Whisky Advocate

Of course, you know what the the best whisky really is…

February 15th, 2012

It’s the one you like the most, regardless of what anyone else thinks or says.

I’d like to follow up our annual awards posts with some perspective. The awards are, of course, just a guide–a tool for you to use on your whisky journey. The same goes for our Buying Guide.

I’ve written about this in the past, but there’s many times I have opened a bottle of whisky over the years and didn’t think it was great. Good maybe, but not great. Perhaps it was a bit too young, or too woody, or too sherried. Often I “tweaked” it, by blending it with another whiskey (usually from the same distillery) to make it the way I want it to taste.

For example, I recently tasted an older single cask bottling of Glengoyne which was aged in an ex-bourbon barrel. It was bit woody, so I blended some younger sherried Glengoyne whisky with it (which I thought was a bit too sherried) and the new blend tastes great. (I aquired both bottles over a period of time without being able to taste them first.) I basically took two “mid-80s” whiskies (for me, that is) and made a 90+ blend out of it. And I’m sure there are plenty of people who would have been quite content with those whiskies just the way they were bottled.

The point I’m trying to make is this: what you think about a given whisky is what matters most. Try as many whiskies as you can and buy the ones you like. Use our reviews and ratings as tools along the path. But remember, it’s your path.

P.S. I’ll be taking some vacation but plan to post again here when I return the week after next. In the meantime, happy dramming!

No Responses to “Of course, you know what the the best whisky really is…”

  1. lawschooldrunk says:

    Enjoy your vacation, John. I’m looking forward to the next issue of the magazine.

  2. Scotch says:

    John – I frequently find that my favorite whisky is dependent on a great many factors; time of day, cigar pairing, company, before/after a meal and geographics. A light briny scotch near the ocean is peaceful, whereas after a great steak dinner – a heavier malt paired with an earthy cigar works wonders! S~

  3. mark davis says:

    The answer was in our hearts the whole time.

  4. OudErnest says:

    Well said John. Have a great vacation.

  5. Jim Curr says:

    I find that my favourite whisky may be related to a happy memory and friendly faces over whatever whisky it was on that day. Sometimes a memory of a time or a place. Laphroig QC with a tasting club in Thunder Bay. Glenfarclas 21 by the fireside with a blizzard outside in Fort Frances. Glen Moray at the Distillery in Elgin. Glen Garioch on the deck in summer, the list goes on. Of course the friends and family present at the time make all the difference in the world.

    Thank you John and have a great vacation!
    Slainte Mhah.

  6. B.J. Reed says:

    What do you remember? What sticks with you long after you tasted that particular dram? Will that whisky stay with you forever? Those are the ones that really become my favorites. I like a lot of different whiskies but I truely love very few.

    People who know me know I just cannot let a conversation pass about favorites without talking about the 2001 Old Pultney Millennium bottling. Why? Clearly it us about cloves and nutmeg and how the wash over your nose like you just opened a bottle of fresh spices. But its the story and history of how I obtained the bottle that have cemented in my memory. Will I ever forget it? Nope. Is it a great whisky? I think so but others would disagree. Is it a favorite. Without a doubt.

  7. Tom D says:

    As so many have said above, any whisky that has a memory for me typically stands out and can become a favorite for a period of time, during certain activities, or forever.

    I don’t really follow ratings that closely and try anything I can get my hands on. If I like it, I buy it.

    However, John’s review of the Buffalo Trace Experimental Collection bottle made with oats on December 12th that started with “Don’t buy this whiskey” gave me a laugh and a pause. I passed on that one. Seldom do you see such a definitive statement.

  8. Tom D says:

    One more comment… The first drink I ever served behind a bar, as little more than a toddler next to my Dad, was nothing more than a Dewar’s White Label and soda. Although I rarely drink blends anymore, there is never a time that a simple Dewar’s and soda doesn’t make me smile.

  9. Andrew says:

    I look at this a little differently than some. The best whisky, to me, is one that I have yet to try. Gives me something to look forward to.

  10. All the previous posts have truths.The common theme though is that whisky drinking is about the total experience.It’s not just the whisky by itself but how and why you picked what to pour and what you share .That’s what makes us such fans and why I never stop trying to teach others about the love for “The Water of Life”.

  11. Stevely says:

    For me, it’s always about seeking a better dram. Almost like a surfer seeking the biggest wave. Will the best whisky ever come? I’m not so sure it will, however the whisky journey is the reward – not the destination. John, thanks for contributing to that journey.

  12. Greg says:

    Very true. I attended the Go Whiskey Weekend sponsored by Julio’s this past weekend. I made a point of trying a number of the award selections; Redbreast 12 cask, Compass Box King Street, Laddie 10 and all were very good to great which of course spurred a purchase. I grabbed a couple other selections that were very good offerings; Auchentoshan Three Wood and the IWS Loch and Key Rosebank 20 year cask.

  13. Jason Beatty says:

    Speaking of the best whiskey. Here in Indy they have 18 Year Sazerac and WL Weller for $76 plus tax and shipping and I can get anyone some bottles if you can help me get a bottle of Pappy… I need 3 more bottles to get the 10% case discount by tomorrow on the Sazerac 18!!!

  14. Andrew says:

    Jason, Old Rip Van Winkle Distillery has started shipping a limited supply of new product the last few weeks. Everything except for rye. Hopefully, you might see some inventory in your area soon. Just keep an eye open. Which Pappy exactly are you looking for?

    • Jason Beatty says:

      Can’t afford the 23 so any besides that with the 20 Year being the preferred,

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