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Plans for Scotch, Edinburgh and Scotland

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Plans for Scotch, Edinburgh and Scotland

Postby well-sherried » Fri Apr 22, 2011 6:46 pm

Hi all,

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,

Kevin
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Re: Plans for Scotch, Edinburgh and Scotland

Postby jmrl » Sat Apr 23, 2011 1:22 am

don't worry Kevin we will take care of you, one word- Tomintoul.
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Re: Plans for Scotch, Edinburgh and Scotland

Postby Wave » Sat Apr 23, 2011 8:47 am

I love Edinburgh, my favorite city outside of the USA. You can find a lot of "liquor barns" in town :lol:, but Cadenheads is my favorite and if your wanting something that isn't available in the US that's the place to get it. While you can get quite a few whisky distillers in the US usually not all of their range makes it on this side of the pond. Caol Ila for example while you can get most of their range of whiskies here we don't get their Natural Cask Strength which happens to be by far my favorite CI. While your in Scotland with car take in a distillery tour or two, they're fun, informative and some even have distillery only bottlings that not only can you not get here but neither in the rest of Scotland.

You can bring back more than 1 bottle (70cl) if you want. I normally bring back 4~6 bottles whenever I'm there. Last years take was 3 Cadenheads (Ardbeg 17yo, Caperdonich 27yo and Dailuaine 20yo) and 2 Laphroiag Triple Woods at Heathrow.
:D


Cheers!
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Re: Plans for Scotch, Edinburgh and Scotland

Postby well-sherried » Sat Apr 23, 2011 8:01 pm

jmrl,

I'll definately give that a try! We're planning to drive right past the distillery.

Kevin
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Re: Plans for Scotch, Edinburgh and Scotland

Postby well-sherried » Sat Apr 23, 2011 8:13 pm

Wave,

Thanks! Right now we're planning tours at the Edradour, Oban and most likely Glenlivet, but so many choices.

Planning a good visit at Cadenhead, maybe get a wee lesson on cask strengh whisky. I might opt for that since I'll never see it in the US.

I will have to take another look at the import laws, I've got e-mails from a State breaucrat saying "no way".

Visited a new liquor store today. Got a Balvanie DW for $36.99 and a Teacher HC for $15.49, thought the prices were good. Very wide range, but no Caperdonich.

Thanks much!

Kevin
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Re: Plans for Scotch, Edinburgh and Scotland

Postby Wave » Sun Apr 24, 2011 5:17 am

[quote="well-sherried"]Wave,

Thanks! Right now we're planning tours at the Edradour, Oban and most likely Glenlivet, but so many choices.

I've been to Pitlochry but toured the Blair Athol Distillery instead and couldn't make it to Edradour, they used to know as the smallest distillery in Scotland but with the recent batch of micro distilleries popping up I don't know if they still hold this distinction. Oban is cool town and the distillery sits right in the middle of it. I've done their tour twice just because it's so easy (I like the town of Oban too). If your there a couple of days think about taking the half-day ferry to the Isle of Mull and the town/distillery of Tobermory. The distillery really isn't much but the picturesque town shouldn't be missed. I've toured a lot of distilleries in Speyside but strangely haven't been to The Glenlivet yet. The best tour I've taken in Speyside is Aberlour in the town of Aberlour (Walkers Shortbread is made there too), their Connoisseurs tour is an in depth tour lasting several hours with a tasting of up to 7 different expressions, the last time I was there we tasted new spirit, 10yo, the new 12yo, 16yo, bourbon casked cask strength, sherry casked cask strength and a'bunadh (I wasn't driving!). Afterward you have the option to fill, cork and label your own 70cl bottle from either the Bourbon cask or Sherry cask. It's another nice option if your looking for that 1 special bottle to bring home with you.

I will have to take another look at the import laws, I've got e-mails from a State breaucrat saying "no way".

It may depend on your point of entry though I've never had a problem with the points of entry I've been to with multiple bottles of whisky, Chicago, New Jersey and Honolulu. As long as you can prove your not a dealer there really is no limit on how much you can bring back. Customs says you can bring back up to 1 liter of alcohol duty free and everything past that is suppose to be charged based on the alcohol content. Since most of the whisky I bring back are cask strength one of a kinds if they want to take the time to tally up all the different percentages I'll gladly pay the extra duty! I haven't yet and I declare everything I bring back (including minis). The only real problem these days is with the air carriers, many limit the amount you can bring aboard your checked and carry-on bags combined and I've heard a couple of air-carriers have recently banned it completely. Check with your air carrier.


Cheers!
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Re: Plans for Scotch, Edinburgh and Scotland

Postby Wave » Sun Apr 24, 2011 5:23 am

Ooops, my bad.
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Re: Plans for Scotch, Edinburgh and Scotland

Postby DavidUK » Tue Apr 26, 2011 11:18 pm

For purchasing suggestions I'd definately go for some of the expressions that a) can only be purchased in person from the distillery eg Blair Athol, Glendronach and/or b) 'fill your own' straight from the cask eg at Aberlour(best value tour by far),Glendronach, Benromach.

Both the above are also to be found on Islay but I assume you are not intending to head out that far, prefering to stay in mainland Scotland.

A whisky that is apparently very hard to get hold of in the USA and is absolutely outstanding is Bladnoch. They have an excellent visitor centre although it's a good two and a half hours drive south of Glasgow. It's well worth the effort though. If you don't make it down to Bladnoch be sure to pick up a bottle or two of their whisky. I would recommend the 8yo Beltie Label, and the 18yo Sheep or Beltie Label, but avoid the sherry matured expressions which whilst good, aren't in the same league as the non-sherried versions. NB Don't be put of by the youthfulness of the 8yo Bladnoch. It is a seriously good whisky.

Have a great trip
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Re: Plans for Scotch, Edinburgh and Scotland

Postby Wave » Fri Apr 29, 2011 2:01 pm

DavidUK wrote:For purchasing suggestions I'd definately go for some of the expressions that a) can only be purchased in person from the distillery eg Blair Athol, Glendronach and/or b) 'fill your own' straight from the cask eg at Aberlour(best value tour by far),Glendronach, Benromach.

Thanks for the tip on the Glendronich distillery and their fill-your-own, I'll have to put them on my to-see list for my next whisky trails trip.


Cheers!
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Re: Plans for Scotch, Edinburgh and Scotland

Postby corbuso » Wed May 04, 2011 1:38 pm

well-sherried wrote:1st, I'm going to get a 750ml bottle for the trip. But what?
Kevin



Just FYI: 750ml is US and South Africa specific. You will only find 70 cl (700 ml) bottles in UK :D
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Re: Plans for Scotch, Edinburgh and Scotland

Postby DavidUK » Wed May 04, 2011 6:09 pm

Wave wrote:
well-sherried wrote:Wave,

Thanks! Right now we're planning tours at the Edradour, Oban and most likely Glenlivet, but so many choices.

I've been to Pitlochry but toured the Blair Athol Distillery instead and couldn't make it to Edradour, they used to know as the smallest distillery in Scotland but with the recent batch of micro distilleries popping up I don't know if they still hold this distinction. Oban is cool town and the distillery sits right in the middle of it. I've done their tour twice just because it's so easy (I like the town of Oban too). If your there a couple of days think about taking the half-day ferry to the Isle of Mull and the town/distillery of Tobermory. The distillery really isn't much but the picturesque town shouldn't be missed. I've toured a lot of distilleries in Speyside but strangely haven't been to The Glenlivet yet. The best tour I've taken in Speyside is Aberlour in the town of Aberlour (Walkers Shortbread is made there too), their Connoisseurs tour is an in depth tour lasting several hours with a tasting of up to 7 different expressions, the last time I was there we tasted new spirit, 10yo, the new 12yo, 16yo, bourbon casked cask strength, sherry casked cask strength and a'bunadh (I wasn't driving!). Afterward you have the option to fill, cork and label your own 70cl bottle from either the Bourbon cask or Sherry cask. It's another nice option if your looking for that 1 special bottle to bring home with you.

I will have to take another look at the import laws, I've got e-mails from a State breaucrat saying "no way".

It may depend on your point of entry though I've never had a problem with the points of entry I've been to with multiple bottles of whisky, Chicago, New Jersey and Honolulu. As long as you can prove your not a dealer there really is no limit on how much you can bring back. Customs says you can bring back up to 1 liter of alcohol duty free and everything past that is suppose to be charged based on the alcohol content. Since most of the whisky I bring back are cask strength one of a kinds if they want to take the time to tally up all the different percentages I'll gladly pay the extra duty! I haven't yet and I declare everything I bring back (including minis). The only real problem these days is with the air carriers, many limit the amount you can bring aboard your checked and carry-on bags combined and I've heard a couple of air-carriers have recently banned it completely. Check with your air carrier.


Cheers!



I think you may be able to claim back some of the UK tax you will have paid, when you depart from the airport. This will soften the blow if you have to pay US duties on arrival
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Re: Plans for Scotch, Edinburgh and Scotland

Postby PaperQueen » Mon Jun 06, 2011 3:29 pm

Just returned from several days in Aberlour, working my way through Speyside distilleries (decided to visit after the annual Whisky Festival, not wanting to deal with crowds--good choice).

Unfortunately, someone gave me bad info before the trip, making me think that anything above the 1 liter duty free limit would be confiscated by US Customs. Not the case.

The fed does, however, charge duty and excise taxes on anything above and beyond the duty free limit.

Free: 1 liter = 1000 ml
This is slightly more than a typical 750 ml bottle, less than two (that said, I was able to successfully come through Customs with two though, so I think they tend to turn a blind eye to that scenario) . If there'd been a third bottle, my guess is that they would have hit me for duty and taxes.

If bringing in more than the free limit:
Duty charged: 3% of the value
plus
IRS excise tax: 21-31 cents per 750ml bottle of wine
67 cents per bottle of champagne
>>> $2.14 per bottle of hard liquor

Ex: A 60 GBP bottle of Aberlour that I bottled myself would have cost….
Duty 2.97 US
Excise 2.14 US
5.11 US paid on that one bottle in Customs

For info on the US Customs website:
https://help.cbp.gov/app/answers/detail ... /related/1

As an additional heads up, each state also has a say on what they'll let in--you need to find out what the state laws are for the location of your point of entry airport (where you'll pass through US Customs). If you're landing at JFK, then driving home to Connecticut, it's NY law that applies, not CT.

Have fun while there; I'm already planning my next visit.
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Re: Plans for Scotch, Edinburgh and Scotland

Postby The Third Dram » Mon Jun 06, 2011 6:51 pm

DavidUK wrote:A whisky that is apparently very hard to get hold of in the USA and is absolutely outstanding is Bladnoch... be sure to pick up a bottle or two of their whisky.

I concur! A top-notch Lowland whisky well worth becoming acquainted with. The higher the proof, the better. Really good with a decade and a half or more under its belt, too.

As for a lighter (i.e. less peaty/smoky) Islay, why not Bunnahabhain? The newer non-chill-filtered 46.3% 12 Year Old as well as the 18 Year Old are reputedly excellent.

As for focusing on a flight of various ages from a single distillery, Macallan and Glenfarclas are the obvious choices, given the breadth and depth of their respective offerings. But I also feel that some other non-Speyside distilleries, such as Oban and Talisker (to name but two) are worthy of such a flight analysis. Talisker, in particular, demonstrates rather dramatic differences as it matures from 10 through 18 to 25 years of age. Laprhoaig is also a solid choice in this vein.

By the way, Oban is a great town to visit. And the ferry connections from Oban to the Isle of Mull and elsewhere offer lovely vistas. Tobermory is as picturesque a little town as you're likely to stumble across. And there's a beautiful and rather challenging golf course just up the hill from the town center, should you be so inclined, that permits you to gaze across the fairways to some of the other islands.
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