Top ten malts to get you started


Fancy some whisky, but don’t know where to start? Check out our top ten to get the ball rolling – click any of the suggestions for tasting notes and links to recommended retailers:

New to whisky, have a traditional palate, or want to buy someone a bottle but don’t know their preference?

Speyside whiskies are what you want because they pack the most traditional flavours and are most unlikely to have any extremes of taste in them that could freak out your palate. If buying for yourself start out with a 12-year-old as generally this represents a distillery’s signature taste. If you like it you can then delve into their other versions from here, and if it’s not your bag then it will have been a far cheaper mistake than taking a punt on a 30-year-old.

Our recommendations are:

Glenfiddich 12 year old

The Glenlivet 12 year old

Both are massive sellers because they appeal to so many, and with volume sales on your side prices are likely to be reasonable too.

Wary of whisky or think you don’t like it but want to give it another try?

The standout here is Glenmorangie’s ten year old. So sweet, so fruity, so mellow, and so damn drinkable, this is an utter delight for new and seasoned palates alike. You’ll find all you need to know via this link:

Glenmorangie ten year old

Money no object big hitters

Three to choose from again here, all of them quite simply bloody incredible.

Ardbeg 1974 Provenance If you like your peat, this will knock you out. One of the most endlessly tasty whiskies we’ve ever been lucky enough to taste. £1200 a bottle.

Bowmore Gold 1964 Few whiskies can make it to this age and still shine, but Bowmore’s gold not only shines, it positively sings. Sweet, delectable and epic it’s like nothing else we’ve tasted. £3000 a bottle.

Old Pulteney 21 year old Just voted the world’s best whisky for 2012, this is a genuinely wonderful dram with glorious sea salt notes echoing its wild coastal roots. Running out fast though since its award, but still under £100 a bottle if you can find it.

Peat treats

Peat splits whisky lovers but don’t knock it until you’ve tried it. All you’ll get to start with is the heavy medicinal notes it brings on, but take time and you’ll find a wealth of variety in there too. Whether that hooks you or not, there’s only one way to find out. Our top three are:

Caol Ila 12 year old A light and very classy introduction to a classic peated whisky

Ardbeg Supernova Turning up the price just north of £100, this one’s worth every penny

Bruichladdich Octomore Rebel distillers Bruichladdich serve up the world’s most heavily peated whisky. She’s not for beginners, but for peat addicts this is one to wallow in

Something for everyone

Wherever you are in the world, you can always find a bottle of Johnnie Walker Black label, a simply splendid blend

Johnnie Walker Black label