PDA

View Full Version : Scotch suggestions?



DowntownD
04-19-2009, 16:13
I'd like to find 2-3 somewhat different Scotches I enjoy to stock in my bar. $75/750ml or less, and preferably at least one that's somewhat esoteric (though the real emphasis is on taste, within my price range...).

I've tried several, all of which ranged from 'pretty good' to 'ok' to 'no thanks' to 'yuck' - so I'm guessing I just haven't found the right ones... and given how many are out there I'm willing to experiment but would rather do so from an informed perspective rather than the shotgun approach.

To me - tasting notes/aspects consisting of 'cut grass', 'seaweed', 'super smoky', 'fresh hay', and so on sound far less than appealing to say the least and have tasted similarly unpleasant to me when I've tried them (Talisker 10 and Laphroaig 10 come to mind...).

The ones I recall having had and generally liked are:

- Balvenie DoubleWood - perhaps my favorite so far but still just so-so.
- Macallan 12 - it's ok, not offensive, but nothing to write home about.

I want to find the Pappy 15 or Lot B or VWFRR of Scotches (in terms of how much I like them, not that they taste similarly... you know... I'm seeking the 'holy sh-t, this is really good' reaction).

What do you suggest?

Thanks.

D

T47
04-19-2009, 16:41
I am not a big fan of the Heavy Peated Scotches. I can not recall who recommended it to me on this board, but I love the Alberlour A'Bunadh. It knocks my socks of every time. You can check it out here (http://www.aberlour.com/abunadh/).


:toast:

kickert
04-19-2009, 16:44
Ya gotta go with Lagavulin 16 as one of those. It is an excellent specimen of the Islay region and is very dominate with the peat flavors, yet manages to produce a smooth, "thick" pour.

barturtle
04-19-2009, 16:49
Perhaps you're just not a Scotch person?

The Boozer
04-19-2009, 18:28
Recommend Highland Park 12 year ($41) or HP 15 year ($62)
Subtle on the smoke and peat, right combo of salty & sweet -
not over-powering but more substance than the Doublewood, nice lond finish.

been drinking scotch a long time and HP is still one of my favorites.
TJ

sku
04-19-2009, 20:57
Based on your description, here are some you may want to try:

Dalmore 12 yo
Old Pulteney 12 yo
Bruichladdich 15 yo
Highland Park 18 yo
Benriach 10 yo

Dalmore and Pulteney are very affordable, the others are higher priced but they should be within your range, though the Highland Park may be a little over.

If you don't like these, don't like the peated malts and don't like the others you've tried, as Barturtle noted, Scotch may just not be your drink.

whskylvr
04-19-2009, 21:38
DowntownD

Try the following:

OBAN 14YR
GLENMORANGIE LASANTA
CRAGGANMORE DISTILLERS ED.
OBAN DISTILLERS ED.

boss302
04-20-2009, 00:48
DowntownD

Try the following:

OBAN 14YR
GLENMORANGIE LASANTA
CRAGGANMORE DISTILLERS ED.
OBAN DISTILLERS ED.


I'll second the Glenmorangie "Lasanta." Excellent example of a Sherry-finished single malt. 12 years, 92 proof, yet still delicate.

The Macallan 18 tastes worlds better than the 12. At $130 (or so) a bottle, however, it is not cheap.

The Glenfiddich 15-year "Solera Reserve" is also nicely-done.

The Dalmore 12-year is hugely-under-rated, IMHO. It's pretty affordable, too.

The Dalwhinnie 15-year is excellent if you prefer a mild, mellow, honeyed taste...

For my money, my "old reliable" is the Glenmorangie Original 10-year. Light and delicate, with a gentle honeyed sweetness, and perfectly showcases the "toasted coconut and vanilla" flavors imparted by American White Oak. I ALWAYS have a bottle of this in my collection-- when I finish one, I buy another the very next day. A bottle should run you just shy of $40.

JMac72
04-20-2009, 13:48
From my experience....Dalmore 12 and Longmorn 15. The Longmorn has a nice cereal/malty taste and the Dalmore is more rye like to my palette.

bpt
04-20-2009, 18:38
I would second the Oban. And how about The Macallan Cask Strength? More flavor than the 12yr but drinks a lot smoother than you'd expect for 57-59% alcohol. And should be way under your price cap.

Jazzhead
04-21-2009, 05:19
As you well know, there's a real variety out there when it comes to scotch. While it's possible to appreciate both a grassy Lowlander and a seaweedy Islander, I presume the novice can be put off by the utter disparity in taste between those two drams.

The two scotches you singled out are both sherried Speysiders - and excellent ones. They are characterized by less peatiness (which is where flavor notes like "smoky" and "seaweedy" come from), and more sweetness, and specifically the sweetness associated with the sherry butts these scotches are finished in. (Macallan 12 is unusual in that it is exclusively aged in sherry casks. More common are scotches that are primarily aged in bourbon barrels and then "finished" for a year or two in sherry or similar casks.)

If you like the higher proofs associated with bourbon, you may want to check out Aberlour A'bundh, which is another quality sherried Speysider which is bottled at cask strength. If you want to sample the best of Speyside "naked" - fifteen years in a bourbon barrel, no sherry - try the Balvenie Single Barrel. That's my personal favorite of the Balvenie family. If that floats your boat, then explore both Speysiders and "highland" malts, such as the aforementioned Oban (great stuff, but too pricy to be a regular pour for me). Going the opposite way, Tamdhu 10 (look for the variety with the age statement) is the best bargain in Scotch - I picked up a bottle the other day for 21 bucks, and it's a smooth, balanced and easily drinkable Speysider. Old Pulteney is another great bargain.


I strongly second the Boozer's suggestion - Highland Park 12 strikes the best balance I know between sweetness and smoke. Talisker is similarly balanced but has a dominant flavor characteristic of pepper, which you'll either dig or not dig.

If it's esoteria you're looking for, do some searching and try to get a bottle of something from the defunct Rosebank distillery. There's a 13-year version from Signatory Vintage that was reasonably available until recently, although all Rosewoods are getting scarce. But you won't regret splurging on this stuff - lowland malts are rare, period, but Rosebank is a lost treasure and simply delicious.

Hope this helps!

- Kurt

Vange
04-21-2009, 07:36
I second a lot of responses already, but it seems your search for scotch to mimic Lot B and Pappy 15 tells me you may like a sweeter tasting scotch

Aberlour A'bunadh - the most intense sherry aged scotch I have ever had and cask strength. I think this is your best bet.
Mac 18 - MUCH better than the 12, but pricey
Balvenie Portwood - this has a sweeter element than other single malts, again expensive
Highland Park 18 - again much better than the 12

I would also suggest going with some scotches finished in other casks:
Glenmorangie Lasanta - sherry
Glenmorangie Quinta Robin - port
Glenmorangie Nectar D'Or - sauternes, a sweet French wine

FWIW, I did have a whisky that tasted very similar to bourbon. It was single grain whisky aged in port pipes for over 40+ years. Scoot's Selection was the IB and its called North of Scotland. Its a single grain though, not a scotch.

Merlin_AZ
04-21-2009, 17:25
It's only slightly above your price limit ($80), but Highland Park 18 is my go-to scotch.
Try it when you get a chance.

Vange
04-22-2009, 07:16
Another "pure" scotch I tend to stick by is Glenfarclas.
They do have a sherry expression as well if I am not mistaken.

The Boozer
04-22-2009, 15:22
Don't have problem with recommending the HP 18, but in my neck of the woods its $100 / bottle, well above the $75 limit Down D was looking for.

As a side note, while I like the 18, not sure its worth the $60 premium over the price of the 12 yr. You get a lot of bang for the buck with the HP 12.
TJ

kateric
10-23-2009, 13:08
I have no such thing as a favorite in SMS and I don't mind paying for really good scotch, but I'd say the ones that I love the best are:

Island:
Talisker 18 - delicious!
Oban (good balance) - I choose this when out at restaurants

Highland:
Glenfarclas 17 - good stuff! Hidden secret.
any Pulteney/Old Pulteney, particularly finished in bourbon barrels rather than sherry (I especially love the Sauternes, but it's rare to find!)
Highland Park 18 (and I hear 15 yr is good) - love it on cold nights! Smoky... I think of this, Talisker, and Pappy 20 when I want that type of thing.
Edradour has some good releases... I liked the cask strength Madeira, rich and spicy, and would love to try some of the other special finishes
Dalmore 21 is not bad, worth trying at some point if you find it in a restaurant - basic but nice in it's own way, maybe not worth the price

Speyside:
Glenlivet Nadurra is unique and tasty (18 is sherried and richer - more like Macalllan 18 and well worth the money as well)
Glenrothes (love the G&M 18 yr at Binny's, but the various special year releases are sought after most - I'd pass on the Select-no year version)
Aberlour A'bunadh (or if you like lighter and cheaper: mid-year stuff like 15 or 16 yr)
lots of people love Longmorn 15 if you can still find it instead of the 16 yr, plus it will probably be valuable as the years progress
I like Glen Grant stuff, but it's tough to find and only in independent bottlings - can vary, but it's a good spirit generally

Islay (the love it or hate it category in my experience with friends!):
Lagavulin 15 is awesome (if you can still find it) and Quarter Cask is nice for a flavorful young version
Bruichladdich 15 yr second edition (Sauternes) and Infinity (Rioja)
Caol Ila - get it young (if you like brine, i.e. salty/smack) - Binny's has great hand-picked independent bottlings available
Ardbeg Airigh Nam Beist
Lagavulin 16 is in a class of it's own, but if you like that and Ardbeg -- you have finally arrived in the SMS world! You'll still be tasting peat in the morning after Lagavulin! Beware, it will draw you in and keep you coming back for more once you're used to it... and funny thing is - I love it with Oatmeal Raisin cookies -- go figure!

Lowland:
any cask strength Auchentoshan you can find (and 21 yr if you can't)

Cambeltown:
I'm not as much of a fan of these, but Longrow and Springbank would go here. I've only liked the Springbank rum finish.

JAPANESE:
I wouldn't miss the Yamazaki 18 yr if I were you!

Irish:
Midleton Very Rare is worth the price if you find yourself with the money
Black Bush is the only other one I like besides JW Black

I've heard good things about Benriach (various finishes, but sherry in particular), but haven't tried it yet.
Of course... Macallan 25 remains the ultimate for me!

Disclaimer though... I lean toward uncut, unchillfiltered - strong, flavorful stuff! Some of these are and you may need to play with adding water, but what I love about the ones listed is that they hold up to that if need be.

loose proton
10-24-2009, 19:15
A lower priced offering that I sometimes enjoy is Glen Garioch 8 yo. The nose and first couple sips may not be that appealing, but keep on sipping. Others may not like it, but it appeals to me, and is not high cost like the really good stuff. I find it a good value.

But then maybe don't take my advise. Kateric doesn't think very highly of Dalmore 21 and I find Dalmore 12yo to be just fine for me.

AVB
10-24-2009, 20:51
I fixed a number of errors you had in your post and added a few notes of my own shown with a *


I have no such thing as a favorite in SMS and I don't mind paying for really good scotch, but I'd say the ones that I love the best are:

Island:
Talisker 18 - delicious!
Highland Park 18 (and I hear 15 yr is good) - love it on cold nights! Smoky...

Highland:
Oban (good balance) - I choose this when out at restaurants
any Pulteney/Old Pulteney, particularly finished in bourbon barrels rather than sherry (I especially love the Sauternes, but it's rare to find!)
I think of this, Talisker, and Pappy 20 when I want that type of thing.
Edradour has some good releases... I liked the cask strength Madeira, rich and spicy, and would love to try some of the other special finishes
Dalmore 21 is not bad, worth trying at some point if you find it in a restaurant - basic but nice in it's own way, maybe not worth the price
*(The old style 21 is a great buy compared to the new King Alexander III)

Speyside:
Glenlivet Nadurra is unique and tasty (18 is sherried and richer - more like Macalllan 18 and well worth the money as well)
Glenfarclas 17 - good stuff! Hidden secret.
Glenrothes (love the G&M 18 yr at Binny's, but the various special year releases are sought after most - I'd pass on the Select-no year version)
Aberlour A'bunadh ,or if you like lighter and cheaper: mid-year stuff like 15 or 16 yr. *(The new Aberlour 16yo Revival is outstanding, easily as good as the old 16 yo and much better than the 15)
lots of people love Longmorn 15 if you can still find it instead of the 16 yr, plus it will probably be valuable as the years progress
I like Glen Grant stuff, but it's tough to find and only in independent bottlings - can vary, but it's a good spirit generally
*(I'm a Balvenie fan and really like the PortWood 21 and the Single Barrel 15)

Islay (the love it or hate it category in my experience with friends!):
Laphroaig 15 is awesome (if you can still find it) and Quarter Cask is nice for a flavorful young version
Bruichladdich 15 yr second edition (Sauternes) and Infinity (Rioja)
Caol Ila - get it young (if you like brine, i.e. salty/smack) - Binny's has great hand-picked independent bottlings available
Ardbeg Airigh Nam Beist
Lagavulin 16 is in a class of it's own, but if you like that and Ardbeg -- you have finally arrived in the SMS world! You'll still be tasting peat in the morning after Lagavulin! Beware, it will draw you in and keep you coming back for more once you're used to it... and funny thing is - I love it with Oatmeal Raisin cookies -- go figure!

Lowland:
any cask strength Auchentoshan you can find (and 21 yr if you can't)
*(I have to add Bladnoch, especially the 16 yo 110 proof)

Campbeltown:
I'm not as much of a fan of these, but Longrow and Springbank would go here. I've only liked the Springbank rum finish. *(The Campbeltown Loch blend isn't bad either with the old 25 being better than the 21 but the 15 is pretty good too)

JAPANESE:
I wouldn't miss the Yamazaki 18 yr if I were you! *(NIKKA White Pure Malt is one to try, its a combo of Islay and Yochi)

Irish:
Midleton Very Rare is worth the price if you find yourself with the money
Black Bush is the only other one I like
*(Green Spot has to be near the top of any Irish list and the Bushmills 21 is excellent)

I've heard good things about Benriach (various finishes, but sherry in particular), but haven't tried it yet. *(The Old Curiositas Peated is a 90 pointer for me and the 20 yo is very good also.)
Of course... Macallan 25 remains the ultimate for me!

Disclaimer though... I lean toward uncut, unchillfiltered - strong, flavorful stuff! Some of these are and you may need to play with adding water, but what I love about the ones listed is that they hold up to that if need be.

ErichPryde
10-25-2009, 01:00
Recommend Highland Park 12 year ($41) or HP 15 year ($62)
Subtle on the smoke and peat, right combo of salty & sweet -
not over-powering but more substance than the Doublewood, nice lond finish.

been drinking scotch a long time and HP is still one of my favorites.
TJ


I double second this. If not the 12 year, perhaps the 15 or 18 year expression, but the 12 year will be the most reasonably priced (40-50 dollars).

kateric
10-26-2009, 10:43
Thanks to AVB for rearranging my Island/Highland/Speysides... got in a rush and I get some of those jumbled in my head. I knew that I would get heat for leaving out Balvenie Portwood - as I know MANY MANY people who love it. I've just not embraced Portwood in general, and on top of that - Binny's had a really fantastic Glen Grant Portwood a while back (that I believe is now gone) that simply spoiled me for all other Portwoods. As far as the Bushmills, I have always been curious about the 21 yr, but the Scotch and Bourbon affinity hasn't left me with much funding for really exploring the Irish. (I did notice we both left off a pretty good Irish out there though... Redbreast Pot Stilled!) I certainly will make an effort to get the Bushmill 21 and the Green spot. And it definitely seems from AVB's post that I MUST get Aberlour 16 Revival! I am still relatively new to this hobby, so I very much appreciate the suggestions of those I haven't tried - I will be seeking out that Nikka and Bladnoch post haste!

Btw... just to clarify - I don't 'not like' the Dalmore 21. It's just that after I shelled out the money for it and got it home, I just felt that I would have probably been better off to put it toward a backup bottle of something else I love. I definitely don't hate having it on my shelf and there are some times that lend itself to that particular one - that's why I felt compelled to put it on the list... but I just wanted to maybe suggest someone try it out before opting to spend on this distinctive 'old style'. It may or may not resonate. (Also, I feel it necessary to second Glenmorangie Solera Reserve from some of the other postings here. I also haven't opened my Lagavulin DE and Oban DE yet either in order to know if they should go on the list.)

unclebunk
10-26-2009, 10:58
I did notice we both left off a pretty good Irish out there though... Redbreast Pot Stilled! I certainly will make an effort to get the Bushmill 21 and the Green spot.

Redbreast is probably my favorite Irish whiskey, and it is affordable and readily available. Green Spot is excellent too but you'll have to go to Dublin to get it, as very little of it makes it out of Ireland. Bushmills 21 is also terrific, but at $110 it's something I won't buy often. I simply feel that there are Irish whiskeys of comparable quality that cost far less, so that's where my money will be going.

AVB
10-26-2009, 13:13
Green Spot is sourced from Red Breast but J.A. Mitchell does something right to it because it is consistently rated higher than Red Breast.

Chilled
10-27-2009, 07:01
FYI, Greenspot can be mail ordered out of 2 UK online stores, Just got mine, thou the exchange rate stinks.

Springbank would be one to try.
Highland Park 12 for daily and 18 for special occasions.

I just dumped some money on Duncan Taylors 30yr Black Bull. This stuff was just Awsome, It is more towards the Sweet side.

unclebunk
10-27-2009, 08:13
FYI, Greenspot can be mail ordered out of 2 UK online stores, Just got mine, thou the exchange rate stinks.

Springbank would be one to try.
Highland Park 12 for daily and 18 for special occasions.

I just dumped some money on Duncan Taylors 30yr Black Bull. This stuff was just Awsome, It is more towards the Sweet side.

I've got a "mule" who brings me back a few bottles of Green Spot whenever she's on business in Dublin. The last time she went it cost me $60 a bottle. I agree that the Springbank 10 is a good one and at $50 is reasonably priced, but Highland Park 12 has to be the best quality SMS out there for the price. I was picking it up for $35 until Illinois raised the taxes on booze on Sept. 1st, but at $40 it is still an extraordinarily good deal. Will have to keep an eye out for the Duncan Taylor 30 Black Bull. What did you pay?

Chilled
10-29-2009, 06:53
I paid $145, list on it is 169.99 but I have a good rapor w/ the store owner.

unclebunk
10-29-2009, 08:33
I paid $145, list on it is 169.99 but I have a good rapor w/ the store owner.

Yikes! Even $145 is too rich for my blood, I'm afraid. For that kind of money I walk away with bottles of Highland Park 18 for special occasions and HP 12 for regular pours. But I'll have to seek out a sample of Duncan Taylor 30 Black Bull somewhere down the line. When are you having us all over?

Chilled
10-29-2009, 14:19
Haloween Party Saturday, Cocktail Hour starts 6pm.
On the BAr:
BlackBull
Nikka Black MAlt
The MAcallan 15yr fine oak
JW GreenLabel ( Cancun Airport Had a special on 2 bottles)
Green SPot
Powers Gold LAbel