Not a member? - Register and login now.
All registered users can read our entire magazine archive.

Help this clueless wife pick a bottle of Islay Scotch

Your tastes and our tastes are discussed here, so make sure you share your pleasures with us.

Help this clueless wife pick a bottle of Islay Scotch

Postby abba12 » Mon Apr 07, 2014 1:17 am

Is the proper term Islay Scotch or Islay Whiskey?

My husband has always loved scotch since his grandad used to bring some with him whenever he visited. He prefers the smoky, peaty flavours over the floral and fruity ones. With hesitation, since it seems to be a love-it-or-hate-it style, I bought him his first ever Islay for christmas, a Lagavulin 16yo. Well he LOVED it. Here's a link to it - ... isky-700ml

I want to get him another bottle of something for his birthday, but this variety seems to have a starting price (at least in Australia) of $80, which is a hefty investment. I don't mind spending the money at all, I am not a spirits drinker but he obviously appreciates the flavours etc. It just makes me very nervous that I could easily waste over a $100 on 'the wrong one'. My husband won't buy any for himself (he might have expensive tastes, but lets just say his tastes don't match our financial situation! He struggles to spend that much on himself, especially a luxury like this. I don't think he has ever bought a scotch in his life, they are always gifts from generous family members)

So I am a little in the dark on where to start. I'm not even certain what 'peat' tastes like, so the descriptions don't help me much! :) So I am hoping the collective mind here can me choose a gift or two which would be suitable (I might make a list so I have some suggestions ready for next Christmas too)

He likes the heavy, smokey flavour and indicated he would enjoy something even 'stronger' or 'more intense'. I suppose you could say he has a developed pallet. He also said something about the flavour lingering being a good thing if that's relevant.

I am looking for something which is still in the same vein, being an Islay whiskey, but distinctly different from the Lagavulin 16yo which he still has plenty of.

Preferably it needs to be available in Australia, since importing alcohol is a huge pain in the neck. And I don't mind spending some money, but I do have an upper limit of about $120, which might be pushed to $150 for something really special. Here are the 3 main Australian websites I could order from

What would be your top recommendations for me? Thanks so much to anyone who can help!
New member
Posts: 1
Joined: Mon Apr 07, 2014 12:52 am

Re: Help this clueless wife pick a bottle of Islay Scotch

Postby Ganga » Thu Apr 10, 2014 12:42 am

Ok, I looked through the sites you listed and there is some variability in prices from the different sources so you might check them for the best price when you get ready to order. These are all fairly big of the smoke and peat scale but may be a little bit different from Lagavulin 16.

Lagavulin 12 - little younger, more intense. Higher proof gives it the intensity. May want to add a little water.

Kilchoman Machir Bay - Kilchoman is an up and coming distillery. While young they produce high quality whisky. You may look at some of the annual releases (they are better but do cost more) to see if something fits your budget.

Ardbeg - there is a selection here. These are more oily than Lagavulin but still have that smoke punch. Thoughts for you are the 10, Uigeadail (higher proof). I saw on one site the Ardbeg Day. This is more elegant than the other two. Not as much punch but definitely more things to taste and smell.

Laphroaig 10 - Another big smoky one. Not as refined as Lagavulin. There are other options but you will note some wine flavors in some of the others such as the Triplewood and Quarter Cask. I didn't see the 10 cask strength available which would be a better suggestion.

Hope this helps a little.
Matured cask
Posts: 26817
Joined: Thu Oct 12, 2006 11:57 pm
Location: Sylmar, CA

Return to Whisky Tastings

Whisky gift and present finder