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Favourite Islay malt

Take part in our whisky polls and votes. You can also post your own polls in this forum.

What is your favourite Islay malt?

Ardbeg
37
31%
Bowmore
11
9%
Bruichladdich
3
3%
Bunnahabhain
3
3%
Caol Ila
5
4%
Lagavulin
37
31%
Laphroaig
18
15%
Port Ellen
3
3%
None, I don't like any Islay malts
2
2%
 
Total votes : 119

Favourite Islay malt

Postby Grass Snake » Fri Sep 23, 2005 12:17 pm

What is your favourite Islay malt and why? Further, what expression of said malt?
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Postby Deactivated Member » Fri Sep 23, 2005 12:33 pm

I adore Bowmore 17 - it has a sweet, herby, bacony flavour. I find it far more complex than the traditional smoke and medicine Islay but every bit as strong in its flavouring. For me, the balance is superb.

Ardbeg at its best (e.g. Ardbeg 1977) also has a balance and complexity that is more than a match for Bowmore 17 - but how to say which is the better whisky?

Laphroaig promises much and used to deliver. It still shows occasional flashes of the medicinal taste that I grew up with (especially the 30yo).

I never really got on with Lagavulin and found, ten years ago, that it tasted a bit soapy. I've not tried it since, but I could believe my palate has got more educated since then.

Caol Ila has been hit and miss. I had a very good Cask Strength offering once that was straight peatsmoke. Not complex, not overly strongly flavoured, but it did what it did quite well. I have had other Caol Ilas (e.g. the 18yo) that just taste spirity and dull.

Bruichladdich strikes me as having more in common with Jura than its fellow islanders. It's not a bad whisky, but I have always found it a little dull and think Jura does it better.

I have only had one Port Ellen (First Cask IB) and it was a perfectly drinkable but unremarkable Islay - very similar to a typical Caol Ila.

Bunnahabhain - oh dear! It really seems to have nothing in common with an Islay whisky and strikes me as a bland, ordinary cheap malt. I did, though, shell out for a dram of the 1963 40yo which was quite a revelation. The nose and taste were lightly fruity and malty - and a dose of wood - but the finish was pure and long lasting dry peat. There was nothing medicinal at all, just smoke.

Finally (and thanks for bearing with me) - I have had some very unusual bottlings at the SMWS where I could even think that the labels had got mixed up. Smoky Bowmore, bacony Ardbeg, etc.

It is difficult to pick a favourite, but on balance I think it has to be Bowmore 17yo.
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Postby Grass Snake » Fri Sep 23, 2005 2:06 pm

Great reply Nick, Id be interested to try the Bowmore 17, what sort of price does it retail at?
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Postby Deactivated Member » Fri Sep 23, 2005 2:09 pm

£40 a bottle - but worth it IMO
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Postby bamber » Fri Sep 23, 2005 3:13 pm

Ardbeg: I'm going to be boring and say Ardbeg 10yo. The 1977 is great, but if I could only have 1 more bottle of an Islay whisky, this would be it.

Laphroaig: I've had 1 dram of the 30yo and that was magical. And I have vague plans to buy a bottle of this at some point. The rest of Laphroaig I can take or leave, with the CS coming in second.

Caol Ila: Had some great IB's, but the OB's have been good but not great (for me).

Lagavulin: The 16yo and 12yo CS are 2 all time favourites of mine.

Port Ellen: Agree with Nick - similar to Caol Ila but maybe not as good. Too expensive for what you get IMHO.

Bowmore: I like Bowmore. It has an unusual flavour profile, being so flowery. The Voyage is definitely my favourite.

Bunnahabhain and Laddie: Right place wrong taste.

WINNER: Ardbeg 10yo.
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Postby Grass Snake » Fri Sep 23, 2005 3:16 pm

The lagavulins are my favourites too, closely followed by Ardbeg.
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Postby Paul A Jellis » Fri Sep 23, 2005 3:24 pm

I've got to say the 13yr Signatory Caol Ila, an absolute gem of a dram and great value.

Second would be Ardbeg 10yr (cheapy) and Lord of the Isles (Not cheapy)

Cheers

Paul
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Postby Mr Fjeld » Fri Sep 23, 2005 4:25 pm

Ardbeg Ten is my favourite - how can it be bettered as a standard expression? It's also a lot of bang for the bucks!
Ardbeg Uigeadail is my second choice with Lagavulin 16 on a third while the Laphroaig CS, Bruichladdich 3D and Bowmore 17 fights for a fourth place. I have to say I really liked the 17 when I tasted it a couple of weeks ago. It was very easy to reckognise the house style although I've only tasted the Surf before. Think I'll have to buy the 17!

Tomorrow or next weekend the rankings will be totally different although Ardbeg Ten always comes out on top! It's just so hard to rank whiskies and I find that on a day to day basis my preferences change quite dramatically! Some days the Bruichladdich 10 is just so much more appropriate than the Laphroaig CS!

Skål!
Christian

Edit:
I find it hard to rate the Port Ellen (G&M,1982) and the LOTI as they are both expensive, good but slightly disappointing. If related to the cost of buying I'd say they're both probably not worth every penny.
Last edited by Mr Fjeld on Sun Sep 25, 2005 6:21 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby Bullie » Fri Sep 23, 2005 4:43 pm

*lol* Don't have to write much about it, do I? ;)
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Postby Mr Fjeld » Fri Sep 23, 2005 4:56 pm

Why not Bullie :?:

Skål!
Christian
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Postby hpulley » Fri Sep 23, 2005 5:15 pm

Ardbeg is tops with Lagavulin a close second. I like Ardbeg as it is a smoky islay I can enjoy every day. My favorite Laga is the 12yo cask strength which is great but too strong to enjoy every day. For some reason cask strength Uigeadail isn't as rough as the CS Laga so it is enjoyable anytime.

I enjoy the others too but not nearly as much as I do Ardbeg and Lagavulin.

My favorite Ardbeg so far is the 1975 25yo by Douglas Laing Old Malt Cask. Favorite OB Ardbeg is a tough one as the lineup isn't very stable. TEN is the only one you can say you can get now and in the future so I'll say that one.

Harry
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Postby Tom » Fri Sep 23, 2005 5:57 pm

Ardbeg. First and foremost because Ardbeg never once dissapointed me, not in the OB's and not in IB's, same goes for age and strength. Its always good. As for favorite, Quality like, Ardbeg 1974 For Belgium Edition 1. Scored this beauty 97 wich makes it the "best" whisky I ever had. I dont know how to put it, whisky doesnt get any better then this, flawless, perfect, respect.
For the more payeble and availeble bottlings, the Uigaedail gets my vote. Excellent balance between sherry, bourbon and peat at a high strength but never overpowering. Unfortunately this bottling is bound to dissapear soon :( This is one bottling I personally am going to miss badly when its gone.

Laphroaig: 10 CS nice phenols here, or Quarter Cask old school Laphroaig complete with brine, edgy peat and phenols.

Lagavulin: DE PX Finish, Sweet fat sherry combined with the oily thick Laga works like a charm. Also some good peat here. Wish we had the old Lagavulin 16 back...

Bruichladdich: 20 First edition, supreme balance and elegancy. More affordeble: 3D Mhoine Mhor, More clean peat and once more the usual Bruichladdich balance.

Port Ellen: Blackadder Raw Cask On Oloroso sherry cask. The thing with PE is, its fifty/fifty. You either have the heavy peaty ones or you have the cereal malty ones. The ones with heavy peat are greatness, the malty ones IMHO are very weak and dull, not to mention way overpriced.

Caol Ila: Chieftains Choice Medoc Finish though now hard to find, so lets take a new gem: Gordon & McPhails Caol ila 1990 Sherry butt. Excellent balance between FF sherry with an edge and highly phenolic Caol ila. I'm no fan of the OB's here. The CS seems the best choice but after retasting it last week it seems I overrated that one too before.

Bunnahabhain: Only tried the standard so far, wasnt impressed but its way to soon to have an opinion of this distillery.

Bowmore: Any Independent bottling. No favorite here, I dont like the OB's so obviously any IB seems better. The very best Bowmores I tried are unaffordeble so I wont mention them.

However, I'd take an Uigaedaile any time, as a matter of fact, after all this I'll have one right now!
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Postby Frodo » Sat Sep 24, 2005 6:15 am

Well, I'll have to tip my hat to those out you who seem to have tried a significant amount of whisky! I don't have near the experiance in Islay whisky that some of you have, so I'll add my 2 cents worth, keeping it brief.

Had some trouble differentiating between the best bottle of whisky I've had vs my favourite distillery. The favourite distillery based on the 10 and 17yr expressions is Ardbeg. I did vote PE though due to the 3rd release (24yr) that is the most impressive whisky I've ever had.

Other than this, I'd like to state that the Caol Ilas that I've had were wonderful. These included the OB CS, the 12yr Auld Reekie (Duncan Taylor) the Cheiften's 10yr rum finish, and a Signatory 12yr. All seemed to have hit the spot for me (just not quite on Ardbeg's level)! I'm regretting not buying an OMC 10yr Ardbeg for C$90. Would have been nice to compare this to the 10yr OB. And the OMC sold out at my LCBO a while ago.
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Postby Spirit of Islay » Sun Sep 25, 2005 11:09 am

Ardbeg Ten , i go through more of this than anything else , the sweet peaty smokiness just makes you gotta have more (especially as you can pick it up for under £20 a bottle at the moment ) !
The Oogie comes a close second .
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Postby Admiral » Mon Sep 26, 2005 4:21 am

I voted for Lagavulin because, when you look at the flagship offerings of each malt, i.e. Ardbeg 10, Laphroaig 10, Bowmore 12, Caol Ila 12, and Lagavulin 16, there is little doubt in my mind that the Lagavulin is the head of the class.

Having said that, the Ardbeg 1977 is still probably one of the best whiskies I've ever tasted, but it strikes me as a little unfair to give the "award" to a distillery based purely on a single vintage.

Cheers,
Admiral
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Postby Mr Fjeld » Mon Sep 26, 2005 10:15 am

I'm with Gordon on this one as in my view the Ardbeg Ten is what all other whiskies will be measured against. Having said that, I do find Lagavulin exceptionally good but I've become tired of it in the past whereas that has never happened to the Ardbeg Ten!

Skål!
Christian
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Postby Deactivated Member » Mon Sep 26, 2005 10:31 am

As usual I'm not voting! I've gotten into a space where I cannot name a favorite. Forced, I'd say Ardbeg, but I enjoy Bruichladdich much more often, and I've never had a PE that wasn't marvelous.

It's all apples and oranges, anyway; how do you compare the output of blend fodder mills like Bunnahabhain and Caol Ila to what Lagavulin or Bruichladdich are trying to do? Or to the 20+-yr-old output of a defunct distillery (itself a blend fodder mill in its day)?

And for what it's worth, Nick, Bruichladdich tastes nothing like Jura--not to me, anyway.
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Postby Deactivated Member » Mon Sep 26, 2005 4:29 pm

I tend to agree with TH on this but.........I'm gonna vote anyway.
For sheer pleasure, time and time again, I have to say Ardbeg 10, closely followed by Uigeadail and in bronze position Laphroaig QC.
Ask the same poll in a years :? even a weeks time, and the results may be different.
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Postby Ize » Tue Oct 04, 2005 9:08 am

I adore Port Ellen, but my wallet dislikes it. So I choose Lagavulin. :-/
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Postby hpulley » Tue Oct 04, 2005 12:17 pm

Ize wrote:I adore Port Ellen, but my wallet dislikes it. So I choose Lagavulin. :-/


I agree with you for the most part, Ize but even Laga's prices are going up. I'm not sure if this is Diageo or the LCBO but Port Ellen 24yo 3rd release was $250 while 4th release 25yo is $430!!! Last year Lagavulin 12yo CS was $75 but this year it is $121!!! Both increases are unacceptable. I'll take Ardbeg (where Uigeadail is CS and contains some old malt but is cheaper) and Laphroaig (much cheaper) instead based on retail prices here, with Ardbeg being the favorite anyways.

Harry
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Postby Lawrence » Tue Oct 04, 2005 3:11 pm

Harry, there are still some Port Ellen 3rd Annual Release out here for the original price of $250 if you want one for laying away. $450 seems excessive considering the exchange rates between the C$ & the GBP have not changed much in the last year. We'll see who's actually doing the gouging once the 4th Annual Release is available here.
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Postby hpulley » Tue Oct 04, 2005 3:23 pm

Yes, you're right that there is in fact a boatload of the 24yo left. It seems even $250 is too much for some people's blood. Might buy one and then wait for a Vintages Sale to get a case ;)

I should have got a case or two of 12yo Laga last year, by the look of it. Do you still have any $75 bottles or was that last year's price?

Harry
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Postby Lawrence » Tue Oct 04, 2005 3:32 pm

Hi Harry, it's all gone, I managed to lay away two bottles of the Lagavulin 12 for the future along with a couple of the 16's.

If I come across a bottle sitting in some corner of the province I'll grab it for you.
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Postby hpulley » Tue Oct 04, 2005 3:41 pm

I layed away a half case for myself too but I already drank it... The only whisky that lasts around here is bad whisky I'm afraid.

I _am_ sufficiently afraid of the LCBO right now to actually begin stocking up on some favorites not just for longevity but for price but again, how much can I stock up? A lifetime supply of whisky would not fit in my cellar and even if it would, I couldn't afford to fill it!

If I were to fill it though, surely Ardbeg TEN would be many cases worth (just Ardbeg TEN would do in a pinch), a few of Lagavulin 12yo CS, a case or two of Caol Ila CS, a couple cases of Port Ellen 24yo 3rd release, a few of Bunnahabhain 12yo, some Bruichladdich OBs though they are hard to keep track of. Off of Islay I would add some Rosebank, Bladnoch and Glenfarclas, Clynelish, old Brora, Macduff, maybe Ardmore. Gonna need some serious movement on some stock prices before that will happen :(

Harry
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Postby Deactivated Member » Wed Oct 05, 2005 2:48 am

At Loch Fyne, PE 4 is £107.99 (inc VAT), just £4 more than PE 3. Lag 12 is £40. Those LCBO prices are alarming indeed. I suggest you guys start a letter-writing campaign, demanding an explanation.
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Postby hpulley » Wed Oct 05, 2005 3:50 am

CDN$ is about 2 to the British pound so the price for the 3rd release isn't out of line but the 4th release is completely wacked, as is the Laga 12 price. I did call them about it but the LCBO just says the supplier sets their price and the gov't taxes that and there's nothing they can do... I'd like to know the wholesale price they're getting but they don't have to tell me that.

Harry
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Postby edjohnb » Wed Oct 05, 2005 7:36 am

1) I've tried both Laphroaig 10 and 15 but I prefer the 10 because it's oilier and has a stronger earthy taster. It seems to be more flavoursome and impressionable than the 15. I have a bottle of 10 CS but I've not tried it yet.

2) Number two would no doubt be the Lagavulin 16. Big, smoky, warm. Heard the Lagavulin 12 is coming on very well amongst whisky aficionados.

3) Number 3 ties Caol Ila and Ardbeg. I've had a Caol Ila 13 years by Connoiseur Choice. Beautiful. Ardbeg is a great bedtime or after dinner treat.

Bowmore 12 is a good day-to-day dram. Very soothing.
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Postby bond » Mon Oct 10, 2005 8:17 am

The close run-up between Ardbeg and Lagavulin was but expected.

I just voted Ardbeg and that seems to hv swung the scales albeit marginally.

What is curious indeed is the "demise" of Laphroaig. Guess too many people have spoken of diminished phenolic attributes. That seems to have contributed to a decline in preference among those who prefer the monsters.

The ones who prefer understated peat and a milder body anyway have a Caol Ila or a Bunnahabain to choose from.

Laphroaig might just need to do some soul searching on where it wishes to be on positioning.
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Postby Aidan » Mon Oct 10, 2005 11:06 am

Admiral wrote:I voted for Lagavulin because, when you look at the flagship offerings of each malt, i.e. Ardbeg 10, Laphroaig 10, Bowmore 12, Caol Ila 12, and Lagavulin 16, there is little doubt in my mind that the Lagavulin is the head of the class.

Having said that, the Ardbeg 1977 is still probably one of the best whiskies I've ever tasted, but it strikes me as a little unfair to give the "award" to a distillery based purely on a single vintage.

Cheers,
Admiral


Just picked up a bottle when I was on Islay. I should have bought a couple.

I don't like the Ardbeg 10 as much as I used to.

I have also revisited the Serendipity and was surprised how peaty it was.

Bowmore has the largest range of decent whisky on the island. It deserves marks for that. I know Bruichladdich has a large range, but it's not as good as Bowmore, for me.
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Postby Aidan » Mon Oct 10, 2005 11:13 am

of Ardbeg 1977, that is...
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Postby Deactivated Member » Mon Oct 10, 2005 11:51 am

How much is Ardbeg 77 going for on Islay these days?
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Postby hpulley » Mon Oct 10, 2005 1:25 pm

Aidan wrote:...
I don't like the Ardbeg 10 as much as I used to.

I have also revisited the Serendipity and was surprised how peaty it was.

Bowmore has the largest range of decent whisky on the island. It deserves marks for that. I know Bruichladdich has a large range, but it's not as good as Bowmore, for me.


I still love Ardbeg TEN. It is not as peaty as I remember it but Laphroaig 10yo is even lighter than I remember so to me, Ardbeg is still the king of peat.

I haven't tried the Serendipity vatting yet.

Bowmore used to be my favorite! I used to prefer it to Ardbeg if you can believe that but they seem to have had some cask management or bottling quality problems in the past few years and they have fallen from grace, for me. I will be parking myself in front of their booth for a good while at an upcoming whisky show where I can experiment at will on their current offerings. I hope they have gone back to being impressive as I really used to enjoy their whisky.

Harry
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Postby Aidan » Mon Oct 10, 2005 1:41 pm

Nick Brown wrote:How much is Ardbeg 77 going for on Islay these days?


I paid £69 for it, which is about €100.

Harry, yes, you're right. And I still am not a huge fan of the Bowmore 12, althougn it is good. The 17 yr old is lovely. There are so many other, I get mixed up between them. I'll need to write stuff down in future.
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Postby Frodo » Tue Oct 11, 2005 5:17 am

Aidan wrote:
Nick Brown wrote:How much is Ardbeg 77 going for on Islay these days?


I paid £69 for it, which is about €100.



:cry: :cry: :cry: :cry: :( :( :( :cry: :cry: :cry:

The '77 (G&M) went for about C$400-450 over here.
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Postby Lawrence » Tue Oct 11, 2005 7:03 am

The OB Ardbeg 1977 in the west was about C$170 if I remember correctly, I think it is the Ardbeg that more guys around the world have stored away. I managed to buy a couple exttra for some distance time in the future.
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