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What else to buy in the South Islay Style

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What else to buy in the South Islay Style

Postby JohnyyGuitar » Fri Nov 11, 2005 6:33 pm

Hi all,
I'm a bit of a new scotch drinker and need some advice. Funny thing but shortly after starting to drink scotch I went immediately to the Islays. I've tried and like Laphroiag 10, Lagavulin 16, Ardbeg 10. And on a slightly tamer note I like Bowmore 12 and Talisker. That is where my taste in scotch seems to run. I have purchased some other brands but didn't enjoy them near as much as the above mentioned. Now when I experiment and buy something new I want to make sure it is in the vein of what I like....SO the question, simply is....If I like the 5 above mentioned, what else should I buy ?
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Postby Deactivated Member » Fri Nov 11, 2005 6:40 pm

You appear to like the more peaty style of Islay and have already mentioned the three most common whiskies of that style. You might also try Caol Ìle, Bruichladdich Moine Mhor, and Isle of Jura Superstition - although I find these to be less good than those you mentioned. Alternatively, you will have to buy (more expensive) older expressions of your current favourites.

For my money, there's more to Ìle than peat - I expect a real pungency. I find older Bowmores have the pungency in abundance, whereas I find Ardbeg rather more refined.
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Postby jeffk » Fri Nov 11, 2005 6:56 pm

You sound just like me, I think of those 3 Islays as my staples at this point - I have other Speysiders in the cabinet, but it's the Islays that I find myself pouring most of the time.

I don't have any suggestions based on personal experience. Wish I did, but if you like those, maybe as Nick said it might be worth investing in some more aged versions, like the Laphroaig 15, or maybe try the cask strength malts (Laphroaig 10 CS, Lagavulin CS, etc.).
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pungent - Bowmore ?

Postby JohnyyGuitar » Fri Nov 11, 2005 7:17 pm

Thanks Nick, I'm jotting those names down, the local liquor store doens't have a great selction but should have a few of those.
By pungent and older Bowmore, can you elaborate. I drink quite a bit of the Bowmore 12, probably not their best and not quite of the southern Islay style, but I do enjoy it quite a bit.
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Postby jimidrammer » Fri Nov 11, 2005 8:03 pm

I would add Highland Park12 & 18 to the list along with Caol Ila, Brora and maybe Clynelish although lightly smokey they fit well in the style. And definately try the Laphroaig 10 C/S and Ardbeg Uigeadail.
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Postby bamber » Fri Nov 11, 2005 11:45 pm

Other Laphroiags (CS and 15yo), Lagavulins (12yo CS), Ardbeg (Oogie)
Caol Ila CS and 12yo - peaty but maybe a little less comlpex
Clynelish 14yo - Talisker mark II
Longrow - peaty and wonderfully complex
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more....

Postby JohnyyGuitar » Sat Nov 12, 2005 3:34 am

Yes, I've heard lots of good about Laphroaig 10 CS, I will definetly try that if I can find some somewhere,
jimidrammer....I'm am sipping Highland Park 12 as we speak just picked some up the other day, definetly a fine dram, but in my lowley-newbie taste buds and excuse me if I'm wrong or ignorant in the matter but I find it closer to a Dalmore 12 say then a mid-Islay ie Bowmore 12.......yes..no...? Having bought the Highland Park 12, fine as it is I think a Talisker 10 would have suited me better....of which my be my next buy.
And I'm curious about the Caol Ila.....
bamber.....thanks for the suggestions I will try to find some of them, I live in Montana USA, not exactly scotch capital of the world, the few liquor stores carry pretty much a limited selection...the basics Laphroiag 10, Talisker 10, HighPark 12, Bowmore 12...I might be able to find some of the more interesting bottlings online shopping though.....Anyway keep the suggestions coming.... and might I add another question....with respect to my taste leaning towards Islay/peats/sea/etc what would be at the complete opposite end of the taste specturm, a Dalwhinnie 12 or something like that....?
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Postby kallaskander » Sat Nov 12, 2005 9:50 am

Hi there,

try Glen Garioch if you can find them. They are the most peated malts outside Islay in their standard bottlings.

Try a Benriach heavily peated, a Speysider bottled by Signatory in the Un-Chillfiltered Collection.
Try the Benriach Curiositas from the Owner and there is a 21 year old version of this one just new on the market but at a price.

Try a Ardmore 1991 by Signatory The Un-Chillfiltered Collection, another Speysider with peat above average, but not in all bottlings. The 1987 by Gordon&MacPhail is goog, but without peat.
The 18 year old Ardmore by James MacArthur is apeated stunner.

And yes, try Talisker from the Isle of Skye!

Greetings
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Postby Nock » Sat Nov 12, 2005 10:38 am

JohnyyGuitar

I find myself in a situation not unlike your own. After starting with Glenmorangie and Macallan I fell in love with Highland Park 12yo and what little hints of peat reside therein. This love of peat soon blossomed into a full-blown obsession which led me to the three distilleries of South Islay (after a brief infatuation with the Isle of Sky). After trying Bowmore, Talisker, Caol Ile, and Clynelish I realized that nothing is going to come close to power of Ardbeg, Lagavulin, and Laphroaig. The only other step I could take was to try various expressions of these three distilleries: in particular the cask strength versions.

Well, I got my hands on a bottle of the Laphroaig 10yo CS and fell in love. I have also tried the Lagavulin 12yo CS and am looking to see what I can lay my hands on from Ardbeg (the Washington State Liquor Control Board is proving a bit of an obstacle)

But all that to say, if you are currently on a heavy peated, smoky kick then don't stray too far from the south side of Islay or you will simply be disappointed. I have made a few purchases recently that I hoped would lead me, perhaps, to an appreciation of regions like Campbeltown. But no luck so far :? Still, I have only tried whiskies from a third of 85 some odd working distilleries. There is still much more ahead of me. Oh well, I'll give something else a try next week. :lol:

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great suggestions - thanks

Postby JohnyyGuitar » Sat Nov 12, 2005 8:57 pm

Nock..... thanks for the advice, it seems you are verifying what I've been learning of late, and that is. the 3 southern Islays are in a class by themselves, and that I should start trying their other expressions like the CS ones.
I am also fond of the Bowmore, and Talisker, so whatever I can find like them would be nice...what would a Caol Ila 12 compare to best of the above mentioned if any, I can get the Caol Ila locally.
Yea I tried the Highpark 12 also, I agree only every so lightly peated. Funny I read somewhere online that it was similar to Talisker so I bought some...but I'm not seeing the similarity. That is why I've become a bit 'gun-shy' about buying things I haven't had a chance to previously taste. I did try a few of those 4 dollar samplers, and some single malts at local pubs, a cheaper way to find out what something tastes like before making the investment on a whole bottle.

kallaskander...I make a note of those and keep an eye out for any.
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Postby jimidrammer » Sun Nov 13, 2005 12:44 am

...with respect to my taste leaning towards Islay/peats/sea/etc what would be at the complete opposite end of the taste specturm, a Dalwhinnie 12 or something like that....?

I'd say try an Aberlour A'bunadh. Nothing like an Islay, but flavor for days. And the Highland Park 18 is lots smoother and more complex than the 12. The Ardmore Signatory is another complete opposite, no sherry influence, no peat reek, just well balanced malty goodness that just fits right in the middle of the extremes. I guess that's why I like the Clynelish 14 OB, it's just a style all its own. And yes try every Laphroaig, Lagavulin and Ardbeg you can get your hands on, they are all good :wink:
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Re: great suggestions - thanks

Postby Frodo » Sun Nov 13, 2005 2:54 am

JohnyyGuitar wrote: I am also fond of the Bowmore, and Talisker, so whatever I can find like them would be nice...what would a Caol Ila 12 compare to best of the above mentioned if any, I can get the Caol Ila locally.


Yea I tried the Highpark 12 also, I agree only every so lightly peated. Funny I read somewhere online that it was similar to Talisker so I bought some...but I'm not seeing the similarity.


Hi Johnyy:

1) The only thing I've had outside the Southern Islay (Ardbeg, Lagavulin, Laphroaig) that tastes anything like them was Longmorn. Too expensive for what's in the bottle IMO but if you want a hit of peat outside those three, this might be something.
2) I really like Caol Ila, but lots who like southern Islay don't. What I (and others) found is that IB's tend to be better than the OB's. Have only had the CS OB. Nice but wouldn't buy a bottle. My advice if you want to try it, locate an IB at a store, then post here wanting feedback about that paticular bottling.
3) IMO Talisker is nothing like Highland Park - I don't think you got it wrong there. The only similarity is that they're both Island whiskies with differing amounts of peat. More similar to each other than either is to say...Auchantoshan, but that's about it.
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Postby Deactivated Member » Sun Nov 13, 2005 9:21 am

Yes, the three Kildalton distilleries are in their own class. Caol Ila can be close, but quality can vary. The best are IB's, but so are the worst.

Talisker you know; others worth trying are Clynelish and Old Pulteney. Two defunct distilleries you might want to check out are Port Ellen, also in southern Islay; and Brora, which is the old Clynelish. These will be expensive, especially the PE, but if you have a chance, they are right up your alley. Both have been closed since the early '80's, and as soon as you try them, you will curse the fates that did them in, and led you to them too late.
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Postby BruceCrichton » Sun Nov 13, 2005 8:53 pm

The best Caol Ila bottlings are usually by independent bottlers.

The punchiest is 'Auld Reekie' by Duncan Taylor and co. They also do 'Big Smoke' vatted malts which I cannot tell you much about as I have not had.

A great Ardbeg is the Uigeadail which is 54.2% abv and has a cascade of tasty goodies waiting inside the bottle.

If you can afford it, get a Port Ellen, which closed in 1983. I've had a couple of Douglas Laing bottlings and they were wonderful.

Also excellent is Douglas Laing's 'Old Malt Cask' 1987 Laphroaig which is enjoyed by both aficianados and non-aficianados of the 10 year old alike.

I'm going to try the Laphroaig quarter cask sometime soon, so I'll let you know what I find.

One other peat monster is Longrow, from campbeltown.
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Re: great suggestions - thanks

Postby BruceCrichton » Sun Nov 13, 2005 8:58 pm

Frodo wrote:
Hi Johnyy:

1) The only thing I've had outside the Southern Islay (Ardbeg, Lagavulin, Laphroaig) that tastes anything like them was Longmorn. Too expensive for what's in the bottle IMO but if you want a hit of peat outside those three, this might be something.


Longmorn? Are you sure? Do you not mean Longrow, from Campbeltown?

Longmorn is usually light, sweet and malty.
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Postby TreacleSponge » Sun Nov 13, 2005 11:28 pm

I second the Bruichladdich 3D (also called Moine Mhor or 3D Peat Proposal). The current bottling (Second Edition) is peatier (and at 50% abv is 4% stronger) than the original, and a really interesting whisky, with the freshness of Bruichladdich underlying the peatiness. Tho’ not as much whoomph as the three that you favour, I recommend you give it a go.

It’s not that easy to get hold of here – I’ve only ever got it from the distillery or the webernet, but it’s worth hunting around for.
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Postby Deactivated Member » Mon Nov 14, 2005 10:13 am

Bowmore is not in the same style as the 3 South Islay distilleries, but it has a pungency (bacon, herbs, salt, earth, floral notes, seaweed, etc.) By older, I meant 15 or, particularly, 17yo. I have a bottle of Bowmore Voyage open at the moment - this was a limited edition but it is very good indeed.

Mainland peaty whiskies (and there are some) tend to be sweet and soft, whereas the charm of the South Islay whiskies is that they are pungent too.
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Re: great suggestions - thanks

Postby Frodo » Tue Nov 15, 2005 2:25 am

BruceCrichton wrote:Longmorn? Are you sure? Do you not mean Longrow, from Campbeltown?

Longmorn is usually light, sweet and malty.


You's right. I ment Longmorn...
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Re: great suggestions - thanks

Postby Deactivated Member » Tue Nov 15, 2005 4:24 am

Frodo wrote:
BruceCrichton wrote:Longmorn? Are you sure? Do you not mean Longrow, from Campbeltown?

Longmorn is usually light, sweet and malty.


You's right. I ment Longmorn...


Are you sure? I thought you meant Longmorn. Or was it Longmorn?
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Postby Frodo » Tue Nov 15, 2005 4:37 am

:oops: :oops: :oops: . Fingers type too fast. I did mean Longrow. Sorry. :oops:
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old pulteney

Postby JohnyyGuitar » Wed Nov 16, 2005 8:44 pm

Mr TattieHeid,
You mentioned Old Pulteney....are you saying that it taste like/similar to Talisker ? If so what Old Pulteny 12 year, 18 ? Isn't Pulteney a Highland ? I'm interested because that is one bottle I can pick up easily at the local liquor store at a decent price, the 12 year that is.
I got a bottle of Talisker over the weekend, but have yet to pop the cork, I have had a dram or 2 at a local pub and know I like it.
So I'm kinda getting the feeling that the standard Caol Ila 12 that I'd find on the shelf downtown, won't be the best choice, yes, no ?
Thanks again guys, great forum, wish I'd found it sooner.
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Postby jeffk » Wed Nov 16, 2005 9:50 pm

I've not had any Caol Ilas but I understand that it may be similar in some ways to the other Islays, but more tamed down? I have Lagavulin 16, Laphroaig 10, Ardbeg 10, and Finlaggan, all of which I like very much...would a Caol Ila 12 be in the ballpark with those in terms of palate?
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Postby The Dazzler » Wed Nov 16, 2005 10:13 pm

Johnny G,

without a shadow of a doubt you are going to find these heavy peat flavours more intensley from the malts distilled at the three south side Islay distilleries. Laphroaig, Ardbeg and Lagavulin. The closest you are going to get will be Bowmore, Caol Ila and Port Ellen, ( a must try if you can source it ) and, if you could get your hands on some early 70's Brora. Next in line would be Longrow, (from the Springbank distillery) and the Talisker.

However, once these have been tried, ( and don't forget to look for varied expressions, older versions, independant bottlings and limited editions of the above), a new wave of heavy peaties will be due. Brucihladdich, already into their 5th year of making heavier peated malts, look out for their Port Charlotte and Octomore. Already some of this heavy peat stuff can be found in the likes of Bruichladdich 3D. Bunnahabhain have already bottled some heavy peated whisky, (in limited quantities) so expect some more to come. AMD, a new Islay distillery at Kilchomen will start production soon. Onto to Jura and around 7 years ago some higher peat levels were used in some batches, so some good stuff to come from there, already found within the Jura Superstition brand. On the mainland various distilleries are toying with the idea of a more smoke and peat style whiskies, Glenfiddich (coaran), Benriach Curiositas and a "wee thing" going on at the Edradour distillery. Also heard rumours of Old Pulteney distilling with a higher peated malt.

A big shame is the (now) rarity of the Broras from those early 1970's. I am a big fan of this distillery and was particularly attracted to the heavily peated style. Over the years the whisky became lighter, sweeter and more speyside-like, but you know what I love this style of Brora to. So JG I think for the time-being you have got the Islay/Peat bug BUT I would not be surprised if over the years after trying various drams you will begin to enjoy the flavours from other less peaty/smoky malts as well, and if not, I am sure you will have plenty of fun trying.

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Postby Deactivated Member » Thu Nov 17, 2005 3:07 am

JG, I've had the Old Pulteney 12, and I'd say, roughly speaking, that it's as far a step down peatwise from Talisker as Talisker is from Lagavulin. But it does have that smoky, maritimy appeal. No guarantee you will like it, but I do, and it's a good value, as well. (Hmm, think I'll mention that on the "bargain" thread.)

Caol Ila 12 is a decent dram, and definitely in the vein you're looking for. Some here find it lacking in complexity, and a poor cousin to the Kildalton three. But I think you'll like it. If you can get the Cask Strength, that would be even better.
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Thanks all

Postby JohnyyGuitar » Sun Nov 20, 2005 7:20 am

Thanks for all the advice guys.....I nabbed a 10 yr Jura, last nite, not bad, the price was right, I kinda like it, not guite an Islay Bowmore....but leaning in that direction. I'm tipping one now and may finish the evening with a Bowmore 12 or Ardbeg 10, perhaps a wee taste of each.
Hey let me ask ya' this, I'm getting the Bowmore 12 for $25 us dollars, so I have 2 reasons to like it, taste and price, I'd have to step up in price 20 or so bucks to get one of Bowmore's other expresions currently on the market, like Darkest 12 or Dawn, I don't now what do you guys think, is there much diff, ya thing I'd find 'em better or just different and in what way ?

PS: now 20 bucks is all realtive, depending on who you are, for me 50 bucks on a bottle is getting up there, and I often think I should be having my head examined by a professional for dropping that much hard earned cash, but hey it's not my fault, that stuff is soooooooooo good. And as someone once told me, "Scotch is god's way of saying he loves us"
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Postby Deactivated Member » Sun Nov 20, 2005 6:06 pm

That's a paraphrase of Benjamin Franklin: "Beer is proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy." Perhaps whisky is proof that God really, really loves us and want us to be intensely happy.

Let us know when you're ready to rationalize the purchase of a $200 bottle! Then we'll know you're nuts, like us.
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Postby BruceCrichton » Sun Nov 20, 2005 6:11 pm

For a bigger punch from your Bowmore, you are better with the youngest expression, Legend.

Bowmore Darkest is an excellent dram and is quite heavily sherried.
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Re: Thanks all

Postby Spirit of Islay » Sun Nov 20, 2005 7:11 pm

JohnyyGuitar wrote: for me 50 bucks on a bottle is getting up there, and I often think I should be having my head examined by a professional for dropping that much hard earned cash, but hey it's not my fault, that stuff is soooooooooo good. And as someone once told me, "Scotch is god's way of saying he loves us"

Have i done my calculations right , $50 = £28.60 ?
Bet my wife wishes i only spent that much on a bottle !
Especially when we hit Islay later in the week .......
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My suggestions for you

Postby YK23 » Sun Nov 20, 2005 8:50 pm

Laphroaig Quarter cask
Ardbeg Uigeadail
Caol Ila Cask Strength
Lagavulin 12 Year Old

All of them are great and really peaty.
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I'm a whimp, I know

Postby JohnyyGuitar » Sun Nov 20, 2005 9:24 pm

I know, I know spending $50 on a bottle religates me to the lowly rank of amature. I want so bad to run with the big dogs, but a man must know his lot life.
Anyway if life has taught me one lesson, it is the law of diminishing returns, and I dare say the stars would fall from the sky if it did not apply to scotch buying as well.
After tapping my $45 bottle of Ardbeg 10 last nite, perhaps someone would tell me how much a bottle twice that good would actually cost, $90, $500, $1000, or have the god's not granted us such wonders yet ?
Now if there is one thing ultimetly enjoyable about drinking the very best, it is getting it for next to nothing, and rule number 1 is that "all good things come to those who wait". Case in point, I just picked up a case of a Cabernet (wine) at the local food and beer joint....from the vineyard $80 a bottle, my price $7 a bottle, don't ask me why, but that is what it is marked at, and oh yes is it good very good, but not twice as good as a $40 bottle or even a good $20 bottle.... "go figure" And I dare say a prudent shopper could find such matching wines regularyl in the $20 range if they know what to look for, anyway I turned my friends on to the deal, they agree it is a sin to be selling that wine at that $7 price, 'course they immediately went over there and cleaned the shelfs, lest it fall into the hands of the unworthy. I regret I didn't buy 2 cases but alas this is not the first nor will be the last such anomaly I come across.
My friend recently got a free bottle of Laphroaig 15 free...seems a casual acquintence of his girlfriend got it for a gift, had no idea what it was and thougt it tasted like shit, "One man's treasure is an other man's junk"...thank god for that rule too.
Anyway, thanks for the fun, and oh yea, I am a fan of the Bowmore Legend and will continue to be, but to tell you the truth I just don't think it is going to be a legend in any one's mind anytime soon. cheers guys
Hey and if I do happen to hit the lottery you can be dram'd sure I'll be drinking the big stuff and runnin' with the big dogs too.
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Re: I'm a whimp, I know

Postby BruceCrichton » Mon Nov 21, 2005 12:08 am

JohnyyGuitar wrote:I know, I know spending $50 on a bottle religates me to the lowly rank of amature. I want so bad to run with the big dogs, but a man must know his lot life.



To be honest, most of the best peaty drams are quite cheap. As peaty whiskies age, they gain other flavours and complexity but don't have so big a punch. Lagavulin 16 has the same peating level as Laphroaig but Laphroaig traditionally bottles at 10 years old and is bourbon casked while Lagavulin is sherried.

$50 would also buy you a Laphroaig QC or an Auld Reekie.
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Postby patrick dicaprio » Mon Nov 21, 2005 2:34 am

kallaskander wrote:Hi there,

try Glen Garioch if you can find them. They are the most peated malts outside Islay in their standard bottlings.


Greetings
kallaskander


Agreed, and the Glen Garioch 24 yo is a great whisky.

Funny that you mention talisker. I always forget it is not Islay but Skye. Talisker might be the best overall distillery, if not it is top rank by almost any yardstick.

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Postby JohnyyGuitar » Mon Nov 21, 2005 5:40 am

To be honest, most of the best peaty drams are quite cheap. As peaty whiskies age, they gain other flavours and complexity but don't have so big a punch. Lagavulin 16 has the same peating level


Thanks Bruce that is comforting to know, makes me feel I'm not missing out completly.
Yup, I got a Talisker, it was like $55 in town here, I think that's the most I've spent on a bottle yet, worth every penny.
The only Laphroiag 10 is $55 in town but I can mail order it for $40, way good....I'd pay $55 though for it....later guys
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Com-peatly

Postby JohnyyGuitar » Mon Nov 21, 2005 9:17 pm

Bruce, what I really meant to says was, I'm glad I'm not missing out.................com-peatly.........
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Postby karlejnar » Mon Nov 21, 2005 9:29 pm

Actually Lagavulin has a lower peating level - 35ppm against Laphroaig's 40-43ppm.
But Lagavulin makes a more rough style since they fill the stills almost to the top and has the widest middle cut on Islay.
(Opposed to Caol Ila who uses the same malt but only fills the stills half and has the narrowest middle cut)

Lagavulin doesn't use sherry casks (at least afaik not anymore). They use hogsheads made from bourbon barrels, but "seasoned" with grain whisky before use. Laphroaig uses fresh bourbon barrels.
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