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Lovers of Lowlanders Post Here

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Lovers of Lowlanders Post Here

Postby Red_Arremer » Thu Nov 06, 2008 6:18 pm

Lowland SMS catches a lot of flack from connoiseurs and reviewers. Many agree that it's no good or barely worth the trouble.

But I've had some Lowlanders that I think are great-- and I know I'm not alone.

So lets have some

notes on your favorite Lowland bottles

thoughts about what makes a Lowland whisky good and distinguishes it from other styles of whisk(e)y.

Thanks in advance for your contributions. :empty:
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Re: Lovers of Lowlanders Post Here

Postby TheTross » Thu Nov 06, 2008 7:24 pm

The major difference between Lowland whiskies and all the other regions is their lightness. I actually found it very difficult at first to get into them as they were simply too light for me back then, and as an utter beginner I was expecting lots of big flavours from every different bottling I tried. Thus several Auchentoshans and Glenkinchie 12 did nothing for me, and not being willing to buy the more expensive bottlings I just decided that whiskies from this region didn't suit me, so I skipped it for a while.

However, with time I believe you learn to appreciate the lighter style. I still don't particularly enjoy Auchentoshan (although I've not tried the new range to be fair), but I really like Bladnoch (lots of grass, butter and lemon in the non-sherried bottlings), Rosebank (more or less the same, only bigger and with added honey and spices), and particularly St Magdalene (typically more robust than the other Lowlanders).

It's the lemon, butter and particularly grass aromas and flavours that really define the Lowland style for me. Some people like that profile, some don't. I didn't at first but it grew on me, making me realise that great whisky doesn't necessarily need to contain a thousand flavours to be enjoyable.

As for my favourite Lowland bottlings, a 19yo 1979 Rare Malts St Magdalene comes out on top (and is virtually at the top of my all-time favourites), with a 16yo 1991 Single Malts of Scotland Rosebank (the 55.2% one) also being very good. I find sherried Bladnochs to be excellent too.
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Re: Lovers of Lowlanders Post Here

Postby Ganga » Fri Nov 07, 2008 2:59 am

My recent experience with the Auchentoshan Select is that it is NOT a light floral whisky. Rather it reminds me of a spicey Speysider. Previously, I found the Select to be more of the grassy/floral characteristics.

The first few Rosebanks I had didn't appeal but the recent bottlings I've been trying have been top notch. St. Magadelene very rarely disappoints.

I do have to say that Kinchie just doesn't appeal to me and Littlemill for the most part is a terrible whisky. The exceptions for the Littlemill have been a 31 yo bourbon cask (tasted just like bourbon :shock: ) and a 20 yo bourbon cask from Scott's Selection.

I enjoyed the glass of Ladyburn 1973 I had. I think it is far better than the ratings it has received. Lots of barley, grasses and florals but delicate in their presentation.
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Re: Lovers of Lowlanders Post Here

Postby lisa » Fri Nov 07, 2008 8:07 am

This is one of the top drams I´ve ever had
http://www.vooreenmooiglas.nl/index.php ... kys&id=805
Not cheap but it seems to be very related to the much more expensive Auchentoshan 32yr (Also Single Cask, Oloroso sherry and distilled on the same day 14/3-1973 but for some reason higher ABV)
Last edited by lisa on Fri Nov 07, 2008 4:30 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Lovers of Lowlanders Post Here

Postby Red_Arremer » Fri Nov 07, 2008 2:54 pm

Speaking of hating on lowlanders, here's a typical quote from maltmadness.com :

According to the text on the label of the 10yo, 'triple-distillation gives ... a very light and delicate character with a sweetness and fruity flavour enjoyed even by those unaccustomed to fine malts'. That's one way of putting it, I guess.'A single malt for blend drinkers' would be another...

If you're drinking single malt whisky because you like a drink with more
character and personality than the average blend you have no business with the 'standard' Auchentoshan 10yo, if you ask me. And if you don't care about individuality and style you might as well save yourself some money and stick to blends...


The criticism here is directed at the Auchentoshan 10 (a fun SMS IMO... quite nice), but this popular website, which ranks all of the distilleries in Scotland hands out failing grades to almost all lowlanders on principle.

I've often heard the accusation that if you're buying Lowland, then you might as well be buying blended. Most blends are based on Speyside Whisky and that's what they taste like-- A smoother, lighter, weaker, Speyside maybe with a little smoke thrown in for good measure...

Lowlanders are nothing like this. The Tross's list of their distinctive characteristics is good and it gets me thinking. It seems to me that a lot of the flavor of lowlands comes from oak influence. I imagine that at a young age, the lightly flavored distilate showcases subtle oak influences which wouldn't be bold enough to speak for themselves over peat or sherry. So the typical Lowland flavors of grass and butter are miniaturized versions of the typical aged Bourbon flavors of wet leaves and sap.

Anyways, my girl and I opened up a bottle of Rosebank 15 from Connoiseurs Choice a while ago and it knocked us over. It has all those flavors The Tross mentioned, but with something more exotic thrown in--peanutbutter, coconut...

I'm also thinking about picking up a Rosebank 17 c/s from GM. Anyone tasted this?
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Re: Lovers of Lowlanders Post Here

Postby Ganga » Fri Nov 07, 2008 6:37 pm

lisa wrote:This is one of the top drams I´ve ever had
http://www.vooreenmooiglas.nl/index.php ... kys&id=805
Not cheap but it seems to be very related to the much more expensive Auchentoshan 32yr (Also Single Cask, Oloroso sherry and distilled on the same day 14/3-1973 but for some reason higher ABV)

There are some similar to this one except that they are vintage 1965 and 1966. Excellent whiskies.
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Re: Lovers of Lowlanders Post Here

Postby Deactivated Member » Mon Nov 10, 2008 10:47 am

I'm not a big fan of Auchentoshan, but I do like most Rosebank and Bladnoch expressions that I've tried.
St. Magdelene is also usually excellent.
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Re: Lovers of Lowlanders Post Here

Postby sinclair » Tue Nov 11, 2008 9:27 pm

Who could not love Rosebank 12 f+f bottling ? .One of my all time favourites.I have 2 bottles stashed away for my old age (along with a Bladnoch 10 f+f) .I'll sit by the fire and bore the pants off my grandchildren telling them how great this is compared to the vodka and coke or something coloured blue that they will probably be drinking.I also have 4 different Littlemills, so sad but a little piece of history,and what about Inverleven?again a piece of history that i could afford.I find it all so romantic (must get out more)
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Re: Lovers of Lowlanders Post Here

Postby Rosebankfan » Wed Nov 12, 2008 12:30 am

Rosebank 12 F&F is certainly a very good dram and it would make sense for any who like it to grab a couple of bottles before it dissapears (you can still get it for <£50 at the moment). However, for a real treat, try the 25YO Rosebank which was released last year - wow that really is a cracker. It needs water as it is very high strength and the citrus burst you get on adding a few drops is truly stunning. I initally baulked at the £130 price tag last year but after tasting I believe it is money well spent.

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Re: Lovers of Lowlanders Post Here

Postby Red_Arremer » Wed Nov 12, 2008 2:13 pm

I tried that Rosebank 17 c/s from GM and unfortunately it has a big sulfur hit on the nose that I just can't take. It's a drag because I can tell that the whisky would be great without it.

We don't get the f+f bottlings in Boston unfortunately, but I have got my hands on a John Mcdougal's Selection c/s Bladnoch 15 and a Connoiseur's Choice Rosebank 15 (this one's very nice).

I see a lot of negative posts on Auchentoshan. I would understand if people felt that it was a little lacking in character-- it doesn't have much of that lowland grassiness and butter The Tross brought up, just the marshmallow/coconut that reviewers often ascribe to lowlands. Still I like the stuff and some of the older bottles are very nice IMO. The weakly flavored, but smooth distillate picks up flavours from casks in a very straightforward way and so it is that I just picked up a 21 yo 1973 vintage that I think was in a bourban cask-- it's a powerful whisky, very thick for 43%, perfectly balanced, sweet, soothing, long on the finish, and it tastes surprisingly like a bourban. I felt like the 17 yo bordeaux finish had the same syndrome: an impeccably harmonized whisky, with clean, beautifuly integrated cask influences, and suprisingly little distillery brand character... something different and very nice, I'll take that...

Do any of you have any thoughts on these bottles:

-Rosebank 16yo, 46%, Connoisseur's Choice
-Bladnoch from Provenance (a new bottling, age in the early to mid teens can't remember anything else about it though)
-Bladnoch 13 46%, Connoisseur's Choice (this one's been around for a bit)

I'd be interested.
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Re: Lovers of Lowlanders Post Here

Postby MacAttack80 » Fri Nov 14, 2008 5:20 am

Great topic Red! There isn't too much talk of Lowland malts. This is very informative. Thanks.
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Re: Lovers of Lowlanders Post Here

Postby Red_Arremer » Fri Nov 14, 2008 1:53 pm

Thanks Mac. Appreciate that.
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Re: Lovers of Lowlanders Post Here

Postby Ryguy » Fri Nov 14, 2008 5:38 pm

I'm a very big fan of St. Maggies / Linlithgow, every bottle that I've tried has been very good to excellent. Also at the Bladnoch tasting I was able to try a nice range, and all impressed me very much. The 6yo Bourbon cask bottling really standing out!

At the SMWS Extravaganza in Boston I tried The McGibbon's Provenance Bladnoch 13 YO, I'm not sure if this was the one you were asking about above or not, but it was a very good Bladnoch. If I saw one and the price was right, I'd definitely buy it. :thumbsup: :thumbsup:
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Re: Lovers of Lowlanders Post Here

Postby kwellada » Fri Nov 21, 2008 9:32 pm

While I'm no expert on Lowlands, I will say that Bladnoch in particular has a special place for me because it is the first and only distillery I've ever toured. The staff was wonderful and our group got basically a special tour by a nice lady who seemed more than delighted to stop her cleaning chores for 45 minutes to show us around.

I picked up a 16 Year Old Cask Strength from their shop, which hasn't been completely drained yet. I enjoy it, but I've found I prefer Glenkinchie's 12 over it.

The other Lowland I enjoyed was the Auchentoshan Select, which was a budget purchase that turned out to be a pleasant "light spring day" dram.
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Re: Lovers of Lowlanders Post Here

Postby vivbao » Tue Jan 13, 2009 2:06 pm

I opened a Auchentoshan Three wood recently and I rather like it. It's great as a pre-dinner and a nice contrast to my usual Islay malts and Talisker. Yum
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Re: Lovers of Lowlanders Post Here

Postby The Third Dram » Tue Jan 13, 2009 7:43 pm

vivbao wrote:I opened a Auchentoshan Three Wood recently and I rather like it.

As do I. It is a little funny... That is, the widely purveyed notion of Lowland single malts being light and delicate that continually makes the rounds. Then one comes across something like the Three Wood, or one of the older vintage Auchentoshan issues. Even when the light and delicate description does appear to have merit, this does not necessarily preclude such a whisky from having a tremendous flavour impact. For example, Rosebank - to my taste buds, at any rate - always seems to display a uniquely piercing quality on the palate (never mind the nose) that many single malts from other regions simply cannot match. Love the 1989 Cadenhead 9YO Cask Strength!
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Re: Lovers of Lowlanders Post Here

Postby Reggaeblues » Tue Jan 13, 2009 9:28 pm

Last time \i had the 3 wood(in a pub BION!!)it reminded me of...Woodford Reserve!!

I was a "chin to the atlantic wind westering-ho gung-ho islayphile"...until i was seduced by a F&F Bladnoch, and subsequently a SMOS rosebank...

oh, the subtleties! oh, the sweetness of their delicate nature! glorious...and subtly different.

i like the 3 wood...but is it a typical lowlander? i hardly think so.
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Re: Lovers of Lowlanders Post Here

Postby The Third Dram » Wed Jan 14, 2009 12:55 am

Reggaeblues wrote:i like the 3 wood... but is it a typical lowlander? i hardly think so.

Agree 100%.

Yet strangely enough, there's a resin-like quality to the Three Wood that reminds me a little of the 21YO as well as of the 1965 Distillery Archive bottling (never had the opportunity to taste the 1966, alas) - something along the lines of furniture oil.

Jackson himself used to remark on the question (when assessing older Auchentoshan) as to whether or not the whisky gained from extended maturation.
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Re: Lovers of Lowlanders Post Here

Postby Reggaeblues » Wed Jan 14, 2009 2:53 am

My own take is that the Lowlanders are hugely underrated.

i was at an SMWS tasting last year that ended with the customary(and excellent!) fire and brimstone Islay(a Bowmore, I think) but it was the opening dram that I regret not buying - a bewitching, subtle, complex and sweet Auchentoshan. I bought a Craigallechie which i thought impressed me the most at the time. there was also a highland Park on the flight...but somehow it's the "light and gentle" 'toshan that evokes the most powerful memory...
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Re: Lovers of Lowlanders Post Here

Postby Megawatt » Sat Jan 17, 2009 5:30 pm

A curious note about Auchentoshan: I bought a bottle a year ago and it was very smoky. It took me by surprise. I tried a bottle that my friend bought at the same time and it was light and smooth like an Irish whiskey. This leads me to believe that the bottle I had might have been a mislabeled Bowmore or something...is that even possible?

I personally love Glenkinchie. The 10 year old is fantastic, but I recently got a bottle of the 1992 Distillers Edition and I absolutely love it. One of my favourites so far.

I haven't seen much mention of Glenkinchie in this thread, which surprises me. I find it complex and delicious. It has a grassy, herbal aroma, a full, sweet flavour and a long finish. The Distillers Edition adds more fruity characteristics and biscuit flavours, like shortbread.
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Re: Lovers of Lowlanders Post Here

Postby triguy42 » Thu Jan 22, 2009 3:49 am

Though my current tastes run towards the Islay smoky/peaty/intense segment, I have always liked the Auchentoshan Select as a light, smooth, refreshing change from the power of Islay. At one point it was my daily dram, something that I could either down without worrying over price or sip slowly because it was so smooth and clean. But prices have pushed it up towards other bottlings and my tastes have shifted towards the intense. I still have a GlenKinchie 10yr, Auchentoshan Select and G&M Rosebank 1988. I did have a chance at a bottle of St. Maggies but passed it up for a bottle of Ardbeg 1977...couldn't afford both. :cry:
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Re: Lovers of Lowlanders Post Here

Postby triguy42 » Thu Jan 22, 2009 3:53 am

Megawatt wrote:A curious note about Auchentoshan: I bought a bottle a year ago and it was very smoky. It took me by surprise. I tried a bottle that my friend bought at the same time and it was light and smooth like an Irish whiskey. This leads me to believe that the bottle I had might have been a mislabeled Bowmore or something...is that even possible?


BTW-I bought a bottle of Bowmore Legend and it was so incredibly intense and smoky I would have mistaken it for a somewhat young Lagavulin. I went back to the same store and bought the next bottle in the batch...tasted like typical current-day nasty Bowmore cough drops. I can't account for the difference either, except that the Legend is made of stuff that they didn't want to keep for later vintages. Mistakes are always possible in bottling halls though...witness Serendipity.
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Re: Lovers of Lowlanders Post Here

Postby irishwhiskeychaser » Wed Jan 28, 2009 1:54 am

Lowlanders do get an unfair rep ....

Bladnoch for me has to be right up there in the decent whiskey stakes and there are plenty of highland and speyside whiskies that could fit in to the light category too.

ANybody who dismisses lowlanders probably has not has a Bladnoch sherry cask. Further there are plenty blends out there that give Malts a run for their money ...... just more cases of Malt snobbery.
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Re: Lovers of Lowlanders Post Here

Postby AZmalt » Thu Jan 29, 2009 6:43 am

I still have some unopened Cadenhead's St.Magdalene.

Special occasion soon I hope.
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