I am new to whisky tasting and have only tasted a few nice choices, including my favorite, Highland Park 15 yo. I love a sweet and smokey whisky and I am looking for suggestions for new ones to try that will not break the bank and are not overly peaty. Any ideas???
I think the HP 18 is fantastic and has a good balance of sweet and smoke that you like, I haven't had the 15 so I can't really compare the two. Others that offer sweetness and smoke are Talisker, Lagavulin DE perhaps (this maybe a little peaty though) to name a couple.
The 18-year old Highland Park and Talisker are both established classics... Brilliantly balanced, satisfying whiskies of tremendous complexity.
If you're interested in a single malt whisky displaying a more 'grain' rather than 'fruit' driven malt characteristic and possessing a whiff of smokiness, then Glen Garioch 15 Year Old might just do the trick.
And if a vatted pure malt is in your arena of interest, I'd heartily recommend Poit Dhubh 12 Bliadhna Mac Na Braiche Green Label - sweet and lush at the outset before the warming embers begin to take hold.
Thanks...I will look for the Talisker as I have never tried that one. I have tried the HP 18 and enjoyed it immensely, but liked how the 15 had a bit more "punch" to it while the 18 was more mellowed and balanced. (Maybe this liking the less mellowed one is due to a lack of experience?)
I personally did not like the Talisker on multiple occassions. I thought it was overly smokey IMO. I would definitely recommend trying it before buying it if you can. If you want a sweet not so peaty Scotch that is from a different area. I would recommend Auchentoshan Triple Wood. It is really good but it is more subtle and sweet.
I would strongly recommend Ardmore Traditional Cask. Truly remarkable dram - even without the age statement. It's sort of an Islay Light with a bit more character than just the smoke and peat. There's a good dose of malt and a honey/vanilla sweetness to make for a perfectly well-rounded character (IMHO).
I understand it can be difficult to find in some areas here in the states, but it goes for just $43 per bottle in NH. Possibly my new favorite.