As with many USA natives in recent history, my first SMS was Genlivet
12. I'd had some experience with bourbon and canadian whisky, but my
favorite at the time was definitely Irish's like Jameson. I'd had some
pretty poor Scotch blends in the past, so I thought that I just "didn't
like Scotch." Then one day I found myself reading an article about SMS,
and I realized that I'd never tried a single malt, and so decided to
give it a shot, so to speak.
When I tried the Glenlivet, I immediately liked it. It had the
qualities that I prefer in Irish over American Whiskies, and also a
hint of smokiness and other flavors lurking in there that I found
My second SMS was Glenmorangie 10, which immediately reminded me of
Irish, but with a whole host of subtle citrusy and spicy flavors
circling around my palate, but had none of the smokiness that I had
caught a hint of in the Glenlivet.
Hearing that Ardbeg was the peatiest SMS, I picked up a bottle of the
10. I knew I was in for something completely different as soon as I
pulled the cork. I swirled it around and sniffed it gently, and was
quite blown away with the richness of it's nose. When I finally tasted
it, I found out instantly what "smokiness" and "peat" really mean. It
reminded me of everything I had first thought was new and unique when I
tasted the Glenlivet, but times about 1000.
I still keep bottles of the Glenmorangie and Ardbeg, but I don't ever
really have cravings for Glenlivet anymore.
So, what were your first three SMS whiskys?
My first taste of SMS was a 12 yo Glenturret. Needless to say, I was not
quite ready for this, and it took me another year to try more.
My favorite four right now after I've broken in a "few" bottles
4. Glenfarclas 15
3. Oban 14
2. Balvenie Doublewood
1. Glenfarclas "105" Cask Strength
I really did not expect to like the CS as much as I did. I have been a
bit of an "age snob" -- older is better, you know, and the CS is 10 yo,
but the "mouth feel" of this is like a thick, velvet that stays with you
forever. Nothing like it. I had a straight Balvenie 12 the other night
which was not particularly great...surprising since the Doublewood is
what I buy here in the US and what I have day-to-day.
Glenlivet and probably Glenfiddich were my first, probably 20 years ago,
and while they were a pleasant change from run-of-the-mill blends, they
didn't spur me to explore further.
About 10 years ago I stumbled across a newspaper story that talked about
some of the complex tastes available in single malts, and decided to
give it a whirl. Early bottles included a Balvenie, not sure which one,
and a Cardhu. I liked the former, the latter not so much. At some point
I came across an island malt -- either Laphroaig or Talisker, I'm not
sure which now -- and I was hooked. On a limited budget, I am almost
completely specialized now in peat, smoke and Islaydine. I regret that I
can't afford the only Longrow I've come across, and have never yet laid
my hands on a Port Charlotte. But it's unlikely I could afford it in any
Tonight's dram will be an 11-year-old Murray McDavid Caol Ila, I'm
1) The Macallan at the Culbin Sands hotel bar on Findhorn Bay; loved it.
2) Talisker at the Culbin Sands; thought it tasted kind of weird; found it
hard to get used to.
3) Balvenie "As We Get It" (high-proof) at the Red Beastie (Red Lion) in
McCallan was the first I ever tried, and no matter what else I try, I
always return home to it.
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Ditto this; I found it soft enough that I didn't have to worry about
being shocked with every sip.
I see you enjoy extreme pain with your minimalist's pleasures...
My next attempt at expanding my selections was Auchentoshen 10.
Another valuable -- and regular -- addition to my liquor closet.
I then wanted to be adventurous. A friend, much more the SMS
enthusiast than I at the time, brought out a Macallan. It was enough
to prove that I needed to go and explore the wide world on my own
(Perversely, Lagavulin and Laphroaig were almost enough to throw me
back into my cave of safety. Yeesh.)
First - An Isla but not sure which - before Christmas - absolutely loved it
and inspired me to get some reference material (Michael Jackson`s Malt
Whisky Companion) to understand what I had been missing all these years.
Second - The Balvenie DoubleWood - finished two bottles already.
Third - Laphroaig Quarter Cask - an inch left in the bottle.
I have thoroughly enjoyed these samples to date and now need to re-stock.
For some reason I would find it difficult to state my preferences of my
current samplings without feeling a betrayal to the other.
It was some 15 years ago in Berlin in some alternative "Bar". (Kind
of. One room, wooden interior, only botteld beer was served, and so on
- typically eastern Berlin right after the fall of the wall)
Neeless to say: I loved it right away. :-))
Caol Ila 21 (Rare Malt).
Back from Berlin with a coaster in my pocket, that reads "LAGAVULIN"
(not so clearly written), I started to serach for that stuff in liquer
stores. Half a year later I found one that solds it - only 40
kilometers (25 miles) away from my home...
The shopkeeper said "If you like Lagavulin, you might try this one".
I was very disappointed. Maybe I wasn't quite ready for the > 60%...
Nevertheless it *is* still my opinnion that Caol Ila isn't getting
better the older it gets.
Brought along by a friend of mine.
Good friend - good whisky.
Btw and to be absolutly correct:
I am nearly sure that I have "tasted" Glenfiddich and Glen Grant
before the above, cause in my younger days I was *very* intrested in
*any* kind of alcohole...
Yes, they are SMS, but they/that didn't count, I think.
Well......in my younger years, I lived in London and flew to Denmark to
visit family on a regularly basis. I brought with me a bottle of
Glenfiddich everytime......and enjoyed it with me inlaws, my father, and so
One day in Gatwick airport a saleswoman grabbed hold of me, while browsing
the whisky shelves, and asked me what I was after........she was pushing
the Talisker, Glenkinchie, Lagavulin, Dalwhinnie, Oban collection. I picked
a Dalwhinnie, and off I went on the true SMS trail. It was very
pleasant.....but as time passed by, I wanted something more.....and a
friend introduced me to Islay, in the shape of a Laphroaig 10yo. That is
some 12 years ago......and I have yet to "leave Islay".
* Registered Linux user #291266, with http://counter.li.org.*
My first taste of SMS was in the '70s due to my trying to be cool -
read about Laphroaig in the book "Eiger Sanction", drunck by the smooth
leading character Dr Johnanthan Hemlock (art history professor)(post
James Bond)(pre-Indiana Jones)(movie lead played by Clint)
All SMS are measured against this SMS and its relatives to this day -
very few have measured up...............
AR in CT
On 16 Mar 2006 19:52:25 -0800, the alleged John Derby, may have posted
the following, to alt.drinks.scotch-whisky:
See, Dr. H, Laphroaig causes memory loss, in addition to its other vile
and nasty qualities. :)
I'm coming into this thread quite late, but my favorite three are:
1. Talisker 10
2. Springbank CV
3. Henry McKenna Special Reserve (it's whiskey rather than whisky).
Try Ardbeg, Lagavulin and Highland Park, in addition to Talisker.
Rob "Buffalo Trace" Crowe
"...or better yet, use the Jack Daniel's `shot and a chaser' glass."
An honest admission of the true nature of Tennessee whiskey.
The OP wanted to know which scotches we first tried in chronological
order, not our favorites. I have indeed tried all of those you suggest,
and, boy are they good suggestions. I've not had, however, the Henry
My favorites would be:
(1) Aberlour A'bunadh
(2) Laphroaig CS
and (3) I haven't had the Uigeadail, but I bet it will be on that
list...I'm getting that next week if I can find it in Chicago. My
anticipation gives a whole new meaning to the term "shop till you drop"
My First SMS was Lagavulin 16 and until then I didn't think I liked Scotch.
A Scottish friend of mine from Cornwall (Ontario, Canada) introduced me to
it. Well that was then, this is now and I can't get enough of the stuff. I
also will say that I can only afford to drink it very moderately due to the
cost. Good thing probably because I like it a LOT!
The next one I tried was Laphroig 10. Excellent
The third one was either a Macallan or Glen Farclass (not sure on the
spelling) It was great as well.
I don't think that I have had any SMS that I disliked but I have found that
I like some more than others. In fact my choice now almost depends on the
frame of mind I'm in at the moment. It is definitely the water of life.