Skip to comments.Best Scotch for about $100-200 per bottle?
Posted on 07/07/2014 10:01:11 PM PDT by KJC1
I am not a Scotch or whiskey drinker; I am asking FReepers on behalf of a friend of mine.
He used to drink Johnnie Walker Black, and insists they changed something to make it inferior. The price on Black has since gone down.
Then, he switched to Gold and sometimes Blue. He thinks the Gold has gone downhill, and the "jury" is still out on the quality of the Blue.
I'd like to buy him a bottle of something nice that will make him happy. But, as I said above, I'm not a Scotch drinker so I'd be an ineffective judge of what is good or not, especially keeping in mind his most recent taste is for Gold and Blue.
My friend is a Vietnam Vet and retired Police Sergeant and does not get online much, and I thought FR would be a great place for suggestions.
If he used to like Johnnie Walker Gold and Blue, what would most likely fit the bill?
Usquabach is my personal favorite, worth every penny if you can find it that is.
Back when I were enjoying the odd glass or two, I favored Bullet, Knob Creek, and Islay.
They are not the pricey end of the range, but they all share a smokey flavor. Almost earthy in the case of Islay.
He should switch to good bourbon.
You can get Old English Furniture Polish for about $3 a bottle. Tastes pretty much the same.
17 year, or better 25(?) year Macallan. Then again, who is to say what would taste “the best” to another person, with different tastes?
Thank you for the suggestion. I’ll put that on my list to look up.
Best post all night!
The big division in Scotches is single malt versus blended. I am not the biggest Scotch drinker but I have gone through phases where I liked it a fair amount. I absolutely agree that JW Black, in particular, ain’t what it used to be.
If your purpose is to spend an exhorbitant amount of money for a bottle of booze, I think if it were me I would buy an assortment of single malt scotches, Glenlivet, Glenfiddich, Laphroiag (sp?) and a dozen or so others. All of those are quite tasty. Personally, I believe that if you spend 5x as much as those excellent SM scotches, you are paying a load of money for 1.5% “better” scotch.
However, just realize that most scotch drinkers will not like blended after they try single.
Here’s a scotch-hunting secret: Trader Joes’ single malt scotch is probably bought “as available” from various single-malt makers and everyone I know who is a SM fan likes it.
Yes, Johnnie Walker is highly rated for a common scotch.
If you want to be exotic, 21 yr old Glenlevit would also be quite nice.
He may also enjoy a single malt scotch such as Laphroaig.
To me, the single malts tasted like iodine, haha.
Is that the 55 gallon size?
Get a good bottle of Maker's Mark.
The Whisky he’s been drinking is all “Blended Scotch”. a whole different world from The Single Malts of the Highlands and Islands of Scotland.
most of them are 12 years old and run in the $50. dollar range.
it’s a good place to start. Pick one Laddie,
Oh aye, my personal favorite is Talisker (which is made on the Isle of Skye), although I also love Lagavulin and Laphroig, both of which come from the Isle of Islay.
I have tasted this Whiskey and it is easily one of the best I have ever tasted. It is pricey and the cost will go up with the age of the whiskey.
Good input, thank you.
The single malt versus blended info is particularly helpful. My friend is not into the snobby thing at all, he is set in his ways and knows what he likes and doesn’t like. Your post was very helpful, thank you.
Thank you for the links.
Balvannie Doublewood. The Macallans.
With Bremner Wafers, cream cheese, and a smear of caviar.
For a good selection, go to Cavabenitowhisky.com
I happened on this store in Andorra. They have 928 single malts to choose from. And a few others.
Johnnie Walker has no business calling itself scotch.
There is a rarer 18 year edition that sells for somewhere from $100 to $150.
Oban is truly special. It is a single malt so it has a more complex flavor than a blended scotch like Johnnie Walker. It's milder than some of the smokier single malts and tastes more refined like a Glenlivet or Glenfiddich, but to my taste buds is miles above in overall flavor.
Look at reviews around the web and you will see that Oban is highly regarded by all scotch lovers.
Very good single malts can be had for well under $100. There is a wide array of flavors. I like the peaty Islays, but enjoy most decent scotches. There is not a pretentious bone in my body. Cutty Sark is paint stripper in a bottle. Bitter, crappy stuff with a turpentine aftertaste. A decent scotch will not ever taste like Cutty Crap.
Hell, I’ll even drink an Irish whiskey if offered.
Andorra? Believe it or not I’ve been there, lol. I will check out your link, but I would imagine the shipping charges would be significant. Thanks for the link!
I love you want to spend that money on your friend...however at the end of the day he should be grateful for the grift not how much you spent
You’re welcome. The thing about scotch is that dark smoky flavor, and it’s very slightly hallucinogenic from all the weird stuff in it. The blended types are meant to be uniform bottle-to-bottle, so that “oddness” is kind of blended out. On purpose.
And IMO it’s not especially snobby...you don’t have to be snobby to like a good, not even a super-duper steak over a hot dog. It’s simply a much richer experience by virtually any measure. And a nice single malt (almost all of them are) is only a little more expensive than a JW Red or similar semi-premium brand. JW Blue is pretty good, but silly expensive; I’d rather have Glenlivet any day. Cheap scotch, on the other hand, is truly vile swill.
Thanks for the info on Oban.
One thing my friend did NOT like was Johnnie Walker Double Black. If I remember correctly it was the extra peaty/smoky flavor that turned him off.
Balvenie 12 yr or Balvenie 14yr Caribbean.
All the suggestions I would have made, have been made. Just thought I’d say I concur with everything in your profile! FReegards!
Also found out all Cuban cigars imported into Europe come through Andorra.
Castro made a deal with them. Something to do with taxes.
Did you see the sporting goods store by the river across from the Novotel?
Owner has shot about every game animal in the world and has them stuffed and on display.
I would buy your friend a selection of the miniature bottles of single-malt; let him sample, and he can decide which he likes best, while letting him know that he can expect a special gift of a full-size bottle of his favorite. Among the miniatures, you should include Talisker, Cardhu, and Caol Ila, as they are the base single malts of Johnnie Walker Black, and likely to be among the ones he likes best. Don’t forget Laphroaig (deep, smoky, peaty), Glenmorangie, Glenlivet, Cragganmore, Glenfiddich, Oban, and Lagavulin, to round up a nice 10 selections. If none of these make his day, there are many, many more that he could sample; the above choices are amongst the best this world offers.
If you do go with a single malt, then stick with those from the Highland region like Oban, Glenlivet, Glenfiddich, etc. These scotches have milder tastes that more closely approximate the blended whiskeys.
Stay away from Islay scotches like Lagavulin and Laphroaig. I personally love these scotches, but they have very smoky and unique tastes. Some even leave a hint of iodine in the mouth. Truly an acquired taste.
There are many who will recommend Talisker. I have tasted Talisker and was not impressed, but it could just be my taste buds. It tasted a little flat to me the couple of times I tried it. Oban, Glenlivet, and Glenfiddich have much more rounded and full tastes that are much more satifying IMHO.
18 YO Macallan (~$160-200). I carted a bottle up to the top of White mountain :-) Only had a sip there though, couple shots and I’d be a mummy up there.
Bulleit is spectacular bourbon for the price too, if he’s partial to that.
Heck, get him the 12 year old Macallan. It's only $49 and is nothing to sneeze at. 18 is a little extravagant, unless the guy's your lifelong best friend, imo.
Don't think you can get the 25 year old Macallan for less than $200. But if you find some, let me know! Worth every penny. Like drinking silk.
We are both grateful for each other's friendship, which is forever. I just want to do something nice for him, which he doesn't expect or even anticipate. He's an old-school American, a dying breed. Anything I can do to make him happy I will do; it's not about the money, but I don't want to buy him something he will not enjoy.
It’s nice to know that one of the best liquor stores in California agrees with me on Oban.
Laphroaig is my personal choice and was my first introduction to single malt as a boy of 14 or 15 at my dad and uncles lumber mill after work. It is decidedly a characteristic flavor, which one either loves or hates. I have had many kinds of single malts, but it is still my pallets preference. You may need to hover with a 10 or maybe a 15 year to stay under the 100 dollar mark. Perhaps even a bottle of Laphroaig Quarter Cask is doable, depending upon the aging. At the end of the day a friend is a friend any 10 year plus single malt may be fine and welcomed.
Laphroaig has been the only whisky to carry the Royal Warrant of the Prince of Wales (the 15-year-old is reportedly his favourite scotch whisky), which was awarded in person during a visit to the distillery in 1994
Tell him the ability to taste declines with age and nothing is going to bring that back.
There... I was waiting for someone to say it.
Thank you for taking the time to post your thoughtful answer. I’ll have to look it up, plus how to pronounce “Laphroaig”.
Thanks again, much appreciated!
Some time ago I lived in Lafayette, LA. There is a restaurant there called Charley G’s. The proprietor of the place was a connoisseur of cigars and alcoholic beverages. Every 3 months he sponsored an invitation only dinner where a particular type of alcoholic beverage was featured along with fine cigars to compliment.
I recall the dinner where Scotch was the beverage featured. There was a Scottish gentleman on hand who had been involved with exporting Scotch for many years. He served about 7 Scotch whiskeys, a different one to compliment each course. He told the story of each Scotch before serving. One of them, I can’t recall the distillery, he noted was from one of the oldest in Scotland. He recalled that when Victoria was queen, she had gone out in the countryside to look at properties for a new retreat. She stopped at a property adjacent to the distillery estate and was looking at the property with her entourage. The proprietor of the estate saw the royal party and invited the queen to sample the whiskey. They proceeded to the cellars and sampled whiskey to the point that the queen was sloshed and unable to stand on her own. Anyway, a great story along with a great Scotch makes for a memorable evening.
I like smooth single-malts such as Glenmorangie, Glenlivet, and Glenfiddich, at least 12 y.o., 15 y.o. is better. Beyond that , it gets pretty pricey. I don’t care for the smoky, peaty Scotches. To me. they taste like burnt rubber.
Thank you all for your responses. Sincerely appreciated.
There are many good suggestions in this thread, and they are accurate in distinguishing between the Englishman’s blended Scotch whisky and the Scotsman’s single malt Scotch whisky. However, there is one inescapable problem with all of the possible recommendations. No one but your friend can know what is pleasing to his palate. Only your friend can determine what is good and what tastes like cat pee. That said, there is a solution to the problem.
There are many opportunities to attend Scotch whisky nosings and tastings. Some corporations even go so far as to pay for their employees to attend these events to educate their palates about what does and does not appeal to themselves and their clients. You may find it to be most pleasing for your friend if you were to arrange for him and both of you to attend one of these events to ultimately choose one or more than one of these whiskies to enjoy in future years.
Search the Internet for Scotch whisky tastings and see the sites such as the following example:
P.S. Among my favorites are the very different Dallas Dhu and Laphroaig. Different tastes for different moods.
Will try the Oban. You still can’t get me to try to choke down a haggis again, arggh.