Plans for Scotch, Edinburgh and Scotland
Finally getting around to my 1st post. Thanks in advance for taking the time to read what's turned out to be a fairly long post and for your answers.
I'm fairly new to whisky and the single malts. Used to drink whiskey many years back and after a bad experience went on hiatus for 30 years. Long story short, tried a Balvanie DW about a year ago and loved it. Tasted nothing like the whiskey of my youth, but had the same desired affect! Anyway, I've tried several, mostly Speysides and like them all. Probably in the following order.... Balvanie DW, Glenlivet 12, Tomatin 12, Glenfiddich 12 (there's something in it that I don't like - peaty or malty?), Speyburn 10 - like it, but clearly could have used more aging, also tried the Lismore.
I also tried the HP12 and the 18. Liked the 18, mixed on the 12. I actually liked it the 1st couple times, disliked it the next couple and sort of liked it for the rest of the bottle, but accepted the smokiness. Clearly a complex whisky, but I'm thinking I may not be a fan of the peaty/smokywhiskies, tiime will tell.
OK, why the background? My wife and I are vacationing in Scotland in June. 3 days in Edinburgh and 8 days out and about w/a car rental.
I'm hoping to get some learned feedback on a couple questions.
1st, I'm going to get a 750ml bottle for the trip. But what? I'm thinking 3 things.
a) something along the lines of the Speysides above
b) something I haven't tried and better yet, something I won't find in the US. Something with a Scotland only distribution.
c) a cheaper price point. My palette is not so well advanced that $for$ I will appreciate a 21, 25, or older whisky.
My thought is on day 1, visit Cadenheads and RMW and ask them the same questions I ask here, maybe get a wee sample, get some recommendations but then that night hit a couple pubs and try out 5 or 6 different whiskies. The next day I'll buy a bottle of the whisky I liked best. So no Glenlivet, Gelnfiddich, Balvanie, Maccallen, Craggenmore, Aberlour, Glenfarclas, or others that I can find in any decent liquor barn here. Also, need not be limited to the Speysides, I'm just listing these to describe what I like.
So, if you would, what would you suggest I try? Again, I'm fine with 10/12 yrs olds, but I am on vacation, so I don't mind stepping up to a 15 or 18 yr old, if it's worth it.
2nd question, I've never tried any of the Islays or any other "smoky monsters". As I mentioned, not sure I really liked the smokiness of the HP and I'm guessing that's pretty tame.
Anyway, I'd like to plan a flight for one night of pub crawling in Edinburgh. I'd like to start with something that's peaty/smoky, but fairly tame. THen plan to work thru 4 or 5 expressions up to "bottled bonfire".
I'm looking for suggestions on what and what order?
Just reading tasting reviews, I was thinking about starting with the Caol Ila 12 yr, Lagavulin 12, Laphoig, Ardbeg 10 yr and finally the Talisker 10 yr. Not sure that's the right order and again, I can find these anywhere in the US so something unique to Scotland would be preferable.
Small side question, I've read about some whiskies being "peaty" and some "smoky" and some both and that "peaty" doesn't necessarily equal "smoky". Anyway, any thoughts on which whisky you suggest that best examplifies peaty or smoky would also be appreciated.
3rd question, I would like to put together a flight working from a younger to more well aged expression within a single range. I'd like to see if I can develop an appreciation of more well aged whiskies.
I guess I could work my way up the Macallan range or the Aberlour or Glenfarclas (which I here is very good). If you could give me a suggest or two on what Whisky best typifies the increased quality within a range. Where I can nose and taste the difference.
OK, that's it for now. Sorry for the length, but figured I'd get the main questions out for feedback and conversation. I may pop a few more questions re: Pubs, whiskies or distilleries along the way.
Thanks much and best regards,