OCAU Whisky appreciation

Discussion in 'Geek Grog & Homebrew' started by xian, Nov 22, 2005.

  1. GarethB

    GarethB Member

    Joined:
    Aug 19, 2001
    Messages:
    1,715
    Location:
    Melbourne
    Not all single malts are expensive. I just had a quick look at the web sites for Dan Murphy's and Nicks Wines and found 7 or 8 single malts all under $50 per bottle. There are another 4 or 5 single malts in the $50-$60 range as well.

    I'm not saying blends are bad, I've heard that over 80% of all scotch made in Scotland each year is used in blends, add in a little more for scotch based liquers like Glayva and single malts are only a small part of the entire amount of scotch sold each year. I have 7 different single malt scotches at home, and some blended scotch as well, so blends aren't bad, it's just that I think single malts can be more interesting.

    As for "pleasant", what is "pleasant" for me may not be "pleasant" for you, that's something that is entirely subjective. Some of the people who've posted reccommendations in this thread in the past clearly prefer the scotches that have a very strong smokeyness to their aroma and flavour. Personally I like some smokeyness but I have my limit, if the smokeyness overwhelms the rest of the aroma and flavour, I don't enjoy drinking it. I'm not saying that scotch with a lot of smokeyness is "bad", it's just not what I enjoy, but other people enjoy it a lot, it's a personal preference. I have no way on knowing what *your* personal preference is, I have no way of knowing what would be "pleasant" for you.

    For a single malt that is affordable I'm going to make two suggestions, Glenfiddich 12 year and Glenmorangie 10 year. Either one should be a good starter for a single malt, they are both quite mild and not expensive (Dan Murphy's has the Glenfiddich 12 year for $50 and the Glenmorangie 10 year for $57). Depending on your personal preference, you might think both of these are rather bland, but I'm taking the safe option here since I don't know what you mean by "pleasant".

    For a blend I'm going to say Grants which you should be able to get for under $30. Grants is owned and bottled by the same company that owns and bottles Glenfiddich and will have scotch from the Glenfiddich distillery in it, but it won't be 12 years old and it wil be a mix of scotch from several distilleries.
     
  2. mercy420

    mercy420 Member

    Joined:
    Jun 18, 2004
    Messages:
    459
    Location:
    Enmore, Sydney
    Thank you for the recommendations. By high barrier to entry I actually meant in terms of flavour, rather than price. I get the impression reading around that a single malt with its more distinct and specific flavour and characteristics is likely to be something you either really like, or really don't, while a blend, due to incorporating and diluting the specific characteristics of the individual whiskys, might be a bit more palletable to a newcomer.. ?

    Anyway erring on the side of bland is probably the safest entry point I imagine, as far as single malts go. Thanks for the suggestions.
     
  3. di_entropy

    di_entropy Member

    Joined:
    Jun 27, 2001
    Messages:
    1,355
    Location:
    Melbourne
    check this out

    http://danmurphys.com.au/product/DM_336040/glen-moray-12-year-old-single-malt-scotch-whisky

    some friends of mine brought round a bottle the other night

    not really my style as i like my peat but smooth and easy to drink

    this would be a good starting point

    you can also find glenlivet and glenfiddich on special for around $40ish quite often also

    speyside's will be most palatable for beginners

    if you are feeling adventurous then bowmore is a good entry level islay for around $55-60ish.. be ware the peat though! personally i love it
     
  4. Falkor

    Falkor Member

    Joined:
    Jun 27, 2001
    Messages:
    4,082
    Location:
    Sydney
  5. $qwuzzy

    $qwuzzy Member

    Joined:
    Mar 20, 2004
    Messages:
    781
    Location:
    Sydney
    Agreed. Very nice to start on.
     
  6. millsy

    millsy Member

    Joined:
    Mar 31, 2007
    Messages:
    13,428
    Location:
    Brisbane
    I do not enjoy blends at all, they make me feel sick, no idea why, I think it was johnny red that ruined them for me :(

    Friend and I shared a bottle of glen moray 12yo when we finished portal 2, was quite nice :thumbup: Personally I prefer glenfiddich but hey :D


    Click to view full size!



    Click to view full size!
     
  7. Dilligaf666

    Dilligaf666 Member

    Joined:
    Jun 28, 2001
    Messages:
    322
    Location:
    Melbourne
    The other thing to remember with the single malts - and especially the Islay Peaty / Smokey is "water" :thumbup:

    Adding a little water opens up the whisky improves the aromas and enhances the flavors. ( I prefer un-chilled water)

    In fact if your read the label on a laphroig bottle it will advise you to do so. The strong peaty flavors can 'burn' the taste-buds.

    There is a whisky flavor map which helps you to choose the whiskys you like and find similar ones.

    it is here ( not sure if I can do this) http://www.thepublican.com/story_attachment.asp?storycode=57255&seq=1&type=P&c=1
     
  8. matthew-r88

    matthew-r88 Member

    Joined:
    Apr 13, 2005
    Messages:
    1,407
    Location:
    Ballarat
    thanks for that some good prices there, wonder if i print and take to murphys if they will pricematch :leet:

    anyone tried this Inishowen Peated Irish Whiskey (700ml)

    looks like a nice drop thinking of giving it a go but thought i may ask the experts first :p
     
  9. mercy420

    mercy420 Member

    Joined:
    Jun 18, 2004
    Messages:
    459
    Location:
    Enmore, Sydney
    Thanks for all the suggestions guys.

    I believe the whiskys I've been trying to cut my teeth on are all very Peaty, and although a little water helps, I found myself wanting to dilute it a lot more to really cope with the overpowering smells and things. I can sort of see where the appeal lies, but there's almost like this physiological barrier to getting there. :o

    Anyway I've already spent quite a lot of money on alcohol recently so I think I'll have to look back into this in a month or two.
     
  10. ThE_BiG_O

    ThE_BiG_O Member

    Joined:
    Dec 25, 2002
    Messages:
    865
    Glenmorangie is actually a highlander. I'm also led to believe they have the tallest stills in Scotland.


    There's no psychological barrier to get past. Why force yourself to try like something if you don't enjoy it?

    For example, I hate the taste of beer, so I just don't buy it or drink it. But I love the taste, smell and mouthfeel of whisky and other spirits when drunk neat. So I doubt i'll ever start buying beer just to force myself to 'develop' a taste of it.

    The ironic thing is that malt whisky is just distilled beer :lol:

    I don't know, maybe in a few years my palate will change and I'll try beer again and go, "wow, this is awesome". Who knows.

    I've also never been able to appreciate wine either. I drink it almost daily, and like to drink it with meals, but apart from being able to slightly distinguish between varieties of grapes, expensive wine is wasted on me. It's either smooth, dry, sweet, white or red.

    For some reason with whisky I can immediately pick up a lot of intricate tastes and smells and find it very enjoyable to drink on its own. I just find it's more complex for me than wine for instance.

    Also just on a side note, how are you nosing your whisky? The secret is to not take a big whiff, because the alcohol will burn and prickle your nasal cavities. Inhale as you would normally and let the smells come to you. Don't try hard looking for individual notes, always let them come to you. Same goes with tastes. Also use a small tulip shaped glass; either a Glencairn glass or a wine tasting/blenders glass. The bulbous base allows the whisky to breathe, and the smaller opening will concentrate the aromas to make nosing easier. If you use a wide/square tumbler shaped glass it'll become difficult.

    And remember there really are no true right or wrong answers with smells and tastes. Everyone associates different smells to different things, some may be pleasant for some and not for others. It's also determined by life experience. For example someone who has never smelt fresh tire rubber would never use it as a nosing note, as it is not in their mental repository of smells so they'll try to describe it on things they have smelt and remember the smell of. That's why two expert critics will often give two different nosing notes for the same whisky. However, there are easily recognised and distinct smells in whisky like sherry, heather, peat etc. Once you are able to get one or two main notes that come to you then the rest will follow. Then compare your notes to other critics/reviewers and you might just find some other people that share the same tastes and smells you do, who can then be used as good resources in selecting your next whisky purchase, knowing that there's a high likelihood that you'll enjoy it as much as they do.
     
    Last edited: Jun 9, 2011
  11. Falkor

    Falkor Member

    Joined:
    Jun 27, 2001
    Messages:
    4,082
    Location:
    Sydney
    Oh woops. Dunno why I thought it was a speyside? *shrug* oh well :)
     
  12. ThE_BiG_O

    ThE_BiG_O Member

    Joined:
    Dec 25, 2002
    Messages:
    865
    Speaking of distillery locations, if you haven't seen it yet, check out this site:

    http://www.maltmadness.com/whisky/map/Scotland/#

    It's an interactive distillery map of Scotland. I came across it a couple years back and it's probably one of my favourite and most used scotch whisky references.
     
  13. mercy420

    mercy420 Member

    Joined:
    Jun 18, 2004
    Messages:
    459
    Location:
    Enmore, Sydney
    Physiological, not psychological. I can taste the complexities and can sense that there's a lot to explore in terms of different flavour sensations from a given drink.. I'm a glutton for experiences and sensations, complex flavours in interesting foods are like a small adventure when I'm in the mood to enjoy something special. That's why alcohol appreciation appeals to me, but whisky has that seemingly unique alcoholic burn that quickly overwhelms my mouth and makes it hard to continue exploring the flavours and things. I suspect it's worth perservering with though, because much like beer, olives and other once challenging foods and drinks, that seems to be where the pleasure lies.. beyond that initial adjustment. I know it's entirely possible that I can't train my palate for whisky, but it does sound like there are some milder options out there to try before giving up.

    In my foolish youth I managed to "enjoy" JW red on the rocks, so I'm pretty sure it's more about finding the right type of whiskys to develop my palate, rather than finding an alternative drink.

    Thanks for the tips on glass selection. I'll look for something more appropriate than a wide mouth glass, that makes sense and matches my approach with tasting at least, if not nosing.
     
  14. skymist

    skymist Member

    Joined:
    Mar 8, 2002
    Messages:
    1,049
    Location:
    S.E Suburbs, Melbourne
    What are peoples opinion on Lagavulin 16yr old?

    Currently have:

    Glenfarcas 8yr old
    Glenfiddich 12yr old
    Glenlivet 15yr old - French Oak reserve

    To buy or not to buy? Thoughts?
     
  15. BobsYourUncle

    BobsYourUncle Member

    Joined:
    May 8, 2002
    Messages:
    227
    Location:
    Gold Coast, QLD
    It's spectacular, if you like Islay...
     
  16. skymist

    skymist Member

    Joined:
    Mar 8, 2002
    Messages:
    1,049
    Location:
    S.E Suburbs, Melbourne
    Spectacular hey? Obviously my tiny collection is very Speyside based as I also have a Glenlivet 12yr.

    I've read some fantastic review on the Lagavulin and have tried in a couple of times in the past and quite liked it.

    Just looking for something a little different to what I have now.
     
  17. BobsYourUncle

    BobsYourUncle Member

    Joined:
    May 8, 2002
    Messages:
    227
    Location:
    Gold Coast, QLD
    It's one of my favourites. I've got over 25 bottles in my collection (I don't keep an exact count), and Lagavulin is in my top 3.

    My top 3 is probably (in no particular order)
    Aberlour A'bunadh
    Lagavulin 16yo
    Highland Park 18yo
     
    Last edited: Jun 10, 2011
  18. Badger

    Badger Caveat lector

    Joined:
    Mar 18, 2002
    Messages:
    9,711
    Location:
    Adelaide, SA
    Spirits tariff is $72.46 per L of alcohol (just the alcohol!). http://law.ato.gov.au/atolaw/view.htm?Docid=PAC/BL030002/1&PiT=99991231235958 see also http://www.customs.gov.au/webdata/resources/files/ht22aw.pdf
    So assuming the whisky is 40% and is a 700mL bottle, the duty is only 5% plus $72.46 x 0.7 x 0.4 = 5% + $20.29.
    For the 57.1% example above, it is 5% + $28.96, making the total $152.


    If a 700mL bottle of spirits had a tariff of $50, there would be no way you could buy a bottle of vodka for $25.
     
  19. ThE_BiG_O

    ThE_BiG_O Member

    Joined:
    Dec 25, 2002
    Messages:
    865
    Ah, that makes a lot more sense. Thanks for that. Now please excuse me while I go do some shopping :D


    Well in that case, maybe a lighter whisky that's velvety smooth on the mouth, yet complex in aroma might be right up your alley. Two readily available whiskies that fit this criteria, and are quite good value for money and affordable, which I can recommend, are the Glenmorangie Nectar D'or and a recently discovered favourite (in a blind tasting) the Cragganmore 12.

    I'd be very surprised if either of these would burn your mouth and be overpowering. Yes, they are more delicate in terms of taste and smell, and lack the richer flavours and lingering finishes of other whiskies. But what they lack in these areas, they do make up for in nosing and palate-ability - especially with a newcomer that may get initially overwhelmed by the prickle and heat of the alcohol or the peat blast of an Islay.

    Personally I get as much enjoyment, and if not more, nosing whisky as I do drinking it. Tasting is a bit more difficult because due to the alcohol content, after a few mouthfuls, your tastebuds will start numbing, and it'll get harder to discover more intricacies besides the main notes which will dominate and overpower everything else.
     
  20. chip

    chip Member

    Joined:
    Dec 24, 2001
    Messages:
    3,950
    Location:
    Pooraka Maccas drivethrough
    If you're a fan of those two, try the Glenmorangie Astar.
     

Share This Page

Advertisement: