Amber Nectar... it is.. Valentine's Day... when lurve is supposed to be the word of the day... and, here I sit... about to piss off a few of my fellow blogbuddies... most notably, Jack, Kim, Matt, and Donnie.... what am I going to do to kill these relationships?... yep, you guessed it... do a post on Scotch... my defense, I have to start this off by saying that I am merely answering a lone cry in the wilderness... one that echoed through a mega-liquor store somewhere... a Man in distress... in front of the daunting Scotch section.. Ole Buddy Don, the Wandering Hillbilly, sent me this heartbreaking plea...

"hey eric,

tuther nite the wife n me wuz down to the likker store whar we wonted to git a quart of jack daniels, witch they wuz out of quarts so we wuz thankin bout trine sum scotch sangle malt. thang wuz, they had about fifty differnt brands, sum frum this island or that highland area, moren we could shake a stick at. we ended up gittin sum black bush, witch tiz ok but taint frum scotland. (miz bd has fond memories of sum black bush cumin in rite on time durin a trip to greece or sumsuch).

innywho, ye seem to know yer way round a likker store n id lack to request that ye post sum of yer wisdum on the subjeck. ifn ye wuz a'gonna spend sum money on a sangle malt frum scotland, whar wood ye start? btw, they gut likkers frum scotland that costs over $70 fer a bottle, so we dont wonta bust the bank on sumthin taint wurth drankin.

thankee in advants in hopes ye mite could doot
buddy don", faced with such a plea, I, being a man of honor, am leaping into the fray to provide advice... although, I must say... I am not an expert on Scotch... I know what I like, and I'm one helluva consumer.. but, alas, not an expert.. even the motto of the illustrious Rocky Top Brigade, hosted by South Knox Bubba seems to be chiding me into action....

"Be it resolved then, and known to all men of good standing (and women too, for that matter) throughout the land that the Rocky Top Brigade is hereby enjoined in the battle for truth, justice, and a good single malt Scotch whiskey for around $20., on to the recommendations... I will be quoting from my autographed copy of Mike Jackson's wonderful book.... "Scotland and its Whiskies"....

I am not going to talk about any Whiskies that are over 50 bucks.. Buddy Don is new to Scotch, so, he needs to start out small... no sense in putting up 80 bucks for a Laphroaig that he won't enjoy... know what I mean?... anyway, here are the "SWG Recommendations for the Novice Scotch Drinker"...

#1. The 10 year old Glenmorangie... you'll find it finished in various different casks.. port, sherry, and bourbon... don't worry about that... just dive in and pick one... should be around 35-45 bucks... it is the leading selling Single Malt in Scotland... a land inhabited by Scots... so, they should know... here is a Jacksonian description.... "spicy and salty, but delicate...perhaps too "light" of a flavor for some"... in my mind, this would be a winner for the Hillbilly to start with...

#2. The 10 year old Talisker... the only whisky made on the Isle of Skye... once again, should be able to pick one up for 35 to 45 bucks... this is one of my favorites.... again, Jackson says, "a peppery flavor... often attributed to the ridge of volcanic mountains near the distillery".. and no, it does NOT taste like lava.. go ahead, you'll enjoy it...

#3. The 10 year old Bowmore... this is one of the many incredible whiskies made on the Isle of Islay.. and, of these whiskies, Bowmore is perhaps the least "peaty"... it has a sea salt, burnt flavor, and is wonderful.. of the three whiskies I have recommended, this one would be your most "adventurous" one... you'll either love it, or hate it.., Hillbilly... go forth and purchase Scotch.... oh, and let us know how it turns out... if you think the taste of these is too strong alone, feel free to add a wee bit of non-sparkling water to your drink... it takes the edge off, and allows the distinctive flavors to be found... heh... enjoy.., let the hatemail commence..

by Eric on February 14, 2004 | Comments(18) | Drinking

Comments so far:

No hate mail from me, I like all the single malts you listed, but for a single malt newbie, I'd recommend the Glenmorangie 15 year old. They finish it for the last 2 years in new oak casks, so it has a strong hint of the same flavors as a certain Tennessee whiskey that will remain nameless here. The only problem is that it runs around $60. The least expensive single malt that I'd recommend to anyone is the Arbelour 10 year old; it's mighty tasty.

posted by: Jack on February 14, 2004 11:36 AM listening to all this, Hillbilly?

..thanks, Jack, I forgot about the Aberlour...

posted by: Eric on February 14, 2004 11:40 AM

i cant tell ye how much of a hep ye been! n bof me n miz bd duz appreciate it. we're a'gonna print this here out n see kin we find one down at that likker store. tonite we'll give it a test drive. we'll let ye know how it cums out.

btw, the black bush wuz jes fine, tho it aint gut a sartin bite i lack bout jack.

buddy don

posted by: buddy don on February 14, 2004 11:53 AM

I'd go with the Talisker 10. I have a bottle of it right here by the computer, as a matter of fact...imagine the odds.

Hhhmmm. It's 12:30.

posted by: Blackfive on February 14, 2004 01:32 PM

heh... dammit, Matt... now I'm off to the cabinet myself.. after all, that's what Saturday afternoons are for, eh? ...Bowmore, here I come...

posted by: Eric on February 14, 2004 01:40 PM

Well, I'm going to have to knock you off my list.

Anyone that lists the top scotches and doesn't include Ardbeg has to get the boot.

posted by: Geoffrey on February 14, 2004 02:13 PM

Damn, Geoffrey, that's harsh... heh... anyway, those aren't the top Scotches, those are just some ideas for someone who is new to the Scotch brotherhood..

posted by: Eric on February 14, 2004 02:20 PM

I take my scotch very seriously. In fact, I'm playing tonight so I'll be imbibing in a few while I'm at it.

posted by: Geoffrey on February 14, 2004 02:42 PM

...enjoy your Ardbeg tonight, Geoffrey.. looks like we'll all be having a good night... The Hillbilly is off to the liquor store, Blackfive is hard at his Talisker already, and I've started on the Bowmore.. ahhhh.. what fun Saturday afternoon is..

posted by: Eric on February 14, 2004 04:02 PM

jes figgerd we wood check in fer a progress report. we found all them sangle malts ye mentchuned n wuz sprized to find one they wonted $349 fer, witch twuz sumthin name of bruichladdich frum 1969.

innywho, we settled on the one frum the isle of skye name of talisker fer $45. we jes now pored us one each, witch we lacks to drank ours without no additives of inny kind. we give a toast to the rocky top brigade, tuck a deep sniff, n cummenced.

delicut scent, suttle, sprizing flavor. more of the kinda bite i lack frum jack that we dint git frum black bush. further testin indicayted.

posted by: buddy don on February 14, 2004 04:30 PM

outstanding news, Hillbilly... I drink my Scotch with 4 pieces of ice, and a splash of water.. the Father in Law drinks his neat as well, but I prefer it with a little water.. enjoy, BD..

posted by: Eric on February 14, 2004 04:42 PM

Hey, you won't hear any complaints from me! I just drink it. Never had the Bowmore, I'll have to check that out.

posted by: Velociman on February 14, 2004 05:59 PM

yeah, Velociman... I've heard you voice your opinions on Scotch a few times.. I figured everyone would brow-beat me for my recommendations to the Hillbilly... after all, Scotch drinkers sure as HELL have their opinions.. heh...

posted by: Eric on February 14, 2004 06:13 PM

Agreed. Scotch drinkers are pretty particular. It's only when I can't find Ardbeg that I'll drink something else.

posted by: Geoffrey on February 14, 2004 06:27 PM

most of the bars in Knoxville have a few versions of the Glenmorangie... so, I never get TOO dry up there... Chattanooga is different..

posted by: Eric on February 14, 2004 07:15 PM

nex day's musins on furst tastin of talisker aged ten year. we drunk it neat n saverd the eggsperients:

1. smell: twuz unlack inny likker i had ever drunk befor. neethur me nor the wife could identify whut it smelt lack. she furst sed twuz lack creosote. i disagreed. she later amended that pinion after tastin. we never could cum up with a wurd fer it. ye used 'peppery' n that fits it purty close.

2. taste: verr suttle, smooth as smoke or sumthin. a compellin after taste makes ye wont a lil more, witch we tuck it.

3. effeck: quick to hit yer gut n hed, a nice feelin. me n miz bd sat talkin bout thangs, nicely relaxed. we put on sum osborne brothers n sipped a lil more.

thays a ole sayin bout how likker'll enhants desire n improov oppertunty but deeminish performunts, but im here to tell ye how taint always the case. me n the miz dun proovd it.

i wood call it 'true romants.'

corse, i wuz talkin bout musick whenever i mentchuned performunts, her on guitar n me on mandlin. ;^

posted by: buddy don on February 15, 2004 07:26 AM

awesome... the flavor you are talking about is often described as "iodine", or "a medicinal taste" as well... it comes from the peat... as for it being "unlike anything else", you've hit the nail on the head... all Single Malts are different.. that's why Scotch drinkers are so opinionated! Enjoy!

posted by: Eric on February 15, 2004 07:44 AM

All single malts are different, but I would say that Talisker captures how Scotch is different from all other whiskey. My collection includes Macallan, Aberlour, a Signatory bottling of a 20 Y.O. Highland Park (my son had worked a lot of overtime before Christmas that year) and others. Tonite I'm sipping 7 Y.O. Evan Walker sour mash.

posted by: triticale on February 15, 2004 10:58 PM