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Suggestions for next Scotch purchase

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Suggestions for next Scotch purchase

Postby WaxDart » Fri Jan 30, 2009 6:06 pm

I am fairly new to the Scotch experience and I am looking for input on my next purchase.

Here is a list of what I currently have:

Caol Ila 12 = 9/10
Highland Park 15 = 8/10
Oban 14 = 7/10
Glenlivet 15 F.O.R. = 6.5/10
JW Blue = 9/10 but too expensive
JW Black = Favorite everday blend
JW Gold = enjoy the Black more
Famous Grouse 18 = Least favorite blend

I think I am drawn towards the smokiness and smoothness of the Caol Ila and JW Blue.

I am looking at picking up 1 or 2 of the following but would like other suggestions as well:

Ardbeg 10
BenRiach Curiositas
Talisker 10
Talisker 18
HighlandPark 18
Clynelish 10
Isle of Jura Superstition


Any feed back would be appreciated.
Thanks,
WD
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Re: Suggestions for next Scotch purchase

Postby bcrossan » Fri Jan 30, 2009 6:32 pm

Ardbeg 10 for sure and then I would suggest the Lagavulin 16 if you can find it
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Re: Suggestions for next Scotch purchase

Postby kyorke1 » Fri Jan 30, 2009 6:37 pm

I would suggest the Talisker 18 and HP 18 in MHO. Perhaps a Laphroaig 10 too as a peaty smokey smooth one? I tried the L10 not so long ago and went down like water. Probably because I have been drinking Ardbeg recently.
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Re: Suggestions for next Scotch purchase

Postby triguy42 » Fri Jan 30, 2009 7:01 pm

Based on your preference for smoothness and smoke in the Caol Ila and JW Blue I'd consider the Benriach Curiositas. It's a bit rougher because of the lack of oils that smooth out Caol Ila, but interesting and not that expensive. The best bet for a very smoky and reasonably priced bottle would be Laphroaig 10yr but it's muuuch more aggressive than Caol Ila 12yr. Ardbeg 10yr is probably $15 more expensive and has the smoke and smoothness and very good depth. Depends on your budget. The Lagavulin 16yr is like the others on steroids these days, so I'd recommend being sure you like aggressively strong and smoky before dropping the coin.

Jura Superstition is hit-and-miss with sulphur these days. My current bottle is really good, but not in the smoky direction...

Talisker is generally very peaty and peppery and occasionally sour...the 18 is much smoother and also has good depth. Both are similar in flavor profile so try the 10yr first to see if you like the distillery "character."

Highland 18yr is an excellent bottling and definitely hits the smoky/smooth/heathery/sherry characteristics. The 25yr 45.8% that I have is absolutely amazing. I like the 12 and 18 better than the 15, which I found to be too feinty for me. Supposedly more recent 15yr versions are much improved so YMMV.

I have a Clynelish 14yr that is really nice but not at all smoky.
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Re: Suggestions for next Scotch purchase

Postby Reggaeblues » Fri Jan 30, 2009 7:09 pm

I love a lot of these on your list, and knee-jerk I'd tend to bawl out" Ardbeg".

but if one does stand out as "smoky and smooth" as you wish, it has to be the Talisker 18. A good suggestion that has been made already, along with "try the 10 to see if you like the house character". You may well find it in a bar someplace - the 18 is more expensive, but...what a dram!

HP18 is also excellent, but I think I prefer the Talisker.

Very difficult to rate "preferences" with whisky, as they're all so different - the best are very distinctive.
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Re: Suggestions for next Scotch purchase

Postby The Third Dram » Fri Jan 30, 2009 7:29 pm

triguy42 wrote:Based on your preference for smoothness and smoke in the Caol Ila and JW Blue I'd consider the Benriach Curiositas. It's a bit rougher because of the lack of oils that smooth out Caol Ila, but interesting and not that expensive.

As triguy42 suggests, Curiositas represents a very interesting and uniquely tasty malt for the money... Certainly worth investigating.

Or you could purchase Glenlivet Nadurra 16YO Cask Strength and Lagavulin 16YO, then mix together 4 parts of the former with 1 part of the latter.

The only other off-the-beaten-track recommendation that comes immediately to mind is to search out some of the older vintage (distilled in the late 1960s or early 1970s) Glen Gariochs, which displayed quite healthy peat-reek levels.
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Re: Suggestions for next Scotch purchase

Postby Ganga » Fri Jan 30, 2009 7:59 pm

My choice from your list are Ardbeg 10, Talisker 18 and HP 18. When I think of CI, I think about the oiliness (diesel and/or creosote) which I find in Ardbeg.

I am surprised by no suggestions of Laphroaig. I'd go for the 10 CS or the regular 10. Others really like the QC.

On the other hand, Bowmore is smokey but in a much different way than other Islays. May not be a good fit for you.
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Re: Suggestions for next Scotch purchase

Postby WaxDart » Fri Jan 30, 2009 8:53 pm

Thanks for the suggestions.

HP18 runs around $75 and Lagavulin 16 around $80 near me, and is at the upper limit when it comes to buying a bottle without having sampled it first.

I just learned from a coworker there is a bar near me that has over 60 different SMS and allow you to order what is essentially a sampler plate(.5oz of between 3-5 different whiskies). And it appears they have every suggestion from the list, so I guess I'm stopping by the bar before the liquor store.

I got a feeling this could get out of hand fast.... :shock:

:? Please excuse the stupid question, but what is Cask Strength and Quarter Cask ? Are they just marketing terms or is there actual meaning those labels ?
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Re: Suggestions for next Scotch purchase

Postby dramtastic » Fri Jan 30, 2009 9:43 pm

I'd try the Ardbeg 10 and the Talisker 10, highly rated drams at reasonable prices. I agree, if you like the Tali 10 then maybe up to the 18 because here is Australia i'ts twice the price so find out if you think it's worth it first.

I also second the Laphroaig QC or Laga 16 as an alternative to the Ardbeg, the Laga being my favorite of the three.

Seeing you like blends I think Chivas 18 is a wonderful whisky, better IMO than JW Blue but around one third the price.

Enjoy
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Re: Suggestions for next Scotch purchase

Postby jazz lover » Fri Jan 30, 2009 11:48 pm

You can't go wrong with Highland Park or Talisker.
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Re: Suggestions for next Scotch purchase

Postby shulaw05 » Sat Jan 31, 2009 12:31 am

based on what you enjoy, any of those on your list except clynleish should be fine. i would also condiser ardmore traditional if you can find it. it is a peated highland malt, very smooth and different than ilsay scotches.
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Re: Suggestions for next Scotch purchase

Postby clicker7 » Sat Jan 31, 2009 11:26 am

If I had one choice from your list it would be Talisker 18!

Highland Park 18 would be a close second.

Joseph
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Re: Suggestions for next Scotch purchase

Postby borgom » Sat Jan 31, 2009 1:32 pm

From your list I would suggest Ardbeg 10, Talisker 10 and HP 18 in that order but forget that!
You love peat right!? So, in any order, go get Ardbeg 10, Ardbeg Uigedail, Lagavulin 16/CS, Laphroaig CS/10/QC - all classics and all delicious and all must try whiskies.
Then if you ever find you're after something less peaty go for a Talisker and then the HP's are less peaty again.
I'd say you also owe it to yourself to try Aberlour a'bunadh at some stage too.
You've got so many wonderful new whiskies to try, what great fun! :D
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Re: Suggestions for next Scotch purchase

Postby Muskrat Portage » Mon Feb 02, 2009 2:37 am

Waxdart:
I'm not sure where you're from but if at all possible I'd strongly recommend you track down any Ardbeg you can and buy a couple of each. Ditto for the Caol Ila.

My reasoning is simple, I know there are a lot more variations of Ardbeg and Caol Ila than we can access in this part of Canada, Whatever you can find in your part of the world, buy two, one for drinking and one for future reference.

JW Blue I've sampled and would only purchase if I'd bought every other SM I ever wanted to own first. It's okay but not worth the price sticker IMHO.(That sounded a lot like Frodo, didn't it?) That being said, I did enjoy the JW Green and would pick one up again.

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Re: Suggestions for next Scotch purchase

Postby pkt77242 » Mon Feb 02, 2009 2:43 am

I would go with 2 of the following three. Talisker 18 very smooth, smokey and nice salt and pepper. Highland Park 18, very smooth, honey and some smoke. Ardbeg 10, not the smoothest but lots of smoke, peat and citrus.

Sean
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Re: Suggestions for next Scotch purchase

Postby vision*R » Mon Feb 02, 2009 9:55 am

You purchase list contains some true classics that you can't go wrong with. I would suggest the Lagavulin or Talisker Distillers Editions though. They both have the warmth and depth of their typical distillery profile but the sherry adds an extra layer of smoothness. It seems you didn't experience the sherry effect yet in your previous bottles.

BenRiach Curiositas is also a unique dram.
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Re: Suggestions for next Scotch purchase

Postby Whisky » Mon Feb 02, 2009 10:43 am

I'll chip in my two cents' worth. I think you should get, nay need, a Laphroaig 10. (Think you already said you had the Quarter Cask in an earlier version of your original post.) I had some recently and was reminded of just what a great whisky it is, especially for the money. The Cask Strength has slightly more depth of flavour, for me, but they're both very good.[/Laphroaig fan]
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Re: Suggestions for next Scotch purchase

Postby Lucas » Mon Feb 02, 2009 11:39 am

Whisky wrote:I think you should get, nay need, a Laphroaig 10. (Think you already said you had the Quarter Cask in an earlier version of your original post.) I had some recently and was reminded of just what a great whisky it is, especially for the money.


But do you think 10 yo is better than QC? Cause I reckon QC is worth twice the 10 yo's price and, being only £2 dearer, it's one of the best value for money whiskies around. Like it much better than the standard 10 yo. It's a classic, I know, but it slightly deteriorated over the past few years:(
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Re: Suggestions for next Scotch purchase

Postby Whisky » Mon Feb 02, 2009 11:47 am

I am not too much of a fan of the Quarter Cask, to be honest. Bit too oaky and vanilla-y, for me.
You'd think it'd cost a good bit more than the 10 year old as, presumably, it's quite expensive to make the quarter casks.
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Re: Suggestions for next Scotch purchase

Postby triguy42 » Tue Feb 03, 2009 2:23 am

I really liked my first bottle of QC, but the second bottle was very, very bourbony. Almost like drinking a Woodford Reserve with some smoke instead of a young, aggressive Laphroaig. My latest bottle is more like the original, oaky but not overbearingly so. The regular 10yr also has some variability, one bottle last year was barely smoky at all but my current open one tastes like a bonfire! In general though I think the 10yr may be more to his liking since it's typically less aggressively oaky and more of a smoky, peaty Islay malt.
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Re: Suggestions for next Scotch purchase

Postby WaxDart » Tue Feb 03, 2009 9:55 pm

I managed to pick up a bottle of Talisker 18 this weekend (only $3 more than the 10).

It is now a tossup between the Caol Ila 12 and Talisker 18 as to which is my favorite SMS thus far.

I have questions regarding Peat and Smoke. Are they the same thing ? I enjoy the smokiness of the CI 12, Talisker 18, and JW Blue, but is that the actual peat flavor I'm tasting , or does the smoke flavor come from something else like the barrel the whiskies were matured in ?

I've seen some whiskies referenced as peat monsters (Lagavulin 16 ?). Does that mean they are really smoky ? Are the CI 12 and Talisker 18 considered mild islay whiskies ?

Trying to become better educated before throwing down the $$$ to go further down the Islay rabbit hole.
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Re: Suggestions for next Scotch purchase

Postby Ganga » Tue Feb 03, 2009 11:10 pm

You will find peat/smoke used interchangeably in many places of this forum. I would suggest this isn't wholly true. Bowmore I find to be more of a wood smoke or oak char than a peat smoke. I have also found some whiskies that tasted/smelled like a peat bog (very earthy) and others that tasted/smelled like peat logs as opposed to peat smoke.
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Re: Suggestions for next Scotch purchase

Postby talisker10 » Tue Feb 03, 2009 11:21 pm

Hi WaxDart,

I was just curious if you got the Talisker 18 at the new Spec's in Austin. I live in the Houston area so have been spoiled with Spec's with quite some time. I am amazed that they continually sell the 10 and 18 at such close price points. As soon as the cash flow improves a bit I want to pick up Caol Ila 12 and Talisker 18. I love the 10 of course, as evidenced by my moniker.

As far as the smoke and peat go, I assume you taste two separate things as do I. The earthy, sweet taste of the peat (really noticeable in Laphroaig) and the smoky taste (Bowmore to me is more smoke than peat). I believe they come from the same place, that is the peat fires that are used to dry the malted barley. It seems they just manifest themselves differently. There would not be a smoky taste that comes form wood. Wood might add an element of fruitiness, or a vanilla tone. We had a thread while back about the pepper of Talisker. I think the general consensus was that was due to due to type of stills or the distillation process unique to Talisker.
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Re: Suggestions for next Scotch purchase

Postby WaxDart » Wed Feb 04, 2009 12:10 am

talisker10 wrote:I was just curious if you got the Talisker 18 at the new Spec's in Austin. I live in the Houston area so have been spoiled with Spec's with quite some time. I am amazed that they continually sell the 10 and 18 at such close price points. As soon as the cash flow improves a bit I want to pick up Caol Ila 12 and Talisker 18. I love the 10 of course, as evidenced by my moniker.

Yes Sir/Mam (we've got four Spec's in the Austin area now). Definitely spoiled by the selection they offer as well as their prices. Their lineup is pretty consistent across the stores, with some slight variations (Only one carries the Caol Ila 12 so far.)

Regarding the Peat/Smoke tasting, I guess I'm too much of a novice to know if I taste two different things. Or I just don't know what peat tastes like.

Suggestions on what I should sample in order to distinguish peat from smoke ?

There is a bar near me that offer .5 oz samplers like:

Lagavulin 16, Cragganmore 12, Dalwhinnie 15, Glenkinchie 10, Oban 14, Talisker 10


Auchentoshen 10, Edradour 10, Glenmorangie 10, Balvenie 10, Springbank 10, Laphroaig 10

Or Lineup Samplers like:

Benriach 10, 12, 20, 21
Ardbeg 10, Uigeadail, Beist, Provenance
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Re: Suggestions for next Scotch purchase

Postby kyorke1 » Wed Feb 04, 2009 1:47 am

Collector57 wrote:I consider peat and smoke to be rather different.

If it smells like an earthy aroma, maybe singed earthy, that is peat.

But smoke isn't necessarily peaty - it can be like a bonfire (easily recognised) or it can be like burning peat.


My thoughts exactly.
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Re: Suggestions for next Scotch purchase

Postby The Third Dram » Wed Feb 04, 2009 1:59 am

As I've pointed out on another forum...

"The smokiness is directly attributable to the malting of the barley and can, depending on the timing/proportion/sequence of drying over peat, coal and/or warm air, vary substantially in degree and aromatic/flavour characteristics. It is also influenced by the actual composition of the peat employed during the malting process. Peat is, after all, little more than old, decomposed vegetation. Every peat bog is different. And the depth to which the peat is cut can also have an effect. Of course, nowadays, most of Islay's malted barley comes from the large Port Ellen maltings facility, thus somewhat homogenizing the process except for the phenolic levels. But Bowmore and Laphroaig persist in using a proportion of malted barley from their own on-site operations, and the stylistic variance between the two is readily discernible (Bowmore's more sandy and crumbly in composition and Laphroaig's denser and more vegetative). Another matter to consider is the fact that both the distillation cycle and extended cask maturation tend to dissipate the impact of the phenolic levels initially achieved during the malting process."

"For those who are seriously interested in Islay malts and how the myriad complexities of the whisky are derived (water, malt, sea air, still geometry, etc.) I would offer a serious recommendation for Andrew Jefford's book, Peat Smoke and Spirit."

"The bottom line, however, is how that smokiness interacts with the intrinsic characteristics of the malt. And on this note, you'll just have to decide for yourself."
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