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EllenH

Favorite single malt

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That's funny, in the past I've recommended Talisker as a gateway to the more powerful west coast malts, exactly because it has such peaty, peppery, smoky seaweed but without the medicinal quality of Laphroaig.


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I love Laphroaig, hospital bandages smell and all.

Currently I've got a Triple Wood, a Quarter cask, a Cairdeas and a 20-year old single cask bottling from the Scotch Malt Whisky Society that they have poetically called "The Dark Edge of Saturn."


Nick Reynolds, aka "nickrey"

"The Internet is full of false information." Plato
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I drink almost only Islay, and mostly Cask stenght.

At the moment: Ardbeg Uigeadail and Ardbeg Alligator. The former being one of the best Whiskeys I have tasted, definately great bang for the buck at about 75$ for 700 ml (bought in Germany).

The Laphroaig Quarter Cask mentionned in the previous post is, at 38$ a bottle, probably the best deal on the peaty Whiskey market.

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Sipping on my first dram from one of my new bottles, the Ardbeg Uigeadail. This is a damn sexy whisky. For some reason I expected something far more ... intense. Maybe I just remember Ardbeg 10 all wrong--it's been a long time since I've had it--but this, to me, is a very accessible example of Islay. More accessible than Lagavulin, even (which is obviously far easier for the non-Islay fiend to enjoy than the lovably barbaric Laphroaig 10). Curious to see how it stacks up against the Ardbeg 17, Coal Ila and Bowmore. I have a sneaking suspicion I'm going to like them all ... but Uigeadail is the kind of special that deserves all the awards that've been thrown its way.


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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That's funny, in the past I've recommended Talisker as a gateway to the more powerful west coast malts, exactly because it has such peaty, peppery, smoky seaweed but without the medicinal quality of Laphroaig.

I like smoke and peat, and I bought my talisker 10 with that in mind. After many sessions going through most of the bottle , I am left with the conclusion that it just doesn't have the backbone to carry all the peat and smoke it has for my taste.. Which is why I used the term overbearing instead of overpowering.


"Why is the rum always gone?"

Captain Jack Sparrow

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... Which is why I used the term overbearing instead of overpowering.

I guessed it wasn't meant as a compliment :biggrin: - I still like Talisker a lot, but don't expect anyone to drink it that doesn't.


QUIET!  People are trying to pontificate.

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no , it wasn't a complement but then it isn't as big a critisim as it may sound either. I am still glad I bought it, if only to help me figure out what I like better. I certainly like it well enough to finish the bottle. :wink:


"Why is the rum always gone?"

Captain Jack Sparrow

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Dang, I was just PM-ing my shipping address.


QUIET!  People are trying to pontificate.

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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.

Tri2Cook, if you want smokey and peaty without the medicinal notes, you might want give Ardbeg 10, Talisker (as Blether suggested), or Lagavulin a try. While Laphroaig is high in peat, it's also very iodine-y which is where the "hospital smells" come from. Those other three are very peaty (and smokey), but less medicinal, although most of the seaside and island malts will have this to some degree if their maturation warehouse are right on the seaside. For briney specifically, you might want to have a go at Old Pultney.

In about 3 hours I will be at the Pittsburgh Whiskey Festival tasting many of these fine malts (and bourbons, ryes, etc.), including the new Laphroaig Triplewood, for example. :cool:


Mike

"The mixing of whiskey, bitters, and sugar represents a turning point, as decisive for American drinking habits as the discovery of three-point perspective was for Renaissance painting." -- William Grimes

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The Ardbeg Uigwhatever--the cask strength Ardbeg with the name that sounds like something you'd cough up on a particularly rough morning--is nice. I like Ardbeg 10 (I've yet to sample the 17 that arrived on my doorstep today) but I think it's gutsier brother is superior. Obviously you want to dilute it a little with some water.

I'm currently exploring what's avaliable from the Islay region from lesser known distilleries or distilleries that have mostly contributed their whiskies to blends in the past, instead of marketing single malts--Bowmore and Coal Ila seem like a good starting point.

Anyway. Today I sampled two: the Laphroaig 18. It's been a while since I've had a bottle of 10 kicking around, so I can't make a direct comparison, but it seems that the extra 8 years in the cask mellows the most ... untamed of whiskies. It's no pushover--it's not at all a dram I'd give to someone still dabbling their toes in the great sea of whisky--but it's a little friendlier. In fact, I have a sneaking suspicion I'll end up liking it more than the 10.

I also sampled (moving away from single malt altogether, but staying with quality whisk(e)y) Woodford Reserve bourbon. The only other bourbons I'd had before were the Wild Turkey standard and rye variants and Maker's Mark. It's a step above Turkey and Mark, that's for sure. Not a life-changing drop, but I can see bourbon gradually occupying a larger amount of my shelf space in the future.


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 think that the Laphroaig Quarter Cask is extremely variable. I had a bottle I liked a while ago, and when I replaced it the next bottle was... weird. QC issues? I dunno. A side-by-side was odd, as if I had two entirely different bottles....

My current favorite is the Aberlour A'bunadh, which I think is a remarkable value and a stunning bottling. I usually have the Jura Superstition on hand, too, another affordable gem.


Chris Amirault

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I think that the Laphroaig Quarter Cask is extremely variable. I had a bottle I liked a while ago, and when I replaced it the next bottle was... weird. QC issues? I dunno. A side-by-side was odd, as if I had two entirely different bottles....

My current favorite is the Aberlour A'bunadh, which I think is a remarkable value and a stunning bottling. I usually have the Jura Superstition on hand, too, another affordable gem.

Talk about variations, to date the Aberlour A'bunadh has 37 batches, each getting its own set of reviews. My Batch 27 is not one of the best but with none of the others to compare it to, is very good.


“Watermelon - it’s a good fruit. You eat, you drink, you wash your face.”

Italian tenor Enrico Caruso (1873-1921)

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I bought two Glenfarclas 15 gift packs--a full-sized bottle of the 15 year old plus minis of the 21 and 25 year old expressions. One pack for me. One for my girlfriend's father. Just poured the contents of the 25 year old mini into a tumbler and ... wow.'

Judging by the bottling date on this mini, the contents were distilled maybe 9 months and a week prior to my birth (shudders at the mental images involved with that, er, time frame ... but also somewhat amused at the idea this stuff could've been distilled on the same day I was conceived). I've never had whisky that old. The oldest, until now, would've been 18 years for whisky, 19-20 for wine. Which is odd, really, as being so young I guess there are so many products readily avaliable--many of which that aren't insanely expensive (i.e. like trying to find a whisky older than you when you're in your late 30s)--that are older than me. There's a certain magical quality added to each sip of this 50mL bottle of whisky.

When I get some more shelf space, I'm going to have to spring for the full-sized bottle of Glenfarclas 25.


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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Sticking close to home this evening with a dram of Hellyer's Road pinot noir-finished variant. Vastly superior to their original, semi-peated and peated variants ... not because it's holy-shit-amazing (like the 8 year old Smith's Angaston I stumbled across) but because it's different. The wine barrel finish is very obvious--it's there in the colour, it's there in the nose (there's a yeasty sort of unbaked bread smell ... as well as the obvious red wine note). Creamy texture. The finish is that of a young whisky. Would I buy a replacement bottle when I eventually finish this, like I'd happily do with Talisker/Lagavulin/Abelour cask strength/etc? Too early to say.

So far, this and the Smith's (which was produced, sadly, in a very limited run) are the only Australian whiskies I've truly enjoyed. Yet to sample Sullivan's Cove (bought a 150mL bottle), tho', or the offerings from Bakery Hill. I've heard good things. The youth of the majority of our whiskies (the Smith's is the oldest I know of--by far) is a real killer, as is the price/avaliability.


Edited by ChrisTaylor (log)

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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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.

I too am a big fan of SMWS. The only downside is that you may never get the same bottling again.

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Revisiting the Laphroaig 18 with my new Glencairns. I'm not sure if it's just that I'm new to trying to seriously identify aroma and flavour compounds, but all that I'm hit with is burning coals. The strong medicinal qualities of the 10 just aren't coming through for me.


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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On Chris Amirault's recommendation, I was going to get a bottle of the Aberlour A'bunadh as a present for my brother today, but got stymied. The store had three choices, a 17-year-old one (I think) that says it's aged in sherry casks, and two somewhat younger ones that say they're double-casked (I think). Obviously, I am an ignoramus among the cognoscenti, but my brother does like single-malts. Has anyone tasted the "sherry" one? The store's tasting notes say it picks up a lot of the sherry taste, which I love but my brother might not.

Also, is Jura Superstition a brand name, or what?

Thanks for helping me out.

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Isle of Jura is a distillery (and, obviously, an island). Superstition is one of the expressions of their whisky.

Abelour is a distillery. A'bunadh is a cask-strength expression with a new batch hitting shelves (roughly) every twelve months. It has no age statement. There are some differences between the batches but I think you must have been looking at the other Abelours. A lot of whiskies are aged in sherry casks (the most notable alternative being bourbon, but you'll find whiskies aged or at least finished in pinot noir casks, sauternes casks, rum casks and other types of casks. Sherry casks are very, very, very common, though. It's not something unique to Abelour.


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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Went to the Chez Regine (270 Russell St, for the few Melbournites/visitors who read eGullet) whisky bar last night and tried a few. Notables:

* 15 year old Nikka Yoichi single malt. My first Japanese whisky. A great single malt. Reminds me a helluva lot of Speyside--maybe Glenfarclas, specifically. I'd buy a bottle of this. I wouldn't buy a bottle of Nikka's 'white' blend, which includes Bowmore (yes, the Islay single malt) in the mix. It has, thanks to the Bowmore, a generic peaty Islayish quality about it, but it's not as nice or interesting as any of the Ardbegs/Lagavulin/etc.

* A 49 year old Glen Grant. Perhaps not as good as the 25 year old Glenfarclas, to my mind, but still very, very, very good. This was something special--partly because it's got the whole nice, caramelised, aged Speyside thing going on (with a bit of smoke) but also partly because the stuff in that glass would've been--by the time you figure on the bottle being maybe a couple of years old--pretty much double my age.

* Glenmorangie Nectar D'or. Didn't sample this at the whisky bar. In fact, I'm sampling a tiny portion of it right now. It's nice enough, I guess, in a mild and inoffensive and accessible way (despite being, what, ~45% APV?) but I kind of expected it to be a little sweeter given it's finished in Sauternes casks. It hasn't taken on anywhere near as much of the character of the wine as, say, the locally produced Hellyer's Road pinot noir finish.

* Booker's bourbon. I was expecting big things--not just because it's so expensive here and not just because it's raved about--but I didn't enjoy it. The finish is really harsh. The Woodford Reserve is a much nicer bourbon. Better may exist: my experience with bourbon is very limited.


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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* Booker's bourbon. ... The finish is really harsh.

Did you add some water, or more water than usual? 60+% ABV and all....


Kindred Cocktails | Craft + Collect + Concoct + Categorize + Community

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.

* Booker's bourbon. I was expecting big things--not just because it's so expensive here and not just because it's raved about--but I didn't enjoy it. The finish is really harsh. The Woodford Reserve is a much nicer bourbon. Better may exist: my experience with bourbon is very limited.

Get some Pappy Vanwinkle if you can. Needs one small cube.

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I didn't add water, no. I ordered it by the glass and stupidly didn't pay attention at all to the APV--I only noticed the rot gut aftertaste. Next time I get the chance to try it I'll actually pay attention the APV and add a little water.

Last night I sampled a couple of interesting things:

* Isle of Jura Superstition: I know that this is Jura's attempt at producing a more flavoursome whisky (I haven't had the original but I've heard it's insipid) but it was really mild. Almost like it'd been watered down a whole lot by someone who really doesn't enjoy the taste of whisky. I wouldn't be unhappy if I'd paid for a glass in a bar and that's what I got but I wouldn't be rushing out to the shops to purchase a bottle for my collection.

* Abelour A'bunadh. haresfur and I did a side by side comaprison of my bottle (batch 28) and his (batch 33). The differences in colour, aroma and flavour profile were clear. It wasn't a huge different--it wasn't like comparing, I don't know, the Abelour to something from a different distillery or different region, but you wouldn't need an especially well-trained palate to tell that these were not from the same bottle. Obviously, if you like one you'll like the other. Of the two, I enjoyed the 33 more. haresfur, iirc, enjoyed the 28 more.

* Monkey Shoulder. A blend of three Speyside whiskies. Inoffensive for a cheap whisky. Nice, even. Would you run to buy this over some of the nice Speysides? Maybe not. But if you're at a bar and there's a join between that, maybe a Glenfiddich 12 and a Johnnie blend ... well, that's not a choice at all.

* Coal Ila 28. Tastes of smoke and nothing else. Not as complex as, say, Laphroaig, even (if Laproaig is like a burning hospital, Coal Ila 28 is like inhaling when opening a smoker). Worked well with the BBQ food but man ... you'd have to be in the right mood to enjoy this. And even then, you'd only want a small pour. I suspect this bottle will last me forever. I can see why they tend not to age Islay whiskies as long as Speysides.

* Sullivan's Cove double cask (bourbon and port). Another Australian whisky. Inferior to the wonderful Smith's 8, but superior to the original (and even the peated) Hellyer's Road and, of course, Lark. I don't know if I'd buy a bottle ... but I'd happily order it in a restaurant or bar setting if there wasn't something especially compelling on offer.

* Gentleman Jack. I had a strong reaction to the flavour and aroma of this one: overripe bananas (I hate the smell of bananas) dumped in an industrial-sized jug of nail polish remover and maybe left alone under the bathroom sink for a few months. No one else seemed offended by it but, truly, compared to the Woodford Reserve (my favourite bourbon so far) or even the Booker's, it was horrid. I don't think I've ever had the standard Jack so I can't tell you how much better it is than that.


Edited by ChrisTaylor (log)

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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Glenfarclas 15. It's nice enough for an entry-level Speyside but the 15 is nowhere near as impressive as the 25--altho', oddly, I do prefer it to the 21. You can pick up on the rich sweetness that's going to develop into the mouth-filling caramel awesomeness of the 25. Oddly, this could probably benefit from being bottled at, I don't know, 40% instead of the 46. The kick of the alcohol is really strong here.

I think I'll replace the 15 with a 25 when it runs dry.


Edited by ChrisTaylor (log)

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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* Abelour A'bunadh. haresfur and I did a side by side comaprison of my bottle (batch 28) and his (batch 33). The differences in colour, aroma and flavour profile were clear. It wasn't a huge different--it wasn't like comparing, I don't know, the Abelour to something from a different distillery or different region, but you wouldn't need an especially well-trained palate to tell that these were not from the same bottle. Obviously, if you like one you'll like the other. Of the two, I enjoyed the 33 more. haresfur, iirc, enjoyed the 28 more.

My initial impression was the 28 was nicer but the 33 grew on me. Maybe a little more going on with the flavour.

Thanks to Chris for a great evening. I'm a whisky novice compared to him. The Calvados was very nice, too. Maybe Chris remembers what it was.

I clearly lean toward the Speysides. Don't quite get the attraction of Islays yet, although they went well with the ribs. Sort of like cultivating a taste for smoke-tainted wine. :rolleyes:

ETA: Calvados


Edited by haresfur (log)

It's almost never bad to feed someone.

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