Single malt or a blend?
Although single malts make up just a small percentage of the entire Whisky market, over the past few decades they've managed to achieve something of a cult status.
They've undeniably earned this - a good single malt can be an *extraordinary* experience - but a decision on whether 'to be single malt or not to be single malt?' should depend first and foremost on who is going to be raising the glass.
For the Whisky-novice or the advanced beginner with a slant for the lighter dram, a blend is a good choice. It is more balanced and less expressive.
Drilling deeper into the right choice within the range of blends, we've brought together our 'Blended, not Stirred' pack, which is an excellent selection worth checking for some great blend ideas.
Single malts are usually stronger in character, more complex and 'say' more, making them considered the preserve of the connoisseur or the well-journeyed whisky lover.
If the single malt edges out the blend in your final decision, you'll need to get an idea of what the different regions bring to the bottle. Is it the smoke-filled room from a peat fire or the gentle caress of a sherry kiss?
How old Whisky should I buy?
Is older Whisky better? By and large, yes, it usually is. Taking this as the starting point, however, don't get carried away with it, as prices can shoot up dramatically with age.
Having sampled many, many, many (did we say many?) Whiskies, the experts here at Flaviar can share with you that the 'sweet spot' for a Scotch Whisky is often at 18 years.
Beyond this, it does indeed continue to improve with ageing, but at 21 years, 25 years and later whisky birthdays the difference in quality is often not as noticeable as the difference it will make to the weight of your wallet.
Big Brand or Craft Producer?
Most of the largest Whisky producers tend to keep various lines under the same name, with the premium Whisky line and then the more affordable ones. The prices for these Whiskies vary along the line, but in general there is a solid consistency and the price-performance ratio across the range tends to be good too.
With the smaller, boutique distilleries, things can vary quite a lot. You can definitely find yourself an excellent whisky for a decent price, but you can just as easily be duped into paying over the odds. If you are not yet in the zone of a whisky geek (oh yes, we're getting you there), going for the craft distilleries can be tricky and is best left to the experts.