Lately, many readers have been asking me on what scotch would I recommend to a person who is exploring scotch for the first time.
As I mentioned in an earlier post, I believe that scotch is an acquired taste. While the bold and peaty (smoky) flavors of an Islay (for a read up on the various scotch-producing region and their different tastes, click here) scotch such as Laphroaig may interest a seasoned scotch drinker, it may quite simply be too overwhelming for the newcomer. "Best" is subjective, but I believe a good starter bottle should be high on the ease of drinkability, while still maintaining an interesting flavor profile, all at an affordable entry-level price.
The scotch that I whole-heartedly recommend to a newcomer is:
The Glenlivet 12 Years.
The Glenlivet 12 is a single malt scotch from the Speyside region. While it may not boast some of the complex flavors certain scotch have, it is the consistent and easy-drinking taste that makes The Glenlivet so appealing, giving them the honor of being the best selling single-malt whisky in the United States, as well as the world's second best selling single malt whisky.
The maturing process takes place in oak casks made from American oak that once contained bourbon, hence giving the scotch a delicious oak and vanilla flavor. For what it is worth, the Glenlivet 12 is the scotch that Tony Soprano regularly drinks in the show.
The Glenlivet 12 was not my first bottle of scotch (Johnnie Walker Black Label was my first), but it was the bottle that intrigued me enough to explore, and eventually discover my passion for scotch. Overall, a very pleasing single malt. The Glenlivet is widely available, and price is very reasonable (approx. $20 - $30ish for a 750ml bottle).