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Whisky writer shares his tips to keep out the cold
Wharf.co.uk ^ | 12/15/10 | Simon Hayes

Posted on 12/29/2010 4:22:43 PM PST by aMorePerfectUnion

It's the time of year when we push the boat out and when it comes to that Christmas spirit a good whisky is hard to beat.

Whether it's Scotch or Bourbon, Japanese or Irish, the world of the water of life is complex and varied - and it can be daunting for the novice tippler.

But help is at hand in the form of a book published by whisky expert Ian Buxton. 101 Whiskies to Try Before you Die is a distillation of years of his research into the spirit, and Buxton was in Canary Wharf recently to dispense his knowledge to lovers of a wee dram or two.

He said: "The book is about making whisky accessible for real people. Whisky has got very fashionable now, but I wanted to take some of the mystery out of it for people, to help them open their eyes to the things they might want to try.

"A lot of books are about whiskies that are no longer available, or are very expensive. £1,000 for a bottle is nothing these days, while £10,000 is commonplace. There's even a Highland Park that's available for £100,000. But what's the point of that? Most people would never be able to afford it.

"I've tried to be irreverent. The marketing of whisky is often a lot of nonsense. Whisky is simple stuff. It's for drinking and enjoying, not investing in or showing off.

"And a bottle of whisky is good value. People think nothing of paying £30 for a bottle of wine, but that's gone in an evening. A bottle of whisky will last a lot longer than that."

There is a serious side to the book. Whisky production plays a major part in the Scottish economy. And while many whisky drinkers are sniffy about blended brands, Buxton feels single malt snobs should be grateful for them.

He said: "That wonderful single malt would not have survived but for blending. 90 per cent of whisky produced is blended and then sold around the world. That's what keeps the industry going.

"It's a vital industry for Britain, a real success story. Distilling supports jobs in fragile rural economies, and brings in money through tourism. It should be celebrated."

Buxton's top tip for finding a whisky you like is to think small.

"There's no point buying a £30 bottle and finding you don't like it after a couple of glasses," he said.

"The best thing is buy some miniatures to try. You get to learn about several different whiskies for less than the price of a whole bottle, and when you find one you like, go to your local retailer and talk to them about it. They'll be able to guide you towards the perfect whisky for your palate.

"But one thing I would stress is you should always enjoy it responsibly."

Ian Buxton's top tips for enjoying a dram:

-Take time to sample different types of whisky to find the one you like. The variety is huge.

-Add water slowly and carefully to the glass to bring out the full flavour of the spirit. It will also give you a longer drink.

-Try different whiskies at different times of the day. A Talisker is good if you're out for a walk, while a more mature malt is better after a meal.

Whisky facts:

-Whisky is made by distilling fermented grain. Scotch is made from malted barley, while Bourbon is made from maize.

-The distillation process has been traced back to 2,000BC, although whisky production is a bit more modern than that, with the first Irish distilleries appearing in the 12th Century.

-Scotch is matured for at least three years, usually in oak casks.

-The first blended Scotch whisky was made by Glenlivet in 1853. Blends now account for 90 per cent of Scotch production.

-Whisky (or whiskey) is made all over the world, with distilleries as far afield as Sweden, Australia and India.

Five to try:

1. Highland Park 18-year-old (£60.59). Smooth and balanced single malt with a smoked finish.

2. Johnnie Walker Blue Label (£170). Old and rare whiskies blended for a complex finish.

3. Yamazaki 12-year-old single malt (£30.99). Sweet, delicate Japanese whisky with hints of vanilla and butterscotch.

4. Woodford Reserve Bourbon (£26.99) Triple distilled and aged for nine years for a full, rich flavour.

5. Bushmills Original (£18.95). Oldest Irish whiskey, smooth and light.

All available at Waitrose, Canary Wharf.


TOPICS: Food; Miscellaneous
KEYWORDS: bourbon; scotchwhisky; whiskey; whisky
I'm new to scotch whiskey. Please get me up to speed and share your favorites!
1 posted on 12/29/2010 4:22:45 PM PST by aMorePerfectUnion
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To: aMorePerfectUnion

Try some Aardbeg. For economy, I love the Irish whisky Powers. And for anytime drinking Jack Daniels Black Label which of course is a sour mash whisky.


2 posted on 12/29/2010 4:30:02 PM PST by BipolarBob (Even the earth is bipolar.)
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To: aMorePerfectUnion

Not to put too fine a point on it, but since you say you are a beginner, you might as well start out right. In Scotland and Canada, its spelled “whisky”. In Ireland and the U.S. its “whiskey”.


3 posted on 12/29/2010 4:31:06 PM PST by fhayek
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To: fhayek

OK, I did notice the article spelled it whisky. Since I’m in America, I added an “e” in my comment. I’m guessing the e doesn’t affect the taste?

ampu


4 posted on 12/29/2010 4:33:06 PM PST by aMorePerfectUnion
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To: aMorePerfectUnion

The Macallan; best reasonably priced single malt I’ve ever had, with or without ice:

http://www.themacallan.com/home.aspx

BTW, the author’s taste in Bourbon is right on the money. Woodford Reserve is fabulous. Drink it neat.


5 posted on 12/29/2010 4:34:34 PM PST by Kolokotronis (Christ is Risen, and you, o death, are annihilated)
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To: aMorePerfectUnion

6 posted on 12/29/2010 4:34:48 PM PST by iowamark
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To: iowamark

Makers Mark is OK, but, in my view, Buffalo Trace is an outstanding bourbon for its price. Also, Makers Mark just obliterates my earlier post on how “whisky” is spelled. lol


7 posted on 12/29/2010 4:38:07 PM PST by fhayek
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To: aMorePerfectUnion

In the current economy, if it's better than The Famous Grouse ... i can't afford it. ;o)

8 posted on 12/29/2010 4:39:39 PM PST by Liberty Valance (Keep a simple manner for a happy life :o)
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To: iowamark
I'm running out to the packy right now.... Who has the bourbon ping list?
9 posted on 12/29/2010 4:41:33 PM PST by GQuagmire (Hey now!)
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To: aMorePerfectUnion

Balvenie Double Wood

Lagavulin

Laphroaig 15 Year

Johnny Walker Green

Caol Ila


10 posted on 12/29/2010 4:42:22 PM PST by Tijeras_Slim (Pablo lives jubtabulously!)
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To: iowamark

I have recently finished off the Makers Mark and found no reason to replace it. It didn’t have the smokiness of JD nor the smoothness of Crown nor the complexity of Woodford Reserve. I couldn’t justify replacing it.


11 posted on 12/29/2010 4:42:32 PM PST by BipolarBob (Even the earth is bipolar.)
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To: Liberty Valance

I have a business partner who always orders Famous Grouse.
[I have to qualify “partner” these days...]


12 posted on 12/29/2010 4:43:10 PM PST by aMorePerfectUnion
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To: Tijeras_Slim

Laphroaig!! Yes.


13 posted on 12/29/2010 4:43:50 PM PST by BipolarBob (Even the earth is bipolar.)
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To: Constitution Day

Scotch n00b needs input.


14 posted on 12/29/2010 4:44:04 PM PST by Tijeras_Slim (Pablo lives jubtabulously!)
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To: Tijeras_Slim
Balvenie Double Wood

I concur.

15 posted on 12/29/2010 4:47:12 PM PST by fhayek
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To: BipolarBob; iowamark

More for us then.


16 posted on 12/29/2010 4:54:51 PM PST by GQuagmire (Hey now!)
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To: Tijeras_Slim

I really like the Caol Ila. I used to put it on ice, but the only way to really get the full enjoyment is to take it neat and swish it around the sides of your tongue before swallowing.


17 posted on 12/29/2010 4:58:09 PM PST by Mr Ramsbotham (Laws against sodomy are honored in the breech.)
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To: Kolokotronis

Absolutely correct; Macallan 12- year.


18 posted on 12/29/2010 5:03:28 PM PST by Aldebert
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To: aMorePerfectUnion
I'm more a bourbon drinker but like a good scotch or Irish whiskey on occasion. I've been trying different whiskeys for a few years and keep finding new ones that I like. There are a lot of good choices some are worth the extra money and some aren't. My favorite bourbons right now are Elijah Craig Single Barrel, Four Roses Single Barrel, and Bookers. All are around $35-$50. Some good less expensive ones are Buffalo Trace and Woodford Reserve. Labrott Graham, the makers of Woodford Reserve, do a special release every year they call their Master's Collection. This year they did a maple wood finish which is very good but a bit pricey. Last year I had their Sonoma Cutrer finish that was even better.

Bushmills is good Irish whiskey especially their 16 year old which is aged in oak and sherry casks then finished in port pipes for a very complex taste.

I have some friends who do a tour of Scotland every year and they have been sharing their good scotch while I share my good bourbon. Good whiskey is best neat or with just a splash of water and shared with friends.

19 posted on 12/29/2010 5:04:41 PM PST by eggman (NPR - Conformity is the new Diversity)
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To: andyk

Delicious ping for later.


20 posted on 12/29/2010 5:04:55 PM PST by andyk (Hi, my name's Andy, and I am a BF 1942 / Desert Combat junkie.)
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To: iowamark

I don’t really care much for Maker’s but tried their Maker’s 46 a few months ago and really liked it. Still the same flavor but with a bit more character.


21 posted on 12/29/2010 5:07:50 PM PST by eggman (NPR - Conformity is the new Diversity)
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To: aMorePerfectUnion
There are lots of wonderful whiskeys, whiskys, scotches, and bourbons. In no particular order:

Bulleit
Maker's Mark
Bookers
Bakers
Crown Royal, especially Crown Royal Black
Jameson
Powers
Tullamore Dew
Black Bush
Jack Daniels Single Barrel
Glenlivet
Glenfiddich
Woodford Reserve
and of course, the king of them all ...


22 posted on 12/29/2010 5:11:32 PM PST by who_would_fardels_bear
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To: Liberty Valance

The Wife likes Famous Grouse in her “Rob Roy’s”.
Make mine Highland Park neat, ( No Ice )

“Freedom an Whisky Gang th’giver.”


23 posted on 12/29/2010 5:30:38 PM PST by Pompah
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To: Liberty Valance
Tried Famous Grouse after I noticed that all the wealthy and astute of W. E. B. Griffin's WWII marine and maritime characters were drinking it. It is indeed pretty good and also reasonably priced. I've often wondered if he got free bottles from the distillery.
24 posted on 12/29/2010 5:33:00 PM PST by dickmc
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To: Liberty Valance

I buy The Famous Grouse by the 1.75l for about $32 plus tax. That’s for “every day” drinking, not that I drink every day. The distinction is between a common Scotch and a Scotch for an occasion.

When I want to splurge, it’s Glenlivet.

I’m considering purchasing a 250ml bottle of JW Blue, just to see if it lives up to its rep. A Christmas present to myself.


25 posted on 12/29/2010 5:35:22 PM PST by savedbygrace (But God.)
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To: eggman

My nephew gifted me a bottle of Bushmills 16 yr. single malt this Christmas. I’ll crack the bottle on New Year’s Eve.


26 posted on 12/29/2010 5:42:09 PM PST by par4
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To: All

No one has mentioned Glenrothes yet...
Any fans?


27 posted on 12/29/2010 5:52:11 PM PST by aMorePerfectUnion
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To: aMorePerfectUnion

Not much of a whiskey drinking lady, but I had some Bushmills at my son’s house on Christmas. ‘Twas bonny.


28 posted on 12/29/2010 6:03:58 PM PST by Bigg Red (Palin/Hunter 2012 -- Bolton their Secretary of State)
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To: Liberty Valance

Famous Grouse is somewhat hard to find, but it’s a great value for a blend.

If money were no object, I would go for a single malt - and that malt would be Lagavulin. I am partial to Islay malts.


29 posted on 12/29/2010 6:13:18 PM PST by neocon1984
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To: neocon1984

Had some Knob Creek bourbon over Christmas..tastes great but at 100 proof it’s a bit strong heh.

I’ve been wanting to try scotch..

http://jason-scotchreviews.blogspot.com/search?updated-min=2010-01-01T00%3A00%3A00-04%3A00&updated-max=2011-01-01T00%3A00%3A00-04%3A00&max-results=50

This blog has lots of good reviews for lots of different whisky’s..scotch bourbon etc.


30 posted on 12/29/2010 6:20:48 PM PST by Mmogamer (I refudiate the lamestream media, leftists and their prevaricutions.)
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To: dickmc
HOT DAMN!!!!

WEB Griffin's books are where I learned about Famous Grouse.....been drinking it since 1997.

Also found an Irish Whisky...real original name
“The Irishman”...that, IMHO, is much better than Jamison's or Bushmill’s.

31 posted on 12/29/2010 6:21:12 PM PST by Tahoe3002
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To: aMorePerfectUnion

Glenfiddich or Dimple PINCH 15 yr. old, and a fine Dominican or Honduran cigar.


32 posted on 12/29/2010 6:39:39 PM PST by Tucker39
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To: aMorePerfectUnion

Back in the day, when it paid me to know where journos drank, the big kahuna television news director drank Dewar’s. I’ve also enjoyed Cutty Sark and Glenfiddich.

These days, I’m partial to Irish Whiskey. Doesn’t matter if it’s Jameson’s, Old Bushmills, Powers, or Tullamore Dew (though drinking the wrong one might get you into trouble with real Irishmen...).

Buffalo Trace is my bourbon of choice these days. Jim Beam is okay. I think Jack Daniels and Maker’s Mark are good but overrated.

For something more exotic, try some rye whiskey. Wild Turkey Rye was out in the Pennsylvania state liquor stores for a while. Excellent sipping whiskey, but admittedly an acquired taste. Never got around to trying the Jim Beam Rye.


33 posted on 12/29/2010 6:43:43 PM PST by Sam_Damon
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To: iowamark

If you like MM, make sure to try the new Maker’s 46.


34 posted on 12/29/2010 6:49:08 PM PST by Vision ("Did I not say to you that if you would believe, you would see the glory of God?" John 11:40)
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To: who_would_fardels_bear

I have a bottle of that Oban that my wife got me for my birthday a couple of years ago. It’s the one I bring out to sip on special occasions. I fell in love with it when I spent a memorable Easter weekend in Oban many years ago.


35 posted on 12/29/2010 7:48:57 PM PST by drjimmy
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To: who_would_fardels_bear

>>Crown Royal, especially Crown Royal Black<<

A jug of Crown Royal sits on my desk in case I should develop a cough. My wife hides the Black at my request because I would become an out and out alcoholic if I had free access to it. Smoother than iced tea and so much better. She brings the Black out only for special occasions. Oh, that stuff is soooo good!


36 posted on 12/29/2010 8:12:02 PM PST by B4Ranch (Do NOT remain seated until this ride comes to a full and complete stop! We're going the wrong way!)
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To: BipolarBob

And for anytime drinking Jack Daniels Black Label which of course is a sour mash whisky.

And which has been watered down in recent years to improve profits


37 posted on 12/29/2010 8:35:43 PM PST by Figment ("A communist is someone who reads Marx.An anti-communist is someone who understands Marx" R Reagan)
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To: B4Ranch

Bourbons: Bulliet, Woodford Reserve.

Blended Scotch: Johny Black.

Single Malt: Talisker


38 posted on 12/29/2010 8:42:56 PM PST by Lurker (The avalanche has begun. The pebbles no longer have a vote.)
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To: savedbygrace

Blue is the best I have ever had. Treat yourself.

Does anyone know of one that is even close to Blue?


39 posted on 12/29/2010 8:50:59 PM PST by FreeManWhoCan
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To: par4
You'll not be disappointed. It is uisce beatha (Gaelic for the water of life and is pronounced something like ishka vahhaa) which is the origin of the word whiskey.
40 posted on 12/29/2010 9:05:42 PM PST by eggman (NPR - Conformity is the new Diversity)
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To: Tijeras_Slim
I'm still a n00b at this, but these are some I've tried:

Tullamore Dew -- didn't like it

Irish Mist -- kind of light and sweet

Bushmills -- the stanadard

Jamesons -- another everyday, a bit sweeter than Bushmills

Balvenie -- very nice

Laphroaig -- like drinking woodsmoke. I love it.

Glenmorangie -- not peaty like Laphroaig, I like its finish.

Jim Beam -- good in pecan-chocolate pie.

Chivas Regal -- nice sipping scotch.

Cheers!

41 posted on 12/29/2010 11:25:35 PM PST by grey_whiskers (The opinions are solely those of the author and are subject to change without notice.)
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To: Figment
And which has been watered down in recent years to improve profits

Yes I hate that. I love the flavor though. Not much one can do about what corporate America does.

42 posted on 12/30/2010 4:29:32 AM PST by BipolarBob (Even the earth is bipolar.)
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To: aMorePerfectUnion

I enjoy Evan Williams 1783... but I’m a cheap date.


43 posted on 12/30/2010 4:50:45 AM PST by PalmettoMason (It's easy being a menace to society when WAY OVER half the population is happy being sheep.)
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To: Tijeras_Slim

Laphroaig - How is it pronounced? Is it “Laff-rogue” or “Laff-ro-aig?”


44 posted on 12/30/2010 9:43:59 AM PST by CTOCS (I live in my own little world. But, it's okay. They know me there....)
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To: CTOCS

La-fro (kinda like the sound in Freud’s name) -gah

At least that’s what I’ve heard.


45 posted on 12/30/2010 11:52:46 AM PST by Tijeras_Slim (Pablo lives jubtabulously!)
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To: aMorePerfectUnion; All

Summary of every name mentioned on this thread,
if anyone is interested:

Aardbeg
Bakers
Balvenie
Balvenie Double Wood
Black Bush
Blue
Bookers
Buffalo Trace
Bulliet
Bushmills Original
Caol Ila
Chivas Regal
Crown Royal, especially Crown Royal Black
Cutty Sark
Dewar’s
Dimple PINCH
Elijah Craig Single Barrel
Evan Williams 1783
Famous Grouse
Four Roses Single Barrel
Glenfiddich
Glenlivet.
Glenmorangie
Highland Park 18-year-old
Irish Mist
Jack Daniels Black Label
Jack Daniels Single Barrel
Jamesons
Jim Beam
Johnnie Walker Blue Label
Johnny Walker Green
Johny Black
JW Blue
Labrott Graham
Lagavulin
Laphroaig 15 Year
Macallan 12- year
Maker’s Mark
Maker’s 46
Oban
Old Bushmills
Powers
Talisker
The Irishman
The Macallan
Tullamore Dew
Wild Turkey Rye
Woodford Reserve Bourbon
Yamazaki 12-year-old single malt


46 posted on 12/30/2010 4:23:27 PM PST by aMorePerfectUnion
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To: drjimmy
"when I spent a memorable Easter weekend in Oban"

I'm envious! You've been to Scottish Mecca.

I will do my pilgrimage some day ...

47 posted on 01/04/2011 2:55:14 PM PST by who_would_fardels_bear
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