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

Want to explore the smoky whiskies . . .

All your whisky related questions answered here.

Want to explore the smoky whiskies . . .

Postby lord.wexford » Wed Oct 13, 2010 7:48 pm

Hello All,

I'm curious about the peat and smoke accents of the Islay scotches, having been captivated by the smoky finish of Highland Park 12, but seek the advice of those far more learned than myself. Having had a long love affair with JW Black, I ventured into the single malts by way of Glenlivet 12, then Glenfiddich 12 and most recently Highland Park 12. I found the Glenlivet 12 a little dull, the Glenfiddich 12 agreeable and the Highland Park 12 sublime. I want to explore the Islands a little more, but am wary of such tasting notes as "iodine", "cigarette ash" and "vomit" - none of these sound particularly appealing. It seems I need to ease myself into the peats and smokes, as I do not believe my palette is quite ready for the Ardbergs, Lagavulins and Laphroaigs of this world. I'm intrigued by Talisker 10, and suspect it may be my best bet due to my fondness for Mr Walker. Not an Islay, but believe it to share some of the characteristics thereof. I have heard good things about Bunnahabain 12, and somewhat mixed opinions on Bowmore 12. I am aware that the older Islays have less pronounced peat, but fear those are beyond my meager budget at this point in time. What thinks the collective?
lord.wexford
New member
 
Posts: 2
Joined: Wed Oct 13, 2010 7:43 pm

Re: Want to explore the smoky whiskies . . .

Postby lockejn » Wed Oct 13, 2010 8:28 pm

The Bunnahabhain has a bit of smoke, but less than the HP I think. It's a good whisky, but probably not what you're looking for here.

Springbank and Clynelish have similar peat levels to HP for my palate. I don't much care for the Springbank and there are plenty of other folks who don't much care for the Clynelish. So it could be a bit of a gamble at this level. You could also try JW Green Label or Swing if they're readily available.

Pretty hard to go wrong with Talisker 10. You might also try Ardmore/Teacher's for a slightly different take on peat from what you find on Islay and probably closer to HP than Talisker.

Bowmore is relatively gentle, and you can get the Legend for a value price. I think I actually prefer it over the 12y though Bowmore isn't really my cuppa.

The next step up would be Caol Ila. I went straight to this from the HP and found it to be a bit too much in the beginning. Compared to the "big three" Islays it's more conservative, though.

From there you could branch out to the peated BenRiachs or Longrow. Or move up to Lagavulin and then Laphroaig or Ardbeg. Once you get in that company there's generally no looking back.
User avatar
lockejn
Triple Gold Member
 
Posts: 2802
Joined: Thu Apr 16, 2009 2:25 am
Location: New Hampshire, USA

Re: Want to explore the smoky whiskies . . .

Postby bredman » Thu Oct 14, 2010 12:11 am

lord.wexford wrote: are beyond my meager budget at this point in time.

Lord Wexford, you sound loaded.

I think Talisker 10. Alternatively Caol Ila 12 or Longrow CV. These three are in between the HP and the whisky nirvana that is Laga/Laph/A'beg. I can't recommend Bowmore as it's not my thing, but it may be yours. Keep us updated on your choices and progress.
User avatar
bredman
Double Gold Member
 
Posts: 1046
Joined: Fri Jul 16, 2010 2:56 pm

Re: Want to explore the smoky whiskies . . .

Postby dramtastic » Thu Oct 14, 2010 12:13 am

Tali 10 sounds like a sound choice, with IMO Ardmore Traditional Cask and Longrow CV being other viable alternatives. Any of these three a far more powerful(flavour wise) than HP12 though.

You could always try Japanese such as Yoichi 10 if you can afford it. This will offer you amongst other things pure peat and smoke flavours, without the medicinal notes.
User avatar
dramtastic
Cask Strength Gold Member
 
Posts: 3476
Joined: Tue Jan 20, 2009 9:07 am

Re: Want to explore the smoky whiskies . . .

Postby Swedish Chef » Thu Oct 14, 2010 12:14 am

Unlike lockejn I love Springbank so I would recomend that or better still the bowmore 12 (both shoudl be easy enough to get your hands on) for stepping into the world of smoke. I'm sure there are others that more experienced members will tell you about.
I usually don't agree with most of the more experienced members when it comes to peat smoke-levels so I may be way off though.
And if I read iodine in someones tasting notes, it's a good thing (vomit is not, makes me think of The Arran Malt 10yo).
User avatar
Swedish Chef
Double Gold Member
 
Posts: 1237
Joined: Thu Oct 09, 2008 2:16 pm
Location: Åmål, Sweden

Re: Want to explore the smoky whiskies . . .

Postby bredman » Thu Oct 14, 2010 12:17 am

Which reminds me, "vomit" flavours are not particular to the big Islay whiskies, i note them in Speyside whiskies the most, and not at all in Islay, iirc.
User avatar
bredman
Double Gold Member
 
Posts: 1046
Joined: Fri Jul 16, 2010 2:56 pm

Re: Want to explore the smoky whiskies . . .

Postby Swedish Chef » Thu Oct 14, 2010 12:20 am

Good call on the Yoichi 10 DT! Even though I haven't had it a while I'd say the Longrow is a lot more smokey than the Bowmore so it would be quite a step uo from the HP12.
User avatar
Swedish Chef
Double Gold Member
 
Posts: 1237
Joined: Thu Oct 09, 2008 2:16 pm
Location: Åmål, Sweden

Re: Want to explore the smoky whiskies . . .

Postby lockejn » Thu Oct 14, 2010 12:22 am

bredman wrote:Which reminds me, "vomit" flavours are not particular to the big Islay whiskies, i note them in Speyside whiskies the most, and not at all in Islay, iirc.

Agreed.
User avatar
lockejn
Triple Gold Member
 
Posts: 2802
Joined: Thu Apr 16, 2009 2:25 am
Location: New Hampshire, USA

Re: Want to explore the smoky whiskies . . .

Postby bredman » Thu Oct 14, 2010 12:27 am

Swedish Chef wrote: Even though I haven't had it a while I'd say the Longrow is a lot more smokey than the Bowmore so it would be quite a step uo from the HP12.

Your quite right. However the Longrow has improved so much over the last couple years, it's simply stunning, you can't not like it.
User avatar
bredman
Double Gold Member
 
Posts: 1046
Joined: Fri Jul 16, 2010 2:56 pm

Re: Want to explore the smoky whiskies . . .

Postby Swedish Chef » Thu Oct 14, 2010 12:46 am

Don't get me wrong, bredman, I love the CV (as I said in a post way back, I can't sleep properly without one at home) and the Bowmore isn't fit to wash it's dirty underware. But Bowmore 12 is what got me into smoke in the first place and should be a good way of stepping up the smoke level. Also I think the first time I had the CV was a little under two years ago.

In Sweden, thanks to a greedy importer, the CV is twice the price compared to TWE. :twisted:
Last edited by Swedish Chef on Thu Oct 14, 2010 1:00 pm, edited 1 time in total.
User avatar
Swedish Chef
Double Gold Member
 
Posts: 1237
Joined: Thu Oct 09, 2008 2:16 pm
Location: Åmål, Sweden

Re: Want to explore the smoky whiskies . . .

Postby Ganga » Thu Oct 14, 2010 1:05 am

Why is iodine an issue for you? Are you thinking more along iodine as a medicine or more along those from seaweed. If seaweed, then you would expect to find these in the south shore Islay whiskies.

Some thoughts on the younger versions:

Bowmore: drift towards maltiness, floral component (heather, lavendar, roses), and some smoke but more like wood smoke than peat smoke

Laphroaig: more recently I've been getting apples, some big peat smoke (but sometimes a little softer)

Ardbeg: plenty of smoke, some oiliness (diesel?), briney, melons

Lagavulin: bright maltiness in the bourbon cask 12s, plenty of peat smoke, vanilla, bacon occasionally. 16 is sherried so look for some caramel notes in there.

Caol Ila: oily, bacon everywhere, earthy, some vines

Bruichladdich, Port Charlotte: all over the place from virtually no smoke and peat to very heavily peated. Usually has a strong malty character unless you get a wine finished one

Kilchoman: young, strong peaty smoke

Bunnahabhain: just a touch of smoke unless you get a peated cask, strong malt character, with a bit of citrus

Talisker: spicey characteristics, look for various pepper, malty, waxy, whisps of smoke that are slightly stronger than HP

Ardmore: much more subdued compared to Islays. Earthier peat.

Benriach: there's a slew of these ranging from the Curiositas to the peated and finished 15 yos. Not really my thing here.
Ganga
Matured cask
 
Posts: 23043
Joined: Thu Oct 12, 2006 11:57 pm
Location: Sylmar, CA

Re: Want to explore the smoky whiskies . . .

Postby matteo » Thu Oct 14, 2010 11:43 am

I agree on all Ganga!!! Thumbs up!!
Really impressive :shock:

My indication for lord.wexford is to try:

Talisker 10 - Spicied whiff smoke

Springbank 10 - Smoked salted seawead - remind you drinking whisky on a seashore

Caol Ila 12 - marinated bacon

Ardbeg 10 - peat bacon grass - remind you a barbecue on the grass near the seashore

Lagavuling 16 - Diesel peat medicine some sort of sweetness oily - very tasty and Disttiler's Edition is more sweet making it a dark choccolate mate

The order is my personal indication, a progressive initiation to smoke - peat.
Now it's on you :mrgreen:
matteo
New member
 
Posts: 77
Joined: Sun Mar 07, 2010 3:07 pm
Location: Milano - Italy

Re: Want to explore the smoky whiskies . . .

Postby lord.wexford » Thu Oct 14, 2010 5:37 pm

Thank you everyone for your suggestions, very much appreciated. I'm hoping I can find a pub with a varied selection, and try a dram of either Taliskers or Coal Ila before splurging on a bottle. Failing that, I may just invest in a bottle of Taliskers . . . although I do love bacon! Ultimately, it will boil down to selection and price at my local.
lord.wexford
New member
 
Posts: 2
Joined: Wed Oct 13, 2010 7:43 pm

Re: Want to explore the smoky whiskies . . .

Postby Rufus Skytrousers » Thu Oct 14, 2010 11:23 pm

If your in the UK Wex, the larger branches of Sainsbury's carry the 20cl bottles of Talisker 10... Always a good way to sample scotches, without too much risk, price wise.

P/S Other than that,..I reckon Longrow CV is a real good one for you, when you have pocket.
Rufus Skytrousers
New member
 
Posts: 42
Joined: Sat Jun 05, 2010 6:25 pm

Re: Want to explore the smoky whiskies . . .

Postby pkt77242 » Fri Oct 15, 2010 12:32 am

Talisker 10 is a must try. Smokier than the HP 12 but not as much as the Islays. Laga 16 would be my second choice. Not as peaty as the Laph 10 or as the Ardbeg 10 but a little more sophisticated.
User avatar
pkt77242
Matured cask
 
Posts: 10525
Joined: Mon Jan 29, 2007 2:15 am
Location: Phoenix, AZ USA

Re: Want to explore the smoky whiskies . . .

Postby lockejn » Fri Oct 15, 2010 12:46 am

I'd agree with the other posters championing Longrow. It's a treat. But I think going direct to that from the HP is likely to knock you out. Some folks do fine jumping straight in to the deep end, but when I was in your shoes it would have been a turn off.
User avatar
lockejn
Triple Gold Member
 
Posts: 2802
Joined: Thu Apr 16, 2009 2:25 am
Location: New Hampshire, USA

Re: Want to explore the smoky whiskies . . .

Postby lee J lane » Fri Oct 15, 2010 1:57 am

Hello, it doesn't cost the earth and you can try two strengths, try the Ileach at 40% and then the cask strength "wow", if you'r looking for Islay give these two beauties a try, the only downside is that there are very few, "if any" cheaper bottles that will tax your palate like these.
lee J lane
New member
 
Posts: 4
Joined: Sun Feb 22, 2009 4:29 am

Re: Want to explore the smoky whiskies . . .

Postby Nu2Whisky » Sat Jun 01, 2013 11:07 pm

And two and half years later, theres someone else (ME) probably on the other side of the world thats going through a similar story of really really liking HP12 and now trying the Laphs, Tali's, Arbeg and Laga.
How wonderful.

Thanks y'all for this great, informative, welcoming community.
Nu2Whisky
New member
 
Posts: 65
Joined: Sun Dec 04, 2011 11:05 pm

Re: Want to explore the smoky whiskies . . .

Postby Wee Robbie » Tue Jun 04, 2013 1:53 am

Nu2Whisky wrote:And two and half years later, theres someone else (ME) probably on the other side of the world thats going through a similar story of really really liking HP12 and now trying the Laphs, Tali's, Arbeg and Laga.
How wonderful.

Thanks y'all for this great, informative, welcoming community.


And don't forget Caol ILa 12 year old to kick start your Islay journey. Ralfy recommended it to me and it is a very good introduction to the "smokey peaty dark side" As Ralfy said "look out for it". A lovely dram which has lured me away from HP to Islay. I was at one time put off by descriptors such as Sea Weed, Iodine, Medicinal, Bacon and so on. No longer.
Wee Robbie
Wee Robbie
New member
 
Posts: 8
Joined: Fri Dec 07, 2012 4:28 pm

Re: Want to explore the smoky whiskies . . .

Postby bscepter » Tue Jul 23, 2013 11:21 pm

Wee Robbie wrote:
Nu2Whisky wrote: I was at one time put off by descriptors such as Sea Weed, Iodine, Medicinal, Bacon and so on. No longer.
Wee Robbie


to me, laphroaig smells like burning band-aids. and i LOVE it. :P
bscepter
New member
 
Posts: 32
Joined: Thu Feb 28, 2013 12:01 am

Re: Want to explore the smoky whiskies . . .

Postby whiskymate » Thu Aug 08, 2013 2:35 am

The whisky you should have saved up for by now if you like the HP 12 is the HP 18 a way superior drop.
Caol Isla is a great entry but way less body than the HP
Talisker would be a good road.
Try one of the smokey vatted malts, there are a few cheaper ones out there that are fine for a look see.
Take the Islay Journey when strong

Briuch classic would be where I would start Followed by C.I. followed by Bowmores legend or 12.
If I had Port C I am thinking it has such a big sweet finish that I might try it last after the big 3 southerners. Which I would take Laph Ard Lag 16
There is a great range from the islands and Campbelltown
Some dump on Bunn' so I haven't tried it yet.
I haven't quite connected with Jura, can't 'yet' see why people buy.
Ledaig is a favourite of mine.
Look out for Hellyers Road 'Peated' from Tasmania beautifull full smoky nose that you can get from a distance and a wonderful balanced drop with a long sweet finish.
Hard to get, but a delight when you get your hands on the stuff.
Enjoy!
ps this answer really is to the next in line so to speak for I imagine the originator has taken his path by now.
whiskymate
New member
 
Posts: 2
Joined: Thu Aug 08, 2013 1:36 am

Return to Questions & Answers

Whisky gift and present finder