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Need basic Islay/Island Malt like Lagavulin16 w/ less smoke

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Related whiskies : Lagavulin 16 Years Old

Need basic Islay/Island Malt like Lagavulin16 w/ less smoke

Postby pete_d » Thu Oct 12, 2006 3:08 pm

I'm sorry if i'm asking the same newbie repetitive questions over and over, but i have exhausted the search function.

I have a bottle of Lagavulin 16 whihc i originally got my dad for a retirnement present, although he's not a fan. Luckily, i am. I'm a big fan of the general taste profile of the Lagavulin but find it a bit too smokey, especially on the nose and the palate.

Everyone here raves about the Ardbeg 10, and i was gonna grab a bottle as soon as this goes, but was curious as to whether this is more or less smokey than the Laga bottle i have.

In the alternative, would a Talisker 10 give me something similar - more peat and spice, but less smoke?

What is the general flavour difference between Lagavulin 16, Talisker 10 and Ardbeg 10?

thanks all

PD
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Postby Lawrence » Thu Oct 12, 2006 3:25 pm

If you're looking for less smokey then I suggest you try the Talisker 10, the Ardbeg 10 is quite a bit smokier than the Lagavulin 16. Remember the smoke/peat generally diminishes with age.
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Postby maverick » Thu Oct 12, 2006 3:43 pm

huh, I didn't know that about "smokiness". That's actually very interesting. Do you know what makes the whiskey lose it's smoky flavor over time?
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Postby ResIpsa539 » Thu Oct 12, 2006 3:58 pm

maverick wrote:huh, I didn't know that about "smokiness". That's actually very interesting. Do you know what makes the whiskey lose it's smoky flavor over time?


The longer it's in the cask, the more opportunity there is for the wood to influence the character of the whisky. More wood influence = less peat influence.

I'd recommend the Talisker 18 if you're looking for significantly less peat.
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Postby Bullie » Thu Oct 12, 2006 4:03 pm

I'd go for a Highland Park 12 or 18. Just enought smoke and peat, but sweet and nicely balanced.
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Well I'm a big fan of.....

Postby Oiler_Kiwi99 » Thu Oct 12, 2006 8:52 pm

Bowmore. Unlike many Islay drinkers I find Ardbeg, Lagavulin and Laphroaig a wee bit overpowering for my palate. I had the Morrison Bowmore blender Iain McCallum at the bar I work at 2 weeks ago and we nosed & tasted the 12yo, Darkest, Dawn & 17yo plus I have a litre of 15yo in the house.

My order of favourites: -

1. Bowmore Dawn
2. Bowmore 17yo
3. Bowmore Darkest
4. Bowmore 15yo
5. Bowmore 12 yo
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Postby Drrich1965 » Thu Oct 12, 2006 9:10 pm

More peat and less smoke, more spice, you said....To me, this is Caol Ila to a tea. I like the olive/spicy quaity, it clearly is peaty, and far less smoky than Lagavulin or Ardbeg. I prefer Caol Ila 12 slightly over the 18 (some folks seem to not like the 18 at all, but I find it a good dram), and enjoy some of the G and M cask strenght Caol Ilas as well. Thinking of opening a 19 year old Provenence CI, or even a an 8 year old G&M CI form Binnys.

Certainly, the younger CIs the more peaty, although the 15 year old Flora and Fauna was fairly peaty, and was a very much straight ahead expression

Of course, Port Ellen would also qualify, and I love the "mood" of the pepper in PEs.

I agree with Bowmore as well, and for me the 12year old is a great, reasonably priced one. I have become interested recently in Bourbon cask, indy Bowmores of late.
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Postby laphroaig10_65 » Fri Oct 13, 2006 9:23 am

In fact the recent Lagavulin 16 yo is smokier and less complex than the previous "White Horse" version.
Bye
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Postby Thomas H. » Fri Oct 13, 2006 10:08 am

The Caol Ila mentioned is a indeed a good choice, however some people are put of by it's slightly olivy notes. I too am a big Bowmore fan, and they are generally a bit softer then the Lagavulin.

I think I too would go for Talisker 18. But what you should really try and do, is try and find a good bar in your general area that has a good selection of single malt whisky. Try a few of the whiskies mentioned here, and see what you like. :)
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Postby jimidrammer » Fri Oct 13, 2006 2:39 pm

I'll second Bullie's Highland Park 18yo suggestion. A very good balancing act there. Also the Talisker 18yo that was mentioned. Both of these are at the age when the smoke starts to take a back seat, but still leans up to ask "Are we there yet?" :wink:
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Postby Deactivated Member » Fri Oct 13, 2006 2:50 pm

I have always had my doubts about the theory that peat flavour diminishes with age. I can think of plenty of old peaty whiskies - some of which seem peatier than the younger versions. I'm not sure how you'd ever be able to prove it because the basic spirit differs from year to year (mash to mash?). How to tell whether peat has faded or was simply never there to start with.
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Postby jimidrammer » Fri Oct 13, 2006 3:22 pm

Nick Brown wrote:I have always had my doubts about the theory that peat flavour diminishes with age. I can think of plenty of old peaty whiskies - some of which seem peatier than the younger versions. I'm not sure how you'd ever be able to prove it because the basic spirit differs from year to year (mash to mash?). How to tell whether peat has faded or was simply never there to start with.


I'm only basing this on my personal experience. Ardbeg 10 & 17, Caol Ila 12 & 18, Talisker 10 & 18, Highland Park 12 & 18. Younger versions are smokier and I guess we assume they are basically the same whisky just matured longer. Now Laphroaig 10 & 15 and Lagavulin 12 & 16 are anomallies that seem equally smoky. This is just my point of reference and there very well may be others that don't fit. And that's the point, opinions are like...never mind. :oops:
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Postby Drrich1965 » Fri Oct 13, 2006 5:12 pm

Nick Brown wrote:I have always had my doubts about the theory that peat flavour diminishes with age. I can think of plenty of old peaty whiskies - some of which seem peatier than the younger versions. I'm not sure how you'd ever be able to prove it because the basic spirit differs from year to year (mash to mash?). How to tell whether peat has faded or was simply never there to start with.


I am not sure if the actual peat fades (I really have NO idea of this factually), or if it is just that other elements take a more central position, and the peat makes up propotionally less of the flavor profile.
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Postby irishwhiskeychaser » Fri Oct 13, 2006 5:36 pm

I would also disagree that the peat fades with age but what you do find is that the whisky gets mellower and loses it's edges from when it was younger and this as previously said is through the reaction with the wood over the years. Therefore the total experience is smoother.

Sometimes it's easy to get carried away with us talking up certian malts more than others. Also don't chance an older more expensive version on a whin either thinking that it would suit you better. It is better to build up to these distilleries and you probably will seemingly you 'nearly' like the Laga 16. Take your time and it will all come together.

I would stay well clear of Ardbeg 10 (and Laphroaig) for the time being if you think Lagavulin 16 is a bit strong. Talisker & Highland Park are good choices
Last edited by irishwhiskeychaser on Sat Oct 14, 2006 9:36 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby pete_d » Fri Oct 13, 2006 11:38 pm

thank you all for your replies. I have just taken the last precious dram from my HP12, so now i've got a priority to renew. My Lagavulin is still going strong, and despite any first impressions from this post, i actually really like it. So it's not too unapprochable for me (although my girlfriend likens it to drinking a bushfire due to the smoke)

However, i do think the smoke comes on a bit much at times. I might investigate the Talisker 10, but all the bottles available around here are the recent blue-box bottlings, and general consensus is that it lost its peppery edge of old. That might make it a more versatile pour for me and the family, but i'll keep thinking i'm missing out on something. Would i be correct in saying the Talisker is like a more intense HP12? Peat,Spice, slight Smoke etc.

As an alternative, what are peoples opinions on the Bruichladdich 10 vs 12?

PD
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Postby Mr Fjeld » Sat Oct 14, 2006 1:03 am

Bruichladdich 10 - which is about to be replaced by the 12 - is almost smokeless. It's a fruity whisky with citrus tones and a lovely scent and taste of overripe pears. But it's not a smoky whisky. You could check out Springbank also. I happen to like the 100 Proof a lot; the smoke is more of a fundament than a "taste ingredient" for this expression and if you have a hard time with the liqourice tastes often associated with the "peat monsters" , then the Springbank is a safe bet. The nose of this whisky is perhaps a bit closed but the mouthfeel is an explosion.

Edit/oops: Didn't read your post good enough the first time but if you're looking for something remotely similar to the Lagavulin 16 - and also very good, then Smokehad from Ian Macleod might be of interest. Won a prize too in latest issue of Whiskymag.
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Postby pete_d » Sat Oct 14, 2006 3:48 am

Out of sheer coincidence i just happened to be walking past the bottleshop after breakfast out with the gf and saw they were doing Whisky tastings: More fortuitously, they had on offer:

Isle of Jura 10
Isle of Jura Superstition
Bowmore 12
Ardbeg 10
Bruichladdich XVII(?)
Laphroag 10

Was inimpressed with the Jura 10 and felt it was too green, young and lacking substance. the Superstition was a big suprise, especially after the 10. (GF liked this the most and wants a bottle for herself). Bowmore was a bit so/so. Tasted heaps of smoke and peat, but also conflicted with some sweeter tones. Ardbeg was a spicier and more potent version of the Laga that i have, but the Laga smoother and more balanced. The Bruichladdich was a real shocker as an Islay with more fruit than smoke, and the Laphroag which i liked a LOT more than i expected. A real bourbon drinker's Scotch (and i mean no disrespect to the non-bourbon fans here)

Of the bottles tried, I personally liked the Superstition the most (but not the price) Also i could get use to the Ardbeg 10 but it was a lot to take in (especially in the morning) and Laphroaig. However i'd like to try a Talisker 10 before is sign off on one of these higher level malts. Sadly I was weak and got an Old Pulteney 12 which was on special. Very nice, and the sea influence is obvious but not overpowering. A good pour for the beach. Glad it's coming into summer...

PD
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Postby maverick » Sun Oct 15, 2006 1:20 am

I would say that islay malts are know as Islay malt BECAUSE they are peaty. Take the peat out and there wouldn't be antyting special about Islay. I also don't really think you cant straight up compare the different brands. I mean a laproaig is different from an Ardbeg and an Ardbeg is different from a Lagavulin, etc. The thing is finding a whiskey that suits your own palate. I think that experimenting is the only way to go, but experimenting with a solid ground, don't just try any old whiskey :D . For me when it comes to islay malts it was Ardbeg 10 that did it for me.
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Postby pete_d » Sun Oct 15, 2006 3:59 am

Agreed. The problem is (excepting any serendipidous tasting event) very few of the local bars i occasion has anything greater than Glenfiddich 12 or JW Black. I have to assess my most likely favourite given the opinions of the knowledgable folk around this site, and my taste preferences.

Although not an Islay, i'mliking the sound of the Talisker 10 a lot. From what i gathered, the Talisker in recent versions seems like a heavy version than HP12. (or am i wrong) Even if it is less peppery and more sweet, a bourbon fan would surely gravitate to that surely?

PD
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Postby Jan » Sun Oct 15, 2006 9:17 am

maverick wrote:I would say that islay malts are know as Islay malt BECAUSE they are peaty. Take the peat out and there wouldn't be antyting special about Islay.


Yeah, the espically the Kildalton trio is know for their peatyness, but I believe they would not have become the superstars they are, if they had'nt have a lot more to offer than just peat.
Which they do. If you get the chance to taste Ardbeg Kildalton, which is unpeated, you will find a beautiful dram that does not need peat at all to shine...

Cheers
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Postby TreacleSponge » Sun Oct 15, 2006 12:20 pm

pete_d wrote:I might investigate the Talisker 10, but all the bottles available around here are the recent blue-box bottlings, and general consensus is that it lost its peppery edge of old. That might make it a more versatile pour for me and the family, but i'll keep thinking i'm missing out on something. Would i be correct in saying the Talisker is like a more intense HP12? Peat,Spice, slight Smoke etc.

As an alternative, what are peoples opinions on the Bruichladdich 10 vs 12?

PD


What good luck on your morning stroll! Of the ones you tried, Bowmore is a little too salty for me; Jura is a bit so-what (but the Superstition is vastly superior); Bruichladdich 17 is fruity – grapefruity – and excellent but not if you’re looking for peat; and Ardbeg is a little too much for a morning dram for me (you know it’s gonna hit you with something big – just look at the packaging – it just screams “come on and chew on a burnt stick if you think you’re hard enough!”:))

Talisker 10 would be a great choice. It’s a lovely smoky malt. Sometimes I find the problem with reading up tasting notes from old-timers - no offence to long-standing whisky buffs here ;) – is that comments are sometimes referenced to previous releases (eg, pepperiness). But just cos it’s a slightly different drink from previously, doesn’t mean it’s no longer a good malt. The current Talisker 10 is smoky and spicy, more so than Highland Park and less so than Lagavulin. It’s got the peat and spice you’ve said you’re looking for, and beautifully balanced with rich sweetness. I also agree with Drrich and would suggest Caol Ila 12 as well.
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Postby pete_d » Sun Oct 15, 2006 1:02 pm

Thanks TreacleSponge (and everyone) for your words of encouragement. I kinda realised today that, although i'm a uni student and therefore almost impecunious, anything i get i'm sure will be excellent. With all the opinions provided from knowledgable folks any choice will be appreciated.
I also think that the advice of true 'experts' and afficianados on this forum are trained to find and assess very minute changes in flavour profile. I'm sure i'll love the Talisker 10, Bruichladdich 10, Ardbeg 10, but then again i have little to compare and contrast it to.

I guess that this post, and the other elsewhere started with a flawed premise. I wanted to get about 4-5 bottles that i knew at a consistent pricepoint and quality that would give me a representation of each of the major regions. Maybe it's better to get a few bottles to try and work out what i'd like, or at least choose a bottle for it's characteristic rather than style.

but hey, punchy/fruity Bruichladdich 10 sounds good; Spicy/Peppery Talisker 10 even better, Smoky/Peaty Ardbeg 10 better still; and Smooth/Sweet/Woody Balvenie 12 DW would be a dream.

then get a BNJ or Famous Grouse for a daily pour...

PD
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