Whiskey Connoisseurs, Best Beginner Whiskeys?

Hey monkeys, just started to get to the point where I'm starting to appreciate whiskey that's not shitty.

What are you recommendations for a guy looking to get his first handful of mid-range ($30-$200) bottles? 

What do you look for in a good whiskey and what are some of your favorites?

Edit: Thanks all for the wonderful suggestions, seems like I have quite the collection to work through

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Comments (36)

Jan 7, 2022 - 2:46pm
Fjsjrjdns, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Whiskey can mean so many things...bourbon, rye, Japanese, Irish, scotch. Some of those taste VERY different and are completely different drinking experiences. For example, I love bourbon, but hate smokey scotch and Japanese whiskeys.

If looking at good bourbon, some personal favorites are Bulleit 10yr, Maker's Mark, Jefferson's (partial to the Ocean, though more expensive at like $90 for a 750mL), and Basil Hayden.

Jan 7, 2022 - 5:15pm
Isaiah_53_5 💎🙌💎🙌💎, what's your opinion? Comment below:

-

"If you always put limits on everything you do, physical or anything else, it will spread into your work and into your life. There are no limits. There are only plateaus, and you must not stay there, you must go beyond them." - Bruce Lee

Jan 7, 2022 - 6:30pm
2rigged2fail, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Irish whiskey lol you mean fake scottish whisky

  • 1
Jan 7, 2022 - 3:07pm
its-accrual-world, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Agreed about Basil Hayden. It's pretty basic, but I'm also a fan of Jack Daniel's Tennessee Honey. I personally like the sweeter flavor, but it's definitely not for everyone. 

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Jan 7, 2022 - 4:08pm
BobTheBaker, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Rye:

Knob Creek

Bulleit

Balcones

Array

Jan 7, 2022 - 4:39pm
teddythebear, what's your opinion? Comment below:

I'm big into bourbon. Got probably 50+ bottles now, although some would consider that a small collection.

It really depends on what you're looking for, do you want your bourbon to run hot or normal. An often overlooked one with a solid taste profile is WT Rare Breed. Its a $50, maybe cheaper depending on your location, but rivals many more expensive bottles. If you like an oaky finish, Woodford Double Oaked is one of my favorites. Blantons is a good bourbon as well, but hard to find now as everyone is loading up on those, maybe because they like the look of the bottle. I'd say try a couple different types and see what hits your palate the best. Everyone has different preferences.

Array

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Most Helpful
Jan 7, 2022 - 4:40pm
Layne Staley, what's your opinion? Comment below:

I like Basil Hayden's as well for an entry-level. It's a very simple, easy-to-drink bourbon. Can't go wrong with Bulleit in the same way - not overly complicated, won't win tons of awards, just a solid bourbon. (Bulleit Rye is my go-to for mixed whiskey drinks - I get the big jugs because I tear through old fashioneds.)

Personal preference, but I'm not as much of a fan of wheated whiskeys (like Maker's Mark or Woodford Reserve). Just ... tastes a little different to me, and not in a way I like. Some people love them, so it's worth a try.

I'd probably wait to get into some of the heavier, hotter whiskeys. There's a lot of Knob Creek that I like, but it's generally pretty bold and flavorful, and I wouldn't start someone there. Same with a lot of "reserves" or "cask strength" lines, like Bulleit 10-year or Bookers (delightful, but it's 120+ proof).

I'm a big Clyde May's fan - slightly higher price point but great value at the price.

"Son, life is hard. But it's harder if you're stupid." - my dad
  • 5
Jan 7, 2022 - 7:21pm
MrCandie, what's your opinion? Comment below:

I like to think of whisky/whiskey as having different flavor profiles varying by country and region of production. A good way to start your collection might be to try out whiskies from different countries and regions (scottish whisky comes from many regions, irish, bourbon, japanese) and figure out what kind of taste profile you like before spending money on a whole collection. Alternatively you can build a collection that spans that range.

Generally for bourbon, I find them to be a little bit on the sweeter side i assume due to the presence and requirement of at least 51% corn (although some can be spicy and hot from higher alc content) but the sweet and smooth drinking ones id recommend are definitely buffalo trace and evan williams single barrel, which are great value for money. Woodford reserve and four roses are great too while Old forrester if i recall correctly is a little bit spicier.

As for scotch, they generally taste a bit oakier since there isnt the sweetness from the corn to "mask" it as much. if you're into smoother ones, speyside scotches are your best bet - macallan 12 sherry oak, balvenie, glenlivet and glenfiddich come to mind. If you're into more of a peat/smoky taste profile - though i will say this is definitely more of an acquired taste - then definitely go for the whisky from islay distilleries. these are some of my favorites - Lagavulin 16, Laphroaig 10, Ardberg 10 (this one tastes a bit irony), Bowmore and Caol Ila.

Japanese whiskies in my experience are generally very very smooth and not sweet. Yamazaki and hibiki are the two most famous ones but will cost quite a bit with even entry level products costing a fair amount. Its good but i feel like you get diminishing returns on the dollar amount spent.

As for Irish, i've only really tried Jameson and Teeling, both of which are incredibly smooth. I like to think of them as "no frills" - they're just solid, good value whiskies.

Have fun experimenting and let us know what you got, you'll probably find that as you start getting into it, your preferences start to change so maybe don't buy a case of the first whisky you start liking before you try some others!

Jan 8, 2022 - 2:07am
Mumbles, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Respect - Islay drams are underrated.

  • 1
Jan 8, 2022 - 8:36am
C.R.E. Shervin, what's your opinion? Comment below:

My man, Jameson and Teelings are coming n completely different tiers.

Jameson tastes like bath water and is about as smooth as sand paper.

While Teelings is complex and smooth, and comes in many varieties, some you can only get in Ireland.

If you want good for the money Irish Whisky, the do Powers, and the newer Slante. If you want to replace Jameson entirely just stick with Tullmore Dew.

Jan 8, 2022 - 2:07am
Mumbles, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Highland Park 12 - have it neat.

Jan 8, 2022 - 6:42am
tackytech, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Glenfiddich 12 
Dalwhinnie 15
Highland Park 12 
Talisker 10 for an intro to smokey 

They're all pretty cheap, and gives you enough to play around with. Buy a couple of good glasses, check some vids on how to use water, etc. enjoy!

Jan 8, 2022 - 9:18am
PVHeaven, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Green Spot and Redbreast both essential. Seem to go down very well with every whiskey pallet

Jan 9, 2022 - 7:32am
Whatever1984, what's your opinion? Comment below:
PVHeaven

Green Spot and Redbreast both essential. Seem to go down very well with every whiskey pallet

V good if a bit pricy.  Tully and old granddad are always in the cubbard. Go a tiny bit pricier and Elijah Craig single barrel is a great buy. Unfortunately there is no good budget scotch. Now diversity is the key to a liquor cabinet.  If there isn't Campari and green chartreuse I don't respect you. (you can skimp on the gin. I actually like Gordon's)

The only difference between Asset Management and Investment Research is assets. I generally see somebody I know on TV on Bloomberg/CNBC etc. once or twice a week. This sounds cool, until I remind myself that I see somebody I know on ESPN five days a week.
  • 1
Jan 9, 2022 - 7:39am
Whatever1984, what's your opinion? Comment below:

I wish editing wasn't broken on chrome, but a fun fact is that whiskeys in Ireland are a religious thing.  Drinking Bushmills says your a Protestant, and Tully says Catholic.  I'm not sure about Green Spot or Redbreast.

The only difference between Asset Management and Investment Research is assets. I generally see somebody I know on TV on Bloomberg/CNBC etc. once or twice a week. This sounds cool, until I remind myself that I see somebody I know on ESPN five days a week.
Jan 8, 2022 - 9:20am
Marines, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Very much depend on personal taste, but here is the list:

Glenfiddich 12 

Glenmorangie 12 

And if you want a very "smooth" Whisky for a try, Royal Salute 21 is a great introduction, albeit very pricey for beginners.

Jan 8, 2022 - 8:37pm
barryHYbonds, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Seen a lot of good ones here, will also add Four Roses Single Barrel. Really balanced flavor profile and is available pretty much anywhere - my favorite bourbon.

Jan 9, 2022 - 8:36pm
techbanker33, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Starters:

Bourbon whiskey: Woodford Reserve

Irish whiskey: Teeling

Rye whiskey: WhistlePig PiggyBack

More expensive to check out: Yamazaki 12 ($100-$150 depending on where you buy it), Macallan 15 scotch whisky (~$100-$120), Johnnie Walker Blue Label (~$150)

Jan 10, 2022 - 4:21am
BigKahunaBanker, what's your opinion? Comment below:

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Jan 10, 2022 - 9:42am
lojackblue, what's your opinion? Comment below:

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