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It’s definitely an acquired taste – despite being a quarter Scottish myself, it took me a while to understand and appreciate a good single malt. As in most things, it’s best to go for the high quality stuff; I don’t know how people manage to drink more commercial blends on a regular basis, for example, what’s the point? Another tip was going from ‘drinking’ to ‘tasting’; ie keeping the portions small, adding a teaspoonful or so of water (not ice, it drastically waters down the whiskey as it melts), and taking your time.

You can’t go wrong with this excellent series of YouTube reviews: https://www.youtube.com/user/ralfystuff

As for recommendations, stay away from the peaty, smoky stuff to start with – your Islay whiskies like Ardbeg, Laphroaig, Caol Ila etc. they take a little longer to come to terms with.

Good introductory whiskies are Glenmorangie, Oban, Balvenie, Auchentoshan. 12 year olds (very) roughly speaking.

A good glass helps, these are excellent: http://www.glencairnwhiskyglass.com

Take your time with the aroma, letting it drift past your nose a few times. Appreciate the colour – the more straw coloured whiskies usually indicate that no caramel has been used to give it that golden brown colour, or it isn’t chill-filtered, and that’s generally accepted to be a good thing. Taste a bit and try to identify the flavours. Appreciate the initial flavour, how it changes, and of course the all-important aftertaste.

This are just ravings from a very inexperienced taster. It’s a lot of fun and definitely a rabbit hole once you get started!