The OCUK Whisky (and Whiskey) review thread

Soldato
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I got into whisky via a bottle of bells at uni so there really is no right way into it. Supermarket own brands are very good value too. Sainsbury's, Tesco and coop are all quite reasonable. I've not tried other brands but no doubt will be equally good places to start. I've actually found tastes to shift over the years so when people say whisky is a journey I'm inclined to agree. If you really want sweet single malt aberlour can be a good one if you can find it cheap. Personally I find them a bit sickly but other people have enjoyed them at tastings.
 
Soldato
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Are you dead set on scotch, or are you interested in whiskies in general? As I'd normally suggest bourbon if you want sweet. Buffalo Trace is one you can often pick up from Amazon for £18 on offer, so isn't breaking the bank if you don't like it. And you can always make old fashioned cocktails with it if you don't like it neat. Just beware at the moment as Amazon have a half bottle of it for £18, that's not the one to go for, make sure it's the 70cl bottle. It's £23 at the moment, but as I say it is very often on offer for a fair bit less.

The problem with recommending scotch to people new to it is there is such a vast array of taste profiles, it's hard to narrow it down, plus good ones tend to be a bit more expensive, which can be off putting to a lot of people. But if you do want to try one Tomatin Legacy is £24 on Amazon just now and may be something you'd like. Monkey Shoulder is another you can pick up relatively cheaply, it's a blended malt though, rather than a single malt. Johnnie Walker Black Label (a standard blend) when you can get it for £20, or Green Label (another blended malt, but this one is 15 years old, at least) when you can get it for under £30 are all worth trying. They may not be the very best, but they are decent and good value for money at those prices. You just need to be patient and pick them up when they are discounted, which again is quite often.

But the Buffalo Trace or Tomatin Legacy would be my suggestions to start with.

More interested in Whiskies in general tbh, Something new for me to try, I did realise the price of this stuff can be higher than what I've been paying over the years for ciders etc but I expected that, I have heard of Bourbon before so may give that one a go, i guess it's more of a thing tasting all different types to find the right one as i may think i prefer sweet but it may turn out to be wrong, I will check out the others you've mentioned and possibly grab a couple of different ones to try out :)
 
Associate
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I got into whisky via a bottle of bells at uni so there really is no right way into it. Supermarket own brands are very good value too. Sainsbury's, Tesco and coop are all quite reasonable. I've not tried other brands but no doubt will be equally good places to start. I've actually found tastes to shift over the years so when people say whisky is a journey I'm inclined to agree. If you really want sweet single malt aberlour can be a good one if you can find it cheap. Personally I find them a bit sickly but other people have enjoyed them at tastings.
I'd definitely agree that tastes do change over time, but what a lot of people new to this don't realise is that so does the whisky. The makers try to keep their core range as similar as possible year on year, but it's just not possible to make it exactly the same each time. So if you find yourself not liking a whisky as much as you used to it could be you, but it can also be the whisky, or a combination of both.

It's also funny as in my previous post I almost said to steer clear of your bog standard blends like bells. You are right though, there is no set path into liking whisky, for me it was Ardbeg 10, and that and Bells are about as far apart as you can get, so there is no right way into it, there is just your way. The problem is many people just try one don't like it, assume they are all the same, and say they don't like whisky. I'd suggest for the vast majority of people there is a whisky out there they would like. The problem is finding it, as if you don't find one quickly it can become expensive and disheartening. Which is why I'd say trying different whiskies at a bar can often be more beneficial than buying a single bottle. If you can find a bar that does tasting nights that is even better, as they will talk you through the whiskies. (needless to say even though this is in a reply to your post most of this isn't aimed at helping you IK).
 
Associate
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More interested in Whiskies in general tbh, Something new for me to try, I did realise the price of this stuff can be higher than what I've been paying over the years for ciders etc but I expected that, I have heard of Bourbon before so may give that one a go, i guess it's more of a thing tasting all different types to find the right one as i may think i prefer sweet but it may turn out to be wrong, I will check out the others you've mentioned and possibly grab a couple of different ones to try out :)
There is a huge variety in bourbons as well, but in general I find them sweeter than scotches. I also tend to find at the lower end of the budget for whiskies (say under £25) they tend to be better than similarly priced scotches. Not always, but often, for example Wild turkey 101 when you can pick it up for £23 is one of the best quality vs value for money bottles on the market for me. But it's not one I'd likely recommend to someone new to whisky due to the higher (50.5%) ABV.

But yes, trying different ones is the way to go, and directly contrasting them can be a real eye opener. Pour a small glass of 2 or 3 different ones and go back and forward between them smelling and sipping (drinking water in between). It's where you can really realise just how different they are.
 
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@Minibiker depending on budget I'd say a sweeter whisky that I love is the Bunnahabhain 18. What a fantastic dram that is.

One that's fairly priced and still very good is Oban Little Bay. We went on a tour of the Oban distillery in November and tried it there. It possibly fits what you're after.

The Spey Tenne is also very nice but I haven't seen it about recently. It has a cherry lips kind of flavour to it.

Kavalan whiskies tend to be sweet - hints of tropical flavours like banana, pineapple and coconut. King Car Conductor is one I'm fond of.

Others that spring to mind:
Eagle Rare 10 - a nice bourbon that sits a couple of tiers above the typical offerings (JD and the like)
Balvenie 14 Caribbean Cask
Nikka From The Barrel
And finally (OK this isn't whisky but it's lovely) Diplomatico Reserva Exclusiva Rum. That's a nice sweet drink, great on ice.

If you get a whisky and find you don't quite love it, there are plenty of options:
1. Add ice - temperature can affect flavour and take the edge off. Also the melted water can mix things up a bit
2. Add a drop (or a few) of filtered water. It's not dilution, there's a reaction which brings out additional flavours
3. If you're really not getting on with it, add some lemonade, honey or something else you like. As you progress through the whisky add less and less of the mixer until you're drinking it neat.

Just some ideas
 
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@Minibiker depending on budget I'd say a sweeter whisky that I love is the Bunnahabhain 18. What a fantastic dram that is.

One that's fairly priced and still very good is Oban Little Bay. We went on a tour of the Oban distillery in November and tried it there. It possibly fits what you're after.

The Spey Tenne is also very nice but I haven't seen it about recently. It has a cherry lips kind of flavour to it.

Kavalan whiskies tend to be sweet - hints of tropical flavours like banana, pineapple and coconut. King Car Conductor is one I'm fond of.

Others that spring to mind:
Eagle Rare 10 - a nice bourbon that sits a couple of tiers above the typical offerings (JD and the like)
Balvenie 14 Caribbean Cask
Nikka From The Barrel
And finally (OK this isn't whisky but it's lovely) Diplomatico Reserva Exclusiva Rum. That's a nice sweet drink, great on ice.

If you get a whisky and find you don't quite love it, there are plenty of options:
1. Add ice - temperature can affect flavour and take the edge off. Also the melted water can mix things up a bit
2. Add a drop (or a few) of filtered water. It's not dilution, there's a reaction which brings out additional flavours
3. If you're really not getting on with it, add some lemonade, honey or something else you like. As you progress through the whisky add less and less of the mixer until you're drinking it neat.

Just some ideas
Three of those you have mentioned are, in some cases significantly, over £50. I'm not sure that is a price range many people that are brand new to whisky are going to be looking at. It's a different matter if someone is giving you some to try, but I don't think many will be looking to spend that on a bottle when they don't actually know if they like whisky at all yet, never mind that particular bottle.

I could be wrong and they have loads of disposable income, so spending over £100 on a bunna 18 they may well endup not liking isn't an issue, but if it's someone I don't know I tend to err on the side of budget bottles until they have some more experience of what they like and don't like.
 
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Three of those you have mentioned are, in some cases significantly, over £50. I'm not sure that is a price range many people that are brand new to whisky are going to be looking at. It's a different matter if someone is giving you some to try, but I don't think many will be looking to spend that on a bottle when they don't actually know if they like whisky at all yet, never mind that particular bottle.

I could be wrong and they have loads of disposable income, so spending over £100 on a bunna 18 they may well endup not liking isn't an issue, but if it's someone I don't know I tend to err on the side of budget bottles until they have some more experience of what they like and don't like.

I agree - which is why I started off with "depending on budget". I wouldn't want to assume a tight budget which is why I have provided a range of whiskies (which fit the spec) that I rate at varying price ranges. As with most things in life, the world of whisky is a difficult one to negotiate. Typically cheaper whiskies are inferior quality - pay a little more and get something of decent quality.

If you want to be driven primarily by budget then go for any single malt you can find in a supermarket that is 10-15 years old between £25-35. Age isn't everything but then you're looking at barrel types and sizes and the conversation grows arms and legs again.

I'd still suggest going for the Diplomatico rum I mentioned earlier before heading into whisky. It could be a good bridge from beer to whisky and it's well priced.
 
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I agree - which is why I started off with "depending on budget". I wouldn't want to assume a tight budget which is why I have provided a range of whiskies (which fit the spec) that I rate at varying price ranges. As with most things in life, the world of whisky is a difficult one to negotiate. Typically cheaper whiskies are inferior quality - pay a little more and get something of decent quality.

If you want to be driven primarily by budget then go for any single malt you can find in a supermarket that is 10-15 years old between £25-35. Age isn't everything but then you're looking at barrel types and sizes and the conversation grows arms and legs again.

I'd still suggest going for the Diplomatico rum I mentioned earlier before heading into whisky. It could be a good bridge from beer to whisky and it's well priced.
I think sometimes when people recommend whiskies like Bunna 18 to someone completely new it comes across like you can't find really enjoyable whiskies unless you are willing to spend that amount of money on it, which obviously isn't the case. Potentially it can be off putting to many who can't afford that kind of outlay on what is essentially a trial run.

Personally I've never really got into rum, I've tried a few but none have ever really grabbed me, so can't say whether that Diplomatico is a good segue into whisky or not.
 
Soldato
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Yeah @Lupis agreed. I'm very much "into" my whiskey and a relatively experienced drinker. Bunnnah 12 is one of my every day favourites and I've not even gotten round to purchasing the 18. I'd say recommending the 18 to a newbie is a bit of a stretch!
 
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Tried the Ardbeg Wee Beastie for the first time tonight. It's on a decent offer at Tesco. Very nice budget Ardbeg. It packs a fantastic smoky punch.
 
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Yeah @Lupis agreed. I'm very much "into" my whiskey and a relatively experienced drinker. Bunnnah 12 is one of my every day favourites and I've not even gotten round to purchasing the 18. I'd say recommending the 18 to a newbie is a bit of a stretch!
My apologies for your Bunna 12 addiction! ;)
 
Soldato
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So I've been dabbling a little recently trying to find a profile that I enjoy. I've always liked Old Fashioned's but drinking any spirit neat wasn't something I necessarily enjoyed. However my dad brought me a bottle of Glenmorangie 10 for Chjristmas and I've been really enjoying it. Is there anything you guys would suggest for a beginner who seems to lean towards that fruiter, smoother profile?

I know it's probably been asked a thousand times on here so I apologize for my thread perusing laziness.
 
Underboss
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So I've been dabbling a little recently trying to find a profile that I enjoy. I've always liked Old Fashioned's but drinking any spirit neat wasn't something I necessarily enjoyed. However my dad brought me a bottle of Glenmorangie 10 for Chjristmas and I've been really enjoying it. Is there anything you guys would suggest for a beginner who seems to lean towards that fruiter, smoother profile?

I know it's probably been asked a thousand times on here so I apologize for my thread perusing laziness.

I'm a bit of a whisky novice, but really like The Balvenie Doublewood 12yo SM. It's available in 20cl bottles if you don't want to go for a standard bottle first
 
Soldato
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So I've been dabbling a little recently trying to find a profile that I enjoy. I've always liked Old Fashioned's but drinking any spirit neat wasn't something I necessarily enjoyed. However my dad brought me a bottle of Glenmorangie 10 for Chjristmas and I've been really enjoying it. Is there anything you guys would suggest for a beginner who seems to lean towards that fruiter, smoother profile?

I know it's probably been asked a thousand times on here so I apologize for my thread perusing laziness.
I had some Old Pulteney last night, which is typically about £25 quid a bottle. Very smooth. Not "fruity" but smooth and nice.
 
Soldato
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So I've been dabbling a little recently trying to find a profile that I enjoy. I've always liked Old Fashioned's but drinking any spirit neat wasn't something I necessarily enjoyed. However my dad brought me a bottle of Glenmorangie 10 for Chjristmas and I've been really enjoying it. Is there anything you guys would suggest for a beginner who seems to lean towards that fruiter, smoother profile?

I know it's probably been asked a thousand times on here so I apologize for my thread perusing laziness.
Glenmorangie is a great one to start people on. Good choice.

If you're keen on brighter fruits, look out for whiskies either aged or finished in Oloroso sherry casks. PX sherries are also fruity, but in a sweeter, dark, plummy/raisiny/rich way. Distillers sometimes don't say which type, which typically means a mixture of those.
 
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Soldato
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Thanks for the replies everyone!

I didn't get a chance to see them until now but I decided to pop into the whiskey shop in town on my way home.
The guy there was great and gave me a really well considered 'beginners' talk. He then gave me quite a few samples to gage my palette (thank god I was on public transport) and matched a bottle to what I liked.
Walked out with a Loch Lomond 14. Looking forward to getting stuck into it this weekend!
 
Soldato
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My apologies for your Bunna 12 addiction! ;)
Well, my girlfriend has just bought me the new 2021 cask strength 12yo release for my birthday. Will report back :cool:

Walked out with a Loch Lomond 14. Looking forward to getting stuck into it this weekend
Great! Not tried it myself but always good to build a rapport and chat to someone in a shop. Reading online tasting notes turns into a bit of a nonsense after a while, turns into a blur lol..
 
Soldato
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Well, my girlfriend has just bought me the new 2021 cask strength 12yo release for my birthday. Will report back :cool:

Great! Not tried it myself but always good to build a rapport and chat to someone in a shop. Reading online tasting notes turns into a bit of a nonsense after a while, turns into a blur lol..

It's lovely! Not going to embarrass myself with adjectives I have no right use yet but it seems really well balanced. Quite syrupy and probably overly sweet if you're an officienado but similar to the Glenmorangie it goes down easy for a novice like myself.
 
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