Scottish Whiskies for a Newbie

Hello All,

My first post on the Spirits Forum so please do excuse how vague the question will be.

I have recently started to enjoy a Whisky here and there. A few that i have enjoyed recently are Glenfarclas 10yr and 25yr along with Cragganmore 12yr.

I know that i don't really enjoy very peaty examples however apart from that I really don't know what i like.

I am looking for a few bottles (£40 each i'd say) to have in the house for when I fancy a night cap/nice drink.

What would people suggest buying? Or are there any good ways to try numerous examples? I was looking at buying a selection of miniatures.

Any advice is welcome.

Thank you in advance.

George
 
I would try and stick to natural expression of single malt whisky. I am referring to whisky that (i) has not had added caramel (E150a) and (ii) has not been chill-filtered which can remove some of the natural oils because some of the high volume producers do not want whisky to go cloudy and (iii) is at a higher ABV, ideally 46% or more - as generally the flavours are far more interesting - so look out for cask strength and (iv) has an age statement (although there are some good NAS).

Sounds like you have made a good start with Glenflarclas which is widely known as a top distillery and does not add caramel colour. I would also probably not bother with miniatures unless you can get sufficient variety at a fair enough price. Best of luck.
 
I would try and stick to natural expression of single malt whisky. I am referring to whisky that (i) has not had added caramel (E150a) and (ii) has not been chill-filtered which can remove some of the natural oils because some of the high volume producers do not want whisky to go cloudy and (iii) is at a higher ABV, ideally 46% or more - as generally the flavours are far more interesting - so look out for cask strength and (iv) has an age statement (although there are some good NAS).

Sounds like you have made a good start with Glenflarclas which is widely known as a top distillery and does not add caramel colour. I would also probably not bother with miniatures unless you can get sufficient variety at a fair enough price. Best of luck.

Thank you Graham.

I've found a few that I think I will order;

Glenlivet 12yr
Glenfarclas 105 (sounds interesting and i've read some positive reviews on the forum)
Singleton of Dufftown 10yr
Arbelour 12yr
Dalwhinnie 15yr

They are all within my budget apart from the 105.

Hopefully the above should last me a while.

Thanks once more
 
If you've enjoyed the Glenfarclas 10 and 25 I think it's worth trying the 15, which I think is the star of the range.

In the price bracket I've recently enjoyed the Arran 10, which I think is a brilliant whisky for the money.

Balvenie 12 Doublewood is also a consistent crowd pleaser, although I personally find it a bit unexciting, worth trying though.

Springbank 10 is probably the whisky I'd choose to drink if I had to pick one for the rest of my life, but does have a bit of peat influence (nothing like as much as the Islays).

Talisker 10 is peated but again I think it's worth trying if what's put you off peat is the Islay peat bombs (Laphroaig, Ardbeg etc.)
 
If you've enjoyed the Glenfarclas 10 and 25 I think it's worth trying the 15, which I think is the star of the range.

In the price bracket I've recently enjoyed the Arran 10, which I think is a brilliant whisky for the money.

Balvenie 12 Doublewood is also a consistent crowd pleaser, although I personally find it a bit unexciting, worth trying though.

Springbank 10 is probably the whisky I'd choose to drink if I had to pick one for the rest of my life, but does have a bit of peat influence (nothing like as much as the Islays).

Talisker 10 is peated but again I think it's worth trying if what's put you off peat is the Islay peat bombs (Laphroaig, Ardbeg etc.)

Hi Max,

Thank you for the response.

I've never had the 15yr Glenfarclas so will bare this in mind,

Funny you mention Arran 10, I was just looking at that one online.

I think I may have a walk to Whisky Exchange (no connection) this weekend and see what they suggest before buying 4/5 bottles.

It's quite daunting seeing all of the choices. I by no means hope to be an expert, I'd just like to know what I like and don't like.

Cheers
 
I would also echo Max on his recommendation of Glenfarclas 15, Arran 10 and Springbank 10 if you can find it. Also what I was trying to say was to go for "craft" production, which is not quite what you will find at quite a few of the ones that you have put on your list - although nothing wrong with them either.

Also you may like Bruichladdich 10 yo which whilst being an Islay whisky, it is not peated, and it ticks all of the craft production boxes. Alternatively any NAS form Bruichladdich is probably good these days too. I would recommend Port Charlotte except that is peated.
 
I would also echo Max on his recommendation of Glenfarclas 15, Arran 10 and Springbank 10 if you can find it. Also what I was trying to say was to go for "craft" production, which is not quite what you will find at quite a few of the ones that you have put on your list - although nothing wrong with them either.

Also you may like Bruichladdich 10 yo which whilst being an Islay whisky, it is not peated, and it ticks all of the craft production boxes. Alternatively any NAS form Bruichladdich is probably good these days too. I would recommend Port Charlotte except that is peated.

Excuse the ignorance, but what does 'craft' mean in terms of Whisky.
 
Excuse the ignorance, but what does 'craft' mean in terms of Whisky.
Usually whisky that has a natural presentation (i.e. the (i) to (iv) I mentioned in first reply) rather than a "manufactured" i.e. manipulated whisky (think chill filtration, watering it down to legal minimum 40%, adding colourant etc.)

Also would be a good question to ask in the whisky store to see what they understand by "craft production".
 
Usually whisky that has a natural presentation (i.e. the (i) to (iv) I mentioned in first reply) rather than a "manufactured" i.e. manipulated whisky (think chill filtration, watering it down to legal minimum 40%, adding colourant etc.)

Also would be a good question to ask in the whisky store to see what they understand by "craft production".

Thanks Graham.

I sure will, I shall let you know their response.
 
Location
London
You can easily buy miniatures of most whiskies from Master of Malt - good way to try a few different things.

It can be better value and more interesting (although what you get is less reliable) to get independent bottlings, e.g. I see there are a few 12-13yo Speysides for under £40 from bottlers like Douglas Laing and Signatory, whose whiskies I've enjoyed in the past.

I completely agree with avoiding 40% abv whisky - my 'sweet spot' is 46-50%. Balvenie Doublewood was my gateway drug but I think it's increasingly poor value as they drive 'brand prestige'. Here are some suggestions at around £40 and not peat-monstery:

Bruichladdich Scottish Barley - The Classic Laddie
Glenfiddich Experimental Series - Project XX
Clynelish 14 Year Old
GlenDronach 12 Year Old
Tamdhu 12 Year Old

You might also enjoy some blends, e.g. Compass Box Spice Tree, Compass Box Hedonism are a bit different to the single malts, and both delicious.
 
Glendronach 12 and Bruichladdich "the laddie" would be good shouts for your next couple, and good suggestion on master of malt samples which is how I consume most of my whisky now the market has gone crazy
 
Also The Classic Laddie is currently reduced in Waitrose from £44 to £37.50 so tempted to pick this up myself. I like almost everything about Bruichladdich and their approach.
 
Not all 40% abv whiskies are to be avoided.

I love Macallan 12 yo Sherry Oak, Glen Grant 10 yo, and An Cnoc 12yo. All of these come in at that strength.
Yeah I don't think it's a hard and fast rule but personally I agree with it as a decent rule of thumb. Especially if you get used to drinking 46% ish, the 40%ers can taste pretty dilute.

Macallan 12 Sherry oak would be great if it cost £40, but the £60+ that it goes for just doesn't represent good value. World of better whisky out there for that money.
 
Location
London
Same reasons why I didn't get into Cognac (I bought a selection of XO samples from MoM) - quite expensive, mostly/all @40%. Sure, £120 XO Cognac is tasty, but I'd rather have GlenDronach 21yo for the same money.
 
had a bit of a blind tasting with many of the whiskies suggested in your list + this from Sweden, Spirit of Hven Tycho's Star. It left the others in the dust. Highly recommend
 
Same reasons why I didn't get into Cognac (I bought a selection of XO samples from MoM) - quite expensive, mostly/all @40%. Sure, £120 XO Cognac is tasty, but I'd rather have GlenDronach 21yo for the same money.
I like both. The real value in cognac is in some of the smaller houses. Ch Montifaud XO is my go to choice and it comes in at around £75 rather than £120. The VSOP is also one of the best around and it is less than £40.

If you want higher abv look at Armagnac. Darroze knocks any malt out of the park at a comparable price IMHO.
 
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