A Whisky Guide on Steroids

 Did you find the information in the Beginner's Guide useful, or at least mildly entertaining? If you did, I'm pleased.
- In that case, this guide served its purpose - providing some elementary guidance in the wonderful whisky world.
-- However, unless you're already bored, this is just the first part of a long journey of discovery. This Beginner's
--- Guide covers a lot of the basics, but there is a lot more to learn about single malt whisky. There's not just a lot
---- of extra 'theory' to digest, but it certainly helps if you manage to increase your 'malt mileage' through tasting.

Some Recent Testimonials for Malt Madness:

Johannes: Please add my email to your mailing list.  I am most interested in your ADVANCED BEGINNERS GUIDE .pdf. 
Your writing style and wit are most enjoyable and the information is essential to my burgeoning obsession.
 
Not that you don't have better things to read.....but......
 
I began with Scotch through my father last year when he offered me a ROB ROY (not really a ROB ROY - his unique version  1 part Scotch  1/2 part sweet vermouth, 1 part 7-up) which I truly enjoyed.  I am 37 years old and I had never tried one of his drinks when offered.  I thereafter accepted whenever he offered which became each visit to his home.  Later that year I wished to make one of my own at my home when I realized that my bar was lacking in Scotch of any varietals.  I made the drink using bourbon and was thoroughly disappointed.
 
Thus began my quest for Scotch that started on the blend isle of the local supermarket.  Being in California, the prices varied widely (especially considering the exchange rate between GBP and USD).  I sought the cheapest for the mixed drink and was not disappointed.  However the bottle remained in my bar until I hosted a poker game and a friend asked for whiskey.  he saw the scotch and poured a glass with ice.  He offered me a taste and I found little interest in the cheap blend - in fact I was rather turned aback.  My friend said it was not at all good scotch but works fine for mixed drinks and suggested a stalwart of Johnny Walker Black for just such occasions.  He mentioned that I might try a Single Malt for even more fun.
 
My next purchase was - you guessed it - Walker Black.  Quite pleasant on ice.  But I knew there had to be more to life.  But with so many offerings at my local Beverages and More! location, I had no clue how to spend my money to begin.  Thus came the Google search for Whiskey.  I found Whiskey Magazine for which I now subscribe.  I found such books by famed authors.  I then came across what has become my guide to happiness......your web-site.
 
I have spent hours upon hours reading and learning and trying and tasting and spending and sobering up since.  Your site has provided me with enough information to sound knowledgeable and has provided me with enough reference to make sound purchase decisions.  I thank you for everything you do and I always look forward to your new reports and updates.
 
I now have a separate shelf for my "collection" of SMSW.  My new-found knowledge has even gotten me some free tasting of things like the Glenfiddich 33yr. 1973 (Btl. No. 1!!) from the bar manager at the Napa-Rose in the Grand Californian (if not familiar - very posh indeed).  His Boss received the bottle as a present and after several tastings of those on his shelf, he offered a nip from the 33yr. that he had to pull from deep in the wine cellar.  I was thrilled to have spoken to the point that he wanted to impress me.  It worked as to the value of the bottle, but so much as to the value of the product.  I have had better for far less cash than that bottle was worth (although still very good).  It appears as though my "learning" has progressed to the point that I can now speak like a MADman - if not a MANIAC!!
 
Thank you again.
 
Dave Wankel
 
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Congratulations on a brilliant website!  I happened upon it during a search for Single Malt whiskies.
This is without an iota of doubt, the best and most authoritative site on the subject I have come across.
Keep up the good work!
 
Badri Narayan, Pittsburgh, PA, USA
 
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Wow!
 
That was probably the single most kick-ass web page I've ever seen in my life.
Thanks for an awesome browsing experience.
 
J. Willis
 
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One of the very best web sites I have had the pleasure of visiting for the following reasons:
- Very informative (I have enjoyed Scotch and Single Malts for years but now I know how to distinguish why)
- Very well designed (Colorful, easy to navigate, interesting, informative)
- You have kindled in me an intense interest in learning more about Single Malts and enjoying them more.
Keep up the good work. I will be back again and again. Thank you very much.
 
Al Smith

 
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Just had to tell you that I found your site one of the most interesting and well laid out sites on SMS. I have been using Michael Jackson's guide for many years (about 10) as my guide, and it is very refreshing to have a "second opinion" in order to balance where I sit on a particular malt. Although never getting as deep as you have (probably afraid of the work envolved) in rating each one, I have more than enjoyed SM experiences  enormously.
Keep up the good work on your site.
 
Cary Kitner
Montreal, Canada 
 
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THANK YOU!!!!!!!!! I've finally found a decent whisky site.  Even though I have only been enjoying and appreciating the elixir of life for a few years already, I really appreciate the information and interaction of a good web site such as yours.  Mr. Jackson's book is good, but your more concise approach and taste system is more to my liking.  This was recently proven when, before having just discovered your website, I purchased bottles of Lagavulin 16 yrs. and Dalmore 12 yrs. for a reception celebrating the birth of my first son after having four (4) daughters. I thought the Lagavulin was the best I've ever had, and the Dalmore was very good. To say the least, about two dozen men and a few women agreed with me. I even had some Jack Daniels, Crown Royal, and Cognac on the table for the traditionalists, but after one sip (nee breather!) of the Lagavulin, the other stuff was hardly touched by anyone.
 
Again, THANK YOU!!! Keep it up.
 
Richard Klein
 
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BRAVO! BRAVO indeed!!!
I have thoroughly enjoy reading and learning from the vast amount of information on your web site. Not only is it educational, but also outrageously amusing and light hearted, down-right funny many times, absolutely enjoyable all of the time. I had a faint notion of what single malt was, mainly thanks to my favourite (and only) brother. He lived in England for several years and presented me with a bottle of Balvenie 12yo Doublewood, which I proceeded to compare to a bottle of Dewars I had stashed away. I actually did not care much for whiskey (I was strictly a wine guy), but after this gift I began my "journey". Two months ago I spent a couple of weeks in Scotland and THEN I bumped into your web site. I am now on my way to becoming a malt maniac. Starting with Balvenie, Lagavulin, Talisker, Cragganmore, Glenfiddich (Havana "version"), Ardbeg and Dalmore.
Not bad for a Venezuelan-born, USA-raised, now Spanish citizen new malt addict.
 
Congratulations on a fine page!! And CHEERS!
 
Arturo from Madrid
 
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I would like to take a moment to thank you for producing and maintaining the single best single malt website my eyes have ever seen.  Each page is useful, informative and entertaining.  I can embark upon the world of SMSW with confidence, grace and competence and know that I have a "friend in the business".  I was your typical new Scotch drinker only a few years ago and had experienced perhaps only three or four blended Scotches (J&B, Walker Black Label, Ballentine, etc.), and just three single malts (Scapa 12, Glenlivet 12, and Glenfiddich 12).  Now I have been brave and bold enough to venture into more unfamiliar territory and have discovered that there is indeed as diverse a palate in Scotch tasting as there is in beer--my previous alcohol-based hobby.  Thank you so very much and I hope you don't get cirrhosis.
 
Brian Block
 
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I'm a single malt beginner and I credit you with introducing me to single malts. It's opened up a whole new world of alcoholic pleasure. Until I ran across this website, I was enjoying Dewars by the jug for years. At a little over $30.00 for a liter and a half, I was able to stretch my purchases out over a month. Now, after experimenting with single malts, my taste buds have been irreversibly altered. Consequently, my bank account takes a dangerous plunge once a week. I enter the liquor store, bypass the huge bottles of Dewars and head straight for the single malts. My son and I have visited a few pubs here in the Houston Texas area where they offer a single malt "tour of Scotland". You get to taste a miserly thimble full of various single malts and attempt to pass judgment on them. I realize, after reading some of your commentary, that this may not be the best way to judge. However, that's where I discovered my latest favorite, Highland Park, and after buying my first bottle, I'm now hooked. I also tasted some Islay's, Lagavulin 16 yr and Talisker.......... painful!?! To my tastes, I likened the experience to drinking a mixture of cold medicine, shoe polish, liquid smoke, tincture of iodine and then for the grand finale, someone hits your tongue with a hammer. This experience with Islay's has convinced me that people who drink them and like them, are certainly from another planet. I feel strongly that someday this alien conspiracy will be revealed. But please don't panic, continue your work with single malts! I enjoy your website very much, live long and prosper.
 
George Warren
 
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I am a new bartender working in a hotel bar in the Kansas City area.  We have a clientelle that appreciates a single malt scotch.  I have been using your site to learn and appreciate the time you took to make this website. After I have learned more, in the next few weeks, I plan on offering a tasting of single malts.  Included in this will be tips on how to experience different scotches. Provided that I include your website information, would you be comfortable with me printing out copies of some of your pages and use it as a guide for the people attending? I have found your site to be very imformative and concise yet detailed enough for later reading.  I think that these printed materials would be very helpful for the attendees. Let me know your thoughts, and thank you for the great website.
 
Alex St. Clair, Overland Park, KS
 
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Hi! I just wanted to let you what a superb website you have!
I'm pretty much a single malt novice myself, and I did find your "beginner section" very useful.
Thanks for the best single malt site I have seen, and keep up the good work!
 
Best Regards, Anders Engstrom, Sweden
 
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Hi Johannes,
 
Thanks for this great site!! The information is invaluable, and I can't over emphasize what an enjoyable read it is.
I'm very new to SMSW, only about 5 months, but I'm hooked! This August I became a first time homeowner here in West Hartford, CT USA. A bright spot to go with the usual challenges of homeownership is that I now live right across the street from a very nice liquor store!  I wasn't an experienced drinker, and on first visit to the store, bought bottles of Knob Creek Bourbon and Herradura Tequila. These were good enough & helped me relax when I needed to. But I quickly became interested in finding more information on other high quality liquors, and soon came across your site on the internet. Not to blow too much smoke – But its such a great site, and has been incredibly helpful.

Also, prior to this, my only experience with SMSW was a glass of Glenfittich, over ice, at a bar in Hartford! - It was not anything to write home about. So, back on the first Friday of September 2005, inspired by reading maltmadness, I walked into the liquor store. It was a lovely fall New England afternoon. Like a typical novice, there were fragments of info regarding SMSW floating in my head, all new and unformed.  Looking over the selection of bottles I was immediately confused, and quite intimidated by the prices I saw a bottle on the top shelf of the store with a name that looked familiar. It cost $85, which is more than I though I'd ever pay for a bottle of anything. Going on instinct, I blindly bought it, hoping that my memory was correct, hoping that this was a quality SMSW. I was also hoping that it would be worth the money. I had bought my first bottle of SMSW. It was 18 year old Highland Park. It was really frickin' good, and well worth the $$$!
 
Now, only 5 months later I'm up to 25 bottles, and have inspired at least 10 other people to buy bottles of their own. My father (in his mid-70's) takes yearly trips to Ireland or Italy. Through sharing my interest in SMSW, he and I are now planning a trip to Scotland to visit some distilleries. My wife, who is a longtime lover of red wine, now is a major fan of Glenmorangie and Laphroaig (depending on her mood).
 
So it's been a great couple of months getting to know SMSW, and I couldn't have done it as well, or had as much fun without the help of your site. So even though my liver & bank account may disagree - Thanks a bunch for starting this site and for all the work that I can see you put into it. Please add me to the list, and thanks again.
 
Dave Ciciotte, West Hartford, USA
 
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Malt Medic, please!
 
Hi Johannes, my name is Ricardo Dias from Portugal.
I have been fustigated by the worst type of malt madness since i discovered the pleasures of this nectar 4 months ago. I did read a book in the last november where the guys there was simply aficionated by Laphroaig and found too a bottle of Edradour that, gently, made discriptions of almost one entire page. Well, I have to try some stuff like this, I though, and, when I went to London to enjoy the last Reveillon with my brother i found in a supermarket the Laphroaig 10yo. I bought too a bottle of Edradour 10yo and the Jura Superstition (because of the bottle I confess), in this same trip.
 
Well, let me abreviate: All my prejudices about whisky gone down when i started to tasting that stuff.
I quickly started to get some information in the net and let me say about this: Malt Madness is the best site about SMSW i found. Very well documented and writen in such a way is a pleasure to acquire knowledge about it. Congratulations. I hope they get you a Quaich someday.
 
Four months later and i have in my shelves the following stuff (in alphabetical order):
Aberlour 10yo, Ardbed Ten, Arran NAS, Balblair 12yo, Balvenie Doublewood 12yo, Bowmore 12yo, Caol Ila 12yo, Cardhu 12yo, Dalwhinnie 15yo, Glenlivet 12yo, Jura Superstition, Edradour 10yo, Edradour C/S Gaja Barolo Finnish, Glenfarclas 105, Laphroaig 10yo, Laphroaig Quarter Cask; Laphroaig C/S Red Stripe; Macallan Fine Oak 12yo; Talisker 10yo. I have tasted lots of Bourbon/Tenessee, Vatted and Bastard malts too like Jim Bean, Jack Daniel´s, Wild Turkey, Four Roses, Old Virginia; Black Bottle, JW Green Label; Glen Morven Islay 12yo, Glen Morven Highlands 12yo, Glen Lairg 12yo (the best bang for your buck stuff i found, for just  € 11,00 per bottle and for this reason the most consumed ´till now with +- 12 bottles empties), etc. And lots of current blends (not drams but "dramas" after you try a good SM) too.
 
Well, talking ´bout dramas, doctor, I hope my situation can be fixed, ahahahah. I just mutilated my reserves, have a few friends saying: "What´s wrong with you, where did you stop?", and even had to dismiss a girl with whom I usually intimate ´cause I was afraid she wouln´t give me pleasure enough as the Laph i was trying, ahah.
 
Well, dear Johannes, I hope we can be friends someday and wish you can keep on your amazing work.
Sinceraly,
 
Ricardo Dias
 
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Hi Johannes
 
Have just spent a few hours reviewing the Malt Matrix and results of the 2005 Awards Tastings. Absolutely wonderful information. What a joy it must be to be on the panel and have the opportunity to taste such wonderful drams. Your web site is now a definite reference site which is easily arrived at via an icon on my desktop. It is a MUST VISIT site for anyone who has the slightest interest in Single Malt Whisky. I have one question / favour to ask of you. Do you have the Malt Matrix in a "printer friendly" format, or do you have it available for Excel format. I am absolutely sure that Members of The Gillies Club-Australia, would use the material as their "Whisky Bible".
 
Slainte'
 
Angelo Torresan - The Laird (Himself), Gilles Club - Australia
 
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Wow! Thanks for the great site!  I have truly enjoyed it. (and still am!) I am a beginner, and have been looking for an informative, good looking, easily navigatable site, and yours fills my order.  I've learned alot about sms (I now have to go back to my local TGIF to apologize to the bartender who served me Glenlivet in a snifter, and I indignantly asked for a "proper" glass, a tumbler. woops!), and have started saving for a "good" dram. I will be visiting often. I look forward to learning (and tasting) more about single malts from your way-cool site.
 
Dan McCrossen, USA
 
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Johannes, I certainly hope you are planning on keeping up this site for ...well......forever.
It is certainly the most honest and acessable scoth whisky site, and has been invaluable to me in my exploration of single malts.
Keep up the good work, and please try to find time to keep the site and your passion up to date. Scotch bless you,
 
Duane, USA
 
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Hi, Johannes!
 
I've been visiting your site for, what, 2 years?, and it just keeps getting better and better.
I enjoy most every section of your site, especially the ratings and public warnings and I just have to say this: PLEASE keep warning folks away from that horrific Loch Dhu!  I know some folks like it (!!!), but the large majority ABSOLUTELY DESPISE IT! I especially love your tasting reports.  Your hopalong HTH comparison method is very similar to my practice: I seem to have relatively poor/undeveloped taste/smell memory, so I HTH a pair of malts and do this sequentially. We disagree on Ardbeg 10 vs. Ardbeg 17 (I love the peaty 10, but consider the low peated 17 to be not really an Ardbeg, except legally), but that is the only serious disagreement I can find, which means that you are helping me out considerably by serving as "malt explorer point man".   So, keep up the good work, keep drinking and reporting from the front lines, and, if you feel like lowering Loch Dhu's lofty 8 points, have at it!   With a chainsaw! ;-)
 
Slainte,
 
Ed Voigtman
 
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I'm an American citizen who will soon be turning 21, our country's legal age for drinking, and in the time leading up to my new privilege I've been trying to do some research into the different stuff out there.  After looking into it, SMSW caught my eye with it's variety and the things that connoisseur had said about them. Then I came across your sight and now I feel more than prepared to take the first steps into malt land.  Your website is extremely informative, from how the whisky is made to the best ways to shop to the recommendations for a beginner to the proper way to enjoy a single malt and more.  Your site has been a superb resource and I will be sure to return to it as I make my adventure through the different malts.  Thanks! Now I must simply wait for that first dram...

Brandon Seger
 
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Thank you for the wonderful site you have assembled.  I have only been "exposed" to single malts for some five years.  I have had the opportunity on several occasions to sample in some fine upscale drinking establishments where there are 30 or more single malts to choose from. Finding your website has enhanced my single malt experience.  It is great to learn about the complex world of malt whiskeys and your rating system and black book notes are terrific for help in selecting the next taste experience. My first adventure based on your ratings (and M. Jackson's as well) was a bottle of Laphroaig 10 year old, which I shared with my brother on vacation this April.  While it was "extreme" as you indicated, we had both tried Islay malts previously and sort of knew what to expect.  We really enjoyed the Laphroaig and agreed to surprise each other next year on vacation with a bottle each selected through research on your site.
 
I have been back to your site several times and have referred it to several friends.
Please keep up the good work and know there are appreciative single malt lovers out here.
 
Gerald (Jerry) Stensrud
 
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Johannes, I salute you and your maniacs!! It is to you and your site that I owe my enjoyment of the Scottish Single Malt. You have the best whisky site I have ever seen so far. It gets better all the time. I almost laughed my eyes out after I found your site at Altavista for the first time. That was almost two years ago. I just came to find a present for a friedn. I myself only sometimes had blends before and did not like them much. But I liked your stories a lot. I stayed for more than three hours on your site because how hard I tried I could not leave the site. I laughed and learned a lot and became more interested. Why do you even have a links page? I followed some links but got bored and returned to Malt Madness again. This happened different times. The next day I bought two bottles of lagavulin, one for me and one for my friend. The rest was history. We both now have joined a whiksy club here (sorry no website yet) and we started a new tradition - we will have a Malt Madness evening one time every year. It will be in December. We will then choose our menu from the whisky's you have tried in your log. Then we will give points and put them on web some time. So know you have faithful diciples in the north!
 
A big smile and many thanks from Sweden.
 
Horst Carlsson
 
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Hello from Memphis, Tennessee, USA
 
You are one crazy dude, but obviously a genius and you have developed the best Scotch web site on the planet.  I am a fledgling connoisseur of Single Malt Scotch, having made my discovery as the result of reading 6 fictional novels buy the author, WEB Griffith.  The hero in this series of novels drank "The Famous Grouse".  I thought it was a fictional scotch, until I found myself in a pub in Niagara on the Lake, Canada, where I see a bottle of The Famous Grouse and "boom", I am off to the races.  Shortly thereafter I discovered Single Malts and I spend as much time as possible experimenting. I have around 20 - 30 different brands at home at any given time. Its a marvelous way to kill time and brain cells.
All I want to say is congratulations and please continue to carry the flag.
 
Jerry Hubbard
 
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What a kick ass site from the content, design, and graphics!!!!
Don't ever stop! You are to be congratulated.
 
James Blackwell
 
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Hi johannes, your page is fabulous!  i had my first introduction to single malts two years ago when i tried a small sip of a Macallan-18 from a friend.  it was great and i wanted to learn a little more about single malts, but knew not where to begin.  well, now i've found the place. :)  now that i don't feel so ignorant, i think i'll head to the liquor store and pick-up a sampler and perhaps share with some friends. :)  thanks much.
 
Jeff Ruby
 
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I thoroughly enjoyed your website regarding single malt scotches.  I must say that though I have been drinking it for years (oban and craggenmore are my favorites, though Glen Livet is the old standby, everyone has it) I still prefer mine on the rocks, it's a temperature thing I guess. Two questions: I am assisting in opening a high end martini and wine bar in Omaha Nebraska (Yes... Nebraska), and would love to hand out printed copies of your beginners section to employees.  Would you mind? Secondly; Aside from Glen Livit, Oban, and craggenmore what would be a few high end bottles that you would suggest, and the "Best" single malt out there?
 
Thanks,
 
Jeff Salzer
 
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Hi Johannes!
 
My name is JP Andrews, I'm 38 year old and I have been dabbling in single malts for a couple of years now, but not in a serious way, just a bottle here and there. Over the last few months I've found myself becoming more and more interested in the subject so I decided to search the Internet for a little information. I want you to know that your site - Malt Madness - is the best site I've seen on the subject (in truth it is one of the best web sites on any subject I've even seen). I found it informative, helpful, thought provoking and enjoyable. I learned so much by reading the beginner's guide! Thank you for taking the time to put this wonderful site together, I will be telling several of my friends about it in the next few days.
 
Take care,
 
JP Andrews
 
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I've been following your site for, well, over a year now and wanted to say how much I thoroughly enjoy it!  Much like a Laphroaig on a cold winters night after a filling of steak and potatoes!  I hope you keep it going, you're doing an excellent job and I truly appreciate and applaude your efforts. I thank-you for creating this fantastic forum for all Malt Madness fanatics like myself.
 
Cheers,
 
Ken Seton, Montreal, Canada
 
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Johannes,
 
What a wonderful, humorous, and informative site you have put together!!!
I found your site by searching for "single malt scotch guide" on www.google.com
 
I loved reading your web site.  So much of it sounded familiar.  I too was a Cognac-head, and recently discovered the wonders of single-malt whisky. I am still really a beginner, but have tried Speyburn 10 Years (which I agree with you -- It's not THAT bad), Glenmorangie 10 Years (I agree with yoo again -- much better than Speyburn). Recent health reports say a few drinks a day are actually good for your heart and decrease the chances of developing Alzheimer's -- all the more reason to enjoy the water of life!
 
Thanks again for your wonderful web site - which is both entertaining and informative!.
You have become a hero to we newly-converted midwestern United States Single Malt Scotch drinkers!
 
Regards,
 
Kimmer Smith Indianapolis, Indiana USA
 
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Johannes,
 
Just wanted to drop you a little thank you note.
 
I have just started a course on Web Site design and our first assignment was to evaluate a web site.  I searched for a site about one of the finer things in life and found your site.  Very impressive.  The layout meets all of the criterion our instructor laid out, if you care to know that. I am quite impressed by the layout and the ease at which I can find information I am looking for.  The content is also great.  I am sure after the presentation to the rest of my class you should be getting a number of other visits.  Thanks again, keep up the great work and hope you get plenty of chances to sample over the holidays.
 
Kurtis Wagner, Winnipeg, MB Canada
 
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God exists and he drinks whisky!
Maltmadness is an excellent site befitting an excellent subject. Thank you.
 
Pieter Lauwers, Belgium
 
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Dear Johannes,
 
I stumbled across your website as I was enjoying a selection or six from my humble collection of SMS.  You are a very good writer.  I'm glad you are genuinely capable and willing to share your experiences with other maltmadmen and maltmadwomen.  It was especially entertaining to read Log Entry #80.  Good luck in your quest, whatever it may become.
 
Rich Lunardi, San Mateo, California
 
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Thanks for the great site!  Rarely do I find precisely the information I'm seeking during my first search online, but
maltmadness.com was perfection.  I'm a wine drinker who was looking for something new to dabble in, and wanted more
information on what to expect in single malt scotch - you've helped a load!  Thanks again.
 
Mark Flocco
 
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I truly enjoy your superb website. As you well know, there are many whisky sites around these days.
Very few are as interesting as yours.  I particularly like that you don't take yourself too seriously.
Your whisky notes state your point of view well.
 
Cheers,
 
Mark Kaplan
 
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Johannes,
 
A world class website! I've been checking it out for about a year and have made quite a few purchases based on your recommendations. Please, pulleeeese, taste the Aberlour a'Bunadh Batch #6. Don't deny your taste buds one more day! This is definately a top tener! WOWW!!!!! Please consider adding some Rum tastings to your site.
 
Paul Galli, Sunnyvale, CA, USA
 
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Hello Johannes!!!
 
My name is Per Ousbäck, and i just accidently dived into the water of life. I bought a bottle of Laphroaig on Milano airport, and found that the world of Single Malts must be explored. I was eager to try out other whisky´s as well, so i bought a bottle of
Talisker and a bottle of Balvenie(doublewood), and now i´m hooked..
 
I just want to thank you for your wonderful whiskypage, which is now my guide to the wonderful world of malts.
As a beginner one really needs some direction, and you have given me that through your pages.
 
Thank you
 
Regards, Per Ousbäck, Sweden
 
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Johannes,
 
I saw your website about 3 days ago.  I was really looking for a site like this, but biased towards rum, one of my favorites.  Anyhow, I read your page pretty much all the way through over a couple of days and had come to the conclusion that it was time to try real whisky instead of crappy rum.  I made the commitment yesterday, went out and bought an inexpensive, but decent, bottle of smsw and tried it last night (Auchentoshan 10...long story).  I would like to thank you for pointing people like myself in this direction.
 
The Auchentoshan 10, while not rated high on your list, rates at the top for me, right now. Since my only other experience with *any* type of whisk(e)y is Jack Daniels, I have no choice but to rate it at the top.  But it is galaxies better than American whisky.  Definately more body, complex flavor/aroma, etc.  You already knew that, though.
 
Again, many thanks for the wonderful website.
Had it been any less enthusiastic aboue smsw, I would probably have not even tried any.
Keep up the good work.
 
Peter Norgard
 
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You just made my day by providing such a fun/informativ/brilliant!/what-ever-good-word-you-can-find site!!!
I'm trying to taste as much whisky I can (time/money-issues), to perhaps, one day have the possibility to apply for a membership in your exclusive group of maniacs...  Anyway, keep up the good work, and good luck in the future.
 
Slainthe Mhath
 
Mattias Nordkvist, Helsingborg, Sweden
 
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Johannes --
 
I recently decided it was time to step up the quality of my drinking experiences, from beer, to blended whiskey, and now, I am preparing to strike out into the world of Single Malt Scotch Whiskey. Beginning my search on the Internet, I stumbled into your site. What an overload of fantastic information! There are dozens of sites relating to Single Malts on the web, but yours is the only site I have bookmarked now, its all I need. I still have yet to decide which bottle shall be my first purchase, but I am sure after reading your Black Book again, I will settle on one, and begin the adventure.Thanks for the information, its been very helpful!
I have already steered several friends to your site, they all love it, also!
 
Scott Lazzari, Natick, Massachussetts (Just outside of Boston), USA
 
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Sir, may I congratulate you on an excellent web site!
It is well-designed, amusing, interesting and unusually comprehensive. I understand that the 'whisky' 'whiskey' issue is largely to do with a legal argument concerning methods and place of production  (much like the 'Champagne' 'sparkling wine'
issue). In your explanation of words you describe a 'dram' as meaning 'a glass of'; I know I'm just being pedantic but a dram (or drachm) is a precise measurement equal to 1/8th of a fluid ounce or 60 minims. Since metrification and the Weights and Measures Act of 1985 it has been illegal (in the European Union) to sell spirits in any quantity other than multiples of 25ml. You may still be encouraged by a friend to stay for "a wee drachm" or kid yourself you wont really drink today, just have a drachm, as it is a relatively small measurement (nowhere near what you would expect to be served in a bar these days) and is useful to maintain the illusion of not over-indulging. I agree with a great deal of what you say and, although I differ on issues such as dilution, I am impressed by your informative rather than dictatorial approach to teaching the world the values of malt whisky; as you say, it is a matter of individual taste.
 
All the best.
 
Tom Spencer
 
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Johannes,
 
Hello and salutations from fresno. just wanted to drop you a line (finally) and let you know that malt madness kicks ass (like you did'nt already know).  i'm  one of those people who like to consider themselves a 'malt maniac'. it all started about seven years ago and theres no cure. my wife thinks i'm nuts, buying all the bottles i have, but she understands.  having found your site around 5 years ago i've been wanting to contact you but been too lazy, what with work and school it never ends,  nevertheless i frequent your site at least 2-3 times a week and have been pleasently entertained by your efforts.  thanks for the info and keep it coming.  one question though, your english is flawless, how did you pick it up?  being italian i also speak spanish and some french and dout i could write with the same fluidity (in spanish or french for that matter) that you present on your site.  nice talking to you finally, from reading and re-reading your entries i think of you as a brother.
 
sincerley, manny in california
 

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And those were just a few of the comments I received - mostly from people who apparently enjoyed my work.
I would LOVE to get some negative comments as well so I could improve Malt Madness further, but no luck so far...
I imagine those people just browse onwards to greener pastures on the web after reading the first few lines ;-)
 

 

Meanwhile, I thought I should add some 'testimonials' about Malt Madness that I've received by e-mail over the last two years to the bottom of this page. As you can see for yourself, some people do actually find the (free) information provided on these pages useful...

Oh, and one more thing... Some of these modern 'new media' - especially Facebook - are far more 'social' than I am.
I had to overcome some of my antisocial tendencies, but these days I'm a active on Twitter - and to a lesser extent on
Google+ and Facebook. If you follow me on Twitter I'll do my best to keep you informed about the important events in
the malt whisky world and developments around the Malt Madness website. As far as the Beginner's Guide to single malt
whisky is concerned: you might want to bookmark this page (simply hit CTRL+D on your keyboard) for future reference.

twitter-malt-madness-02

The main advantage
of an eBook from a
publisher's perspective
is that people can't
browse through its
pages in advance to
decide if it's actually
worth the money...

There's some room for improvement, I would say. And that's just one of the many
points where the 'commercial' guide failed to meet my expectations. The publishers
seem very happy to criticise others in their advertising rants, but don't care much
about living up to their promises after people have paid their 29,95 for the 'eBook'.
 
Carpetbaggers! I understand there's a very fine line between advertising and
outright lying, but these copywriters merrily dance all across it. False advertising!
The publishers promise that their guide provides more accurate and up-to-date
information than 'many of the websites on the internet' - but the contrary is true!

Apparently, the information in this 'Essential Guide to Scotch Whisky' was based on 'personal experiences and insights of experts in the field'. Well, that convinced me to order a copy immediately to see what glaring errors might have made their way onto our pages so I could rectify them. I felt that the price of 29,95 U$ Dollars or 14,95 GBP was a bit steep for an eBook, but at least if I ordered quickly I could be one one the 100 people to receive the 'special must-have bonuses' - six whisky tasting mats in PDF format with a value of 19,95 dollars.
 
So, then the guide itself would only be 10 dollars, right?  A much more attractive price, so I decided to do it.

strathisla12-1

The information in this 'Essential Guide to Scotch Whisky' was flimsy, sometimes inaccurate and often outdated.
So, I decided it was high time an alternative to their guide was published. Unfortunately, there have been... 'distractions'.
I started work on the ABG as early as May 2007, but since then I've been very busy reconstructing the Malt Madness and Malt Maniacs sites.
So, you'll have to rely on the information in the current Beginner's Guide and the hundreds of webpages on MM/MM for now.
 
Actually, that's probably thousands of webpages because WhiskyFun by fellow malt maniac Serge Valentin was added to our on-line whisky
trinity some time ago. I suggest you use all that free (and pretty reliable) information until I've finished work on the new websites. Then I'll
continue writing what should become 'the ultimate guide to whisky' - and possibly one of the most up-to-date ones as well. Because that is
one aspect where the 'Essential Guide' miserably fails to live up to its many promises. While a freak like myself considers information from
last year to be 'out of date', the publishers of the guide are most happy to pass off statistics from 2004 or even 2000 as 'up-to-date' in 2007.

I looked at it as an investment in the improvement of the quality of the Malt Madness & Malt Maniacs web sites.
The E-book would allow us to check our facts - and perhaps correct a few 'glaring errors'. Besides, I was very curious
about the identity of those 'experts in the field' and what they could teach me. Well, not much, as it turned out...
You can read my e-Book Review on a separate page. Bottom line: I wasn't impressed.

1930's copywriting
A Whisky Guide on Steroids!

 

Meanwhile, my research, deliberations and writings for the Advanced Beginner's Guide continue.
The good news is that I've already collected a LOT of information, but the bad news is that the
printable PDF file I had in mind has already grown in size to 27 Megabytes. I may have to get
to work on an alternative set-up that combines information in the file and on-line information.
Anyway, I'll get back to that around the publication date of the ABG; for now no predictions.

I can tell you a little bit more about my motivations to start writing the ABG, though...
The first version of this Beginner's Guide to Single Malt Scotch Whisky was published
in 1995 to help spread the word about malt whisky after my 'amazing discovery' of
the stuff a few years earlier. And just in case you didn't find the guide useful; please
keep in mind that it's still just an amateur effort, not to mention completely free ;-)  However, that 'amateur' status apparently disqualifies me from spreading the word.
 
Well, at least according to the publishers of the 'Essential Guide to Scotch Whisky'.

Below you can find a short review on that guide; I'm afraid
that the full version of my review was so damning that
it might spoil the mood a little bit... My only excuse for my
outbursts is the fact that I had just spent some very hard
earned money on it. What's more, I was halfway through
my 6th or 7th revision of this Beginner's Guide in 2007.
 
So, you can imagine how I felt when somebody pointed
me towards the 'Essential Guide to Scotch Whisky' and
I read the big WARNING on the site. Allow me to quote:
 
'DO NOT believe everything that you read about scotch
whisky - particularly on many of the websites on the
internet which are compiled by well intentioned amateur
enthusiasts and which can contain glaring errors or
"out of date" information.'

Well, that was a bit of a shock for pundits like the malt
maniacs and me. Have we been leading people astray for
over a decade now? Well, the whisky world is constantly
changing, so it's conceivable that the information on part
of our site is indeed 'out of date'. However,  that's only
natural because our archives go back to 1995. And let's
not forget that we're all doing this for free in our spare
time for the benefit of other whisky lovers world wide.

Nevertheless, the claim about those 'glaring errors' that they talked about had
me worried, so I kept reading on. If there were indeed mistakes on the website,
I could perhaps use this E-book to expand my knowledge and correct mistakes.
If it would allow me to to improve, it would be worth the effort to investigate.

 So, there's no need to sit around twiddling your thumbs while I finish the ABG. Why not go out and explore?
- First of all, there are three more site sections on Malt Madness that you might find of interest. For example,
-- the Distillery Data section you can find technical details, the history & tasting notes for all malt whisky
--- distilleries in Scotland. The mAlmanac is (for lack of a better term) a shopping guide with stuff like my own
---- favourite single malt whiskies and a 'reading list' with good whisky books, while my Liquid Log contains
----- a chronological overview of my alcoholic adventures. And there are many other communities and sites
------ about whisky, like Malt Maniacs, WhiskyFun and the Malt Maniacs & Friends group on Facebook.

Malt Whisky BasicsMalt Whisky VocabularyMalt Whisky RegionsMalt Whisky Distillation
whisky information

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