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One from Each Region

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One from Each Region

Postby andygaspo » Thu Dec 30, 2010 10:06 pm

I am starting my scotch journey and I would like to sample some from each region. As of now I have primarily had whisky from the Speyside region (Glenfiddich 12, Glen Livet 12, Balvenie 15), but I really want to start my collection as well as see the differences in regions. I have a budget of around $60 a bottle (here in Canada, via LCBO which is higher then anywhere else... the GF and GL go for about $42 where I am).

I have targeted the following to pick up:
Talisker 10 - Island
Highland Park 12 - Highland (is this really a highland, or more like a Speyside?)
Bowmore 12 - Islay
Auchentoshan 12 or 3wood - Lowland

Possibly
Yamazki 12 to see what the Japanese malt is like

Is this a good cross section? Should I be considering something else rather then these?

Any suggestions would be welcome.

On a side note finding smaller tester sizes in Ontario is very difficult and I am ok with buying a bottle, in the long run it will be enjoyed.
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Re: One from Each Region

Postby jmrl » Thu Dec 30, 2010 10:14 pm

Swap the Talisker for Highland Park to rerresent Islands, Talisker is pretty peaty so Islay will cover that base, Try Laphroaig instead of Bowmore. Try the 12yo Auchentoshan- the Three wood is heavier on the wood influence than is typical for Lowlanders and don't forget Campbeltown- try Springbank 10yo.

Enjoy

also get Ingvar Ronde's book Malt Whisky Yearbook- heeps of info and a snip of a price considering.
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Re: One from Each Region

Postby Ganga » Thu Dec 30, 2010 11:14 pm

I'd suggest Pulteney 12, Glenmorangie 10 or Dalwhinnie 15 for your non-Speyside, non-Island Highlander. Also would recommend that you get a big sherry whisky even if it is from Speyside. Say Macallan 12 or cask strength, Aberlour a'bunadh or Glenfarclas 12.
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Re: One from Each Region

Postby Willie JJ » Thu Dec 30, 2010 11:52 pm

andygaspo wrote:Highland Park 12 - Highland (is this really a highland, or more like a Speyside?)

No and no. Highland Park is definitely an island malt and as jmrl says would be ideal for that category. Lose the Talisker 10 this time, but definitely try it some other time as it is great.
For your highland malt I would support Ganga's suggestions although Old Pulteney would be my top pick.
For Islay try Laphroaig Quarter Cask or 10yo if QC is not available.
Definitely Springbank 10yo for the Campbelltown region
For your lowland, try to find any bottle of Bladnoch. Failing that the Auchentoshan 12yo is fine.

Oh yeah and the Yamazaki 12 is fine for the Japanese malt.
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Re: One from Each Region

Postby Ganga » Fri Dec 31, 2010 12:43 am

I "grew up" with 4 basic regions for Scotland: Highland, Lowland, Islay and Campbeltown. This was courtesy of Michael Jackson. The Highlands were further subdivided into Northern, Southern, Eastern, Western and Speyside-subregions if you will. Now, this has been further subdivided to Islands.

I am not sure that there is any real "style" when you evaluate the regions/subregions. Dalwhinnie fits better with Lowlands but is a Highland. Auchentoshan reminds me more of Speyside whiskies rather than other Lowland whiskies. I wonder if the type of cask a whisky is matured or finished in and the peating level is a better way to group the whiskies: sherry, port, bourbon, rum, or other wines and unpeated, lightly peated, peated, or heavily peated.
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Re: One from Each Region

Postby Willie JJ » Fri Dec 31, 2010 12:48 am

Ganga wrote:I am not sure that there is any real "style" when you evaluate the regions/subregions.

That's true. It's all marketing nonsense really. Something to talk about though. :)
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Re: One from Each Region

Postby The Third Dram » Fri Dec 31, 2010 2:43 am

Given the current LCBO listings, I think it makes sense to break your potential choices down into the following categories (yes, you may have to go over budget):

HIGHLAND
Aberlour 16YO - $89.95
Aberlour a'bunadh Cask Strength - $94.95
Glenfarclas 105 Cask Strength - $79.95
Glenfarclas 15YO - $84.95
Hard to go wrong here. They're all excellent whiskies, and they all display a rounded Sherry cask influence. The 16YO Aberlour is the most nuanced of the bunch, the Glenfarclas 105 the most in-your-face and the a'buandh an absolute 'Sherry bomb'.

HIGHLAND COASTAL
Oban 14YO (200ml) - $29.95
Old Pulteney 12YO - $79.95
I intentionally separated these two from the Highland/Island categories, as they're what I'd term ideal 'crossover' malts, lying somewhere between those two classifications. The OP's a little overpriced despite its quality. Plus you're wanting to broaden your horizons on a budget, so to speak. Therefore, the smaller bottle of Oban it is.

ISLAND
Highland Park 12YO - $59.95
Talisker 10YO (200ml) - $21.95
The HP 12 is a classic Orkney malt well worth acquiring. But the option of purchasing a smaller bottle of the Talisker seems awfully attractive, too.

CAMPBELTOWN
Springbank 12YO Cask Strength - $99.95
Springbank 10YO - $79.95
Longrow CV - $79.95
None of these are exactly cheap, but what a distillery! The Longrow will give you a solid dose of industrial-like smokiness alongside its fruity sweetness if you wish to go that route, while the Springbanks are slightly more nuanced. Hard choices here. Many rave about the 12YO CS Springbank.

ISLAY
Ardbeg 10YO - $99.95
Lagavulin 16Y0 (200ml) - $33.95
Laphroaig 10YO - $84.95
Laphroaig Quarter Cask - $64.95
On a budget and limited to one bottle? The Laphroaig QC then makes a lot of sense. However, the option of trying the Lagavulin in a smaller format is also a tad interesting. Personally, I'd choose the Ardbeg. But then it's $10 less expensive here in Quebec.

LOWLAND
Auchentoshan Three Wood - $71.95
You really don't have too much choice here. The LCBO does carry Glenkinchie, but it's never been a personal favourite. So you may just have to 'suffer' the Sherry wood influence of the Three Wood and be done with it for now. By the way, this price is also on the high side compared to my locality (alas, currently out of stock here in Quebec). Perhaps, it might be worth considering (as has been mentioned above) a gentler Southern Highland malt as a substitute for a Lowlander. I believe the LCBO lists the 12YO Glengoyne at a pretty reasonable price, and that would make some sense.

MIXTURE (ISLAY-HIGHLAND)
Compass Box The Peat Monster - $62.20
A blend of malts from Ardmore, Caol Ila and Laphroaig. Good whisky. Good price. Good compromise if you're seeking a not-over-the-top peat-reeked blended malt that combines the attributes of two different regions.

The Yamazaki 12YO is all too drinkable.

Happy hunting! :thumbsup:
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Re: One from Each Region

Postby bredman » Fri Dec 31, 2010 4:07 am

For Japanese go for Hakushu 12, it's the best and most elegant lower priced Japanese imo.

Bladnoch is the best of the Lowlands in recent times. Any of them will do.
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Re: One from Each Region

Postby Yello to Mello » Fri Dec 31, 2010 4:34 am

From someone from Ontario, I studied the prices in great depth.

Lowland - Auchentoshan 12 - good price relative to other markets at $45
Islay - Laphroaig QC or Bowmore 12 are also great prices
Island - Talisker 10 price isnt so bad, HP 12 goes on sale periodically $5 off.
There are lots of Highlands to try
Campletown is out of your range, dont worry about it...its small. :P

Oh, if you want to try that Yamazaki 12, one would mistake that for a highland, a similar profile to the Glenmorangie original...IMO the Yama has a few more notes of extra complexity.

From the market you are in, you have a wider range of whiskies than those single malt scotches. I find that the region thing is overhyped and the big differences are Islay/Lowland/Highland-Speyside. You also have decently priced Irish whisky available, a growing selection of bourbon and some great premuim Canadian whisky...have you ever tried Wiser's 18?
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Re: One from Each Region

Postby andygaspo » Fri Dec 31, 2010 2:34 pm

bredman wrote:For Japanese go for Hakushu 12, it's the best and most elegant lower priced Japanese imo.


Thanks, the only Japanese I have come across at any of my local liqour stores are the Yamazaki or the Nikka... they have a small 300ml of the Nikka which is about $40.
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Re: One from Each Region

Postby andygaspo » Fri Dec 31, 2010 2:38 pm

Wow thanks for the all the great suggestions. I will definitely switch out the Talisker for now infavour of the HP 12.

TTD: The LCBO website shows a lot of the smaller sizes which is great but I find them very hard to come by in my region. Pretty much only minis of glenfiddich 12 and glen livet 12 on the shelves. I saw one 300ml of Nikka which was very hard for me not to buy at the time.
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Re: One from Each Region

Postby Lucas » Fri Dec 31, 2010 2:44 pm

Ganga wrote:I'd suggest Pulteney 12, Glenmorangie 10 or Dalwhinnie 15 for your non-Speyside, non-Island Highlander. Also would recommend that you get a big sherry whisky even if it is from Speyside. Say Macallan 12 or cask strength, Aberlour a'bunadh or Glenfarclas 12.


I'll second that.
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Re: One from Each Region

Postby DavidUK » Tue Jan 04, 2011 8:52 pm

The Third Dram wrote:
LOWLAND
Auchentoshan Three Wood - $71.95
You really don't have too much choice here. The LCBO does carry Glenkinchie, but it's never been a personal favourite. So you may just have to 'suffer' the Sherry wood influence of the Three Wood and be done with it for now. By the way, this price is also on the high side compared to my locality (alas, currently out of stock here in Quebec). Perhaps, it might be worth considering (as has been mentioned above) a gentler Southern Highland malt as a substitute for a Lowlander. I believe the LCBO lists the 12YO Glengoyne at a pretty reasonable price, and that would make some sense.




Bladnoch is by far and away the best Lowland whisky.
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Re: One from Each Region

Postby Ganga » Tue Jan 04, 2011 10:47 pm

I wouldn't go quite that far with the Bladnoch. I've had a couple of just stunning Auchentoshans and Rosebank has just been exceptional from young to old. It should also be noted that Bladnoch is not the most readily available Lowland in North America. Would love to have more of it available and OBs to boot.
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Re: One from Each Region

Postby dramtastic » Wed Jan 05, 2011 12:14 am

Auchentoshan is fine, maybe even a little underated and pretty good value to boot. I also don't agree that Bladnoch is 'by far and away' the best Lowlander. If you have the coin, grab a Rosebank.
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Re: One from Each Region

Postby Yello to Mello » Wed Jan 05, 2011 4:35 am

DavidUK wrote:Bladnoch is by far and away the best Lowland whisky.


LCBO carries 1:

92 MURRAY MCDAVID BLADNOCH LOWLAND (BRUICHLADDICH) Price: $ 109.95

Out of the budget.


Rosebanks LC has 2:

18YO ROSEBANK Price: $ 169.95 (2 left in stock)
1990 18YO ROSBNK DUN BHEAGAN SHRY B LOWLND (IAN MA Price: $ 219.95 (just over 10 left)
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Re: One from Each Region

Postby Knolly » Wed Jan 05, 2011 8:27 am

Ha ha!

You're going to get all sorts of different answers, but I personally would ditch the $60 HP12 and replace it with the $75 Talisker collection of 3x200ml bottles if you can find it (LCBO says it's still available).

Yes, Talisker is kind of smoky, but comparing it to a Lagavulin, Laphroaig or Ardbeg is just silly as they are miles different. While I think at some point you should taste Highland Park, I find it's kind of the jack of all trades and master of none whisky (at least the regular bottlings). Talisker has a very unique profile in the industry with it's peppery, slightly smoky sweetness. Plus, in the combo pack you also get the Talisker Distillers edition, which is a sherry finished whisky (so you can get a starting feel for Sherry and smoke together, which many of us are crazy about - i.e. Ardbeg Uigeadail!), and you get the awesome Talisker 18yo, one of the absolute best regularly available bottles in the industry. Much more exciting that mundane, bland Highland Park 12!!! :D

Anyway, just to throw a wrench in there!
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