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Second Favourite whisky region

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What is your second-favourite whisky region?

Lowland
1
4%
Highland
1
4%
Speyside
8
32%
Island/Campbeltown
8
32%
Bourbon
5
20%
Irish
1
4%
Japanese
1
4%
 
Total votes : 25

Second Favourite whisky region

Postby Frodo » Wed Sep 14, 2005 10:34 pm

Dare I say the consensus favourite is fairly obvious?
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Postby Deactivated Member » Thu Sep 15, 2005 1:42 am

Obviously, the poll is only open to those who agree with you! I'll bet you will hear from some who don't.

I'm not answering because I don't have a second favorite. I guess I'd say Island, but I don't really think that a category that includes such stylistically and geographically disparate whiskies as Highland Park, Talisker, Tobermory, and Arran is an actual region--unless you subscribe to the "Fringe" region theory I posited many months ago, in which case it would include Campbeltown, Islay, and some northern Highlanders as well.

(Not only don't I have a second favorite; I don't feel that I have a favorite. It just so happens that several of my favorite distilleries stand within a few miles of each other.)
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Postby Admiral » Thu Sep 15, 2005 4:18 am

Occasionally I log on to polls, only to find that the site won't let me cast my vote. This has happened here, so I describe my vote instead.

I initially would have voted Speyside, and it's hard not to when you consider how many great distilleries (some of my favourites) are located in that region, (ie. Glenfarclas, Macallan, Longmorn, etc).

However, I confess I'm torn. I am just so in love with anything coming out of Brora and/or Clynelish these days that I feel compelled to vote "Highland" purely as a result of this one (two?!) distillery.

Could we add an "Undecided" category above? :wink:

Cheers,
Admiral
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Postby Aidan » Thu Sep 15, 2005 9:12 am

Well, I'm a freak as Irish is my favourate region, so I put Island in as second. ...
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Re: Second Favourite whisky region

Postby Deactivated Member » Thu Sep 15, 2005 12:57 pm

Frodo wrote:Dare I say the consensus favourite is fairly obvious?


Is it? My favourite area is Highland but I get the impression that this is not shared by everyone. I'm not always convinced that Speyside and Highland are separate - I never know quite where the boundary lies and I wouldn't be able to point to consistent style differences between the two. I adore Bourbon, but I probably drink better Bourbon than the typical drinker of American whisky. I like a good island malt, but find that most promise more than they deliver. Irish can be very good when it is good, but I don't know enough about it to find the very good every time. The only area that does very little for me is Lowland.

As I have posted elsewhere, I think the regional classification is useful for beginners as it helps them to distinguish between different styles and flavours of whisky. But when less common whiskies are factored in, the homogeneity of regional styles starts to break down. Ardmore and Brora taste like Island whiskies. Bunnahabhain tastes like a Speyside. Bruichladdich has more in common with Jura than, say, Lagavulin. Oban and Glenugie are like chalk and cheese. I suspect it would be more useful to label our preferences by taste profiles rather than regions.
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Postby Deactivated Member » Thu Sep 15, 2005 2:16 pm

Good points, Nick. Frodo, I think you've opened a can of worms. The discussion here has been interesting so far, but not what I think you had in mind!
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Postby Tom » Thu Sep 15, 2005 4:41 pm

Actually my preferred region is speyside and second is Islay... I voted on Speyside then since Islay isnt there. I actually know quite some people that dont like peat so perhaps it is a little premature to state that islay is the number one for all?

As in general regions I chose Speyside because in total Speyside has more variety to offer then Islay. This would be different if you asked where does your favorite malt come's from.
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Postby Deactivated Member » Thu Sep 15, 2005 6:03 pm

Don't feel I can cast a vote in this one.
It would be almost impossible to even pick a favourite region let alone a second.
Unless you taste all the whiskies available and rate them, add up the various points and do some sort or rationalising equation to give each region a ranking, I can't see how it could be done.
My favoured dram (let's forget region!) varies from day to day. One minute I'll rave to anyone who'll listen (usually the dog) about an HP18, then Balblair 38, then Ardbeg 10 then etc etc.
It depends on so many things - though mainly what's in my glass at the time! :wink:
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Postby Deactivated Member » Thu Sep 15, 2005 6:30 pm

When the dog talks back, you've had enough!
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Postby Aidan » Fri Sep 16, 2005 7:16 am

I voted for Island, meaning Islay...
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Postby Deactivated Member » Fri Sep 16, 2005 11:17 am

MrTattieHeid wrote:When the dog talks back, you've had enough!


:lol: It's happening more and more! He has a better nose than me too!
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Postby Mr Fjeld » Fri Sep 16, 2005 1:45 pm

MrTattieHeid wrote:When the dog talks back, you've had enough!

....not if he's barking up the wrong tree.....

Skål!
Christian
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Postby Frodo » Sat Sep 17, 2005 11:54 pm

OK folks. First off my apologies for anyone offended by the question. This was my way of prompting some thoughts on other regions as there seems to be a disproportionatly heavy slant on this board towards Islay malt. I just wanted to hear people's reactions to my thought that a subtle bias has crept into the board's postings. I think any "beginner" who looks on this board would get the impression that "Islay is the best". Indeed we have gotten postings from people the have received this idea, and have acted on it and thanked us for getting them started on their journey. But is this being fair to the whisky world in general? Or is this even accurate within our own membership - is it simply a case of the Islay crowd being louder (kind of like the whisky itself)? Or is my impression an innacurate one?

I guess the hidden agenda was me trying to provoke a discussion on "have we as a board forgotten to give other malts/whiskies their due"? We have Aidan and Lex who fly the flag for Irish, and a few more bourbon enthusiasts (see thread: Same mashbill, different brand?) and some polite murmurings for Cdn (how Canadian that is!).

For me, the idea of discovering different traditions of whisky making, how these differences translate into taste, and how fans of these traditions view other whiskies are ongoing questions of interest for me. I don't think I have a favourite that lasts as I'm always drinking something new. I do go back and revisit old favourites to see where they stack up against new favourites. Have my tastes changed? Can I appretiate something I could not before? An example of this is my current attempt to try to get into what Bunahabain offers. I'm going to need to do further research on this before I can come to a conclusion :wink: . Trying defunct Lowlands might be my next choice. My but they do cost some...

I'm NOT trying to have a go at posters whose unabashed favourite whisky is Islay and wish to shout this from the rooftops. I love hearing about what it is in a whisky that makes someone want to do a jig on the spot. Thanks to these raves I have tried Rosebank and Port Ellen which were wonderful malts, and want to try Benronach, Glen Grant and Rock Hill Farms (if the LCBO carries it) next. Here is my new question: "does the board give the impression of a bias on preferred types of whisky"?

Frodo
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Postby Deactivated Member » Sun Sep 18, 2005 2:11 am

MrTattieHeid wrote:Frodo, I think you've opened a can of worms. The discussion here has been interesting so far, but not what I think you had in mind!


Okay, so maybe it was! Food for thought, anyway. Maybe those four on the south coast of Islay get such good mileage because they're so close together. And the one across Loch Indaal would be making waves wherever it was. Maybe if Dufftown were an island, we'd be talking about a whole different set of distilleries. Or maybe fashion, or the focus of our attention, anyway, swings and sways from here to there and back again over time. It wasn't so long ago that Speyside was it and Islay was nowhere.
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Postby Lawrence » Sun Sep 18, 2005 3:53 am

I don't think members of the forum have a bias towards Islay whiskies they just like them a lot. Remember Islay whiskies account for 25% of all scotch sold.

It stands to reason that there would be a bit of discussion about them, however I have a lot of exploring to do through the rest of Scotland and always I'm looking for perspective.

It's a good topic and I think we should discuss it.
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Postby Mr Fjeld » Sun Sep 18, 2005 4:26 am

I wonder if Islay's popularity has to do with people looking for the extremes (peaty, salty wild whiskies) rather than being content with elegance and subtelty offered by other regions? I'm not saying you cannot get the latter qualities with whiskies from the Islay distilleries but it is my impression that many feel this way about it. Or maybe Islay appears as more mythical to most people?

I only speak for myself when I admit that although most of my bottles have "Islay" on the label it has more to do with the fact that this region was the first I discovered and wanted to explore. However, I love several Highland and Speyside whiskies just as much and although I'm still learning and feel like an aprentice I'm eager to try other things.

Apart from the usual Islay distillery names I seem to recall these ones are mentioned just as much(?) :
Aberlour (A'bunadh)
Glengoyne
Macallan
Clynelish

Skål!
Christian
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Postby Deactivated Member » Tue Sep 20, 2005 1:15 pm

I think there is a tendency on the part of many forum users to look for extremes - A'bunadh and Macallan are extreme sherry in the same way that Ardbeg is extreme peat. Like some others, I do get tired by the posters who seem to think that quality is in direct proportion to peatiness. Of course it is interesting to taste the extremes, but balance is crucial to a whisky. Peat, as a strong flavour, can mask other flavours in the whisky (malt, esters, wood, etc.) making it actually quite difficult to create a perfect peated whisky - and when the perfect peaty whisky is arrived at, it tends to be a variation on quite a limited theme. Don't get me wrong, I like a peaty whisky just like the next man. Some Ardbegs, Laphroaigs and Bowmores do manage to hit that perfect note, offering both balance and extreme peat. But these forums are also a testament to the many occasions when the balance isn't hit (c.f. the elusive quest for a Laphroaig that is as good as it usedto be).

Some Highland or Speyside malt can, in my opinion, rival the most pungent Islays for extreme taste. I had a dram of Ben Nevis 1975 26yo OB at the weekend (only £4.10 a dram in the SWHC) that was screaming oranges and Cointreau at me. I could still taste it the next morning. But I think the real edge for Highland comes in the percentage hit rate. I find that unpeated or moderately peated Highland whiskies disappoint less often than heavily peated whiskies - whether or Islay origin or not. All too often, the heavy peating appears to mask or even compete with other flavours in the dram. I find also that the ageing process has a more noticeable effect in the Highland/Speyside whiskies, and that the basic distillates can be more distinctive, offering a greater potential for variety. Of course, there are disappointments in the Highland/Speyside regions too. Arguably, one could say that these are more disappointing than their disappointing peated counterparts - at least the peaty ones have peat - but I find the variety and colour (metaphorically speaking) in the good ones compensates.

I wouldn't want to knock anyone's taste. We are all individuals, etc. But there is more to whisky than Ardbeg 10 and it is unfair to judge the whole of the whisky world on a scale of 1 to Ardbeg 10.
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Postby Frodo » Wed Sep 21, 2005 12:31 am

Great post Nick! Still thinking that one over. Lots to chew on...
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Postby The Fachan » Wed Sep 21, 2005 8:46 am

Lawrence,

My apologies if I haven't understood your post properly, where does the figure of 25% of all whisky sales being from Islay come from.

Regards

Ian
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Postby Deactivated Member » Wed Sep 21, 2005 9:23 am

The figure is mentioned in Peat Smoke & Spirit, in the first page or two (which I reread yesterday). I don't have it at hand, but I think it was 25% of all Scotch whisky sold--including what goes into blends, probably the vast bulk of it. And I'd bet the better part of that comes from Caol Ila and Bunnahabhain.
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Postby The Fachan » Thu Sep 22, 2005 9:09 pm

Mr. Tattieheid,

After looking at the book it seems total production on Islay is around 12 million lts of spirit a year. When you take into consideration that Tomatin, Glenfiddich, Glenlivet, Glen Grant and Ardmore are producing almost double that amount I would expect the remaining 80+ distilleries will be capable of making up the shortfall without too much of a problem.
Mr Jeffords claim is perhaps a little extravagant in my opinion.

Regards

Ian
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Postby Deactivated Member » Fri Sep 23, 2005 9:01 am

If most Scotch that is sold is blended whisky, and if most whisky in a blend is grain...
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Postby The Fachan » Fri Sep 23, 2005 9:15 am

Nick,

I was only looking at the malt perspective but yes, technically you are verymuch correct.


Ian
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Postby Bullie » Fri Sep 23, 2005 4:45 pm

Can't vote in this one, since my answer is not there... :(
(Quite discriminating not having Islay as an answer...)
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Postby Deactivated Member » Mon Sep 26, 2005 10:22 am

Ian Logan wrote:Mr. Tattieheid,

After looking at the book it seems total production on Islay is around 12 million lts of spirit a year. When you take into consideration that Tomatin, Glenfiddich, Glenlivet, Glen Grant and Ardmore are producing almost double that amount I would expect the remaining 80+ distilleries will be capable of making up the shortfall without too much of a problem.
Mr Jeffords claim is perhaps a little extravagant in my opinion.

Regards

Ian


Perhaps. I'm only quoting.
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Postby Badmonkey » Sat Nov 26, 2005 7:25 am

I had the benefit of spending several years in Japan, and although a lot of the whisky produced there is positively pedestrian (and some of it just awful), the best Japanese whiskies are works of art. I only wish they were more readily available outside of Japan. Having said that, I don't know a lot about Irish whisky so I can't claim to be an authority on the subject.

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