That’s the thing about Scotch, you either love it or hate it. It’s polarizing, potent and burns just a little on the way down. It’s kind of like the sushi of alcohol. The first few times you have it you hold your breath, swallow quickly and possibly gag. But then one day, mostly likely drunk, you have a bite and realize it’s the greatest food ever. Well that, my friends, is Scotch.

The world of Scotch can be tough to navigate through. With its high price points and subtle nuances, how do novices like ourselves learn what we like? What we need is a place for the higher learning of Scotch. A place where people would gather to talk about, share and taste the widest selection of Whiskey in the city. Where the furniture is pretentious but the people are not. A place in lower Manhattan, so, we don’t have walk too far. Ask and ye shall receive.

The Brandy Library, located in TriBeCa, is the perfect place to go to fall in love with Scotch. The beautiful mahogany detailing, soft leather seats and floor to ceiling shelving filled with beautiful amber bottles certainly doesn’t hurt, but the real draw is their Spirit Sommelier, Ethan. Ethan, who is in it for the love of the game, is virtual Scotch encyclopedia, who can help you pick the drink that is just right for you. If you like your Scotch peety he’ll quickly rattle off three great values from the Island of Islay and tell you all about the brothers who made them. Looking with something with a little more muscle, he’ll have 4 different types of Talisker or if you are just looking for something that will go down easy; well he’s got that too. Every Saturday night, from 5pm – 8pm, Ethan holds a tasting to share 4 different Scotches that are new or unique. When we went this Saturday, the theme was Scotch from the islands, and we got to try a great cross-section. The Scotches were very different in aroma and taste ranging from vanilla and cherries (Balbair 16 year) to campfire and bbq (Talisker Distiler’s Edition). And for the financially challenged, these tasting are FREE and everybody knows free Scotch always tastes better.

Before we left, we grabbed Ethan for a few minutes and asked him to recommend some Scotch that are a great introduction for the non-drinker. Here were his top picks…

Glenfarclas 17 year, $17/glass
This is your classic Scotch from Speyside, which has aromas of rich dried fruits and cherries. It is also an independently owned and operated distillery and we like that.

Scapa 14 year, $14/glass
This was one of the Scotches that we got to try at the tasting and was a favorite among the group. There were intense aromas of toasty vanilla, citrus oils and hint of coconut. It was smooth and quite approachable.

Caol Ila 12 year, $14/glass
This Scotch (pronounced “kul ila”) from the Island of Islay, has a nice amount of peet on the nose. There is also an interesting balance of smokiness and sweetness.

Springbank 10 year, $13/glass

This one is our personal favorite. This Scotch from Campelltown is smooth and has notes of vanilla, earth and a hint of butterscotch. The 15 year is also available but we preferred the 10 year because it felt a little more mellow.

Whether you’re a wine drinker or a beer drinker, expanding your world of alcohol can an enriching experience. Perhaps the first few sips of Scotch may not be your cup of tea, but hang in there and keep on tasting, because you never know if that glass will be the one that goes down smoothly and gently coats each taste bud with golden-amber goodness. And that my friends, buds the beginning of a beautiful and everlasting love affair.