I want to try Scotch, I really do. I want to ease in. And I want to enjoy it. The question is: where shall I start? I'm on a budget. Caviar taste on a can of tuna kind of budget. For something I can enjoy at the end of a day (good or bad) on about $30. I know this is general. Have mercy on me.
Famous Grouse is a consistent, reliable blended scotch that won't break the bank, and is plenty tasty.
For around $30.00 try a bottle of "Monkey Shoulder" it's not a blend, but a blended malt and combines Glenfiddich, Balvenie and Kininvie single malts.
Liam and Paul, thanks for the tips. I will check those out. I am pretty sure I have an idea of what a blended scotch is. Paul, what does it mean when you say, blended malt and combines...?
My understanding is that the difference difference mostly has to do with the source of the whiskeys in the blend and when it is aged. Many blended scotches (like Jonny Walker) are blended by one distiller, from a bunch of their own barrels to a master sample blend, then aged in a new barrel. Consistent from year to year.
Blended malts, which both Monkey Shoulder and Famous Grouse are, take finished scotches from a variety of distillers, and blend them together to make a different kind of product, and typically do not age them further.
Famous Grouse is a blend, not a blended malt, but is still a nice whisky. In fact it is the most popular whisky in Scotland.
"The Famous Grouse is named after the Red Grouse, Scotland's national game bird.
The blend is crafted from the finest malt whiskies, such as Macallan and Highland Park, married with exceptional grain whiskies for the smoothest possible taste."
This is the description I have of it.
Here is an article from one of my whisky newsletters trying to explain the difference between blended and blended malts;
First things first; Blended whisky is the principal earner for the whisky industry, with only a small proportion of sales coming from single malts.
A blended whisky is more than just simply a mix of whisky from two different distilleries, blended scotch whisky may contain as many as 40 or 50 different malt and grain whiskies. The normal ratio of malt to grain is 60% grain 40% malt. The percentage of malt used will determine the quality and smoothness of taste and character.
Grain whisky is easy and inexpensive to produce, using continuous distillation in large and highly efficient machinery (column or Coffey still), but the spirit is lighter and has less character. Malt whisky is expensive and slow to produce, but has a more intense flavor. The Master Blender carefully selects spirit from many different distilleries, skillfully reproducing the character of previous bottlings so the customer enjoys the same taste year after year.
The practice of blending Scotch whiskies started in the mid 1800’s. The original family-run distilleries did not have bottling facilities. They used to sell whole casks of whisky to bottlers,
blenders and merchants who then combined the product of various distilleries, to craft a consistent "brand style."
Blended Scotch whisky, should not be confused with Blended Malt Scotch Whisky which comprises only Single Malt Scotch Whiskies (100% barley), which have been distilled at more than one distillery.
An example of a blended Malt Scotch whisky is “Monkey Shoulder” which uses Glenfiddich,
Balvenie and Kininvie, Kininvie is not bottled and sold as a single malt).
I'm still relatively new to this though I can recommend a great one that won't break the bank: Old Pulteney 12. Great, balanced single malt for around $35. Also, Grangestone 12yr from Total Wine (I believe it is exclusive to them) is a fantastic value at $25. I also like Glenfiddich 12 and Glenmorangie 10 in that price range.