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Ardbeg vs Lagavulin vs Laphroaig

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Ardbeg vs Lagavulin vs Laphroaig

Poll ended at Sat Nov 19, 2005 4:31 am

Ardbeg
19
46%
Lagavulin
8
20%
Laphroaig
14
34%
 
Total votes : 41

Ardbeg vs Lagavulin vs Laphroaig

Postby Lugarteniente » Thu Oct 20, 2005 4:31 am

Chose your favorite.
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Postby bamber » Thu Oct 20, 2005 10:30 am

This one is too easy :)
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Postby Eric in ABQ » Thu Oct 20, 2005 11:16 pm

Laphroaig.
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Postby nicholtl » Thu Oct 20, 2005 11:49 pm

Wow, it's amazing to see how popular Ardberg is on these forums. A great whisky it is, but better than Lagavulin?? Well, to each his own, I suppose...
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Postby Deactivated Member » Fri Oct 21, 2005 1:04 am

Way better than Lagavulin. Way, way, way better than Lagavulin! But to each his own, and no supposition about it.
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Postby Admiral » Fri Oct 21, 2005 4:12 am

I find the only way to make this poll fair is to compare the standard, flagship offerings, i.e.

Ardbeg 10yo
Lagavulin 16yo
Laphroaig 10yo.

Based on those three only, I'd choose Lagavulin anyday.

The Ardbeg 1977 is probably the best Islay whisky I've ever tasted, but an exclusive, expensive, and rare vintage release shouldn't enter into the equation.

(For example, somewhere, there's probably a bottling of Littlemill which may well be the finest whisky ever produced. However, a one off bottling doesn't change the fact that the rest of the stuff they produced was pretty ordinary, but therefore suddenly qualify Littlemill to be the best distillery ever!)

Cheers,
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Postby Nock » Fri Oct 21, 2005 4:35 am

If you are just comparing the flagship standards then I am going to have to go with Ardbeg 10yo.

However, as of late I have been very taken with the Laphroaig 10yo Cask Strength. It is SO good. And it has helped me to appreciate the standard Laphroaig 10yo even more . . .

While I love the Lagavulin nose (my favorite smelling malt) I just can't drink it like Ardbeg. The Lagavulin always leaves me a little bitter and disappointed (both literally and figuratively :wink: )

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Last edited by Nock on Sat Oct 22, 2005 7:01 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby bamber » Fri Oct 21, 2005 8:54 am

nicholtl wrote:Wow, it's amazing to see how popular Ardberg is on these forums. A great whisky it is, but better than Lagavulin?? Well, to each his own, I suppose...


You better believe it. Ardbeg is The Daddy :)
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Postby Iain » Fri Oct 21, 2005 9:23 am

If we're talking about the standard bottlings, I love all three but I'd go with Ardbeg if forced to choose between them.

I notice that Jim Murray's Whisky Bible (2004) scores the standard Teacher's blend higher than Ardbeg 10, Lagavulin 16 (and 12) and Laphroaig 10 (both standard and cask strength)

:wink:
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Postby Dan G » Fri Oct 21, 2005 5:17 pm

I too am a bit surprised to see these results, and would have thought Lagavulin would fair a bit better. I haven't had an Ardbeg yet, but it was going to be my next purchase and am glad to see that decision reaffirmed. I'll probably buy the 10 yo, though the Udigael (I know that's not spelled right) is tempting me also.

Of the other two, I'd give the slight edge to Laphroaig.
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Postby Deactivated Member » Fri Oct 21, 2005 5:30 pm

I voted for Laphroaig partly to even up the scores, but also from old time's sake. Laphroaig used to be the world beating peat monster and Ardbeg used to be a bit dodgy. Really.
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Postby Aidan » Fri Oct 21, 2005 5:46 pm

I voted for Lagavulin, based on Admiral's criteria, ie Ardbeg 10 v Lagavulin 16 v Laphroig 10.
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Postby Tom » Fri Oct 21, 2005 6:01 pm

Ardbeg here because OB or IB, with Ardbeg it doesnt seem to matter, quality is always high. The others have had their dissapointing bottling once in a while, though not often.
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Postby rthomson » Fri Oct 21, 2005 7:13 pm

Another vote for Ardbeg.

Ron
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Postby Admiral » Sat Oct 22, 2005 1:21 pm

The others have had their dissapointing bottling once in a while, though not often.


Interesting comment, Tom. Can you recall which bottlings/expressions you felt were disappointing?

Cheers,
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Postby The Dazzler » Sat Oct 22, 2005 1:46 pm

Voted for Laphroaig based on the standard bottlings of each whisky. I think out of the three I would have chosen Ardbeg 10yo last though if the poll was based on all versions of each whisky Ardbeg would be in first place.
Problem with Lagavulin there is not enough IBs, so once 16yo Distillers Edt, 12yo CS and 25yo are tried there is not many others to try. With Laphroaig there are plenty of IBs but the quality of some of these does show some signs of poor consistancy, whereas most Ardbegs, IBs and OBs do tend to be more consistant, (however my most recent tastings of Uigeadail have not been the best, anyone else find a certain inconsistancy with this?). Fave Ardbeg at the moment is 10yo from OMC, bottled earlier this year with 363 bottles (I think), very good stuff, also a big fan of the V young.

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Postby Tom » Sat Oct 22, 2005 3:29 pm

Admiral, to reply to your question.

From Laphroaig, a very dissapointing bottling was a Signatory Rum Finish from the unchill filtered collection. Another less dissapointing but still not up to usual standard was a 17Y old Laphroaig from OMC. I believe it was the '85.

As for Lagavulin, the 8Y old Dun Bheagan was not what I expected for a Lagavulin, and the 25Y old OB was neither, though a good dram, not nearly as good as the usual Lagavulins.

Offcourse this is purely subjective taste here, I said before that these are disspointing bottles for me personally.
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Postby Admiral » Sat Oct 22, 2005 9:09 pm

Actually Tom, I have to agree with you on the Lagavulin 25.

Perhaps I had built it up too much in my mind before I tried it; perhaps I was expecting too much? However, it struck me as being quite dry, and the wood had won the battle against the peat.

And once you bring the Frodo Factor into play.....$430 for a 25yo was ridiculous. Particularly since other 25 year olds at the time were around the $200 price mark.

Cheers,
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Postby Frodo » Sun Oct 23, 2005 4:25 am

Admiral wrote:I find the only way to make this poll fair is to compare the standard, flagship offerings, i.e.

Ardbeg 10yo
Lagavulin 16yo
Laphroaig 10yo.

Based on those three only, I'd choose Lagavulin anyday.

Cheers,
Admiral


OK, I'm going to propose a varient of the above system to come to my conclusions. I'd compare 10yr Laphroaig and 10yr Ardbeg with a vatting (of equal parts Laga 12yr CS & Dun Bheagan 8yr) for an average Laga age of 10yrs. All components would be watered down to 40% abv to take away that variable. All of the above drams would be primarily bourbon casked. Using this formula, I think the Ardie is a walk-away winner.

I haven't had IB's from any of these, but the reputation of top drawer Ardbegs are ledgendary. Not once have I heard someone rave about a '68 Laga, or a '56 Laphroaig the way '77 Ardbeg gets whispered about - with reverance! I have a lot of respect for all of the whiskies - Laphroaig for the value (C$50 at LCBO), and Laga 16 as a good dram in it's own right. But using my formula above, I'd go for the Ardbeg.
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Postby Deactivated Member » Sun Oct 23, 2005 4:35 am

You know, the interesting thing is that these three distilleries are always lumped together as the Peat Monsters, and indeed they stand but a mile or so apart along the Kildalton coast of Islay; and yet, whatever they have in common, they are plainly different, one from the other. Are there three other distilleries anywhere that are so closely associated in the public mind, and yet which are each so distinctive? Whichever your "favorite" might be, we should all be grateful that they are all there, alive and pumping out great whisky.
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Postby karlejnar » Sun Oct 23, 2005 11:49 am

I'll second that Mr. T.

Each of the Kildalton distilleries makes good whisky each in their own right. I wouldn't do without any of them, allthough my preference at the moment is Ardbeg.
Lagavulin 16yo was the one that got me hooked on Islay in the first place almost 15 years ago.
Laphroaig was my third try of peaty Islay after Bowmore, and I liked it right away too. But today I prefer the CS and Quarter Cask over the standard 10yo.

Frodo - you're formula is a nice idea but there are many more variables to it. Ardbeg is non-chillfiltered and even watering down to 40% leaves more flavour than the chillfiltered Laph 10.
The "Lagavulin 10" might be a vatting from different casks and difficult to tell which flavours comes from which.
And even if it seems to be the consensus that DB Islay is a young Lagavulin we can IMO not be completely sure it isn't a Caol Ila instead.
Concerning the cask, Ardbeg and Laphroaig both use fresh bourbon barrels (=first fill).
Lagavulin uses hogshead's made from barrels but with new ends. To "season" the cask it is first filled with grain whisky and then another scotch whisky for a period. Lagavulin casks would therefore be refill scotch hogshead's.
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Postby Spirit of Islay » Sun Oct 23, 2005 12:52 pm

There seem to be a fair amount of variables in these equations so here's another one Bang for bucks , the Big A! wins again , Laga is way over priced for the standard bottle it's now kicking on £40 here , whereas Laphroaig is just a watered down ghost of it's former self (re-affirmed in the pub on Friday night , even the wife doesn't moan on now about it's smell !) . Laphroaigs been reduced a lot in local supermarkets a lot recently but it hasn't flown off the shelves like what the Ardbeg did when it hit under £20 a bottle (tho i might have had something to do with that around here ......) . Now if you changed the bottles to The Uigeadail , Laga 12 and Laph CS i think it would have been a fairer evaluation . Originally i would have put -
1) Ardbeg Ten
2)Laga 16yo
3)Laph 10yo
but with the new 3 -
1)= Oogie
1)=Laga 12yo
3) Laph CS
Going onto Frodo's vatting , i think Karls got it right , it could (or probably more or likely ) be Caol Ila , everyone assumes the Signatory / Dun whatever are Lagas , why ? Because if you walk into a shop and go whats in that ? odds on your not going to make a purchase if they go , it's Caol Ila ! I would but thats my taste ......
Think about it , Lagas got a shortage ( or a fire/flood/shut down/having a drought/turned into a museum/been transported to another planet depending which Canadian Liquor store you shop in !) so they're not going to flog valuable future stock to some little IB , after all it's Diageo we're talking about ! No they're going to flog some factory produced Caol Ila instead .
Oops got a little carried away there .....
Anyway Ardbeg got my vote incase i didn't mention that !
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Postby Deactivated Member » Sun Oct 23, 2005 3:04 pm

Good points, Gordon, although presumably there is now considerably more young Lagavulin available for IB's than there was, for a time, 16yo stock for the single. (Sixteen years ago now is 1989, and twelve, 1993, so I think the crisis must be past.) The Signatory 5yo CS Islay I recently picked up was flogged to me a while back as Lagavulin, but on reflection, I think Caol Ila much more likely.

Lagavulin was my first love, also, although I now have trouble with it (isn't that always the way?). But I have a distinct memory of finding Laphroaig quite distasteful, and being surprised to find I quite liked it after several years of not tasting one. Coupling that fact with the testimony of many like you, I can only conclude that it has indeed softened, and I very much regret that I did not get the chance to learn to love the original love-it-or-hate-it stuff. I wonder if any of the IB's are in the old vein--I've seen the MMcD Leapfrog occasionally. Should I jump on one?

As for comparisons, I have to agree with Admiral--the only fair comparison is between the bottlings the individual distilleries choose to represent them as their flagship offerings, regardless of age. (I reach a different conclusion, however.) Surely Lagavulin would object to representation by the Frankenmalt conceived by Dr Frodo!
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Postby Lugarteniente » Sun Oct 23, 2005 8:09 pm

Which is more peat?

Lagavulin 16
Ardbeg 10
Laphroaig 10
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Postby Deactivated Member » Sun Oct 23, 2005 8:26 pm

Take your pick. They're all peated to about 50ppm, although there is much talk about Laphroaig having been softened, and Lagavulin supposedly dropping to 35 ppm. Honestly, I don't think it's an important question.
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Postby Admiral » Mon Oct 24, 2005 3:54 am

Ardbeg would tell us that theirs is the peatiest! :D

Cheers,
Admiral
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Postby Spirit of Islay » Mon Oct 24, 2005 6:40 pm

Admiral wrote:Ardbeg would tell us that theirs is the peatiest! :D

Cheers,
Admiral

And they'd be right ! :D

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Postby hpulley » Mon Oct 24, 2005 10:22 pm

According to Andrew Jefford's "Peat Smoke and Spirit" both Caol Ila and Lagavulin use 35ppm peated, malted barley while Ardbeg employs 54 ppm malt. Bruichladdich of course has it's high peat Octomore (68 and 128ppm) and Port Charlotte (40ppm) runs.

For completeness, Bowmore is 25ppm, Bruichladdich (regular) is 3-4ppm and Bunnahabhain is 2ppm.

It would seem, then, that Ardbeg is the highest peat most of the time but the Bruichladdich experiments are higher.

Harry
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Postby Deactivated Member » Tue Oct 25, 2005 1:13 am

Of course, Harry, these ppm fogures are for the dried barley malt. What actually makes it into the glass is a different matter, and perhaps is best measured by the individual on the tongue. Results may vary. Side effects may include dizziness, loss of balance, vertigo, and a tendency to repeat (!) yourself redundantly over and over. Ask your doctor if Ardbeg is right for you.
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Postby Frodo » Tue Oct 25, 2005 3:15 am

MrTattieHeid wrote:As for comparisons, I have to agree with Admiral--the only fair comparison is between the bottlings the individual distilleries choose to represent them as their flagship offerings, regardless of age. (I reach a different conclusion, however.) Surely Lagavulin would object to representation by the Frankenmalt conceived by Dr Frodo!


1) I was wondering when someone would pick up on the Frankenmalt. It was mentioned half in jest to prompt a responce from Lagalovers in defence of their beloved malt being represented like that. :P

2) It was also mentioned because I think it's patently unfair to compare two 10yr olds with a sixteen yr old.
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Postby Admiral » Tue Oct 25, 2005 3:46 am

According to Andrew Jefford's "Peat Smoke and Spirit" both Caol Ila and Lagavulin use 35ppm peated,


Harry,

Gordon and I have had this discussion previously, but Lagavulin reverted to 35ppm only 6 or 7 years ago.

The Lagavulin (at least the 16yo) we are drinking at the moment comes from a time when the malt was a healthier 50ppm.

Cheers,
Admiral
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Postby Deactivated Member » Tue Oct 25, 2005 3:56 am

Frodo wrote:1) I was wondering when someone would pick up on the Frankenmalt. It was mentioned half in jest to prompt a responce from Lagalovers in defence of their beloved malt being represented like that. :P

2) It was also mentioned because I think it's patently unfair to compare two 10yr olds with a sixteen yr old.


1) Glad to have confirmation that you aren't entirely insane! (It's alive, it's alive!):P

2) I disagree entirely. These are the ages at which each distillery believes its product to be ready for the world. They are the standard, mainstream bottlings of each, as determined by each of them. I cannot see any way of comparing them that is more fair than that.
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Postby Deactivated Member » Tue Oct 25, 2005 9:13 am

I agree entirely with point 2 - age does not necessarily equal quality so it is quite fair to compare the standard bottlings. I wonder, though, whether we shouldn't allow Laphroaig QC (even younger than 10) to be considered as the Laphroaig Standard, since it tends to get better reviews and was cheaper than the 10 last time I looked.
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Postby Iain » Tue Oct 25, 2005 10:03 am

Well, I'm with Frodo on the age thing.

The "standard" Lagavulin age was only comparatively recently raised to 16 (early 1990s?). The fact that the price was simultaneously hiked to a sum (in the UK at least) considerably greater than one would pay for "standard" Ardbeg or Laph, suggests that Diageo consider Lag 16 to be a "premium" malt, to be judged in more "exalted" company (perhaps alongside the Mac., HP, The Glenlivet etc 18s of this world?).

Having said all that, I still prefer Ardbeg 10, so I agree with Nick and Mr T that greater age does not necessarily make for a greater malt!

My, I'm in an agreeable mood today!
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Postby Aidan » Tue Oct 25, 2005 10:25 am

Admiral wrote:
According to Andrew Jefford's "Peat Smoke and Spirit" both Caol Ila and Lagavulin use 35ppm peated,


Harry,

Gordon and I have had this discussion previously, but Lagavulin reverted to 35ppm only 6 or 7 years ago.

The Lagavulin (at least the 16yo) we are drinking at the moment comes from a time when the malt was a healthier 50ppm.

Cheers,
Admiral


Can you find this 6 to 7 yr old whisky in any independent bottlins at the moment? I'd be very interested in trying it.
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