Today instead of my normal whisky review I wanted to address something most novice whisky drinkers do. This actually includes a lot of my friends as well. Here is what I would say to them if we were having a dram together. If you are starting to drink whisky one of the best ways to know what whisky is best for you is to first figure out what flavors you like.
In casual conversations I would ask people what their favorite whisky was. What I didn’t expect was for majority of people I asked to mainly say one name. To prove my point the last wedding I attended, I asked four people to name their favorite whisky and four out of four said, Macallan.
I want to make it perfectly clear I like Macallan! I very much enjoyed their 18 year-old expression and I can’t wait to taste some of their older ranges. To me, Macallan is extremely successful not only due to advertising and product placement (James Bond, Skyfall anyone), but also because it’s been a trusted brand that’s been around for many years. Plus, their 12yo is very affordable, you can’t beat that. It’s actually quite brilliant on their part how they’ve been able to balance great marketing with a great whisky.
With so many options out there it is a little intimidating to look at a long whisky list. Don’t just go with Macallan because its the known brand. Don’t be afraid to ask your bartender for a recommendation. Any good bartender will be able to best recommend a whisky based on the notes (flavors) you prefer.
One of my favorite whisky books to reference is Whisky Classified, Choosing Single Malts by Flavour by David Wishart. I love the book not only because it breaks down whiskies by their flavors but also serves as a good source of information on the different whisky brands. For example for all those Macallan fans, Wishart mentions that Macallan 10yo has similar tasting notes as Fettercairn 30yo and Balvenie DoubleWood 12yo. If you have had Macallan and either of these two options, I’d love to hear your thoughts on whether you agree.
The big question to ask yourself is, what flavors do I like? For example, if you ask me what my favorite flavors are I will tell you, smoke, peat, malt and small hints of sweetness. No surprise that I consider myself an Islay Girl because most of the whiskies from Islay are known for those flavors.
Every whisky drinker should know his or her likes and dislikes. If you tell me you hate smoke and peat then I know never to recommend whiskies such as Lagavulin, Ardbeg or Laphroaig. Now if you were to say you like sweeter whiskies I would tell you to try Glenmorangie, GlenDronach or even Dalmore.
In the end, your palate is your best bet at knowing what whisky is best for you. Trust it.
PS – A big shout out and thank you to my AWESOME friend Melissa for getting me this awesome coffee mug. It will keep me wenching on when I drink coffee. For all my travelers this long weekend, safe travels and Happy Labor Day weekend!
Note: The contents on my blog are solely my opinion. To me every palate is different! Although I may or may not like a product, I always recommend for people to try it and make up their own minds.