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EllenH

Favorite single malt

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Some excellent single malts mentioned here. Does anyone know -- ballpark -- how many single malts are available for sale here in the U.S.?

I think it all depends on where you live. This is the list from my favorite place to buy scotch (NYC). They have literally hundreds to choose from.


"Some people see a sheet of seaweed and want to be wrapped in it. I want to see it around a piece of fish."-- William Grimes

"People are bastard-coated bastards, with bastard filling." - Dr. Cox on Scrubs

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As far as the number of single malts available in the US, the Scotch Malt Whisky Society lists 121 distilleries, 25 pf which are closed, mothballed or dismantled. Of the 121, 3 are Japanese, 2 are Irish. Given that each distilery may use different casks and ages casks differently, there is no doubt that there could be hundreds of different bottlings. And, because a distellery is closed does't mean there is no supply of their product. independent bottlers, like Cadenhead, own casks which they bottle for sale. In addition, closed distilleries may contain large amounts of whisky as was the case with Ardbeg when purchased by another active distillery or company. Don't forget that the decline in the dollar against the pound sterling affects scotch prices.


Bob Sherwood

____________

“When the wolf is at the door, one should invite him in and have him for dinner.”

- M.F.K. Fisher

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I am about one half-step up from a novice in terms of single malt expertise. My cabinet currently contains Highland Park and Macallan Cask Strength. Any suggestions on what to add to this, perhaps for an evening of tasting with friends? A nice variety in flavors would be fun. Anybody ever done a scotch tasting? Would you have food with that? (cheese or something)

Cheers :raz:

I haven't read the whole thread,so someone may have said this. If you are going to have a tasting, you need to think about the order in which you drink the whiskies, a bit like drinking white wines, then red, then dessert in a wine tasting. Most importantly if you are trying Islay malts drink these last because you won't pick up the nuances of other whiskies after a couple of those.

Scotch single malts tend to be grouped into different areas (Islay, Highland, Lowland, Speyside etc) and you should probably try to find examples of each that are supposedly characteristic.

If you want me to throw one name in the bag as my favourite I would say The Balvenie 12 Year Old "Doublewood" (they also make a 10 and a 15 year old). It is a classic speyside. If you can't get that the standard Macallan rahter than your cask strength would be a good choice.

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I don't understand rating scotches, even though Michael Jackson does it. I happen to love Laphroaig while some people hate it.


"Last week Uncle Vinnie came over from Sicily and we took him to the Olive Garden. The next day the family car exploded."

--Nick DePaolo

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It is difficult to get an idea of ALL that Scotland has to offer on the whisky front.

There's that commercial series "Classic Malts" which is composed of Lagavulin (Islay), Cragganmore (Speyside), Dalwhinnie (Highlands), Glenkinchie (Lowlands), Oban (Highlands) Talisker (Skye).

They're all ok, my favourites being Talisker, Lagavulin and Cargganmore.

Now, you should also go for Campbeltown with a Springbank (great !) and Glen Scotia.

The Orkney Island's Highland Parks must not be missed either...

The Balvenie seems to be a favourite of some contributors here, I must say their 10 and 12 years

version are not my favourite, their 21 years Portwood neither .. 15y and 25y single barrels are above

the rest (not just in alcohol :raz: ... IMHO

Also, Signatory Vintage has delivered some very nice versions of some classics, always worth

looking at what they have to offer.

Whisky is also a very "moody" affair. Sometimes I like an Oban, sometimes I go for Lagavulin 12 years .. probably at the opposite of the peatiness scale ...

Slange !


"Je préfère le vin d'ici à l'au-delà"

Francis Blanche

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  And, because a distellery is closed does't mean there is no supply of their product. independent bottlers, like Cadenhead, own casks which they bottle for sale.  In addition, closed distilleries may contain large amounts of whisky as was the case with Ardbeg when purchased by another active distillery or company. 

Speaking of defunct distilleries, I managed to pick up a bottle of Port Ellen on a trip to Scotland last year, I found it in the giftshop at the Edradour distillery. The PE was a gift for my dad so I get to sample it on visits home :wink:

Also, just spent the weekend with friends who opened their Laphroig 15 -- ICK!! Not for me. We had it in a comparison tasting with the Highland Park and it was totally overwhelming.


"What, after all, is more seductive than the prospect of sinning in libraries?"

Michael Dirda, An Open Book

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On the very light side of the spectrum, try the other Orkney malt: Scapa. As my sister describes it, "It's a good breakfast Scotch."

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For a vertical tasting session, I have just procured Glenmorangie in three different expressions- Sherry, Port and a rare non chillfiltered 100 proof cask strength 'Tradition".

Any views?


Edited by Episure (log)

I fry by the heat of my pans. ~ Suresh Hinduja

http://www.gourmetindia.com

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Like many others I like Lagavulin, or Mac 12 (the 18 is too sweet) but generally I like them before the meal or at a party, or Old Portrero (not a scotch). For after dinner Dalwhilnnie is my fav.

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I started with the Glenfidditch 12 (pretty ok for $19), went on to the Macallan 12 (awesome but pricey at $32), continued with the Balvenie 12 (awesome and somewhat affordable at $28), now working on the Glenmorangie 10 (better than the Macallan 12 imho). Got a chance to stopover in London last year and picked up a special Glenmorangie 27 yo and Balvenie 21 portwood. My favorite? Either the Macallan 12 or the Glenmorangie 10.


Edited by His Nibs (log)

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I drink based on occasion and circumstances. Last visit to Keen's was during Spring - Had Oban after a heavy mutton-chop dinner. Had Glenmorangie coming back from AMS during the flight. I have a bottle of Clynelish open at home.

But Belvenie 15 yr is my go-to single malt.


anil

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Another Glenmorangie fan here -- I think I prefer the sherry wood to the port wood after tasting them side by side, but the 10 will do in a pinch. Like Balvenie as well. I'm the daughter of a dedicated Macallan drinker, and when I say dedicated, I mean DEDICATED. We also have a bottle of Mortlach, another very hard to find malt, that is Gordon & MacPhail bottled -- picked it up in Scotland last year. And Dalmore is a quite nice affordable single malt for daily sipping.

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Oh, I can't let this thread slip by unresponded to.

Favorite of all is Springbank 15. I also rotate between Macallan 12, Lagavulin 16, and Laphroaig 10.

A word on the Laphroaig 15 -- It downright sucks (sorry, Jaz). Tasted side by side with the 10, it is sooo lacking in character. Does nothing for me.


We cannot employ the mind to advantage when we are filled with excessive food and drink - Cicero

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Heh... the funny thing is I can get the Glenmorangie 12 yo Sherry Wood finish for $28 at Trader Joe's but the 10 yo costs me $29 at Bev & Mo (that's only when it's on sale) :angry: Macallans are way too overpriced now :sad:

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I'll put in my two cents, even though it's worth less than that because, until early June, I had never tasted a single malt.

The occasion was a trip to Scotland, and I delayed my tasting of the local whisky until our last night when, at Glasgow's The Ubiquitous Chip, under the guidance of the beverage waiter, I selected a Caol Ila, an Islay malt. It didn't take me long to develop a taste for it, though I preferred it with just the tiniest splash of spring water. Based on what I have read elsewhere, and the guidance of the beverage waiter, it is among the friendlier Islays but still transmits their characteristic peat and sea flavors.


Bob Libkind aka "rlibkind"

Robert's Market Report

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Well... my local trader joe's have the finlaggan old reserve for sale at 16.99. Couldn't resist it and bought a bottle home. Anyway, when I popped the cap off, I got this whiff of iodine (with a hint of the ocean) that smells repellant but intriguing all at the same time. Waiting for it to be night time before pouring a dram for myself and trying my very first Islay whiskey.

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As for any spirits tasting, breath of the spirit is the key. The more varied your selection the more valid the tasting. The worst thing that will happen is that you'll learn something in the process.


Edward Hamilton

Ministry of Rum.com

The Complete Guide to Rum

When I dream up a better job, I'll take it.

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As several have said before me, Lagavulin is The One. Several others are acceptable in their way, but only as a fan replaces air conditioning when it's 106. But my post is not to quibble on such matters...

My local spirits merchant has informed me that Lag 16 is to be no more. Beginning in '05, there will be only 12 year cask strength, as there is not a sufficient supply of 16 year and older casks for some time to come. Does anyone else know of this?

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Well well well. Took my first sip of Finlaggan Old Reserve (and my very first taste of an Islay malt) and was blown away. There was little to no burn (added a tiny splash of filtered water) and the initial hit of the peat flavor comes to the forefront as it hits my tongue. Unlike the speysides that I am currently enamoured of, this has only 2 distinct flavour characteristics, peat and the sea. The finish is long but mellow and right at the end, a subtle hint of saltiness. (Sort of like smoking a good cigar. Might be a natural pairing)

All in all, it was a very good introduction for me into the world of Islay malts and I really do not know whether I can make it back to highland malts. :biggrin:


Edited by His Nibs (log)

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My local spirits merchant has informed me that Lag 16 is to be no more. Beginning in '05, there will be only 12 year cask strength, as there is not a sufficient supply of 16 year and older casks for some time to come. Does anyone else know of this?

Looks like it's time to stock up.


We cannot employ the mind to advantage when we are filled with excessive food and drink - Cicero

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My local spirits merchant has informed me that Lag 16 is to be no more. Beginning in '05, there will be only 12 year cask strength, as there is not a sufficient supply of 16 year and older casks for some time to come. Does anyone else know of this?

Looks like it's time to stock up.

Hmm ... I'll pass the stocking up and move to the 12 y ... by far my favourite !


"Je préfère le vin d'ici à l'au-delà"

Francis Blanche

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For those of ewe looking to invest in a few more bottles (Stateside as well as in Europa), I thought I'd throw in this little linky:

http://www.whiskyshop.com/

It has a portal for ewe folks in America, and provides a pretty definitive list of available malts.

And for the record, wee Queneau is currently sipping on:

Inchgower 26 year old (Speyside)

Bruichladdich 12 year old (Islay)

Littlemill 19 Year Old Dun Bheagan (Lowland)

Isle of Jura 16 Year Old (Island)

I like a geographical spread.


irony doesn't mean "kinda like iron".

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At the moments I don't have any one 'favourite'. It depends on the mood. Sometimes the 'holy shit, this is whisky, it's not messing around' quality of Laphroaig 10 is exactly what I want. My go-to dram is probably Talisker 10 ... but I also like Glenfiddich (12 and 15). I recently purchased Lagavulin 16 and Aberlour A'bunadh. I like them both ... but haven't had them long enough to know whether the appeal is as lasting as the Talisker. Outside of Scotland, I really like the Bushmills 10 (not so much the Black Bush, tho').

I've also recently ordered a few more--Ardbeg 17 (I like the 10), Laphroaig 18, Talisker 1996 Distiller's Edition, Auchentoshan Valinch and Glenfarclas 15 (bundled with minis of the 21 and 25). Expecting big things.


Chris Taylor

Host, eG Forums - ctaylor@egstaff.org

 

I've never met an animal I didn't enjoy with salt and pepper.

Melbourne
Harare, Victoria Falls and some places in between

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I don't think I've advanced in the single malt world enough to really have a personal favorite at this point. I wanted an Islay to be near or at the top based on the descriptors commonly found in tasting notes. Words like smokey and briney called to me. Unfortunately, I think it's going to take a bit of experience before I learn to truly appreciate the region. I've been working on my Laphroaig Quarter Cask for a while now and it still tastes primarily like a hospital smells. I have learned if I'm patient I can discover something pleasant after that initial smack in the face but I'm still struggling with it a bit. So, for now, the Highland Park 12 that came highly recommended by people here at eGullet when I was just venturing into single malts remains the favorite among what I have in my cabinet.


It's kinda like wrestling a gorilla... you don't stop when you're tired, you stop when the gorilla is tired.

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Dalwhinnie 15 is my favourite.

Talisker .. I still have about a third of a bottle left but I doubt I will buy another. I find the peat and smoke just too overbearing for my taste

My next bottle will probably be a Jura 10. I tasted this with my bro-in-law and it was a nice little drop. It has its own unique subtle style.


"Why is the rum always gone?"

Captain Jack Sparrow

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