Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > Spirits >
Sep 6, 2009 11:43 PM

Somewhat of a beginer looking for whiskey suggestions

Hey guys seems like there are a lot of people here with serious knowledge of all things whiskey so I'd like to hear some suggestions from you guys. Let me start with the stuff I know I like as sort of a jumping off point for you guys. I tend to have a preference towards Irish whiskey, though when drinking at a bar I tend to stick with Jack and waters. I usually buy Jameson or Bushmills and was recently lucky enough to be given a bottle from a friends private cask of the latter not long ago.

Anyway Back on topic, stuff I know I like: Jack Daniels, Jameson, Bushmills(though I try not to buy ANYTHING from the north lol), Johnnie Walker, Laphroaig. There are others that I enjoy but it's late and I cant think of them all right now.

Basically I'm just trying to expande my taste and knowledge so any help is much appreciated.

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. Whiskey is a pretty huge category. If you're drinking it straight or on the rocks I would suggest trying some bourbon and scotch. For bourbon, Maker's Mark is kind of a standard, and Knob Creek, Basil Hayden, and Booker's are others I have enjoyed.

    Single malt scotch is the ultimate in many peoples' opinion including mine. Try whatever you can get your hands on and see what you like. Glenfiddich, Glenlivet, and Macallan are three that are widely available.

    If you want to branch out into some cocktails, I would suggest rye as well. I love an Old Overcoat Old Fashioned (no muddled fruit), and the bottles are very inexpensive (at least where I am in Boston). Bourbon or rye Manhattans can also be nice.

    Hope I gave you a few ideas of things to try. Going to a good bar and putting yourself in the bartender's hands would also be a good idea.

    2 Replies
      1. re: nickls

        Knappogue Castle is a very good Irish whiskey, it's a single malt and with a vintage (I've only ever seen the '95 on the shelves). Not sure how I'd describe it; maybe the tiniest bit 'cleaner' tasting than Jameson, but also maybe a bit more complex that Irish whiskey tends to be otherwise. Reasonable too, $30 a bottle or so.

      2. Since you like Jack and Irish whiskeys (like me) it sounds as if you prefer your drinks on the sweeter side. My favorite Irish is Tullamore Dew. It's cheap but I think it's smoother than Bush or Jameson's. If you want a very nice high end Irish try Redbreast.

        For bourbons on the milder/sweeter side I'd recommend 4 Roses (single barrel) or Elijah Craig.

        1. Mmmm, whiskey. Here's what I would recommend based on your tastes.

          For Irish, I would recommend the following:

          Black Bush is Bushmills aged in sherry casks so has a bit more sweetness;
          Redbreast is made by the same distillery as Jameson but is pure pot still (all barley) as opposed to a blend.
          Feckin' Irish Whiskey is a relatively new independent Irish whiskey bottling which is a bit more meaty than what you've been drinking.

          If you like Jack Daniels, try George Dickel. It's less sweet than Jack and much more complex with some good woody flavors.

          2 Replies
          1. re: sku

            Black Bush by Bushmills is very tasty and very drinkable straight or with a little water. It is not terribly expensive either. Should be available for under $30 a bottle.

            1. re: sku

              I second George Dickel! It's really good! I think it's nickname is the other Tennessee Whisky! Must try!

              In the Laphroaig-like area, I'd suggest Ardbeg, Springbank and Longrow. These are a lot less motor oil than Laphroaig, but got great peatiness/smokiness. There is variation on citrus flavors, intensity and body.

              And for something quite different, I'm gonna continue pushing Japanese and Indian whisky (Amrut in particular).

            2. Whiskey... ahh, whiskey.

              One of the best things you can do is keep an eye out for whiskey tastings at bars and restaurants in your area. Guys come through and do these things every now and then (we do them ourselves, sometimes) and it gives you a chance to try a bunch of stuff.

              Even better, I suggest throwing your own tasting at home. Have everyone bring a bottle. You can get great stuff for $30 and less. Try different things out and you'll be shocked at the variety and depth of whiskey. Anyone can appreciate it; you don't need to pick out all the flavors that the pros claim to be able to do.

              For Irish whiskey, there is only three distillers out there right now (despite the proliferation in labels). But the newest one, Cooley, is kicking out some pretty interesting stuff like the Connemara peated. But really, Jameson and Bushmills are both quite good, especially as get the longer aged expressions.

              Jim Beam kicks out some small batch bourbons (Knob Creek, Basil Hayden, Baker's, and Booker's) which are all good. Buffalo Trace has two very good bourbons in Eagle Rare and Blanton's and even their own flagship Buffalo Trace is very, very good.

              For scotch, Johnnie Walker Black Label is a very respectable scotch at a decent price and very approachable. Their Green Label (at about $50) has won huge awards and accolades. For the single malts, try Laphroaig 10yr for the heavy peated versions. Glenmorangie has recently made a line of double-matured single malts rested in different Spanish wine barrels: Lasanta (sherry), Quinta Ruban (port), and Nectar d'or (the exact resting escapes me). These are about $50 and are really exciting to try because they demonstrate the range of scotches.

              I personally tend to avoid the Tennessee whiskeys (Jack Daniels) and Canadian whiskies (boring) but a lot of people like those too.

              Hope that helps.

              2 Replies
              1. re: proof66

                Glenmorangie Nectar d'or is Sauternes cask finished.

                1. re: sku

                  The Nectar d'or is my favorite in the current Glenmorangie line. It's very sweet. I think it would be best as an aperitif.

              2. I am always a fan of Jim Beam Black, and also these guys are doing some interesting stuff: