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First Islay Malt.........

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Which should I try as my first intro to Islay

Ardbeg 10
14
48%
Laphroaig 1/4 Cask
15
52%
 
Total votes : 29

First Islay Malt.........

Postby ScotchPalate » Sat Nov 04, 2006 6:56 pm

Which should I try as my first intro to Islay......
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Postby Thesh » Sat Nov 04, 2006 7:04 pm

Something cheaper than either of those, such as Laphroaig 10. No reason to buy a moderately priced Islay when you don't know if you'll like the style.

Ardbeg is heavy peat, so I would stay away from that at first as it may put you off other Islays, so if you must get one of those 2, get the QC.
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Postby Deactivated Member » Sat Nov 04, 2006 7:29 pm

I say either Laphroaig 10 or Lagavulin 16, or maybe Caol Ila 12. Or for something a little gentler yet, a Bowmore (although I don't care for Bowmore at all; but a lot of people do). I think one should have some acclimation to heavy peat before hitting Ardbeg 10, else one will fail to appreciate what a marvelously complex malt it is.
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Postby Drrich1965 » Sat Nov 04, 2006 9:54 pm

Caol Ila 12 is one of my favorite every day drams, but I don't know if Caol Ila is typical Islay, with its peppery quality, it has a slightly different dimension. That being said, they certainly all do have a different flavor profile, so what a typical Islay is may be hard to say..

Bowmore 12 is a middle of the road malt, in that it is medium peated, and fairly cheap. Bowmore Legend is a very young Islay, and extremly cheap in the US.

Other than that, I would say Laph 10 is certainly what I think of when I think Islay, in terms of stimulating thoughts of the sea...
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Postby Bullie » Sat Nov 04, 2006 10:29 pm

I'd go for a Lagavulin 16yo. Then you're hooked for life! ;) Sweet, smoked, just enough peat. Or a Bruichladdich 1966... Or a Bunnahabhain Auld Aquaintance... Oh, a Caol Ila 8yo Unpeated! Splendid dram! Hmmm... Ardbeg Uigeadail! Lovely!

The thing is, most of the Islay brands are brilliant. So either way, you'll be a happy lad.
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Postby Reggaeblues » Sun Nov 05, 2006 12:45 am

I would have agreed that the Ardbeg 10 is a bit radical as a first hit of Islay( tho' when I first tried it it seemed like the Laphroiag 10's delicate sister, but the L10 has softened since then...)

So let me tell you a story about a bottle of Ardbeg 10...and go figure!!
Last year some rehearsals took place at my home studio , and after the last night, we had a little party. Much wine...and a bottle 0f Ardbeg 10. there were about 20 people present, many of whom were not whisly drinkers, and certainly not adfficionados.

That bottle lasted...45 minutes!! People who had no love or knowledge of whisky tried it, and when word got around, people were at worst fascinated, and at best, fell in love...there was also Glenmorangie 10 on offer, .but they prefferred the Ardbeg!

My guitarist friend Fuzzbee, who once played for Lou Reed, launched into an impromptu version of "Ain't too proud to Ardbeg" .

It has since replaced Cognac as his favourite tipple.

Lagavulin 16 was my first love, and might be a better choice, but to those who would steer our friend clear of Ardbeg as an intro to Islay, I'd say, "Ardbeg to differ..."
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Postby Deactivated Member » Sun Nov 05, 2006 1:19 am

Well, it happens that Ardbeg is my favorite of the three, and my warped reasoning is that if he has the Ardbeg first, the others will never match up; but if he familiarizes himself with the two big L's, he'll appreciate the Ardbeg all the more. Not at all logical, and it could very well happen entirely differently...but that's how it happened to me!
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Postby TheLaddie » Sun Nov 05, 2006 1:29 am

Depends on what you are used to.

If you are a seasoned Glenkinchie drinker then I would start with neither of the above. Both will be a bit medicinal and may put you off Islays if you jump straight in. The first Islay I ever tasted was a Laphroaig 10yo (admittedly I was in my early teens) and I was well into my Twenties before I tried another (a Lagavullin 16yo) and aquired the taste. I am now an all out certified Growbag Sucker. Probably better to start with a Bunnahabhain or a Bruichladdich 12yo. Both have enough character to draw you in but you won't have wasted a lot of money if you either decide Islays are not for you or you want to move on to the more powerful stuff quickly.

If you have enjoyed some of the bigger malts already and want to jump right in either of the two you mention will give you the full-on Islay experience and both are an excellent dram. Look out for the non-chillfiltered version of the Ardbeg 10yo rather than the supermarket version though.

If you don't like it, don't worry about it. You don't have to drink Islays to be a proper grown up whisky drinker (as some people I have met seem to think) just as you don't have to have a vindaloo to like a good curry. Don't let what is fashionable tell you what you should like.

Keep the bottle though and try it again at a later date because if you do aquire the taste there is nothing quite like it...

Let us know how you get on :D
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Postby Deactivated Member » Sun Nov 05, 2006 2:07 am

TL, with all respect, Bunny and Laddie won't give him anything of what he is curious about. They are certainly Islays, but they are not at all what anyone thinks of when the topic of Islays comes up! Another good argument against regional classification.

And as Reggaeblues rightly notes, some--many--people take to peat monsters as to mother's milk. A lot of people here did, and it's almost a shame, because some of them get so stuck in the peat thing that they miss a lot of the joy of SMSW.
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Postby ScotchPalate » Sun Nov 05, 2006 2:17 am

Two questions for Lagavulin 16yo. :

1) How do you pronounce Lagavulin?

2) Are there hints of chocolate in this dram? I've read that there are and I don't care for chocolate in my whisky (or pine nuts).


Reggaeblues,
"Ardbeg to differ...." So, you thought you'd get away with this little joke without anyone giving you a hard time. Well, fine. Since you shared a good experience, I'll let it slide. :)
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Postby Deactivated Member » Sun Nov 05, 2006 2:19 am

1. Lag' a VU lin.

2. Not that I've ever noticed (or heard of). But that doesn't mean you won't. You pays your money, you takes your chances.

3. Ardbeg is an anagram of badger.
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Postby TheLaddie » Sun Nov 05, 2006 2:58 am

MrTattieHeid wrote:Ardbeg is an anagram of badger.


But not quite as vicious when cornered...
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Postby TheLaddie » Sun Nov 05, 2006 3:42 am

MrTattieHeid wrote:TL, with all respect, Bunny and Laddie won't give him anything of what he is curious about. They are certainly Islays, but they are not at all what anyone thinks of when the topic of Islays comes up! Another good argument against regional classification.

And as Reggaeblues rightly notes, some--many--people take to peat monsters as to mother's milk. A lot of people here did, and it's almost a shame, because some of them get so stuck in the peat thing that they miss a lot of the joy of SMSW.


Ok. I guess I take your point on the Bunnahabhain. My Dad did spit out a sample of Bruichladdich 12 at our local purveyor of distilled barley products as it was far too peaty for him though. Guess I won't have to hide my bottle of PC5 from him.....(If it ever comes). Mind you, the owner of the shop once had a complaint from a customer that the Auchentoshan he had been sold was too peaty for him

As for the regional classification I couldn't agree more. There is so much variety in aromas and flavours between distilleries even in very close proximity to one another the geographical classification is essentially meaningless when trying to chose a single malt. With a number of distilleries in Speyside and elsewhere trying peated expressions the distinction is going to become even more blurred. Perhaps this is where the contribution of Messrs Jackson, Murray et al is important when trying to decide what you want to try next.
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Postby ScotchPalate » Mon Nov 13, 2006 3:21 am

This weekend, I tried the Bowmore 12 at a local restaurant ( I was surprised they had it). I enjoyed the smokey peppery nose. This dram had a slightly peppery taste, but I didn't taste much peat or smoke until the finish. The smokey finish wasn't the type of smokey I'm used to in Scotch or that I enjoy. I'm used to smokiness like I just got a whiff from a peat fire. This was more like an ashtray. :evil: There was a bit of soapiness in the taste (mid-palate). I'm not a fan. If this is the Islay taste, it my not be for me :(
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Postby Deactivated Member » Mon Nov 13, 2006 3:33 am

Bowmore's an odd duck, SP--I don't care for it myself, generally, and wouldn't think of it as the definitive Islay (if in fact there is such a thing). I always think of burning autumn leaves. But the 12 may not be the best example, in any case. Lots of folks here like the 17 best.
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Postby Frodo » Mon Nov 13, 2006 5:15 am

ScotchPalate wrote:This weekend, I tried the Bowmore 12 at a local restaurant ( I was surprised they had it). I enjoyed the smokey peppery nose. This dram had a slightly peppery taste, but I didn't taste much peat or smoke until the finish. The smokey finish wasn't the type of smokey I'm used to in Scotch or that I enjoy. I'm used to smokiness like I just got a whiff from a peat fire. This was more like an ashtray. :evil: There was a bit of soapiness in the taste (mid-palate). I'm not a fan. If this is the Islay taste, it my not be for me :(


The Iodine/sea flavours are typical for Islay malts, but the soap is paticular to Bowmore.

If you enjoyed the smokey peppery nose, I might suggest Talisker or Clynelish...
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Postby Reggaeblues » Mon Nov 13, 2006 10:55 am

SP, not knowing where you live... I would have thought if you can find a restaurant that carries Bowmored 12, you're even more likely to find a bar that carries Laphroaig 10(many in UK do)...and if you like it, I'm certain you'll love the QC which has a stronger flavour and abv.

These guys are right about Bowmore. My first Islay was the Lagavulin 16 flollowed soon after by the Lap. 10. I would say the latter is as close to "the definitive islay" as it gets(though softer now than when I first tried it). Though I like bowmore in general(and as mr TH points out, especially the 17) I didn't take to it like I did the other two. And then, along came ...Ardbeg!!

I still think the Ardbeg, though similar, is subtler tahn Laphroiag....in that there seem to be more flavours, esp. sweeter notes, lurking beneath the "obvious" or, again, "definitive" medicinal/peaty qualities.

Anyway, I hope by now you're enjoying the journey!
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Postby laphroaig10_65 » Mon Nov 13, 2006 12:15 pm

I think to the whisky with the best quality/price ratio: Laphroaig 10 yo.
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Postby Di Blasi » Mon Nov 13, 2006 1:50 pm

Both are excellent! I started whisky drinking and my passion with the Ardbeg Ten, so I recommend that of course. But the Laphroaig Quarter Cask's sweetness and balance with the other magnificent flavors make it something to always have on hand, like the Ardbeg Ten! Get both, taste them side by side!
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Postby ScotchPalate » Mon Nov 13, 2006 3:58 pm

Raggaeblues,
Here in Arizona, USA we are too close to California. For most restaurants it's Wine Wine Wine (and all Napa Valley, of course). I've never been big on wine (. Most restaurants will carry: Dewar's, Red Label, Black Label Glenlivet 12 and maybe Glenfiddich 12. It's a big deal should a restaurant have Macallan 12 or others. This one had Laphroaig 15 (which I heard is not as good as the 10 or 1/4) and Bowmore 12. The former was more expensive, so I tried Bowmore.

Frodo,
I picked up Talisker 18 a week ago or so and it's a great dram!! Great spicy taste (not too spicy) that builds with smoke and dare I say...oak. Smooth and well balanced.
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Postby Deactivated Member » Mon Nov 13, 2006 6:22 pm

I started out on Laphroaig 10 and still have a soft spot for the distillery. Stellar Laphroaigs are quite hard to come by, but the Douglas Laing 17yo I got last year was just such a stellar dram. It knocked spots off the QC in terms of its depth, fruitiness, smoothness and pungency. It had the really medicinal feel of Laphroaig of old - the new versions are peaty, yes, but have lost some of the iodine/TCP IMO. It also had much more of a journey to the palate, with a clear beginning, middle and end. I foind with the QC that it is something of a one shot wonder - you taste it and that's the taste. It doesn't unfold or develop very much.
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Postby lexvo » Mon Nov 13, 2006 7:35 pm

Frodo wrote:
ScotchPalate wrote:This weekend, I tried the Bowmore 12 at a local restaurant ( I was surprised they had it). I enjoyed the smokey peppery nose. This dram had a slightly peppery taste, but I didn't taste much peat or smoke until the finish. The smokey finish wasn't the type of smokey I'm used to in Scotch or that I enjoy. I'm used to smokiness like I just got a whiff from a peat fire. This was more like an ashtray. :evil: There was a bit of soapiness in the taste (mid-palate). I'm not a fan. If this is the Islay taste, it my not be for me :(


The Iodine/sea flavours are typical for Islay malts, but the soap is paticular to Bowmore.


Wasn't that soap thing only in a certain production period of Bowmore? I read somewhere that the newer batches didn't have soap anymore. Is this correct?
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Postby Dubois » Mon Nov 13, 2006 7:59 pm

Some drams I would recomend:

Caol Ila 12 Yrs
Bowmore 12 (stay away from Bowmore Legend :x )
Lagavulin 16 Yrs (of course... :wink: )

Enjoy !
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Postby bamber » Mon Nov 13, 2006 8:13 pm

I prefer the Ardbeg. They'd both do the trick though.
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Postby dram_time » Mon Nov 13, 2006 10:49 pm

Reggaeblues wrote:
My guitarist friend Fuzzbee, who once played for Lou Reed



Now thats cool.

Dt.
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Postby Reggaeblues » Tue Nov 14, 2006 3:30 pm

Yep! Fuzzbee also recently did an album with Peter Gabriel's rhythm section, is a member of the death-defying comedy improv band "The Flying Fannoli Brothers" with Gary williams (Malcolm in the Middle) and Nick Jameson(24, Lost)... GO SEE 'EM IF YOU'RE EVER IN L.A!

He also coined the term "Bleggae" to describe MY musical style over a dram of single cask Macallan...but above all, thanks to yours truly, he's a committed Ardbeggar!
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Postby hpulley » Sat Nov 18, 2006 2:01 pm

Ardbeg (and all peaty whiskies) were an acquired taste for me but now they, and Ardbeg in particular, are my favorites. If you can possibly buy miniatures then try one of each -- otherwise, buy whichever is cheaper if you are unsure. If you don't like peaty whisky now then try again in a few days or weeks and you will find it has grown on you.

I used to like Bowmores and didn't find the off tastes that I now find. I don't think newer bottlings necessarily lack it; some do, some don't. This is a crap shoot I am no longer willing to play but you may have better luck. Sadly, of the islays to which I was first introduced Bowmore used to be the favorite! Once I tried Ardbeg 10yo there was no going back to Bowmore or any of the others really. I still try the others once in a while but constantly find myself saying, "I could and probably should have had an Ardbeg..."

Harry
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Postby Di Blasi » Sat Nov 18, 2006 6:29 pm

If you don't fall in love with the Ardbeg Ten, (like I did), the minute you nose it, you'll be so damn curious about it you'll allow it to grow on you, by constantly smelling it, tasting it, and wanting to love it.
But that Laphroaig Quarter Cask is also stellar.
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Postby Lawrence » Sat Nov 18, 2006 6:37 pm

I voted Laphroaig Quarter Cask
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Postby ScotchPalate » Fri Nov 24, 2006 4:28 pm

Well, I was at the liquor store trying to decide which Islay malt I wanted to sample. After a recent experience w/ Bowmore 12 at a local restaurant I was leary. Bowmore hit me with a soapy, STRONG iodine flavor followed by an ash-tray finish (not smokey but an ash-tray). But, so many are fond of the Islay I thought I'd give it one more try. The Lagavulin 16 was $92 , an expensive gamble. Ardbeg was all gone. So, I reached for the economical $40 Laphroaig 10 year. I really enjoy it!!! The nose is salty, seaweedy and humid, almost like I'm on the shore. I taste the seaweed, little bit of sea salt, SOME iodine, a few shovel fulls of peat (slightly sweet), a little bit of pickle (yes, pickle) and a warm smokey finish that lasts. I found myself really enjoing this tasty dram. After finishing my small dram (.75 ounce), I actually went back for another!! I've never done this w/ any other whiskey I own. Okay, okay, now you can all make fun of my typical whisky amount (once or twice a week) being .75 ounce.

I think I'll eventually pick up a Laphroaig quarter-cask. Now, to continue my tasty tour of the Islands I'll jup over to Campletown for a Springbank :D
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