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Can I Learn How To Drink Bourbon Or Whiskey?

(52 posts)
  • Started 1 year ago by cigrmaster
  • Latest reply from jpmcwjr
  1. cigrmaster

    cigrmaster

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    When I was a teenager I drank Seagrams VO with ginger ale. I hated the taste of beer so I drank what my mom drank. I did plenty of shots of Jack Daniels in my day but really didn't care for it. I had a girl who liked Crown Royal and coke and I would drink it once in a while but not often. I even went through a time when I was drinking an old classic known as a Ward 8. Those I liked very much at that time. I also drink shots of Tequila a couple of times a year and use the old standby Jose Cuervo Gold. I know it is shit, but I like the burn and it was I am used to. Patron was so smooth it felt like nothing going down.

    I have a cigar buddy who is into high end Single Malt Scotch's. I tried a few of them(one being 18 year old Macallan) but to my taste buds, they all tasted like kerosene. I normally drink Grey Goose Vodka( always a vodka drinker,Russian heritage) with diet tonic water and lemon and I really like good champagne with Veuve Clicquot Brut being my go to. I also drink Mojito's and Margarito's once in a while. Back in the 80's I used to sip on Grand Marnier for a time.

    So how does one acquire a taste for a good Bourbon or Whiskey? I don't have a problem spending good money for a bottle, anything like a hundred or less for a fifth? Is it all going to taste like kerosene to my taste buds? I keep reading about all you guys and your Bourbons and Whiskey and I feel like I should be drinking some with my pipes. Is there hope for me, can I learn to drink the darker liquors?

    Harris
    Posted 1 year ago #
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    aldecaker

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    I would recommend trying Powers, Jameson's, or Bushmills. I never could acquire the taste for Scotch, and bourbon only seems good when it is in the higher price ranges. (And I still don't like it near as much as Irish.)

    A man who serves his country is a patriot. A man who serves his government is an employee. The two are not always the same thing.
    Posted 1 year ago #
  3. pianopuffer

    pianopuffer

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    You may get many different answers here, but like pipe smoking, if you're starting with the high end, specialized stuff, you may want to rethink your approach.

    Scottish whiskey and American whiskey are two different animals, IMO. Perhaps you aren't a fan of the peat that most single malts are associated with. I suggest you try a couple of options to determine if your palate is into American-styled spirits:

    a) Jim Beam (white label)
    b) Basel Hayden's

    IMO, these two are completely approachable whiskeys that will get you started. I suggest them over ice at first, just to cut the spirit a little as well as cool it down. If that suits you, try em neat, maybe even a tiny splash of water.

    Like pipe tobacco, the market is lousy with good stuff, you just need to know what you do and don't like. Also, don't be afraid to branch out, try a rye whiskey or mix up a Manhattan for yourself to see how American whiskey behaves in a cocktail.

    Best of luck, and at the end of the day, if you aren't wild about it, spend your time (and money) on better adventures.

    Posted 1 year ago #
  4. uncleblackie

    uncleblackie

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    I enjoy Islay (a regional designation for scotches, known for being smoky, due to the barley mash being dried over peat fires) single malts, almost exclusively. The breakthrough for me was learning about a practice called chill-filtering, and avoiding any chill-filtered whiskies, and also that it needs to be at least about 55% abv (and preferably around 60% abv) so as to get a nice alcohol vapor kick in the sinuses.

    Also, take small sips and let them roll across your tongue.

    Ardbeg 10 year is a decent place to start, though their Corryvreckan is more to my tastes. Kilchoman makes some excellent ones.

    Whatever you do, do not buy chillfiltered.

    Posted 1 year ago #
  5. olkofri

    Olkofri

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    Heh, only bourbon I drink is Jim Beam: 1 oz of lemon juice (basically, half a lemon, I don't measure this other than with my finger) and ~3 oz of Jim Beam, plus a pinch of salt. Stir and enjoy.

    Not the sweet, new grass with flowers is this harvesting of mine;
    Not the upland clover bloom...
    Posted 1 year ago #
  6. huntertrw

    huntertrw

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    [quote]Scottish whiskey...

    In Scotland it's whisky; in Ireland and the States it's whiskey.

    Love Me, Love My Pipe
    Posted 1 year ago #
  7. cigrmaster

    cigrmaster

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    Thanks for the suggestions so far. Are some blends sweeter than others? I am not a big fan of smokey flavors like from Latakia. I don't smoke English blends at all. I am like a kid who likes anything sweet.

    Posted 1 year ago #
  8. huntertrw

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    I am like a kid who likes anything sweet.

    In that case you might like Southern Comfort, a sweet whiskey-based liquor that was once referred to as The Grand Old Drink of the South.

    Posted 1 year ago #
  9. darwin

    darwin

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    I've been working on a bottle of Wild Turkey American Honey and it's about the sweetest bourbon I've ever tasted. It goes well with something tart & bubbly like Seven-Up.

    Viewing with alarm since 1948.
    Posted 1 year ago #
  10. cigrmaster

    cigrmaster

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    I have had my share of Southern Comfort years ago and when I meant sweet, I don't mean that sweet. But thanks for thinking of it.

    Wild Turkey American Honey that sounds interesting.

    Posted 1 year ago #
  11. huntertrw

    huntertrw

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    Wild Turkey American Honey

    Is it bottled at 101-proof like their non-flavored Burbon?

    Posted 1 year ago #
  12. darwin

    darwin

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    No. It's only 71 proof. Meant to be drunk neat probably but I like it better mixed.

    Posted 1 year ago #
  13. josephcross

    josephcross

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    Bushmill Black is a go to for me. It leans toward the sweeter side. I’m a fan of whiskey that has spent time in a sherry cask.

    Posted 1 year ago #
  14. ashdigger

    ashdigger

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    Try Crown Royal or any Canadian Whiskey. Too me they are "sweeter".

    Ubi Ignis Est?
    Posted 1 year ago #
  15. zack24

    zack24

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    Harris, my God man! You clearly need an intervention....probably in the form of a Cowboy steak at my place with a traditional Old Fashioned made with a good Rye Whiskey and other secret ingredients....

    Posted 1 year ago #
  16. huntertrw

    huntertrw

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    Harris, my God man! You clearly need an intervention....probably in the form of a Cowboy steak at my place with a traditional Old Fashioned made with a good Rye Whiskey and other secret ingredients....

    In that case, then his "support network" (the rest of the Forums' members) will have to accompany him. What time is dinner, and when? Please let us know.

    Posted 1 year ago #
  17. thesmokindragon

    thesmokindragon

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    It took me years to enjoy and appreciate them Harris, I also went toward Vodka on rocks.

    I like The Macallan® Fine Oak 15 Years Old, pretty smooth I would not say sweet but does have a fruit and honey finish on it.

    Flavors; Vanilla, Raisin, Rose, Chocolate Shavings, Floral , Cinnamon, Dried Fruits, Orange Zest
    Nose; Sublime and full with a hint of rose and cinnamon
    Palate; Intense rich chocolate with a hint of orange and raisin
    Finish; Lingering with a hint of chocolate, orange and dried fruits

    On the bourbon side of things I would suggest Four Roses Single Barrel;
    Tasting Notes
    Nose: Fruity, spicy, floral, caramel, vanilla, cocoa, maple syrup, moderately woody.
    Palate: Hints of ripe plum & cherries, robust, full body, mellow.
    Finish: Smooth & delicately long.

    Posted 1 year ago #
  18. renfield

    renfield

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    An Irish spirit like Bushmills or Jameson’s might be the place to start. Very smooth and easy to drink.

    If you like those you can try some single malts on the less peaty end of the spectrum for something with more complexity. From there the selections are numerous and vary widely in character.

    Posted 1 year ago #
  19. ben88

    ben88

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    Lasciate ogni speranza, voi ch’entrate
    Posted 1 year ago #
  20. james72

    james72

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    I second the suggestion you start with Basil Hayden. My two cents...

    Posted 1 year ago #
  21. mothernaturewilleatusallforbreakfast

    mothernature

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    Get a bottle of Four Roses Single Barrel and cut it with a little water or maybe a cube of ice. You'll find what you're looking for.

    Posted 1 year ago #
  22. mikethompson

    mikethompson

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    Well there is no shortage of suggestions of members personal favorites, so I will spare you mine. To answer your question, yes, you can probably develop a palette for flavours in bourbon much like you have for tobaccos. I find they do pair well, at least for me. The smokiness of a nice scotch pairs very well with a nice blend in a good pipe.

    Again, just like with a tobacco journey, the adventure is in the journey itself.

    Posted 1 year ago #
  23. jaytex969

    jaytex969

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    If you're in a city, get the free weekly entertainment "newspaper". You know, the one with the smut on the last few pages and all of the club listings.

    Call around to a few popular restaurant/pubs and see who is doing bourbon or whiskey tastings. You may also try "googling" your city name and the term whiskey tasting.

    Often for $20-40, you'll get a "flight" with an assortment of whiskeys and a snobby tour guide to tell you what you should be tasting and how his/her favorite is the one you should buy. But, it's a good way to get an intro to brands better than Old Sockwater (tm).

    I love bourbon, but it makes me break out in handcuffs, so I do more cognacs and brandies now. My wife is a scotch, single malt lover. Often, but not always, sour mash people don't like scotch and vice versa. Some lucky devils enjoy both.

    Figuring it all out is half the fun, like new tobacco tins. Good luck!

    Gunner, Black Frigate. Say "Hello" to my little friend!
    Posted 1 year ago #
  24. metalheadycigarguy

    metalheadycigarguy

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    I would suggest getting a bottle of Makers Mark, Bulliet Bourbon Frontier Whiskey, Buffalo Trace etc. While not high end bourbon, they're going to be better than Jim Beam, Evan Williams and the like. Better to start with a good sipping whiskey than a whiskey that's for mixing.

    I prefer my whiskey at room temperature with just a touch of water. No more than a spoonful as this will take the edge off the whiskey. It will take the alcohol from 40% down to about 35% which makes it ideal for sipping.

    I don't normally use ice cubes, but if I do I use only 1 cube. I then let the whiskey sit for about 5-10 minutes to allow the ice cube to melt a bit. This will help take the edge off, and again take it from 40% down to the 35% making it more enjoyable for sipping.

    Enjoy with a nice cigar or pipe.

    Posted 1 year ago #
  25. craiginthecorn

    craiginthecorn

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    I very much agree with metalheadycigarguy. Those are all excellent bourbons to try. They have plenty bourbony vanilla/caramel flavor and natural sweetness (unlike that Wild Turkey Honey, which has added sugars), but are balanced with a bit of spice. Personally, I don't like the Bushmill's or Jameson recommendations. They're typical light-bodied, bland Irish whisky's. Most Canadian whiskey is similar. If I were to recommend an Irish brand for a starter whisky, it'd be Paddy's, but only because it's Bourbon-like. I don't care for Scotch due to the 100% malted barley mash bill. Gimme corn and rye!

    Maybe someday I'll grow up and find that my palate has matured and I'll then appreciate Scotch and Dunhill Elizabethan.

    Posted 1 year ago #
  26. philobeddoe

    Philo Beddoe

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    I enjoy Scotch and Whisky in general quite a bit, with Lagavulin 16 and Laphroaig 10 being my favorite whiskies. If I was trying to ease a buddy into Whisky I would buy a bottle of each of the following and add water as needed. Oh, and go to YouTube and look up Ralfy Reviews!

    1) Glenmorangie 10yr. Original ~ Single Malt Scotch (easy)
    2) Highland Park 15yr. ~ Single Malt Scotch (nectar)
    3) Blanton's Original ~ Bourbon (spicy)
    4) Makers Mark ~ Bourbon (easy)
    5) Chivas Regal 18yr. ~ Blended Scotch (nectar)
    6) Johnnie Walker Double Black ~ Blended Scotch (smoky)
    7) Aberlour A’bunadh ~ Single Malt Scotch (fruity nectar)
    Redbreast 12yr. ~ Single Pot Still Irish (lighter than most Scotch but still complex)

    "So it goes." - K.V.
    Posted 1 year ago #
  27. judcole

    Jud

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    Hmm. If you like sweet,and don't like smokey, stay away from Islay malts. I'd suggest Highland Park - a lovely dram. Slowly. Sip it. Don't slam it down.

    Thought in the early morning, solace in time of woes,
    Peace in the hush of the twilight, balm ere my eyelids close
    Rudyard Kipling
    Posted 1 year ago #
  28. pappymac

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    I would suggest looking for Single Malt Scotch from the Speyside or Lowland regions of Scotland. They tend to be less "smoky" and more honey/vanilla flavored. I don't like the heavily peated scotch because my taste buds always pick up the iodine notes.

    A good starting point for blended scotch is Famous Grouse. It's not one of the bigger names nor more expensive, but its a good buy for the money.
    When I was smoking mostly cigars, I was always buying Dalmore Cigar Malt but it was discontinued around 2010. Dalmore Cigar Malt Reserve is available but it sells for over $75 a bottle.

    What ever you do, stop doing shots of Cuervo. If all you want is the burn, buy the cheaper store brand tequila and you'll get the same results. Cuervo is only good for those syrupy frozen drinks passed off as margaritas. Give me a good Anejo Tequila (aged) that's smooth enough for sipping.

    I am glad we have a good admin and responsible moderators.

    Heave to you dark colored ship under sail! Prepare to be boarded!
    Posted 1 year ago #
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    derekflint

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    Irish.............

    Posted 1 year ago #
  30. jpmcwjr

    jpmcwjr

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    I'd totally avoid single malts until such time you find you like blends.

    Whiskey: Maker's Mark
    Whisky: Dewar's White Label
    Irish: Bushmills

    Start with about half water and an ice cube or two, then cut down the water over time. Then omit the ice cube and drink it neat at room temperature if that appeals. If you get to that last step and are enjoying it, try the single malts listed above.

    I know that you believe you understood what you think I said, but I'm not sure you realize that what you heard is not what I meant.
    Posted 1 year ago #
  31. johnbarleycorn

    johnbarleycorn

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    To answer your original question - probably not. But for the sake of trying I would suggest Old Forrester for a bourbon and Jameson’s for an Irish. I love scotch but as others have said I would wait on that. Also agree with starting with water and ice. Then taper down to just ice. Then do what you want to.

    And little Sir John and the nut brown bowl proved the strongest man at last
    Posted 1 year ago #
  32. buster

    buster

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    I am a fan of scotch. Blends are a good place to start but some single malts are rather friendly also. Some one once told me if you go the next step up from the entry level whisky you will get a huge improvement in quality. For the most part I find that's true. As far as good scotch these three are in the $30-$45 range. Add a splash of water until you find the sweet spot where the flavor opens up.

    IMG_1417

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    Posted 1 year ago #
  33. mso489

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    As whiskey goes, bourbon is easy to enjoy. You can tune it back with rocks and branch water, and tune it upward toward neat, to suit. Don't overdo. And don't miss zack's intervention.

    Posted 1 year ago #
  34. cigrmaster

    cigrmaster

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    Looks like I have some homework to do. The idea of a tasting is intriguing and makes a lot of sense. I want to thank everyone for your suggestions. I feel like such a newbie, so this is what it feels like when a new guy comes here and asks what tobacco tastes good. The choices are a bit overwhelming but I will narrow it down and report back on my findings. The good things is that if I buy something I don't like, my 22 year old son and his friends will drink the leftovers.

    Posted 1 year ago #
  35. aquadoc

    aquadoc

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    Try a Highland or Speyside Single Malt. Those regions are less peaty/smoky. Lowlands and Islays punch you in the throat with smoke and peat. I also agree that you should try a good Irish Whisky. Bourbons are not my bag of donuts.

    "If you resolve to give up smoking, drinking and sex, you don't actually live longer; it just seems that way."
    Posted 1 year ago #
  36. perdurabo

    perdurabo

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    My wife thinks some Scotch smells like tequila. I've never tasted or smell it, she also says Haddos Delight taste like grapefruit. So go figure.

    I stepped away from Boubon because of the lack of complexity that I found in Scotch.

    My favorite blend is Highland Cream. Spending more than $30 dollars for any size blend is waste in my mind,but to each his own.

    As far as Single Malts, Highland Park, Ardbeg, Glenmorangie Ruban, Laphroig, Bunnahabhain 12, and Glengoyne are my favorites.

    If you want to get into Scotch but want something akin to Bourbon not full on Scotch try The Quiet Man Single Malt Irish or Knappogue Castle Simgle Malt Irish. Great intro into the world of Single Malt from a Bourbon drinkers taste.

    It's not my position nor want to help another man. It's his responsibility to help himself, as where he can learn to dig down deep enough to save himself. -I. Kidd
    Posted 1 year ago #
  37. sasquatch

    sasquatch

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    My wife jumped into whisky with both feet.

    Few years back she asked me to mix her up a drink and "surprise her" so I gave her a Jack Daniel Single Barrel on the rocks. She came back pretty soon and said "That was maybe the best drink I've ever had, what did you make?"

    "Whiskey."

    "Well, I love whiskey."

    Posted 1 year ago #
  38. snowhill

    snowhill

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    Distiller is a pretty fine site for getting an idea of what's out there. Just click on the Whiskey tab and you're off.

    Posted 1 year ago #
  39. danielplainview

    dave g

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    Here’s my top pick. Aged 9 years for late night rants.

    https://youtu.be/2sfzn4s-vDg

    Make aromatics great again.
    Posted 1 year ago #
  40. mahew

    mahew

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    My first time posting a picture so I hope read the directions correctly and it works.

    But I suggest you swing on by...

    Posted 1 year ago #
  41. fatbob

    fatbob

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    Browns are like tobacco, it's all about the journey. If you like sweet, try the mid priced rye's where the sweetness is more prevalent. Knob Creek is good and it's 100 proof, as you go up in price, and theoretically quality, the sweetness is overcome by the process.

    Posted 1 year ago #
  42. mahew

    mahew

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    One more try

    Posted 1 year ago #
  43. snowhill

    snowhill

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    One more try


    Great collection.

    Posted 1 year ago #
  44. 3rdguy

    3rdguy

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    Start with about half water and an ice cube or two, then cut down the water over time. Then omit the ice cube and drink it neat at room temperature if that appeals. If you get to that last step and are enjoying it, try the single malts listed above.

    Posted 1 year ago #
  45. cigrmaster

    cigrmaster

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    Snohill, damn that is impressive.

    I want to thank everyone who has taken the time to post on this thread.

    Posted 1 year ago #
  46. mahew

    mahew

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    I suggest trying Angel’s Envy Finished Rye, it has a sweeter finish to it. I get notes of maple syrup. Of course it isn’t a bourbon, but I think it’s worth a “shot”.

    If you find your way to the Detroit area, I am always happy to share!

    One day I will figure out what I missed on posting a picture correctly. Thanks snowhill.

    Posted 1 year ago #
  47. brian64

    brian64

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    Snohill, damn that is impressive.

    I believe that was actually Mahew's pic.

    Someone caught this video of him shopping:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eAQ1WciYZgg

    EDIT: j/k of course Mahew...you've got an impressive collection there.

    “Bipartisan usually means some larger-than-usual deception is being carried out.” – George Carlin
    Posted 1 year ago #
  48. mahew

    mahew

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    That is exactly how my wife pictures me shopping! Lol

    Posted 1 year ago #
  49. workman

    workman

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    If you want to get to know scotch, I would recommend trying some contrasting tastes. If you drink a glass of Lagavulin, one of the best of the hardcore peaty kind, and continue with a glass of, say, Glenmorangie from sherry or port casks, you might appreciate the sweet fruitiness of the latter.
    However, considering your sweet tooth, I would recommend high end cognac, calvados, both fruity, or rum. These are all much sweeter, especially rum, and just as gentlemanly in my opinion.

    Smoking is one of the leading causes of all statistics.
    Posted 1 year ago #
  50. glassjapan

    glassjapan

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    We all taste things differently and we like what we like. If 18 year old Macallan tasted like kerosene to you, then bourbon or Irish will probably taste like premium unleaded. I'll echo Workman's thoughts and say try your hand at rum instead. There's a lot of great rum out there and top shelf rum is cheaper than high end whiskey/whisky to boot.

    Posted 1 year ago #
  51. snowhill

    snowhill

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    Snohill, damn that is impressive.

    That fine collection belongs to forum member mahew.

    Posted 1 year ago #
  52. jpmcwjr

    jpmcwjr

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    Nice!

    Posted 1 year ago #

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