Start with frugal spirits, then graduate to premium ones

My day job involves writing a personal finance blog and a message I’ve written repeatedly on that site is that you should start with the basics and work your way up. By this I mean that when you first start experiencing something, whether it’s your first dram of Scotch or your first investment, start with the basics. Start with something that is inexpensive, representative of the style, and work your way to the more luxurious items.

The perfect analogy is coffee. You can start with a cup of instant coffee or you spend $10,000 for a state of the art coffeemaker that will absolutely blow you away. The problem with starting at $10,000 is twofold:

  • What if you don’t like coffee? If that’s the case, you just wasted $10,000 on something that a $1 cup could’ve taught… that you don’t like coffee.
  • You won’t appreciate the coffee from the $10,000 as much as you would if you started drinking $1 cups of instant coffee and worked your way up.

So at the heart of this there’s a bit of frugality involved because you want to enjoy the things in life but you don’t want to spend all your money on just a few things. This extends perfectly into the enjoyment of Scotch, and other spirits, because you can’t appreciate just how good a dram is unless you’ve had a chance to start at the beginning.

So don’t run out and buy an 18-year or 25-year bottle, start with something from the lower end of the price spectrum so you know what you are getting for your money. You’ll learn to appreciate different aspects about a 10 year that you won’t get in a 25.

For example, I recently purchased a Glen Morangie 10 Year after a visit through Costco. Despite it’s seemingly younger age, it’s only slightly cheaper than a 12 year Glenlivet (I attribute that to production size), yet it’s a relatively smooth dram for not yet being a teenager.

Start with something cheap and slowly graduate yourself as you learn to appreciate.

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