parts are probably (?) from singles that would go for $45-75/fifth, but maybe I'm missing something.
I tried it a couple of times and was seriously underwhelmed. YMMV, obviously.
post #27 of 43
Quote:
Originally Posted by Huntsman
Yeah, Laphroaig is pretty, uh, potent stuff. I'm not too fond of it myself, truth be known.
Good, more for me!
But I can certainly see how it might put some people off.
post #28 of 43
Quote:
Originally Posted by vanity
I've been to a couple Johnny Walker tastings here in Chicago (if you have a chance, GO) and was really into them. For the longest time I'd order Johnny Walker while out at dinner or casual bars.

This year I finally decided to buy a bottle of Johnny Walker Black for my home. I think I've had one glass and it tasted like freaking gasoline. My buddy bought a bottle of Red and he remarked the same thing. He can't even drink it.

Did we get bad bottles? We LOVED this stuff a year ago and now it's absolutely awful. Is it a palette change?
Maybe it was in different form (on ice, with water, whatever) when you tried it before? Were you also eating on one occasion and not the other?
post #29 of 43
Quote:
Originally Posted by Patrick Bateman
The perfect bottle for the "Watches and bling" crowd!

I think they'd either be sipping Hennessey or Cris.
post #30 of 43
Quote:
Originally Posted by drizzt3117
I think they'd either be sipping Hennessey or Cris.

They're still boycotting I believe.
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