A friend asked me to recomend an Irish whiskey. It prompted me to write this missive. To learn more about whiskey (and whisky) I highly reccomend looking for books by Michael Jackson, the beer and whiskey expert, not the entertainer.

There is *one* good Irish whiskey for drinking: Tullamore Dew.

John Powers is acceptable as a mixer.

Jamisons is drinkable.

Bushmills single malt is a disappointment, frankly I prefer the Suntory puremalt.

Now if it's good whisky (note the lack of an 'e') you want, Single Malt scotch is the way to go.

There are two schools of thought on single malt:

Mine: The best whisky in the world comes from Islay.

JZ: The stuff produced on Islay is pure undrinkable evil.

It's a matter of taste. In my opinion, the best whisky available is Lagavulin 16 y.o., at about $40/bottle it's quite the bargain. It has even more smoke and peat than the infamous Laphroaig, yet far more subtlety and complexity of flavor. It being the quintesential Islay malt. I am sure that Jeffie despises it.

Slightly less flavourful, yet nearly as wonderful is Highland Park, from the Island of Orkney.

If you favor a more moderate, but still flavourful, highland malt, I like almost all of the ones of the appelation Glenlivet, except for the travesty that bears the name "the Glenlivet". Especially Aberlour and Tamnavulin. Balvenie is also a very pleasant "midrange" scotch.

For the lighter flavoured highland malts I would suggest either Glen Goyne, Macallan or possibly Glen Morangie (Rhymes with orangey, used to be Jeffie's favorite). At my last scotch tasting, a friend who normally drinks Glen Morangie commented that "it has practically no flavor". One good reason to start out the tasting with the lighter flavoured whiskies.

If an inexpensive whisky is what you desire, I like Glen Garioch (8), Linkwood (12), possibly Glenfiddich or Bowmore (8), in increasing cost. My preference would probably be the Bowmore, but then I like Islay Malts.

I recently attended a free scotch tasting hosted by Johnnie Walker. Much to my surprise I found that their "Black" was actually drinkable. Definitely not something that I expected from a blended.

I do have one bottle of lowland single malt in my collection. A bottle of Auchentoshan that was recieved as a gift. It is actually rather pleasant if, like all lowland whiskies, rather bland.

Trying to minimize my pedantry, there are basically three types of whisk(e)y: single malt, vatted and blended. Single malts are made from a single malting of barley. Vatted's are a mixture of several malts. Blended whisk(e)y is made from a mixture of many grains.

When I host awhisky tasting people are frequently asking me what I have so they can bring something that isn't a duplicate. Here is a list of my collection, which bears some basis in reality, but which is not guaranteed to be accurate: Larry's whisky collection

Last modified 01/06/98

Back to the top.