View Full Version : Scotch... mossy diesel oil?

11-22-2004, 19:45
Well... I've tried a few pours of scotch here and there in the past, but recently I'd expressed an interest in becoming more familiar with all the different varieties of scotch.

Because of this, my wife purchased a "Classic Malts of Scotland" sampler for me (6 50ml bottles, from all the different regions).

I was in the mood for something light, so after reading tasting notes on all of them, I decided I'd try the Dalwhinnie 15 yr old.

I couldn't get past the second sip. It tasted like diesel oil mixed with moss. Maybe that's the peat flavor? Whatever it was, I used my flask funnel to pour it back into the mini bottle (my wife said she would drink it, just not tonight).

Now, I'm enjoying a healthy pour of Eagle Rare 101, and marvelling at how good this $16 spirit is when compared to a $50 bottle of Dalwhinnie scotch.

Maybe I didn't give the Dalwhinnie enough of a chance - I'll be trying some of the other scotches this week.

I'm worried that I'm kind of slipping into a comfort zone - I've been trying lots of new whiskies (bourbon, Scotch, Irish and Canadian), but I keep falling back on a few "old faithfuls", and they're all bourbons (Eagle Rare SB and Eagle Rare 101, EWSB '94, EC12). Is it possible that I don't like the new things I'm trying because I'm so used to my regular pours?

Any input would be welcome!


11-22-2004, 20:49
We all hear you. Personally, I've had some Scotches I like well enough -- Highland Park 12yo Ornkney Islands, Glen Moray (and its parent Glenmorangie), Speysides and Lowlands, in general. I've found Irish whiskey quite palatable over ice (but with an unpleasant aftertaste neat). The Lot 40 Dane brought for Gary Gillman to the Festival was a pleasant Canadian whisky.
But, I find the variety, depth, flavor and price for bourbons the best bargain in spirits. Thus, I drink it at probably a 10:1 ratio to anything else.

11-23-2004, 03:03
Most find Dalwhinnie 15 a delicate inoffensive Scotch, but it is a little oily and a bit grassy, so I know what you mean. I would not call it peaty though. It's too subtle for my tastes but something I drink in pubs (when off the beer).

Frankly I would not bother with Scotch for the price you pay. You live in the land of Bourbon. I would celebrate it with a the best whisky in the world http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/smile.gif

11-23-2004, 07:18
Scotch might not be for you. Like Bamber has already touched on, the Dalwhinnie 15 is probably the most approachable drink of the six. You might try the Glenkinchie next, it's a fairly mild lowland.

11-23-2004, 08:24
If you think Dalwhinnie tastes like mossy diesel oil, I can't wait to see what you think of the Lagavulin.

Try the Lagavulin next. Take a good swig, and let us know your thoughts. (Heh heh.) http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/smirk.gif

11-23-2004, 09:04
I've actually had a few sips of Lagavulin before (not even an entire pour - I had some of someone else's). It had a hell of a lot of flavour, but I don't remember it having this same nasty taste that the Dalwhinnie had.

Maybe Scotch just isn't for me. I'd be a happy man just exploring the various bourbons...

11-23-2004, 11:48
Dalwhinnie (the regular edition) is a fairly plain whisky in the sense of not being peated very much or showing much effect from sherry cask aging. I think you are seeing the effects of the higher alcohols and other congeners since these are not much modified as I say by peat smoke or other factors. Of course the long aging softens the congeneric effect somewhat but not totally. The mossy effect might be from the water in Dalwhinnie having coursed through peat bogs before distillation (and/or used to dilute the whisky at or after barreling). Or it might reflect effects of the Scottish climate, the atmospheric conditions in the warehouses, that is. Congeners taste the same in my view in all drinks, or rather, they are quite similar showing a kind of metallic, often oily taste and texture. They exist in Bourbon too but are obscured to a degree by red layer sugars and smoky notes from barrel char.


11-25-2004, 17:45
I like most Scot's whisky except the Island expressions. I think wr has hit on one of the truths underlying the Scotch Whisky industry. Which is to say it had to be blended with netural spirit to to make it palatable to the general market.


11-26-2004, 09:22
I just want to emphasize that this post was not intended to "slight" Scotch whiskey in any way. Maybe the title of the post was a bit inappropriate, but I went into tasting Scotch with an open mind, and I have had Scotch I liked before... but my first try at a "Classic Malt" was disastrous.

11-29-2004, 09:00
I love American, Scotch and Irish whisk(e)y. They are three completely different drinks, generally, though. It's understandable why someone would like one and not the others.

I don't knwo anything about Canadian, really, but I'd like to try it.

However, there's almost as big a variation in Scotch whiskey as there is between any particular scotch brand and American whiskey. Glenmorangie is nothing like Lagavulin, for example - even though they're produced by the same people.

Anyway, I don't really know what my point is.

11-29-2004, 20:48
Anyway, I don't really know what my point is.

This happens to you too? http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/toast.gif

01-23-2005, 09:25
Dalwhinnie is actually one of the more peated mainlanders of Scotch whisky. That diesel could very well be the peat. Both are used for fuel, so hey why not?

I won't ever apologize for the amount of peat, smoke, brine, salt, leathery, or kippery flavors a single malt contains within -- indeed, that's why many people seek out the Islays and the more peated mainlanders (like some Speyside whiskies, and like Dalwhinnie -- which isn't exactly in Speyside, but is close enough).

It's worth mentioning that there are good bottlings and bad bottlings of 15 year old Dalwhinnie. I've heard some that have had acidic tones to them. Sometimes single malts also have a soapy character. This is unfortunate. But these mistakes are few and far between, I've found.

04-26-2005, 19:42
Hey, some of us like mossy diesel oil! http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/wink.gif

Seriously, though, there's quite a huge variety of Scotches out there. Comparing a light, sherried Speysider like Aberlour against a heavy, peaty Islay like Ardbeg, you might wonder how they could be even remotely related. FWIW, I like them both, but the Ardbeg probably wouldn't be your style. Highland Park falls roughly midway between the two extremes.

Probably the most bourbon-like Scotch that I have come across is Compass Box Hedonism, which is a blend of grain whisky only (no malt whisky). It's rather expensive, though - I can get a bottle of George T. Stagg for less.

04-26-2005, 19:48
I don't knwo anything about Canadian, really, but I'd like to try it.

Forty Creek is a nice Canadian whisky if you can find it.

Glenmorangie is nothing like Lagavulin, for example - even though they're produced by the same people.

Actually, Glenmorangie owns Ardbeg, while Diageo (nee United Distillers) has Lagavulin. Allied Domecq (Laphroaig's owner) used to own Ardbeg, and came close to knocking it down at one point.

04-26-2005, 20:28
Actually, Glenmorangie owns Ardbeg...

And LVMH now owns Glenmorangie. What's next -- Jim Beam buying Maker's Mark http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/lol.gif? Oh. http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/blush.gif

05-10-2005, 18:31
Well it might be blasphamy on a bourbon board but I have more then double my bourbon collection in bottles of scotch. Just two different ways to enjoy spirits. Just like some people don't like gin (me!) some don't like scotch. Leaves more for me. http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/yum.gif

With the increase in "small batch", the export market heating up and at least some part of the US consumer market trying bourbon you'll see the prices going up. Who would have thought there could be a $150 bourbon (PVW 23) 5 years ago?

I don't think bourbon will get to the price level of scotch just because of the capacity volume bourbon has compared to scotch but the upper end will get more expensive. IMO.

05-11-2005, 16:05
I don't own any scotch, but I like it okay. I like gin better.

My favorite scotch that I ever actually drank was The Balvenie 15-year old single barrel. It was very yummy. http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/yum.gif


05-11-2005, 16:57
Actually, Lagavulin is my favorite Scotch (very smoky and full flavored). I split my drinking between bourbon and scotch but think that strong flavored scotches, like Lagavulin, are more akin to bourbons than other types of scotches.

05-16-2005, 22:05
I like scotch. But only if it is strong flavored. Talisker, Laphroaig, Bowmore. Peat = good! Lagavulin and Ardbeg are on my to try list.

My father-in-law got me interested in single malt scotch; I in turn have tried to interest him in bourbon. So far he likes Elijah Craig 12.