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Oct 19, 2008 05:21 PM

Am I likely to dislike all whiskey?

I just tried a new cocktail made with Jim Beam Black Bourbon. I hated it, and taking a sniff of the Jim Beam in the bottle made me nauseous. I love the smell and taste of cognac, gold rum and tequila. I'm always experimenting with cocktails, and might like to try some that call for rye or scotch, but not if they're like the Jim Beam. My budget for alcohol isn't what it used to be, so instead of shelling out more funds for something I'm likely to dislike, I thought I'd appeal to you houndish drinkers. Is there a significant difference in the way various whiskeys taste and smell, or do you think I should stick to what I know I like?

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  1. JB Black is certainly not what I'd class as a good representation of the spirit!
    Something like Jameson is a good introduction to Irish blended, or Glenmorangie for Scotch.

    Though, personally, I would say not to stop a dislike of one brand to define whisk(e)y as a bad drink in your mind. It's probably one of the most diverse spirits, every disillery is CLEARLY different, not like subtle nuances between vodkas or gins.

    1. If you're new to bourbon, Beam may not be a great choice. I think Maker's Mark is probably a pretty good entry-level bourbon. It's light, smooth, sweetish, easy to drink, and lacks much of a bite.

      Also, as Steve K's post alluded, there are lots of different types of whisk(e)y, and bourbon is just one of them. Irish and Scotch are entirely different beasts and certainly worth a try. If I were starting from scratch or bringing someone up to speed on those I would probably start with an Irish before going for a Scotch. Irish, generally speaking, is to Scotch kind of like Maker's is to other bourbons: Smoother, sweeter, and friendlier. A great starting point on your journey.

      1. Gotta agree with the above. Jim Beam is not what I'd call good whiskey, or even good bourbon. I'm a fan of Tullamore Dew for Irish, and Woodford for Bourbon. If you're just starting out and like mixed drinks, try with a little ginger ale. It's not as syrupy sweet as coke or 7 up, and will allow you to taste the whiskey.

        1. I believe bourbon is made from corn, which accounts for its distinctive taste & smell. Most other whiskies (rye, Scotch, Irish, Canadian, etc.) are made from grains other than corn and do have different tastes and smells .

          It is certainly possible you might enjoy whiskies other than bourbon. You should give them a try.

          1. It's not surprising you didn't like the Beam. It's a low level bourbon. If you're just getting started on whiskey, I'd stay clear of bourbon altogether. You'll want something smoother, lighter and easier to drink. In general, Canadian whiskeys fit this bill because of the high percentage of grain used in their production. Irish whiskeys are similar in that regard; they're lighter than their American and Scottish cousins. A good boutique brand of irish whisky to seek out is Clontarf. They have three different tiers of quality. The lowest bottle comes in at $19.99 and is better than most other mega-brand Irish whiskies like Jameson, Bushmills, ect ect. ......For actual Sctoch, there are many, many, many different brands that you may find mild enough to drink. If you become familiar with the 5 different distilling regions in Scotland, seek out those made in the Lowlands such as Glenkinche and Auchentoshen. They're light, grassy, and easy to sip. Some Speysides would also fit the bill. Here you can go for Arberlour, it's rich and almost chocolaty. Macallen is another one you may be able to appreciate. The 12yr is sherry cask aged and has a sweetness to it. Be sure to stay away from whiskeys produced in the Islay (Eye-LA) region. These are smokey and strong. People love them or hate them. If you're going to go with Bourbon, Makers Mark, Woodford reserve, as others have noted, are great choices.