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Which single malt whisky would you suggest?

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Which single malt whisky would you suggest?

Postby blacksabb » Tue Feb 24, 2009 7:07 am

Hi everyone. I want to buy my first single malt whisky as a gift for my old man. I went into the local liquor store and wrote down the names of all the single malt whiskies within a price range of up to about $AU85.00. Here is the complete list of all the single malt whiskies within that range in that particular store:

1. Glenfarcias 8yrs

2. Aberlour 10yrs

3. Talisker 10yrs

4. McCallan 10yrs

5. Highland Park 12yrs

6. Chivas Brothers Strathisla 12yrs

7. Ardmore Highland

8. Dalwhinnie 15yrs

9. Cragganmore single Speyside malt 12 yrs

10. Isle of Jura Superstition

11. Oban 14yrs

12. The Dalmore 12yrs

13. The Balvenie 12 yrs (matured in 2 woods)

14.

Glenmorangie 10 yrs
Glenmorangie port cask (matured in bourbon cask, then port cask)
Glenmorangie sherry cask (matured in bourbon cask, then sherry cask)

15. Hart Brothers (range from 8yrs to 12 yrs)

16.

Provenance Jura 11yrs
Provenance Dalmore 10yrs
Provenance Ledaig 8yrs
Provenance Laphroaig 8yrs

17. Ardberg 10yrs

18. Knockando 12 yrs

19. Laphroaig 10yrs

20. Lagavulin 16yrs

21. The Glenlivet 15 yrs

22. Bowmore Islay 12yrs

23. Glenfiddich 15yrs


Phew!! What a list! I think I was there for about half an hour writing all this down. Whilst I was there writing all this, there was a guy next to me, also jotting down whisky names. I thought he was a staff member so I told him what I was doing as I was going to post a question on single malt whiskies on this forum.

He told me he wasn't a staff member but was opening up his own bar, so he was jotting down a range of whiskies for his own selection. He said he was an avid whisky drinker, and when I told him that I was looking for a single malt whisky as a gift for my old man within my specified price range, he immediately made a number of suggestions:

He firstly said that any single malt whisky within my price range would be good, that I couldn't go wrong. He then said that The Glenlivet 15yrs was a good choice.

He then raved on about 2 particular whiskies. The first one was Bowmore Islay 12yrs. But he added that this whisky had a very heavy smoke and peat flavour. He basically said that this was strictly an after dinner whisky, as the heaviness would "kill your appetite". He described the strength of flavour like a cigar, with the taste lingering in your mouth throughout the night. :smoke:

The other whisky he raved on about, that he said he could sit down and drink all night, was the last one on my list, the Glenfiddich 15yrs. And this is the one that he recommended to me as his final suggestion, over and above The Glenlivet 15yrs, Bowmore Islay 12 yrs and all the others there.

So, I'd be interested to know from all of you your (one) suggestion of a single malt whisky from the above list.

On a side note, I've been reading some reviews of whiskies from my list in this Whisky Magazine website. Being a complete beginner regarding single malt whiskies, if I had to pick one from my own list based upon these reviews, I would most probably choose the Cragganmore 12yrs. Many of you seem to regard this as an outstanding and underrated drop.

But like I say, what would I know? I'm a complete novice. So again, what would you all suggest?
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Re: Which single malt whisky would you suggest?

Postby dramtastic » Tue Feb 24, 2009 9:50 am

Ouch only one from your list. Well firstly I don't think you would go wrong if you chose the Cragganmore.
As for that guys suggestion that the Bowmore 12 is really smokey I disagree. Yes there is smoke but more subtle than that of some of the other Islay malts on your list and would be a good introduction to a peaty style of whisky. More like peat meets sherry but not overpowering.

My choice for a novice would be The Balvenie Double Wood, but there are plenty on the list that I enjoy.
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Re: Which single malt whisky would you suggest?

Postby borgom » Tue Feb 24, 2009 11:13 am

Welcome blacksabb, do you know any of the whiskies your dad drinks now? It would help us in making a recommendation. Which shop you were in (if in Melb)?
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Re: Which single malt whisky would you suggest?

Postby blacksabb » Tue Feb 24, 2009 11:29 am

borgom wrote:Welcome blacksabb, do you know any of the whiskies your dad drinks now? It would help us in making a recommendation. Which shop you were in (if in Melb)?


Oh man, how embarressing! As I wrote in a couple of other threads, dear old dad is so plain and predictable when it comes to whiskies. Pretty well all he's bought his whole life is the trusty old Johnnie Walker red label. :shock: And as I said before, I recently bought a bottle of Canadian Club 12 yrs, which sadly, was a huge step up for both him and me.

I'm trying at least to branch out into some finer stuff, hence the desperation, haha. I know he does appreciate a better quality drop, but it's a combination of being set in his ways plus not wanting to spend much that keeps him buying the JW, or some other base level whisky such as The Black Douglas (which incidentally tastes bloody horrible!! Worst whisky I've ever tasted :yuk: ).

Whilst I'm on this subject, I realise now that base level whiskies just don't have that much flavour. If I'm going to drink a cheapie, I still prefer the Canadian Club over the JW red as it's much smoother, but I realise that I'm missing out on all those lovely smells and tastes. Hence my venture into single malts.

This is the first time in my life I'm able to afford really good quality whiskies, and I'm trying to expand the whisky horizons for both dad and me. Hence the question. Incidentally, the shop I was in was a Dan Murphy's liquor store in N.S.W. (Australia).

And thanks for asking.
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Re: Which single malt whisky would you suggest?

Postby LagaDrinker » Tue Feb 24, 2009 12:01 pm

Blow him away with Ardbeg 10 you won't regret it :thumbsup:
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Re: Which single malt whisky would you suggest?

Postby kyorke1 » Tue Feb 24, 2009 12:26 pm

LagaDrinker wrote:Blow him away with Ardbeg 10 you won't regret it :thumbsup:


:lol: Now this will be a step up!

dramtastic wrote:Ouch only one from your list. Well firstly I don't think you would go wrong if you chose the Cragganmore.
As for that guys suggestion that the Bowmore 12 is really smokey I disagree. Yes there is smoke but more subtle than that of some of the other Islay malts on your list and would be a good introduction to a peaty style of whisky. More like peat meets sherry but not overpowering.

My choice for a novice would be The Balvenie Double Wood, but there are plenty on the list that I enjoy.


I agree. Cragganmore is very smooth.
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Re: Which single malt whisky would you suggest?

Postby blacksabb » Tue Feb 24, 2009 12:30 pm

Thanks guys, keep those replies coming. I notice no one has jumped in with "For the love of Pete, get the Glenfiddich 15yrs", like that other guy suggested.

At the moment, I'm leaning towards either the Cragganmore 12, Highland Park 12, Balvenie 12 or Lagavulin 16.

But we'll see.....depending on your responses. :D
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Re: Which single malt whisky would you suggest?

Postby kyorke1 » Tue Feb 24, 2009 1:00 pm

If you were to buy them in order palate progression I would suggest:

1. Cragganmore
2. Balvenie DW
3. HP 12
4. Lagavulin.
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Re: Which single malt whisky would you suggest?

Postby Reggaeblues » Tue Feb 24, 2009 1:45 pm

blacksabb wrote:Thanks guys, keep those replies coming. I notice no one has jumped in with "For the love of Pete, get the Glenfiddich 15yrs", like that other guy suggested.

At the moment, I'm leaning towards either the Cragganmore 12, Highland Park 12, Balvenie 12 or Lagavulin 16.

But we'll see.....depending on your responses. :D


For the love of Pete(not Peat!) get the Glenfiddich 15!

didn't you say the guy suggested Glenlivet 15?? Similar, but different. I prefer the Glenfiddich. I also find it more "open" than the Balvenie, which I've found inconsisent flavour wise.

I have a Glenfiddich 15 open right now. It really is a lovely drop, my favourite GF, and I would recommend it as a great whisky for a guy who likes a whisky but isn't "into" whisky, if you see what I mean.

I love Ardbeg 10 also, but its intense peaty maritime flavours may be bit too much! On the other hand, both Lagavulin 16 and Talisker 10 combine these elements with more sweetness. Besides, Talisker is a component of JW. I had a red label JW on a plane back from Oz a couple of years back, and perhaps it was a particular batch, but all I could taste was the Talisker in it! A pleasant surprise, as that was the only whizky on offer, and I expected much less!

My dad was 90 last week, and |I'm having a birthday tasting for him here tomorrow. We're starting with...Glenfiddich 15!! then Lagavulin 16, then some heavy hitter cask strength drams...
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Re: Which single malt whisky would you suggest?

Postby Ganga » Tue Feb 24, 2009 3:59 pm

Ardberg 10yrs - A true assault on the senses

Talisker 10yrs - peppery

Highland Park 12yrs - sweet with a wisp of smoke
Balvenie 12 yrs - similar to HP but lacks the smoke
Glenfiddich 15yrs - less sweet than the Balvenie, plenty of cinnamon

Knockando 12 yrs - light and floral

Hart Bros is hard to make a recommendation without knowing what the whiskies and strengths are. These can be from many different distilleries and from lower abv to cask strength. Probably not a good place to go if dad has only been drinking your standard blends.

Hart Brothers (range from 8yrs to 12 yrs)
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Re: Which single malt whisky would you suggest?

Postby Deactivated Member » Tue Feb 24, 2009 7:38 pm

LagaDrinker wrote:Blow him away with Ardbeg 10 you won't regret it :thumbsup:

Sorry, have to disagree--he might love it, or might pour it down the sink. For a guy set in his ways, I'd bet more likely the latter. Same for Lagavulin or Laphroaig, and I think even Talisker would be going out on a limb. Bowmore, too, is a love-it-or-hate it dram.

I'd stay pretty conservative for a first bottle of malt. Glenmorangie 10 would be my first choice, a well-rounded whisky with easily appreciated flavors and texture. Highland Park 12, Balvenie 12, Glenlivet 15, Cragganmore, and Dalwhinnie would all be good choices for starters. Up the ante with heavily sherried and peated whiskies later.
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Re: Which single malt whisky would you suggest?

Postby blacksabb » Tue Feb 24, 2009 9:51 pm

MrTattieHeid wrote:
LagaDrinker wrote:Blow him away with Ardbeg 10 you won't regret it :thumbsup:

Sorry, have to disagree--he might love it, or might pour it down the sink. For a guy set in his ways, I'd bet more likely the latter. Same for Lagavulin or Laphroaig, and I think even Talisker would be going out on a limb. Bowmore, too, is a love-it-or-hate it dram.

I'd stay pretty conservative for a first bottle of malt. Glenmorangie 10 would be my first choice, a well-rounded whisky with easily appreciated flavors and texture. Highland Park 12, Balvenie 12, Glenlivet 15, Cragganmore, and Dalwhinnie would all be good choices for starters. Up the ante with heavily sherried and peated whiskies later.



I find this response interesting. I have to admit that staying "conservative" sounds sensible to me, if you're just starting out on single malts. I don't think it would be a good idea to start off with anything that has a really strong flavour. As you say, it would be a bit of a hit or miss thing.

Thanks all for the suggestions, it's giving me lots of ideas about which way to go.
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Re: Which single malt whisky would you suggest?

Postby scotchdrinker » Wed Feb 25, 2009 12:40 am

I may be out of the ordinary but I would recommend the Glenmorangie Port Cask. It is my favorite SMS and it has been discontinued and I can't find it anywhere in the states. You might as well grab that while you still can. And its a little sweet but has the kick of a whisky to it. Its very well rounded IMO.
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Re: Which single malt whisky would you suggest?

Postby Knolly » Wed Feb 25, 2009 7:22 am

I'm going to throw out some votes here too:

Balvenie Doublewood is super drinkable: not the most amazing whisky, but very approachable for most people and the sherry adds a nice complexity and sweetness to this whisky.

Cragganmore: Smooth, easy drinking, but personally not a huge favourite of mine, though there are those who love it.

Glenfiddich 15: best of the regularly available Glenfiddichs IMHO and I think a really good choice here.

And, one other off the wall suggestion: Lagavulin 16. I know that this is as opposite to the conservative view as possible: hugely smokey, lots of peat and tar and leather (my friend describes it as a "pirate ship on fire"). However, it is one of the most well crafted whiskies and I can point to a LOT of posters here on this board who have claimed Lagavulin 16 to be their entry point into SMSW. Many people feel that it is the best crafted "regularly available" SMSW - period.

So, blacksabb: maybe get one for your dad like any of the suggestions here and if you can afford it, grab a Laga 16 for yourself if you're interested in learning more about SMSW. You'll either be blown away by it, or absolutely hate it, only to learn to love it a year down the road (most people anyway) :)

Cheers!
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Re: Which single malt whisky would you suggest?

Postby dramtastic » Wed Feb 25, 2009 9:41 am

I agree with knolly,

Have posted my opinions above, but if you want to get a peated malt to try with something more main stream then the Laga 16 is the go.
It's more complex IMO than the other Islay malts on your list with some nice sweetness to offset the smoke. Also it is one malt that has actually dropped in price at Dan Murpheys. In fact if you can find a better SMW for under AUD$90 then I'd like to know about it!!

p.s still go for the Cragganmore or Balvenie as your first bet for a novice.

Cheers
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Re: Which single malt whisky would you suggest?

Postby blacksabb » Wed Feb 25, 2009 10:44 am

Wow, so many interesting responses. I've been reading all the reviews on these whiskies on this site and others, and I'm going to deviate a little from my original plan.

I think I'll go ahead and first buy for myself the Cragganmore 12 yrs this coming weekend, which I'll share with dad. I know I'll enjoy it, and if he loves it, I'll buy him the same for his birthday. If he doesn't, well I didn't waste my money, and I'll just buy him something familiar that I know he likes. This site and many others all say that the Cragganmore 12 yrs is an excellent first choice for venturing into single malts.

In fact I can't wait for this weekend as I'll be buying my very first quality single malt whisky! I'll have to let you all know what I think of it.

After that, assuming all goes well, I'd like to venture out into a stronger tasting whisky. I've noticed however one discrepancy between this site and others, and that is the noticeable absence of rave reviews of Talisker 10 yrs. This whisky is given a huge approving review, but it's been barely mentioned around here.

But first things first. I'll post again next week (not that I won't post again in the meantime) and let you all know what I think of the Cragganmore 12 yrs. I intend to have a quiet, long night in on Saturday night with the wife, having a fine meal, putting on a movie and sipping a quality single malt whisky. Maybe put on some Led Zeppelin and Black Sabbath, and it'll be a case of "drink, woman and song". Who knows? I may even get lucky!! :P

So thanks again.
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Re: Which single malt whisky would you suggest?

Postby The Third Dram » Wed Feb 25, 2009 5:32 pm

blacksabb wrote:Pretty well all he's bought his whole life is the trusty old Johnnie Walker red label.

If he never had a problem downing Red Label, I'd knock his socks off with the Talisker 10YO. :wink:
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Re: Which single malt whisky would you suggest?

Postby blacksabb » Wed Feb 25, 2009 10:59 pm

The Third Dram wrote:
blacksabb wrote:Pretty well all he's bought his whole life is the trusty old Johnnie Walker red label.

If he never had a problem downing Red Label, I'd knock his socks off with the Talisker 10YO. :wink:



Yeah, thanks for that. Like I said, this whisky was raved on about at other sites. I think I'll buy this one after I finish the Cragganmore 12yrs. I'm going to buy a different whisky each time, and I'll try the Glenfiddich 15yrs, Balvenie double wood, Glenmorangie 10 yrs and Dalwhinnie 15yrs.

Just to start off with.
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Re: Which single malt whisky would you suggest?

Postby borgom » Fri Feb 27, 2009 7:09 am

You really can't go wrong with Cragganmore so I hope you like it.
I've noticed recent bottlings of JWR have a greater than usual proportion of Talisker (and Caol Ila) so I think it would be intersting to try the Tali and see what you think.
One thing that you will probably find after a year or two of malts is that blends like JWR will suddenly seem far more complex than they are now because you start to detect the contributions of some of the component malts.
Anyway hope you (and your dad) enjoy them. I tried to introduce my grandfather to malts but I didn't have any luck. I just can't get him off the JWR either!
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Re: Which single malt whisky would you suggest?

Postby evanstonwhisky » Fri Feb 27, 2009 7:35 am

Glenfiddich 15
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Re: Which single malt whisky would you suggest?

Postby Swedish Chef » Fri Feb 27, 2009 7:59 pm

If it has to be a single malt I'd go for the Glenmorangie 10yo.
But if your father is into JW Red, why not buy him a bottle of JW Black?
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