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View Full Version : I have fallen in love with Islay single malts



Clavius
12-28-2011, 12:48
I've tried quite a few low to mid-range scotches and have liked most. But they've always taken a back seat to my love for bourbon. A few months ago I decided to buy a bottle of Laphroaig 10yr out of curiosity. At around $45 in my area it was probably the most I had spent on a bottle of scotch up until that point. I tried it and liked it alright but it sat in my liquor cabinet untouched until a few days ago when I decided to give it another go. This time I tried it neat in a glencairn glass and I was simply blown away by the flavors. There is just so much there with the peat and smoke that I have fallen in love with the Islay single malts. Fast forward to last night and I ended up finding and purchasing Laphroaig Quarter Cask and Ardbeg 10yr. And now I'm seriously eyeing a bottle of Lagavulin 16yr that is locked up at one of my local retailers. At $80-something I'm having difficulty justifying it but I am dying to try it.

Well, anyway... I didn't plan on spending my Christmas money on scotch but I guess that's how these things go. :rolleyes:

HP12
12-28-2011, 13:01
Welcome to the "dark side". You'll LOVE the Lagavulin 16...go get it. $80 is a pretty reasonable price!

smokinjoe
12-28-2011, 13:19
I don't always drink scotch. But, when I do, I prefer Lagavulin 16.

BTW, Lagavulin 16 is one of only 3 scotches that have the endorsement of GBS.

macdeffe
12-28-2011, 13:47
You're doomed :-)

Don't forget to try the Ardbeg Uigeadail down the road :-)


Steffen

Clavius
12-28-2011, 14:43
You're doomed :-)

Don't forget to try the Ardbeg Uigeadail down the road :-)


Steffen

The store I went to had the Uigeadail and the Corryvecken as well as the 10yr Ardbeg that I got. I'd love to get the other Ardbeg's as well! But I think I will go for the Lagavulin 16 and then cease from purchasing any more alcohol for the next, oh I don't know, 2 years or so. LOL

silverfish
12-28-2011, 15:14
... and then cease from purchasing any more alcohol for the next, oh I don't know, 2 years or so. LOL

Ha! Lemme know how that works out for you. :grin:

HP12
12-28-2011, 15:20
Ha! Lemme know how that works out for you. :grin:

What he said and good luck!!

macdeffe
12-28-2011, 16:32
I made a plea to myself not buying any whisky 10 years ago. I doesn't go too well really

Glad I made the plea thou, if I hadnt I wouldnt be able to get around my apartment for bottles :-)

Steffen

tmckenzie
12-28-2011, 16:45
If I am going to drink single malt it will be from Islay. Laphroig is great. But my favorite is the plain old Bowmore legend. It has a character all its own that is very easy to pick out. It has the peat and a big cracker malt taste along with the peat. In fact, if you see the cheaper Mcclelland own label malts, the islay version is four year old bowmore. An excellent buy at 18 bucks a 750. Also great are black bottle and islay mist blended Scotches. I have a few fermenters going right now of medium peated scottish malted barley. The smell is amazing.

Clavius
12-28-2011, 21:55
In fact, if you see the cheaper Mcclelland own label malts, the islay version is four year old bowmore. An excellent buy at 18 bucks a 750.
I'm almost positive I saw this when I bought the Laphroaig QC and Ardbeg 10. But, I knew nothing about it and then when I saw the price I assumed it wasn't worth buying. But thanks for the heads up! I will definitely pick one up next time I go to the store.

moose
12-28-2011, 22:05
I've tried quite a few low to mid-range scotches and have liked most. But they've always taken a back seat to my love for bourbon. A few months ago I decided to buy a bottle of Laphroaig 10yr out of curiosity. At around $45 in my area it was probably the most I had spent on a bottle of scotch up until that point. I tried it and liked it alright but it sat in my liquor cabinet untouched until a few days ago when I decided to give it another go. This time I tried it neat in a glencairn glass and I was simply blown away by the flavors. There is just so much there with the peat and smoke that I have fallen in love with the Islay single malts. Fast forward to last night and I ended up finding and purchasing Laphroaig Quarter Cask and Ardbeg 10yr. And now I'm seriously eyeing a bottle of Lagavulin 16yr that is locked up at one of my local retailers. At $80-something I'm having difficulty justifying it but I am dying to try it.

Well, anyway... I didn't plan on spending my Christmas money on scotch but I guess that's how these things go. :rolleyes:

Welcome, its a great world to explore, I certainly love it. The $80 for Lagavulin 16 is not a bad price actually.

Another one I think you should try is the Caol Ila 12year, all the signature Islay goodness resides in that one.

Clavius
12-28-2011, 22:09
Another one I think you should try is the Caol Ila 12year, all the signature Islay goodness resides in that one.
Thanks! I'll see if I can find it here.

Virus_Of_Life
12-28-2011, 23:04
BTW, Lagavulin 16 is one of only 3 scotches that have the endorsement of GBS.

Dying to know, what are the other 2?

wadewood
12-29-2011, 08:14
Laiphrog...Talisker...Ardbeg Uigeadail...these are the scotches that have kept me firmly on the bourbon side. Don't know how anybody likes the taste of bandaids that much.

However, a few scotches have me coming back for more - an older 12YO Balvenie sloped shoulder bottle and the current Aberlour A'Bunadh.

Megawatt
12-29-2011, 08:32
I like Islay malts but I disagree with the perception that they are the be-all-end-all of Scotch malt whisky. I've spoken with too many people who frown on Scotches with low phenol levels, writing them off as simplistic. I often find the opposite is true: very smoky Scotch can come across as one-dimensional.

But, to each their own. For me, single malts are all about variety. Glenkinchie offers things that Laphroaig doesn't, and vice versa. I like it all.

The best Islay malts I've tried so far are Lagavulin 16 and 12, Bowmore Tempest, and Connoiseur's Choice Caol Ila 10.

smokinjoe
12-29-2011, 08:47
Dying to know, what are the other 2?

Christian, currently Highland Park 12 and the old Glenmorangie Port Wood Finish are the only other Scotches endorsed by GBS. However, our Alternative Whisky Committee is evaluating several other samples that have been submitted by the various Scotch distilleries. Currently, I think we are analyzing 46 or 47 candidates. FWIW, each sample received undergoes an 18 step process to determines it's worthiness for our selection. Literally hundreds have not made the grade. It's ardorous, time consuming, and expensive, but in the end we feel confident that our ground-breaking tasting methods result in top of class selections.

Zanaspus
12-29-2011, 08:50
I like Islay malts but I disagree with the perception that they are the be-all-end-all of Scotch malt whisky. I've spoken with too many people who frown on Scotches with low phenol levels, writing them off as simplistic. I often find the opposite is true: very smoky Scotch can come across as one-dimensional.

But, to each their own. For me, single malts are all about variety. Glenkinchie offers things that Laphroaig doesn't, and vice versa. I like it all.

The best Islay malts I've tried so far are Lagavulin 16 and 12, Bowmore Tempest, and Connoiseur's Choice Caol Ila 10.

I agree totally. That said, I choose Islays or Islanders to trip my trigger more often than Speysiders. But they both have wonderful things to offer. Sometimes that peach orchard finish of Cragganmore 12 or the lusciousness of Aberlour A'Bunadh hits the spot.

BTW, to the OP, if you like the ten, try Laphroaig Quarter Cask. Well worth the extra $$.

timd
12-29-2011, 16:40
I love Laphroaig - it's the drink that got me in to the whole whisk(e)y - that and Springbank 10/100.

If you love the Islay's, then try some Campbeltown - Springbank & Longrow. Sprinbank is lightly peated and usually has a good sherry finish of some kind, and Longrow is more heavily peated (about like the standard Islays), but it comes out differently.

Longrow & Sprinbank CV's are a great intro to the family - and usually affordable ($50 & $40 respectively on average).

I second the nominations for Laphroaig QC and Caol Ila 12. Caol Ila is probably my favorite among the Islays. if you can find young (6-8 year old) Cask Strength independent bottlings (like from Binny's), don't pass them up - they can be amazing at $50-$60 a pop.

Clavius
12-29-2011, 17:31
BTW, to the OP, if you like the ten, try Laphroaig Quarter Cask. Well worth the extra $$.
I picked up the Laphroaig Quarter Cask when I got the Ardbeg 10yr. Not sure I like it as much as I like the regular 10yr Laphroaig. But I need more time with the QC to make up my mind fully.

Also, today I got Lagavulin 16yr. I had a tiny sip of it earlier in the day but, like the QC, I will need more time with it.

I did not see Caol Ila at the store. But I did see the McClleland's (SP?) Islay for about $18. I passed on it though since the Lagavulin was so much. I'll try it another time. Oh, and I saw the Bowmore Legend. I forget how much it was though.

I want to thank you all for your help. I didn't expect such a response since it's a site devoted to Bourbon. Good to know there are others out there that like to explore different whiskies! It's nice to mix it up once in awhile. Bourbon is still my favorite. I just got a little burned out on it.

MacinJosh
12-29-2011, 18:07
Don't forget to pick up a slice of blue cheese (the good kind) to go along with the Lagavulin 16!

Trust me, it's a match made in Heaven.


Josh

Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

ebo
12-29-2011, 18:20
Personally, I would get the Bowmore Tempest before the Legend.

I'm a huge Islay fan. Lagavulin 12 cask strength is probably one of my all time favorite whiskies.... period. There isn't an Islay I don't like. I love Talisker, but it isn't really an Islay.... despite the similarities.

Even though I'm a big fan of peaty, smokey Scotch, I love all Scotch whisky, regardless of region.

Clavius
12-29-2011, 22:15
Ok, I'm spending some serious time with the Lagavulin 16yr right now (trying it neat). And out of the 4 Islay single malts that I currently have (Laphroaig 10yr, Laphroaig Quarter Cask, Ardbeg 10yr and the Lagavulin 16yr) the Lagavulin just might be my favorite. Until I tried it I was stuck on the Laphroaig 10yr. Don't get me wrong, the Quarter Cask and the Ardbeg are great. But I love something about the finish of the "standard" Laphroaig. However this Lagavulin is exceptional. It is very smooth and balanced while still having the peat and smoke. I think it will disappear into a safe place along with my small Pappy collection and my 2011 William Larue Weller.

timd
12-30-2011, 16:45
Ok, I'm spending some serious time with the Lagavulin 16yr right now (trying it neat). And out of the 4 Islay single malts that I currently have (Laphroaig 10yr, Laphroaig Quarter Cask, Ardbeg 10yr and the Lagavulin 16yr) the Lagavulin just might be my favorite.

There's something truly special about the Lagavulin 16 - and 12. I've got a bottle of 21 year old, and it's truly amazing. But for the regularly available, non-hunted/hard to find Scotches, the Lagavulin certainly ranks near the top for the money (wish it was always $50-$60, but I buy lots when it's on sale for those prices!)

LikeItWasSodaPop
12-31-2011, 00:56
I had a good 2 month run obsessing over Islay malts. I may have spooked some of my bourbon pals in this odd state, as I spent that 2 months basically worrying that I didn't love bourbon any more. It quickly passed. My obsession with Islay taught me a lot more about bourbon than a lot of the shitty mid-range crap bottles so beloved around here (here's looking at you ETL) ever did.

I came out of my Islay phase an even more devoted bourbon fan.

Busted out a few Islays last night, and I just can't take them -- right now, that is. The greatest lesson I learned was that not only do our palates evolve, our preferences can be cyclical.

Oddly enough, my Islay craving came in the midst of a humid Chicago summer. These are so obviously, so quintessentially cold winter's evening malts.

In any event, I'm looking forward to the time when I have a craving for these amazing whiskeys again.

Clavius
12-31-2011, 02:20
I had a good 2 month run obsessing over Islay malts. I may have spooked some of my bourbon pals in this odd state, as I spent that 2 months basically worrying that I didn't love bourbon any more. It quickly passed. My obsession with Islay taught me a lot more about bourbon than a lot of the shitty mid-range crap bottles so beloved around here (here's looking at you ETL) ever did.

I came out of my Islay phase an even more devoted bourbon fan.

Busted out a few Islays last night, and I just can't take them -- right now, that is. The greatest lesson I learned was that not only do our palates evolve, our preferences can be cyclical.

Oddly enough, my Islay craving came in the midst of a humid Chicago summer. These are so obviously, so quintessentially cold winter's evening malts.

In any event, I'm looking forward to the time when I have a craving for these amazing whiskeys again.

Thank you for your comment. I think I'm in a similar situation here. I haven't had any bourbon for a few weeks now and I'm honestly a bit worried that I won't be able to go back to it. :shocked:

ebo
12-31-2011, 11:11
Thank you for your comment. I think I'm in a similar situation here. I haven't had any bourbon for a few weeks now and I'm honestly a bit worried that I won't be able to go back to it. :shocked:
Sure you will.:cool:

I came to Bourbon from Scotch, and I felt the same way you are feeling now.... just opposite!:lol:

I love both styles of whisk(e)y, and I find I go for months at a time drinking Bourbon without lifting a dram of Scotch. I still love Scotch, and I always will, but it's great to have a few different styles of whisk(e)y to enjoy as the mood strikes.:grin:

silverfish
12-31-2011, 11:29
Just wanted to chime in and thank everyone who offered up an
"Islay-type" suggestion. My wife is an Islay fan who enjoys the
occasional tipple of Ardbeg (not so much the 10 but a long time
Corryvreckan drinker so I gave an Alligator for x-mas!), Big Peat,
Smokehead and (to a lesser extent) Black Bottle. It's always tricky
buying a bottle you think someone might like (god bless Drinks
By The Dram!) so the suggestions here will surely come in handy.

And if anyone spots a Big Peat Santa on the shelf and wants to
hook me up, feel free to click the PM button! :grin:

MacinJosh
12-31-2011, 14:14
Kilchoman is a must try. Any of their releases. I'm a big fan. The juice is only 3 years old and quite delicious. Anthony Wills and his team are doing an incredible job.


Josh

Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

Virus_Of_Life
01-01-2012, 00:28
Laiphrog...Talisker...Ardbeg Uigeadail...these are the scotches that have kept me firmly on the bourbon side. Don't know how anybody likes the taste of bandaids that much.

However, a few scotches have me coming back for more - an older 12YO Balvenie sloped shoulder bottle and the current Aberlour A'Bunadh.

Just like Bourbon, or any spirit for that matter, it is an acquired taste. Two years ago I couldn't stand the smell of Ardbeg, now I absolutely crave the Uigea. I used to badmouth scotch drinkers too, then my pallette changed. I have no idea how or why, but I find that now I get a richer enjoyment out of all whiskeys because of it, that includes enjoying bourbon even more than before because I seem to get 'more' out of them.

mosugoji64
01-01-2012, 23:51
Laiphrog...Talisker...Ardbeg Uigeadail...these are the scotches that have kept me firmly on the bourbon side. Don't know how anybody likes the taste of bandaids that much.

However, a few scotches have me coming back for more - an older 12YO Balvenie sloped shoulder bottle and the current Aberlour A'Bunadh.

Glad I'm not the only one who got the bandaid flavor from those! Most of the Scotches I've had were just uninteresting to me, but those were downright offensive. Oh well, I'll keep trying ... :rolleyes:

macdeffe
01-02-2012, 09:20
Bandaid tsk tsk. The appetizing term for that tasting note is "medicinal" :slappin:

(I know a girl who described it as old worn-out bandaids...)

End of the day it's a true lover or hate flavour and Laphroaig used to have a slogan that on a scale from 1 to 10 they got 2-9

Steffen

Clavius
01-05-2012, 21:39
Taking a break from the Islay single malts. And yep, bourbon is still my favorite!

edo
01-06-2012, 05:00
I overdid myself hiking in the mountains today (17 km.!!:bigeyes:- a record for me!) and now I'm enjoying an Ardbeg 10 as my legs stiffen and cramp up. Funny thing was off and on during the hike, I kept thinking about a pour of bourbon (or maybe rye), but when I got home, I reached for the Ardbeg. ... don't know why, and not even sure it was the right choice ... got an open bottle of Woodford Reserve ... I move freely around from bourbon to rye to single malts to Irish.. like 'em all. ... some I like a lot.

For Ilays, like everybody else, I like Lagavulin 16 (12, too, but that's cask strength and a very different animal), but it's too expensive for me. Laphroaig QC may be my favorite that I can regularly get at a reasonable price ( at least half that of Lagavulin). Caol Ila cask strength is way up on my list (still waiting to try the 12 y.o.). Somebody mentioned the Caol Ila 8 y.o. cask strength- that's "unpeated style" and so is quite different (but really good) from what you'd expect of an Islay. Talisker (Isle of Skye) is not an Islay, but its nice and peaty and I can understand how it gets lumped in there- it's also high on my list. I know Bowmore is an Islay, but it never tastes like one to me. Try Finlaggan: get the 'Old Reserve', not the 'Original Peaty'. It's as cheap as Islays come, and it's excellent juice (from a secret distillery... maybe Caol Ila, maybe even :bowdown:Lagavulin:bigeyes:!

Ah,... Ardbeg: creosote, tar, Testor's airplane glue, bicycle accidents, walk-in clinics, hint of Bo-peep amonia and ... heather?

Love it.:lol:

...did I forget 'wet dog'?

Josh
01-14-2012, 16:32
I've been really enjoying Jura Prophecy recently. I know, not an Islay, but from the island right next door and quite peaty. To me it tastes like Talisker turned up to 11. Not subtle but very enjoyable.