Best Budget Bets for Beginners

Too Many Bottles!


Ever feel that there’s just too much whisky out there? A common question that is seen frequently around the internet, and that I’ve been asked myself, is “Well, I’ve tried a <Glenfiddich/Glenlivet> 12 year old and quite liked it; what on earth do I try next?” In this article I’ll attempt to answer that. Typically the questioner is looking for good quality but also good value too; after all, it’s often an expensive risk buying a bottle of whisky that you haven’t tried. Keeping the cost down is always worthwhile!


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Supercharge Your Whisky Experience!

If you want to quickly increase your level of whisky experience, there’s one sure way – join a club!


A few years ago at my last place of work, I was invited to join a Scotch club. The club worked like this: every Friday, one nominated member brought a new unopened bottle of Scotch, and all the members had a pour or two. If the bottle wasn’t dead it went into the club stockpile, and after the main feature members could dip into the old bottles. The only rule for the weekly bottle was that it had to be a single malt that we hadn’t had before, although we did occasionally branch out into blends and other kinds of liquor (the keyword here being “occasionally”).


If you can get a good number of people interested, this can be a really good way to try a lot of whisky – we had around 20 members at our peak so that meant you were only buying two bottles per year or so, but you were trying 50 different single malts for the price of your two bottles.


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Why Whisky?

My name’s Dave; I live in Vancouver BC, and I’ve been a whisky drinker for about 4 years. That makes me a relative newcomer and part of the new wave of whisky drinkers that have helped push their drink of choice¬† to its current heights of popularity. As I write this in early 2012, we are a few years into a period which is probably the greatest boom in whisky’s long history; certainly when it comes to single malt Scotch and its international siblings, but also including bourbon, rye and all the other types of distilled, oak-matured alcohol which can be lumped together under the same banner.


So what’s so great about whisky? At your first encounter, I know from experience that a great single malt can taste unexpectedly harsh; it’s a strong drink when taken neat, anywhere from 40% ABV (the minimum strength to be called Scotch whisky) up to the heady heights of cask strength bottlings which can be anywhere up to 70% ABV (you might want a drop of water with those). For the novice, the alcohol can overwhelm everything else. But gain some experience and educate your palate a little and complex flavours will begin to jump out at you.


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