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View Full Version : Which "Lighter Side of Islay"



whiskeyme
03-26-2008, 12:58
I have a few mainland Scotches and I enjoy the great flavors (usually fruity). But I also enjoy the smokey peaty, earthy, iodine-y, briny, grassy flavors in the Laphraoig 10 & Lagavulin 16. I had heard of Bruchladdich and Bunnahabhain being the "lighter side of Islay," incorporating some fruity notes of the mainland whiskies and some sea side notes of Islay. Well, that really didn't sound good to me so I was never interested. My brother picked up Bruichladdich Rocks on a whim and he didn't care for it. I tried it. Yup, berried flavors and some briney sea notes....and I liked it :bigeyes:. In fact, I offered him a trade for a whiskey I had but didn't care for. Now, I'm intrigued with "the lighter side of Islay" and would like to try a different expression. Here's what I'm considering (what's available in my area):

Bruichladdich 15 Year, 2nd edition. It's got some good reviews, but a recent post here about it makes me wonder.

Bruichladdich 14 Year Links Turnberry: Good reviews. Any experience?

Bunnahabhain 12 Year: Again, decent ratings. Any experience?

Sijan
03-26-2008, 14:00
I like the Bunnahabhain 12 and Bruichladdich 10 (now discontinued).

I also think of the Bowmore 12 as being a pretty light and enjoyable Islay malt.

(I'm also the one who wasn't too fond of the 'laddie 15SE.)

I think the Malt Maniacs Malt Matrix is a great resource for aggregated/consensus ratings of single malts: http://www.whiskyfun.com/MaltManiacsMatrix.pdf

whiskeyme
03-26-2008, 14:51
Can you throw a few tasting notes of the Bunnahabhain 12 at me?

AVB
03-26-2008, 15:06
Here (http://www.cigarpass.com/forums/index.php?showtopic=6738) is my review of it back in 04/04

melting
03-26-2008, 15:32
I couldn't give you a set of tasting notes, but I would recommend trying the
Bunnahabhain. I purchased a bottle of this maybe a month or so ago when it was on sale. Yes, it's a little lighter but quite enjoyable in it's own right. You can't go wrong with the Bowmore 12 either for the price. The bowmore legend is another good pour. I'm sure that it's quite young but at around $20 it's worth a try.

Take the tasting notes as a very broad guideline if you would. Experiment alot and really get to know what's out there. Especially if you have an "out" for the bottles you don't really care for.

Chris

Sijan
03-26-2008, 17:45
At your request...poured a dram just now.

Bunnahabhain 12

Nose: Sweet sherry notes. Light floral/heather & honey notes. Orange marmalade? Slightly salty. Can just barely smell something malty and nutty and maybe something a little musty/peaty lurking underneath there...these heavier notes develop a bit more as it gets more air, although the peat is still pretty subdued.

Palate: Nutty. Malt flavors. Light peat. Sherry influence apparent, but less so than on the nose. Has some body to it. Quite smooth.

Finish: Evolves quite a bit. Turns slightly bitter for a while with a little peaty rubber finally taking hold (but gently). Some bitter orange notes. Dessert spices? Lingers for 30+ seconds. Quite drying by the end.

Overall: Quite the enjoyable dram, fairly complex, very drinkable. Not at all like a typical heavily peated Islay malt.

Jazzhead
03-26-2008, 18:19
My bottle's long gone, but I very much enjoyed the 'Laddie 10 and highly recommend it. Another single malt of a similar character - mostly Highland-style fruity but with a hint of sea air - is Old Pulteney. It's also modestly priced considering the quality.

Sijan
03-26-2008, 19:16
I've been considering picking up some of the Old Pulteney. I like the malts with a marine influence.

AVB
03-26-2008, 20:01
I did a review of that here (http://www.cigarpass.com/forums/index.php?showtopic=21309) but you know it is a northern highland malt right?


I've been considering picking up some of the Old Pulteney. I like the malts with a marine influence.

Sijan
03-26-2008, 20:24
Yup. Right on the coast, though. I like Clynelish and Highland Park, so I figure I'll like it.

TNbourbon
03-26-2008, 20:27
I like Coal Ila as a light-ish Islay.

mier
03-27-2008, 07:14
I like Coal Ila as a light-ish Islay.
I agree fully with you but i also admire Port Ellen for being light-ish.Bruichladdich and Bunnahabhainn are good whiskies on their own,i have some rare bottlings which i seldom drink but they are not what i like in an Islay(i don`t say they are bad),i just appreciate them not too much.
Eric.

drunkenjayhawk
03-27-2008, 23:12
I would tend to agree with that. I generally reach for Ardbeg, Lagavulin, Bowmore or Laphroaig before the other lighter Islays.

drrich1965
03-30-2008, 15:53
I agree fully with you but i also admire Port Ellen for being light-ish.Bruichladdich and Bunnahabhainn are good whiskies on their own,i have some rare bottlings which i seldom drink but they are not what i like in an Islay(i don`t say they are bad),i just appreciate them not too much.
Eric.


I have had 9 Port Ellens, and while most are a bit lighter in body, they are not overall what I would call light. Powerful white peper peat, very distinctive. The best ones have a bit of sweetness to for balance, and perhaps just a hint of oilyness for body. Port Ellen was lost as the owner thought Caol Ila would be a good replacment for blends-far more efficient than the PE distillery. They are distinct, of course, but but I would say medium in peat, and medium in body compared to some of the more brooding Islays.

Gentle? I like the Laddie 10 a great deal, and am now finishing a 20 year old Flirtation. Great for its discounted price, but Laddie is a bit overpriced in my book...

Banna 12 is a very nice dram- I am loving the 9yo peaty version from Signatory..very buttery, if you can imagine that...

Also, I will put in a plug for the 6-9 year old independent bottelings of Laphy, Ardbeg, Bowmore, or Caol Ila. The brightness of them is a thing of wonder...not for the feint of heart, however....

Tracy Hightower
03-31-2008, 04:08
Hi Dan and others,

You guys seem to know what you are talking about regarding Scotch so I have a question.

I have little or no experience with Scotch. A few nights ago a friend called and said he had been given a bottle of Lagavulin Single Islay malt 1991 Distillers Edition Scotch and thought I might like to try it with him.

I do not have the experience to give a classy reveiw as Dan has so eloquently done so I will simply describe it as best I can.

The first thing I noticed was the strong scent of what I can only describe as "camp fire smoke" . At first it was not unpleasant but strong. The first taste translated that scent to my taste buds or I am trying to say that it tasted like the scent should have tased to my mind. It was smooth all the way through with no burn but the smoky taste remained. As it disipated the finish was quite pleasant and I kiked it a lot.

The problem. The more I drank it, the more the camp fire smoke taste and smell became unpleasant untill I could no longer stand to swallow it and had to stop. I really did like the finish and the lack of alcohol burn and it was very warming as well but was suprised and dissapointed in my reaction to the smoky taste.

My question. Is this smoky flavor consistant with all Scotch or just Islay Scotch or simply this particular scotch. I would like to broaden my horizons but I really do not think that I can drink anything else with that taste and smell and as I said I am suprised and dissapointed at my strong reaction to it.

Your input would be appreciated.

AVB
03-31-2008, 04:30
Being one of the "Others" I'll answer your question. Lagavulin is well known for the flavors you mentioned as are a few other of the Islay malts. This comes from drying the maltings with a peat fire. The slower the drying the more peat flavor is imparted to the malt.

While Islay Scotch is known for it's peatiness most other scotch is dried with natural gas and so does not have that style of flavoring. I've always recommended the Balvenie DoubleWood, Dalmore 12, or Aberlour 15 (now 16), as good scotch to start out with as the Lagauvilns, Laphroaigs and Caol Ilas of the world take a bit of getting used to for most people.

whiskeyme
03-31-2008, 07:59
Tracy,
I'm a big Single Malt Scotch guy, 21 bottles in my collection :cool:. AVB gives good advice. One thing that's great about Scotch is that a Scotch distilled and aged in one region can taste nearly completely different than one distilled and aged in another.

I have Lagavulin 16, and I like it very much. But Islay is an acquired taste. Had I tried as my first Scotch, I doubt that I would have ever bought a bottle of any Scotch.

A good example of a typical Single Malt Scotch IMO is The Balvenie 10 YO. Can't go wrong with Balvenie 12 YO Double Wood, Dalmore 12, Glenfiddich 12, Glenlivet 12. A particular expression that I have introduced many to Single Malt Scotch is the Glenfiddich 15 Year Solera Reserve (only about $40-45). Great stuff, and those not accostomed to Scotch sure seem to like it. My .02

Tracy Hightower
03-31-2008, 08:08
Guys, I appreciate the info and am so glad to hear that the smokiness is not charachteristic of all Scotches. I did have a very strong reaction to that flavor and smell and there is only one thing I can compare it to.

Having been born and raised on the Texas Gulf coast, I have ALWAYS loved raw oysters. Last year, I had a bad batch and I have not been able to eat one since. That is how strong a reaction I had and it is very dissapointing so your suggestions and advice is encouraging and appreciated.

Thanks Again!

Sijan
03-31-2008, 10:31
Tracy,

As the other mentioned, the "camp smoke flavor" you describe is smoked peat. It is generally only found in large amounts in Islay malts, and a few other island scotches (e.g., Talisker, and to a lesser extent, Highland Park.)

A lot of people have that reaction to heavily peated whiskeys at first - I even did my first time drinking one. I think it's an acquired taste. I quite enjoy those flavors now, and Islay and island malts are among my favorite whiskeys. But I wouldn't want to experience them all the time.

As the others have mentioned, there are many other styles of scotch that are unpeated or only very lightly peated. You should be pretty safe with most Highland, Speyside, and Lowland scotches. I would recommend trying something like Glenmorangie 10 year (aka "The Original" in the new packaging) or the Dalmore 12 year. These are both going to be a bit sweet and with "butterscotch" flavors that you're likely familiar with. Prob a good place to start for a bourbon drinker.

If you're looking for something with pretty mild, light, subtle flavors, I'd recommend The Glenlivet 12 Year Old or anything from the Lowland distilleries (Glenkinchie 10 yr probably being the easiest to find.)

You can usually find minis of The Glenlivet at most liquor stores. You may also be able to find a three-pack of Glenfiddich minis, which will include the Glenfiddich 15 year Solera Reserve mentioned above. It looks like this: http://scripts.historic-scotland.gov.uk/images/shop/1533/full_glenfiddich%20reserve2.jpg

And if you're lucky, you might find a pack of 6 minis called the Classic Malts of Scotland. You won't like two of them just yet (the Lagavulin, and the Talisker) so set those aside for now, but you'll probably enjoy the other four. It looks like this:

http://www.thedrinkshop.com/images/products/main/1855/1855.jpg

Tracy Hightower
03-31-2008, 10:50
Thanks Dan,

That looks like the way to go to taste a variety without breaking the bank or wasting a Whisley that I will not finish. I appreciate it and will look for the set.

Thanks.

Sijan
03-31-2008, 10:52
The Classic Malts of Scotland mini set may be hard to find, depending on what's in your area. The Classic Malts of Scotland series is still going strong (and expanding), but I think the mini set may have been discontinued a few years ago. Anyone have further info? I got mine up in the Boston area but still see them occasionally in DC.

Tracy Hightower
04-01-2008, 04:06
Did a breif google for them and found them across the big pond quite a bit but will do a more in depth search when time allows.

Thanks again Dan!

Sijan
04-01-2008, 09:08
I think I know of a store in DC that still has them, but I recall their price being $40 for the box, which seems pretty steep to me for 300ml of whiskey. (I realize one can't expect to get the same price ratio from minis as a 750ml bottle.) I don't know what it is going for elsehere, and don't really remember what I paid for mine back when I got it up in Boston.

Tracy, if you can't find it anywhere else, I may be able to talk the guy down to $35 and ship it to you. But you may want to see if any of your local stores (particularly ones with dusties) have it first.

Sijan
04-01-2008, 09:11
A place in Athens, GA apparently has them for $29.99

http://www.fivepointsbottleshop.com/products/pid/27572.aspx

Stu
04-01-2008, 22:14
I may be new to bourbon, but I feel well qualified to weigh in on scotch, especially malts. I currently have 59 expressions from 34 distilleries open. the most I ever had was 96 expressions from 64 distilleries.

I won't try to add to the tasting notes previously given, because they were all excellent.

Lagavulin is by far the smokiest of all malts. It may not have the peatiness of Laphroaig or Ardbeg, and it definitely lacks the iodine and seaweed hints of Laphroaig, but it is always smoky. IMO the distiller's edition is a touch more smoky than the 16.

AVB hit the nail on the head on the descriptions of both Bunnahabain and Old Pultney. I usually refer to Bunnahabain as "the island highland". Dalmore 12 and Old Pultney are, IMO, the best price/quality values available.

I take exception to the strict classification of malts by region. On the South side of Islay are three distilleries within walking distance of each other that give Islay whisky it's definition: Laphroaig, Lagavulin, and Ardbeg. Caol Ila has these characteristics to a lesser extent, and IMO is the saltiest of all malts. However Talisker, Clynelish, and Brora fit more with the South Islay whiskys than Bruichladdich or Bunnahabain. Further they are totally different from some of their highland neighbors like Glenmorangie, Dalmore, Teanich, and Glen Ord (and the four of them have vast differences).

IMO one of the best guides to malts is Whisky Classified by David Wishart. I'm not sure if it's available in the US. David is an Economics Professor (but we won't hold that against him) at Edinburgh University and a devoted malt drinker. He classifies malts by their flavor characteristics rather than the location of their distillery. I've seen a similar book in the US, but I can't recall who wrote it, maybe Jim Murray? It definitely wasn't Michael Jackson.

This is the longest post I've ever made on this site, I'd better close.

Stu

Luna56
04-01-2008, 23:22
The first thing I noticed was the strong scent of what I can only describe as "camp fire smoke" . At first it was not unpleasant but strong. The first taste translated that scent to my taste buds or I am trying to say that it tasted like the scent should have tased to my mind. It was smooth all the way through with no burn but the smoky taste remained. As it disipated the finish was quite pleasant and I kiked it a lot.

The problem. The more I drank it, the more the camp fire smoke taste and smell became unpleasant untill I could no longer stand to swallow it and had to stop. I really did like the finish and the lack of alcohol burn and it was very warming as well but was suprised and dissapointed in my reaction to the smoky taste.

Hi Tracy-
I was recently turned on to Lagavulin 16 and I've grown to really love it. The smokiness can be a little daunting; I can still taste the smoke the next day sometimes. The campfire description is spot on, but remember one thing; it's a campfire on the beach. Spend a little time by the ocean and it'll begin to make sense in a visceral way. Sea air, seaweed, bikini tops coming off. :cool:
Smokiness is not present in most scotches and is an acquired taste. If you're looking for a scotch that is really top-notch (and not smoky) without killing your wallet, I'd recommend Balvenie 15 YO SB. Not smoky at all, 100 proof, very tasty. I like scotch at 86 proof, it just seems right. But the Balvenie at 100 proof is perfect. It may be, in my limited experience, my favorite. Pour yourself a triple, grill up a big, fat steak, can't be beat.
That being said, I bet the smoky Islay whiskys will grow on you if you give them a chance. Maybe not an every day pour, but definitely worth some effort.
Good luck to ya.
Cheers!

AVB
04-02-2008, 05:29
Thank you for the kind words, in your very well written post. As you've seen I've reviewed 125 drams now, have a bit over 200 expressions from 108 distilleries, soon to be 110. Slowly trying to get one from everybody that produced since 1956 (125).

I like your description of the Island Highland, mind if I use it?




AVB hit the nail on the head on the descriptions of both Bunnahabain and Old Pultney. I usually refer to Bunnahabain as "the island highland". Dalmore 12 and Old Pultney are, IMO, the best price/quality values available.

Stu

Sijan
04-02-2008, 11:22
AVB hit the nail on the head on the descriptions of both Bunnahabain and Old Pultney. I usually refer to Bunnahabain as "the island highland". Dalmore 12 and Old Pultney are, IMO, the best price/quality values available.

I keep thinking about pick up some Old Pulteney, but I think your post and AVB's review may have finally tipped the balance toward giving it a shot. I do hope to find a bit of salty marine character in it, although I understand it is less seaside-tasting than one might think.



I take exception to the strict classification of malts by region. On the South side of Islay are three distilleries within walking distance of each other that give Islay whisky it's definition: Laphroaig, Lagavulin, and Ardbeg. Caol Ila has these characteristics to a lesser extent, and IMO is the saltiest of all malts. However Talisker, Clynelish, and Brora fit more with the South Islay whiskys than Bruichladdich or Bunnahabain. Further they are totally different from some of their highland neighbors like Glenmorangie, Dalmore, Teanich, and Glen Ord (and the four of them have vast differences).


I agree. There are broad similarities between many distilleries in a region, but it is hardly the most relevant way to categorize malts. However, it's easy, and generally somewhat useful, so I think that's why it stays in use.



IMO one of the best guides to malts is Whisky Classified by David Wishart. I'm not sure if it's available in the US. David is an Economics Professor (but we won't hold that against him) at Edinburgh University and a devoted malt drinker. He classifies malts by their flavor characteristics rather than the location of their distillery. I've seen a similar book in the US, but I can't recall who wrote it, maybe Jim Murray? It definitely wasn't Michael Jackson.


Yes, it's an excellent book and it's available in the US. Really helped clarify things for me when considering new malt purchases. Once you find a few things you like, you can find others with similar taste classifications and branch out from there.

http://www.amazon.com/Whisky-Classified-choosing-single-flavour/dp/1862057168/ref=pd_bbs_sr_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1207159891&sr=8-1 (http://www.amazon.com/Whisky-Classified-choosing-single-flavour/dp/1862057168/ref=pd_bbs_sr_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1207159891&sr=8-1)

Stu
04-02-2008, 11:33
Thank you for the kind words, in your very well written post. As you've seen I've reviewed 125 drams now, have a bit over 200 expressions from 108 distilleries, soon to be 110. Slowly trying to get one from everybody that produced since 1956 (125).

I like your description of the Island Highland, mind if I use it?


Feel free, I'd enjoy meeting you in person some time. I'll have to change my statement about 2 members of this board having better noses than mine to 3. Do you ever go to Feis Ile?

Stu

AVB
04-02-2008, 11:49
I've never been but I have done the Whisky Trail. As for nosing....there's many a better out there than I.


Do you ever go to Feis Ile?

Stu

Tracy Hightower
04-03-2008, 09:10
Hi Tracy-
I was recently turned on to Lagavulin 16 and I've grown to really love it. The smokiness can be a little daunting; I can still taste the smoke the next day sometimes. The campfire description is spot on, but remember one thing; it's a campfire on the beach. Spend a little time by the ocean and it'll begin to make sense in a visceral way. Sea air, seaweed, bikini tops coming off. :cool:
Smokiness is not present in most scotches and is an acquired taste. If you're looking for a scotch that is really top-notch (and not smoky) without killing your wallet, I'd recommend Balvenie 15 YO SB. Not smoky at all, 100 proof, very tasty. I like scotch at 86 proof, it just seems right. But the Balvenie at 100 proof is perfect. It may be, in my limited experience, my favorite. Pour yourself a triple, grill up a big, fat steak, can't be beat.
That being said, I bet the smoky Islay whiskys will grow on you if you give them a chance. Maybe not an every day pour, but definitely worth some effort.
Good luck to ya.
Cheers!

Hey Luna, good to see you buddy.

I think you may have figured out the problem. I grew up a rocks throw from the beach in South Texas and spen 23 of my younger years working 14 on and 14 off in the Gulf of Mexico while wokring in Law Enforcement and Teaching on my 14 days off and I could hardly wait to get home and do what I really loved. My work in the gulf paid the bills and allowed me to retire at 46 years old so I cannot complain too much.

I do not hate the beach or the ocean but I have seen my fair share of it and that is why now live in the hills of TN. It may be more palatable with that steak grilling over an open fire on my back deck looking down the hill to the lake but I am sorry that your beach fire just does not do it for me.

Cheers My Friend and thanks for the recommendation.

:)

Luna56
04-03-2008, 17:24
Hey Tracy-
Grilling in the hills of Tennessee sounds like a perfect occasion for a triple Balvenie 15. Let the steak provide the smoke. :cool:

Just yesterday I saw this black domelike thing below my deck, sticking out of the snow. D'oh! I forgot to put my big Weber grill away before the snow hit. Can't wait to get out there and grill something. Only about three more feet of snow to melt.
It's nice when you can gril over an actual wood fire (not gas or briquettes with wood chipsw tossed on). Puts everything on a whole 'nother level. I got a big box of hickory sticks just calling out for some pork.
Cheers to ya, buddy!

TNbourbon
04-03-2008, 18:10
...I won't try to add to the tasting notes previously given, because they were all excellent...

Stu, let me make a personal aside here, and tell you how much I appreciate your non-argumentative contribution to our forums. Those of us who have joyfully raised a glass (or three) of whiskey with you know your love of Scotch single malts, and appreciate your interest in our love, bourbon. It surprises many -- and perhaps you, and your lovely wife, as well -- that many of us appreciate some finer single malts, too.
It has been my observation that your opinions are generally spot-on, and always delivered in a fashion which acknowledges natural differences of tastes and opinions. I am among those who do not always post in so gingerly, and elegantly, a fashion.
In your honor, Stu, I intend to pour some A'Bunadh tonight, and toast my pleasurable acquaintance with you with it. Hope to see you soon. :toast:

Stu
04-03-2008, 20:06
Tim,

Thanks for the kind words of flattery. I'm not sure that I deserve them. I'll be at the Sampler and hope to see you there. I definitely owe you a pour of something special for your kind words.

Stu

TNbourbon
04-03-2008, 20:24
Tim..I definitely owe you a pour of something special for your kind words.

Stu

No, Stu, you don't -- though I will be honored to enjoy such with you.
(By the way, it's Batch #8 tonight).

Jazzhead
04-03-2008, 20:41
I agree with Luna - if the assignment is to introduce a bourbon drinker to the best of single malts, I'd go with the Balvenie 15 yo single barrel. There is always an open bottle of that superb dram around my house. It won't offend with peat, the proof is biglike a bourbon drinker expects, and the taste is rich and complex. Just top-notch stuff.

I'm also a fan of lowland malts, especially Littlemill and Rosebank for which independent bottlings are still occasionally available. A most respectable entry point for the bourbon drinker.

Lagavulin 16 is perhaps the best of the smoky Islays. I like the analogy of a campfire on the beach. That is definitely the vibe I get from this whiskey.

Luna56
04-03-2008, 21:54
Thanks, Jazzhead. Haven't tried the lowland malts yet but hope to remedy that soon. The Highland/Speysides really are mighty nice. Dalwhinnie is a favorite but I like it for a whole different reason than I like Balvenie. I agree that the Balvenie 15 is a good one for a bourbon guy to try. Too bad Tracy's gonna miss all those bikini tops comin' down, though! :cool: (Well, he's got a lake within view of his place I take it, and those lovely Tennessee gals do love to make proper use of a good swimmin' hole...)

The range of expressions in whisk(e)y regardless of where it's from is a beautiful thing. There's so much to experiernce, I hope I live long enough to try it all. I am grateful for the happy coincidence that I got into bourbon before I developed any interest in single malts. I've noticed that die-hard single malt guys turn their noses up at bourbon (at least most of the ones I personally know). Recommending a bourbon to a SMS guy who's never tried it is an exercise in deflation. I've been trying to push my wife's mother's husband into the bourbon camp to no avail. Even FR1B couldn't budge him. A waste of a heavenly pour. I at least maintained my dignity and didn't drink his pour. Well, not while he was looking.

Cheers!
PS- +1 on big love to Stu, it's a pleasure to be in his company here. And all of you as well. I raise a glass to you all.

Megawatt
04-06-2008, 07:19
I just can't get past the medicinal flavour of Lagavulin 16. It reminded me way too much of an antiseptic. Yet so many people rate it as their favourite Scotch overall, so I feel that I must give it another chance.

Gov
04-06-2008, 09:55
I just can't get past the medicinal flavour of Lagavulin 16. It reminded me way too much of an antiseptic. Yet so many people rate it as their favourite Scotch overall, so I feel that I must give it another chance.

You pretty much like it or not. I think Laphroaig, Ardbeg and Lagavulin are whiskys you immediately love or dislike. I took very well to heavy Islay peat! Still have not had the Laga 16 yet! But, I will.

Jazzhead
04-06-2008, 10:41
The range of expressions in whisk(e)y regardless of where it's from is a beautiful thing.

I agree, Luna. I enjoy bourbon and SMS scotch equally, and also dig the smooth honeyed flavor of a good Irish whiskey. It's all good, and I will often switch from bourbon to scotch, or vice versa, in the same evening. It's all part of a continuum, IMO, much as jazz is, from Bunk to Monk. The trick is to gain the insight to see the value in all genuine and authentic means of expression. I suppose that requires "education", but of a most happy kind!

mgilbertva
04-07-2008, 21:29
Laphroaig turned me into a huge Islay fan. But that was only after I had been drinking softer, Highland single malts. I'm impressed that you took on Laga for your first SMS. Usually l recommend Dalwhinnie 15yr or Balvenie Doublewood for new scotch drinkers. For someone new to Islays, I agree that Caol Ila is a great start, especially the 18yr.

Luna56
04-08-2008, 21:31
Laphroaig turned me into a huge Islay fan. But that was only after I had been drinking softer, Highland single malts. I'm impressed that you took on Laga for your first SMS. Usually l recommend Dalwhinnie 15yr or Balvenie Doublewood for new scotch drinkers. For someone new to Islays, I agree that Caol Ila is a great start, especially the 18yr.

Not sure if your comments are directed to me; Lagavulin was the first peat monster I tried but not my first SMS. It sure is strange stuff when you think about it, there's nothing on earth like a peat monster. I like to try new stuff all the time and endeavor to try these things on their own terms. In Italy a few years ago I sampled roughly fifteen different grappas one night. I'm told that I enjoyed several of them. :cool:
I agree that Dalwhinnie is a great place to start with classy SMS, it's wonderful. Haven't had the Caol Ila yet but there's an unopened bottle of Bruichladdich 15 waiting for me and I aim to attend to it soon. I'm told that the Bruichladdich and Caol Ila are not quite as peaty as the Lagavulin or the Laphroaig (got a botle of the Laphroaig QC open now, nice stuff!). Curious to see what peeling back the peat layer reveals.
Whisk(e)y is a damn fine adventure.
Here's to whisk(e)y, here's to you.
Cheers!

LeoDLion
04-09-2008, 10:05
Hello to all. This is my first post but I have been at the Whisky Magazine Forum for a while and only discover this forum yesterday.

As for the Islay whiskies, there are only a few distilleries already mentioned. IMHO, in the order of peatiness I would rank them as Laphroaig, Ardbeg, Lagavulin, Bowmore, Caol Ila, Bunnahabein, Bruichlladich, Port Ellen. If one researches the internet, you will come across these sm with % phenols content which is a measure of its peatiness. I do like all of them!

LeoDLion
04-09-2008, 10:07
...In Italy a few years ago I sampled roughly fifteen different grappas one night. I'm told that I enjoyed several of them. :cool:
...
Once I had two grappas in Sicily and after the 2nd one, I have no recollection of what happen next! I woke up in bed the next day. :cool:

LeoDLion
04-09-2008, 10:13
My very first single malt is Laphroaig. Although i had blended scotches for a while, Lap is the very first. A friend open a bottle and everybody immediately concluded that we must have a bad bottle! It taste like medicine, iodine, turpentine, etc. and a big blechhh from everybody. The host cork the bottle and later gave it to me because nobody wants it.

Well, the next day, I had a dram of it and it still taste awful. Tue, Wed the same thing. On Thur, I am beginning to get the feel of it and the awful medicinal taste seems to be disappearing. By Friday when I had my first drink, it was tasting great! I look at the green bottle because I can not believe its the same one!

That was 10 years ago when I got interested in SMW.

Megawatt
04-09-2008, 15:13
My very first single malt is Laphroaig. Although i had blended scotches for a while, Lap is the very first. A friend open a bottle and everybody immediately concluded that we must have a bad bottle! It taste like medicine, iodine, turpentine, etc. and a big blechhh from everybody. The host cork the bottle and later gave it to me because nobody wants it.

Well, the next day, I had a dram of it and it still taste awful. Tue, Wed the same thing. On Thur, I am beginning to get the feel of it and the awful medicinal taste seems to be disappearing. By Friday when I had my first drink, it was tasting great! I look at the green bottle because I can not believe its the same one!

That was 10 years ago when I got interested in SMW.

Interesting. It wasn't the peat taste that killed it for me; it was the iodine. So you actually got over the taste and started enjoying it? Some people say it is an acquired taste, while others insist you either love it or hate it.

LeoDLion
04-10-2008, 06:05
Interesting. It wasn't the peat taste that killed it for me; it was the iodine. So you actually got over the taste and started enjoying it? Some people say it is an acquired taste, while others insist you either love it or hate it.
Yes Meg, its the iodine taste- I called it turpentine. Its definitely an acquired taste for me but it only took 4 days to start enjoying it. Lag and Ardbeg is relatively easier on the peatiness. Ardbeg is my favorite among the Islay.

mgilbertva
04-10-2008, 08:12
Not sure if your comments are directed to me

Yes, to you. :grin:



Lagavulin was the first peat monster I tried but not my first SMS. It sure is strange stuff when you think about it, there's nothing on earth like a peat monster. [...]

I hadn't thought about it that way, but you're right! The sheer uniqueness of these whiskeys is one of the attractions. When I'm in the mood for an Islay, nothing else is going to work.

I've got to put Bruichladdich and Caol Ila side-by-side. I don't have any of either right now, so I'm going to have to wait until the budget can handle it (I just blew my budget on some dusties in DC). I have a QC open too, but to be honest, I prefer the regular expression. I really want to try the 10yr cask strength that showed up recently.


Whisk(e)y is a damn fine adventure.
Here's to whisk(e)y, here's to you.
Cheers!

Indeed - here's to you too!

Megawatt
04-10-2008, 15:28
Yes Meg, its the iodine taste- I called it turpentine. Its definitely an acquired taste for me but it only took 4 days to start enjoying it. Lag and Ardbeg is relatively easier on the peatiness. Ardbeg is my favorite among the Islay.

If someone had offered me Lagavulin 16 at a party, I would think they were trying to poison me :grin:

Yellowjacket
04-10-2008, 20:01
Hello to all. This is my first post but I have been at the Whisky Magazine Forum for a while and only discover this forum yesterday.

As for the Islay whiskies, there are only a few distilleries already mentioned. IMHO, in the order of peatiness I would rank them as Laphroaig, Ardbeg, Lagavulin, Bowmore, Caol Ila, Bunnahabein, Bruichlladich, Port Ellen. If one researches the internet, you will come across these sm with % phenols content which is a measure of its peatiness. I do like all of them!

Hey Leo! Welcome to SB.com. Good to have your wisdom here on the forum. Many great comments made already. Great bunch of folks on this forum who are all very helpful. Are you familiar with bourbons/American whiskies or are you exploring?

Cheers - Bob

Stu
04-10-2008, 21:36
Yes Meg, its the iodine taste- I called it turpentine. Its definitely an acquired taste for me but it only took 4 days to start enjoying it. Lag and Ardbeg is relatively easier on the peatiness. Ardbeg is my favorite among the Islay.

Believe it or not, Ardbeg has the highest amount of peat smoke in their barley. I agree that it doesn't taste as peaty or medicinal as Laphroaig or as smoky as Lagavulin, but that's probably due to the shape of their stills and their water source.

Stu

Luna56
04-10-2008, 21:55
Seems like you almost have to regard the smoky peat monsters as a whole separate thing. They're weird but I've enjoyed them so far.
Sometimes in the winter we get these big nor'easters and you can smell a bit of the ocean (I'm about 40 minutes from the ocean here) when the wind is strong off the sea. Then, it's Lagavulin time.
I've got a bottle of Laphroaig QC open now and am surprised at how sweet it is. I was expecting a snarling peat monster. It's pretty nice but a bit more civil than I had anticipated.
Cheers to all, and welcome, Leo!

Megawatt
04-11-2008, 04:50
Anyone tried McLelland Islay? It's a cheap bottling by Bowmore and I was thinking that it might be a low-risk (in terms of cost) introduction into Islay malts.

Gov
04-11-2008, 05:15
Anyone tried McLelland Islay? It's a cheap bottling by Bowmore and I was thinking that it might be a low-risk (in terms of cost) introduction into Islay malts.

Your better off getting a bottle of Bowmore Legend for around the same price as McClelland

Megawatt
04-11-2008, 07:12
Your better off getting a bottle of Bowmore Legend for around the same price as McClelland

Not available here, unfortunately. Most Islays run in the $50+ range, whereas McClelland is only $30. But if it's no good, there would be no use in buying it at any price...

Gov
04-11-2008, 10:19
Its not bad, its nothing special, but fairly decent

Frodo
04-11-2008, 16:24
Anyone tried McLelland Islay? It's a cheap bottling by Bowmore and I was thinking that it might be a low-risk (in terms of cost) introduction into Islay malts.

My recommendation at the LCBO - state liqour control board in Ontario - would be the 1997 Dun Bheagan Islay @ $45 or so. Young and frisky, but with some sherry casking to smooth out the youthful edges.

I did try the McLelland Islay and was singularly unimpressed.

Megawatt
04-12-2008, 10:39
My recommendation at the LCBO - state liqour control board in Ontario - would be the 1997 Dun Bheagan Islay @ $45 or so. Young and frisky, but with some sherry casking to smooth out the youthful edges.

I did try the McLelland Islay and was singularly unimpressed.

Thanks, I'll steer clear of McClelland Islay (incidentally, have you tried their Highland or Speyside bottlings?).

Here is what the LCBO says about Dun Bheagan 8: Extremely smoky, peaty and intense - not for the faint of heart; warm, slightly medicinal, peat smoke flavours

Would you agree? To put it in perspective, I found Lagavulin 16 nearly undrinkable. Yet so many people have such good things to say about Islays that I feel it might be worth pursuing...

Frodo
04-13-2008, 17:43
Thanks, I'll steer clear of McClelland Islay (incidentally, have you tried their Highland or Speyside bottlings?).

Here is what the LCBO says about Dun Bheagan 8: Extremely smoky, peaty and intense - not for the faint of heart; warm, slightly medicinal, peat smoke flavours

Would you agree? To put it in perspective, I found Lagavulin 16 nearly undrinkable. Yet so many people have such good things to say about Islays that I feel it might be worth pursuing...

Rumor has it that the Dun Bheagan Islay 1997 is actually a young Lagavulin so if you didn't like the regular 16yr old, the Dun Bheagan will be more intense!

Perhaps the Bowmore 12yr @ $48? I'd actually recommend the Highland Park 12 if you haven't tried it already although that might be above your intended price range as it is $55 at the LCBO.

LeoDLion
04-14-2008, 05:44
Believe it or not, Ardbeg has the highest amount of peat smoke in their barley. I agree that it doesn't taste as peaty or medicinal as Laphroaig or as smoky as Lagavulin, but that's probably due to the shape of their stills and their water source.

Stu
The measure of peatiness is measured by HPLC (High Performance Liquid Chromatograph) and reported as ppm phenols. Here is some examples:

Ardbeg malted barley is 54 ppm; fresh spirit is 17-24 ppm

Laphroiag malted barley is 40 ppm; fresh spirit is 25 ppm; 8-10 ppm in 10 yrs; 6 ppm in 30 yrs

BenRiach malted barley is 55 ppm; fresh spirit is 35ppm

The most peaty is Octomore I made by Bruichlladich with 80.6 ppm; Octomore II is a staggering 167 ppm; 29.6 ppm in 2002; 46.4 in 2003

Apparently peatiness decreases when the spirit is matured in oak barrels. Octomore is not release yet but even if you want to reserve, its all been bought.

http://www.whisky-news.com/En/reports/Peat_phenol_ppm.pdf

Stu
04-14-2008, 07:48
Anyone tried McClellan Islay? It's a cheap bottling by Bowmore and I was thinking that it might be a low-risk (in terms of cost) introduction into Islay malts.

I see some have already answered this, but my experience with McClellan has been different. They buy whisky from various distillers and sell it as their own Islay, Speyside, Highland, or Lowland. It varies from batch to batch. While the majority of their Islay that I've tried has been a young Bowmore, I occasionally find a Lagavulin or Caol Ila, and once even a Laphroaig. The owner of the Liquor store I patronize in Little Rock is a Lagavulin lover.When he finds a batch of McClellan that contains Lagavulin, he buys many cases of that batch. He always lets me know and holds some 1.75 bottles for me. I recently emptied my last one into my travel kit, but if I go to Little Rock again before the Sampler I'll get a bottle to put on the table, (so Joe can accuse me of "polluting" the table again) if not I'll take my travel bottle that still has a little left in it. It's cheap enough in my area (compared to other malts) that I try them occasionally and if I get one I'm not real fond of, I use it for bar scotch. The last highland I got, I think is a Cynelish. I know I have a bottle of unopened Highland that I'll take.

LeoDLion
04-14-2008, 10:07
Stu,
I also buy McClellan Islay and sometimes the Highlands.
You said that your liquior store sometimes will come across a McClellan that is a young Laphroiag. How does he know that? I dont see anything in the label that tells me the original distillery where it came from? Am I missing something?

I am further maturing young whisky in oak barrels at home. I have some 1 liter oak barrel and some 5 liter ones. The McClellan Islay comes out very nice after several weeks. And I like to get hold of some young Laphroiag or Lag or any of the Islay whiskies for experimentation. Thats why I am interested when you said you got a McClellan that is a Laphroaig.

Leo

Stu
04-15-2008, 16:21
Stu,
I also buy McClellan Islay and sometimes the Highlands.
You said that your liquior store sometimes will come across a McClellan that is a young Laphroiag. How does he know that? I dont see anything in the label that tells me the original distillery where it came from? Am I missing something?

I am further maturing young whisky in oak barrels at home. I have some 1 liter oak barrel and some 5 liter ones. The McClellan Islay comes out very nice after several weeks. And I like to get hold of some young Laphroiag or Lag or any of the Islay whiskies for experimentation. Thats why I am interested when you said you got a McClellan that is a Laphroaig.

Leo

Leo,

The store I'm referring to has a license to do tastings. When he gets a new lot no. on his McClellan, he opens a bottle for "tasting". If it is a Lagavulin (twice so far) he puts that lot in the back room for special customers. Only once, years ago, did I get a Laphroaig and I don't remember where I bought it. The last time I bought a Highland from him, I'd bet it was Clynlish. I've got another bottle that I'll be taking to the gazebo if you're going to the Sampler. There are some outstanding nosers up there and I want to get their opinion, I'd like yours too if you're going.

Stu

AVB
04-15-2008, 16:46
I'm going to go out on a limb here and assume that you are talking about McClelland's Scotch. Take it as absolute fact that this is Morrison-Bowmore product. The Highlands is 5 yo Glen Garioch, the Lowand is 5 yo Auchentoshan and the Islay is, in fact, 5 yo Bowmore. The Speyside isn't known for sure but is most likely Macallan. There is no, nor has there been, Laphroaig in McClelland's.

Edit: Let me clarify. Since the early 70's McClelland's has been all Morrison-Bowmore. Prior to 1970 they did buy from other producers.

LeoDLion
04-16-2008, 04:48
I'm going to go out on a limb here and assume that you are talking about McClelland's Scotch. Take it as absolute fact that this is Morrison-Bowmore product. The Highlands is 5 yo Glen Garioch, the Lowand is 5 yo Auchentoshan and the Islay is, in fact, 5 yo Bowmore. The Speyside isn't known for sure but is most likely Macallan. There is no, nor has there been, Laphroaig in McClelland's.

Edit: Let me clarify. Since the early 70's McClelland's has been all Morrison-Bowmore. Prior to 1970 they did buy from other producers.
That is what I was told that McClellan Islay is- a young Bowmore. In Houston, we get the McClellan Islay, Highlands, and Lowlands. I have not seen a Speyside although I like to get one.

But Stu is saying that by tasting, they can tell the origin of the whisky in the bottle. First of all I am not sure if the bottler (McClellan) will change the source of their single malt and call it by the same brand. After all they are selling McClellan as a single malt, not a blend.

Its very possible that the taste of a 5-year Bowmore will change from cask to cask. Which may lead some people to believe that a particular release is a different single malt. Can't fault people for that.

Stu
04-16-2008, 07:54
I've enough respect for AVB that if he says it's a fact, it's a fact. However I said in my original post that the Laphroaig I had was years ago, possibly pre 1970. I further stated that my source of Lagavulin bottles was a store owner who loves Lagavulin and horded two shipments that he received. I know the 2nd was well after 1970 (late 80s or early 90s) I don't know about the first. Another malt connoisseur tasted it at my house and immediately said that's a very young Lagavulin. I live in Arkansas. All retailers must buy from an Arkansas distributor. There are only three licensed distributors that I know of in the State (used to be 5). It is quite possible that that shipment had been sitting in a warehouse for years before it was shipped, is it not? I will not argue for my pallet on bourbon, but I will on malts, especially Is lay malts. I wonder if AVB agrees with me when I say that the Laphroaig 10 of today is not the Laphroaig 10 of the 70s. It was much more medicinal, "seaweedy", and had more iodine flavor (or has my pallet changed since the 70s?). That's why they're doing the quarter casks, to try to recapture the "old" Laphroaig flavor. Again, if AVB says the McClellan of today is Bowmore, I believe him. While I agree with Leo that there could be variance between batches caused by the barrels that they bought, I don't believe that variance would ever be great enough to have me mistake a Bowmore for a Lagavulin (but I'll admit that anything is possible I try to never use the word "never").

Stu

LeoDLion
04-16-2008, 08:29
I believe you Stu when you said your Lap McClellan could be from the pre-1970 McClellan, no problem here. But many people did tell me that the Islay is a young Bowmore, they just did not tell or not know when that started. I did not even know McClellan is around since the 70's, I thought its a newer bottling by Morrison.

AVB
04-16-2008, 09:30
Odd that you should mention that since I recently (mid March) had a chance to try a Laphroaig from 1972, at least that was the date on the tax stamp. However, I didn't have a current offering to compare it too at the time and it was a few days until I got home so all I have are my impressions. Since the bottle was unopened and stored properly it was probably as good a representation of a 70's Laphroaig as one would find. It did seem more salty with a stronger iodine background. I'm thinking that the peat was just better back then then now.




I wonder if AVB agrees with me when I say that the Laphroaig 10 of today is not the Laphroaig 10 of the 70s. It was much more medicinal, "seaweedy", and had more iodine flavor (or has my pallet changed since the 70s?).

Stu

Stu
04-16-2008, 12:05
Odd that you should mention that since I recently (mid March) had a chance to try a Laphroaig from 1972, at least that was the date on the tax stamp. However, I didn't have a current offering to compare it too at the time and it was a few days until I got home so all I have are my impressions. Since the bottle was unopened and stored properly it was probably as good a representation of a 70's Laphroaig as one would find. It did seem more salty with a stronger iodine background. I'm thinking that the peat was just better back then then now.

Lucky you! I'd be willing to pay double retail for a bottle of 1972 Laphroaig.

I know that Laphroaig and Bowmore are the only two distilleries on Islay that currently peat their own malt. However, they can not peat enough to keep up with the current demand. Therefore, they buy most of their malt from Port Ellen Maltings, like the other Islay distilleries. Port Ellen has monstrous kilns and peat for each distillery according to their instructions. I don't know if they made all their own malt by hand or not in the 70s, that could be the reason. Another possibility is that I heard when Ian Henderson took over as distillery manager in the 80s, one of his goals was to make Laphroaig appeal to a wider range of people. I heard this from another distillery manager who I would rather not name. I don't know the answer to either of these questions since my first trip to Islay was in 2002. I am glad to know that my memory still serves me well. Thanks. Even though we've never met, your reviews give me the utmost respect for your nose.

There is a new kid on the block in Islay, Kilchoman, As of yet they have nothing for sale. Their plan was to make an all Islay whisky. They have a farm where they grow their own barley (malt), they plan to peat it, distill it, store it, and bottle it on Islay, cutting it with the same water used for distillation. Sounds rather ambitious to me. I have some friends who bought a barrel in their first year (they're a lot younger than me). In their first year they had to use some malt they did not grow. I don't know what their current situation is. I'd like to be there this year the same time D and M are there so I can maybe get a taste from their barrel and see what it's like after 3 years in oak. I've had their new make, and enjoyed it. However I'm not good enough to taste new make and figure out what it will taste like in 5 or 10 years. Actually there is a newer kid on the block. Last year Jim McEwan opened (or re opened) the Port Charlotte distillery.

Stu

LeoDLion
04-16-2008, 13:01
... Last year Jim McEwan opened (or re opened) the Port Charlotte distillery.
Stu
I have a bottle of Port Charlottle 6 (PC6) which I am planning to open in June 2008 for a special occasion. From what I heard of the tasting notes for PC5, this is a very good peaty malt from Islay. Well see.

AVB
04-16-2008, 16:03
I've had the released Kilchoman "New Spirit" and a taste of a one off sample bottle that was different enough to notice from the "New Spirit" mini. This could be rather interesting in a few years.

Luna56
04-16-2008, 19:11
There is a new kid on the block in Islay, Kilchoman, As of yet they have nothing for sale. Their plan was to make an all Islay whisky. They have a farm where they grow their own barley (malt), they plan to peat it, distill it, store it, and bottle it on Islay, cutting it with the same water used for distillation. Sounds rather ambitious to me.
Stu

Wow, ambitious, indeed. Any idea when they'll begin releasing (aged) whisky?
Cheers!

bigtoys
04-18-2008, 21:44
Lagavulin was one of the first single malts I tried on a recommendation by a salesman at Harrods; he warned me it would be different. I immediately took a liking to it. Tried Laphroig and Ardbeg at Whiskyfest a couple of years ago and found them much more peaty (peatier?). The other Islay that I like is Bowmore, a little less peaty than Lagavulin.

Talisker is more on the smoky side. To me, peaty=iodine. If you taste them together, I think you can tell the difference.

Another lightly peated single malt is Superstition by Isle of Jura--see this link:

http://www.isleofjura.com/range/detail.cfm?contentid=33

drrich1965
04-19-2008, 06:51
The notion of what malt is more “peaty” is tricky. For instance, the peating level for Laphroig is much higher than Caol Ila. However, a 7 year old Caol Ila from a refill sherry cask (perhaps the second time used post sherry), might taste must more peaty than the OB 15 year old Laphroaig. One’s experience of peatyness is often in relation to the other elements present in the whisky, i.e. the more wood influence the less subjectively peaty a whisky may be. By same token, a very peaty malt might not seem so peaty when it is from a first fill sherry cask, as the sherry will add “balance.”

To me, peat can impart different flavors, depending upon other elements and the peat that is used. Sometimes it can be more medicinal, at times more maritime, other times more “Smokey.” It also depends upon the manner in which peat is influenced, and for the amount of time.

Then, another factor is peating level found in independent bottling. I have had Caol Ilas that were massively peaty, and others that seemed more like a peated Speyside (i.e. Glen Garioch distilled before the 90s).


Also, I have a peated 9yo Bunna’ that tastes like nothing else- hard to say what is lighter and what is heavier in peating levels at times.


I say try them all, and certainly do not shy away from the younger ones, especially the younger cask strength Islays (usually independents). Binnys has a great selection them.

Rich

Stu
04-19-2008, 21:50
Wow, ambitious, indeed. Any idea when they'll begin releasing (aged) whisky?
Cheers!

By UK law distilled barley can not be called whisky until it has been aged a minimum of three years. Until then the Scots call it "new make" (white dog in Kentucky). Therefore Kilchomam could legally call their product whisky later this year. However I know of no distillery that has released their whisky before five years (however it may have happened). It takes whisky longer to age in cold damp Scotland than it does in Kentucky.

drrich1965
04-20-2008, 00:00
By UK law distilled barley can not be called whisky until it has been aged a minimum of three years. Until then the Scots call it "new make" (white dog in Kentucky). Therefore Kilchomam could legally call their product whisky later this year. However I know of no distillery that has released their whisky before five years (however it may have happened). It takes whisky longer to age in cold damp Scotland than it does in Kentucky.

And, much longer when the wood is not "new"- a huge differnce between Bourbon and most malt (with the rare exception).

Megawatt
04-20-2008, 06:31
And, much longer when the wood is not "new"- a huge differnce between Bourbon and most malt (with the rare exception).

Very good point. Compare the colour of an 8-year-old bourbon to a 15-year-old Scotch matured in ex-bourbon casks. Provided the Scotch isn't coloured, the bourbon is much darker.

Stu
04-20-2008, 07:13
And, much longer when the wood is not "new"- a huge differnce between Bourbon and most malt (with the rare exception).

Absolutely right! I think I've only had two malts aged in new wood, Balvenie new wood, and one of Jim Mcewan's Bruichladdich offerings a few years back. I'm not sure that were aged the entire time in new wood or just finished in new wood.

drrich1965
04-20-2008, 08:17
Absolutely right! I think I've only had two malts aged in new wood, Balvenie new wood, and one of Jim Mcewan's Bruichladdich offerings a few years back. I'm not sure that were aged the entire time in new wood or just finished in new wood.

I don't know for sure, but I cannot imagine that the Balvenie was totally aged in new wood. It is a 17 year old, and I am not sure Balvenie is a stout enough spirt to handle that many years in fresh oak.

AVB
04-20-2008, 15:47
The Balvenie New Oak is only finished in new oak barrels for 4 months.

Edit: The difference between the "New Wood" and the "New Oak" is that the "New Wood" used new charred oak barrels for finishing, also for four months and the "New Oak" wasn't charred.



I don't know for sure, but I cannot imagine that the Balvenie was totally aged in new wood.

Yellowjacket
04-20-2008, 16:15
Good discussions. Out of curiousity, does anyone know what is the wood profile of Glenlivet Nadurra and Glengoyne 15 yo Scottish Oak?

Thanks - Bob

AVB
04-20-2008, 17:40
The Glenlivet is first fill ex-bourbon American oak casks and the Glengoyne is as it says. The Glengoyne is only finished in the Scottish oak for 3 months and a week the rest I assume is ex-bourbon casks prior to that.

Yellowjacket
04-20-2008, 20:39
Thanks for the info, AVB. An individual told me a while back that Nadurra was finished in a natrual oak and, because nadurra is gaelic for "natural", that's where the name came from, but I was never totally sure. From your information I assume "Nadurra" is alluding to the cask strength bottling and the non-chill filtering.

Bob O.
04-22-2008, 13:42
From your information I assume "Nadurra" is alluding to the cask strength bottling and the non-chill filtering.
I believe you are correct, Bob. I think this was discussed on an interview on Whiskycast.

PAspirit1
04-27-2008, 15:59
Anyone tried McLelland Islay? It's a cheap bottling by Bowmore and I was thinking that it might be a low-risk (in terms of cost) introduction into Islay malts.

I bought and finished a bottle of this. It provided the peat, but I had to declare it not really tasty. So far I think White Horse is better.

PAspirit1
04-30-2008, 17:58
I bought and finished a bottle of this. It provided the peat, but I had to declare it not really tasty. So far I think White Horse is better.

I wanted to specify that I thought it was too peaty for my taste. I guess I like medium or light peat such as JWB or HP.

Megawatt
04-30-2008, 19:18
I didn't mind it at first but the second half of the bottle isn't tempting me too much. It's a little too pungent for most occasions.

PAspirit1
05-01-2008, 18:23
I didn't mind it at first but the second half of the bottle isn't tempting me too much. It's a little too pungent for most occasions.

Subtle it is not. I bet the islay in White Horse is young as well but that the the hashness is lost in the mix.

mgilbertva
05-02-2008, 11:47
I had read some mediocre reviews of the Mac Islay, but was still tempted to try it. Now I think I'll save my money. I need to try Ardbeg anyway, since I've never had it. I love Laphroaig and Lagavulin, so that's next.

PAspirit1
05-02-2008, 19:05
I had read some mediocre reviews of the Mac Islay, but was still tempted to try it. Now I think I'll save my money. I need to try Ardbeg anyway, since I've never had it. I love Laphroaig and Lagavulin, so that's next.

I got it for 18$, I can't complain. I also can't say for sure that it is bad Islay whiskey. It was too peaty for me. Compass Box Peat Monster seems to be a highly rated blend and, while I liked it better then Macllelands, it was also just a little too peaty for me. I'm planning on revisiting the CBPM later.

Stu
05-03-2008, 06:56
I had read some mediocre reviews of the Mac Islay, but was still tempted to try it. Now I think I'll save my money. I need to try Ardbeg anyway, since I've never had it. I love Laphroaig and Lagavulin, so that's next.

Excellent decision! If you love the 2 Ls you should also love Ardbeg.

boss302
05-04-2008, 08:28
Excellent decision! If you love the 2 Ls you should also love Ardbeg.


Ardbeg, Laphroaig, and Lagavulin are what I refer to as the 3 "Peat Monsters" of Islay.

The most heavily-smoked malt, plus peat-bog water.

I'm actually more into the "Mid-range" Islays-- Caol Ila and Bowmore.

I haven't had the chance to try Bruichladdich or Bunnahabhain as of yet.

Also, isn't there an eighth Islay distillery?

Gov
05-04-2008, 12:22
I haven't had the chance to try Bruichladdich or Bunnahabhain as of yet.



Bruichladdich has many many different peated expressions, Bunnahabhain tastes nothing like the others. Both are very good whiskies in my opinon, just very different.

LeoDLion
05-12-2008, 06:40
...Also, isn't there an eighth Islay distillery?
Actually there are nine operating distilleries in Islay.
Ardbeg
Bowmore
Bunnahabein
Bruichlladich
Lagavulin
Laphroaig
Cao Ila
Port Charlotte reopened in 2007
Kilchoman is a new distillery built in 2005.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Islay_Single_Malts#Active_Distilleries

mgilbertva
05-13-2008, 20:33
I know this thread was supposed to be the light side of Islay, but I lean towards the heavy side. Laphroaig's regular expression is one of my all time favorite whiskys. I'm not a big fan of the quarter cask - it's not bad, but it lost too much of what I love in Laphroaig. The 15 yr is elegant, but again, it's lost too much from what makes the 10 yr great.

Has anyone had the cask strength 10 yr? How does it compare to the quarter cask, 15 yr and 10 regular expression?

The Boozer
04-25-2009, 08:27
I decided to keep this thread alive because I just recently purchasd a bottle of Caol Ila 12 yr. After a couple of drams, I thought the stuff was really good. Will post some tasting notes later.
TJ

scratchline
04-25-2009, 09:06
Someone recently introduced me to the Caol Ila 12. I'm not a big Islay fan. It's a bit much for me, but this was a very approachable balanced single malt. I'm really enjoying it. I'd say it's a good "gateway" Islay.

-Mike

Megawatt
04-25-2009, 17:02
It's amazing how Islay whiskies grow on you over time. Some take to them right away, but even in my case I hated Lagavulin at first, and now it's one of my favourites. In fact, if you do a search on here you'll probably find my initial reaction...

I hope Caol Ila becomes available in Ontario some time.

PAspirit1
04-25-2009, 20:31
My next purchase will be an Islay or Talisker - if Talisker isn't an Islay. It is a tough decision. I liked CB Peat Monster. I'm considering Laph 10, Caol Ila 12, Ardbeg 10 and Talisker 10.

sku
04-25-2009, 21:02
My next purchase will be an Islay or Talisker - if Talisker isn't an Islay. It is a tough decision. I liked CB Peat Monster. I'm considering Laph 10, Caol Ila 12, Ardbeg 10 and Talisker 10.

Talisker is from the Isle of Skye. All of the four you list are excellent, so I don't think you can go wrong. Laphroaig 10 is the cheapest of that group.

boss302
04-25-2009, 23:12
Actually there are nine operating distilleries in Islay.
Ardbeg
Bowmore
Bunnahabein
Bruichlladich
Lagavulin
Laphroaig
Cao Ila
Port Charlotte reopened in 2007
Kilchoman is a new distillery built in 2005.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Islay_Single_Malts#Active_Distilleries

I've heard about Kilchoman-- small farm distillery whose spirit isn't likely to make it to the US, from what I've been hearing.

I didn't know Bruichladdich re-opened the Port Charlotte distillery, though. Any idea what character of malt they will be producing?

kateric
10-23-2009, 12:18
I didn't care for Bunnahabhain, but I did like Bruichladdich's very lightly peated stuff, like the 15 yr Second Edition (Sauternes) and the Infinity (Rioja) and the 17 year (bourbon finish).