Welcome to the Straightbourbon.com Forums.
Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast
Results 1 to 10 of 14
  1. #1
    Advanced Taster
    Join Date
    May 2013
    Location
    Indianapolis
    Posts
    227

    Need Help Expanding My Horizons

    I've been dabbling in Scotch a little bit and am looking for new things to try. I know the traditional wisdom is to start with the more mild, less smoky malts and work your way into the Islay malts. I actually had the opposite experience as I tried Glenlivet 12 about a year ago and didn't much care for it at all. I went back to bourbon and didn't think much of it until I was at a friend's house who insisted I try a dram of his Ardbeg 10. I fell in love with it immediately and picked up a bottle. He suggested I also try Laphroaig 10, which I did and liked that one slightly more.

    A few observations:

    - I've purchased some of the other expressions of Ardbeg and Laphroaig: Laphroaig Cask Strength, Laphroaig Quarter Cask, Ardbeg Uigeadail. These are nice, but surprisingly I find that I enjoy the standard 10-year bottlings better than the more expensive ones. I'm thinking the higher alcohol content is somewhat overpowering the peat and smoke. With bourbon, I find I generally prefer higher proof, but that hasn't been the case with Scotch.

    - I do really enjoy the Ardmore Traditional Cask and find it to be a great value for under $30. I know it's not an Islay, but it seems to have that smoky profile that I like.

    - Last week I tried a sample of Talisker 10 which reportedly has a higher ppm than Ardmore but I tasted very little smoke. I can appreciate it for it's complexity, but it wasn't really what I was looking for.

    - I do enjoy Lagavulin. It's very good malt with a balanced profile, albeit somewhat pricey.

    - Some of my Scotch drinking friends have said I probably wouldn't like Caol Isla, Bowmore or Kilchoman as those contain very little peat. Another friend thought I might even like Teacher's Blended Scotch.

    So I guess my question is, what would you guys recommend I try next? I'm always looking to try something new, but perhaps there's just not many malts out there that have that particular profile that I really enjoy.

  2. #2
    Guru
    Join Date
    Sep 2004
    Location
    Jackson, MS
    Posts
    12,570

    Re: Need Help Expanding My Horizons

    Of course peat can stand out like Cayenne pepper in a gumbo. For me it's not the amount of peat and smoke, rather the balance of them in the mix and for me some hit it and some are near misses because they lack sufficient counterpoint.

    The range is broad though, have you tried Connemara which is a peated single from Ireland.
    We're Bourbon Geeks, it's who we are, it's what we do.

  3. #3
    Connoisseur
    Join Date
    Jan 2014
    Location
    MD
    Posts
    889

    Re: Need Help Expanding My Horizons

    Ignore your friends re: Caol Ila. It is peated to the same ppm (35 ish) as Lagavulin (and in fact is the same malted barley as Lagavulin), and the 12 year old expression is quite good. I wouldn't really call it a value malt, but it can be had on sale occasionally. Also, don't be afraid to water your whisky. Cask strength peated whisky needs water to open up. Your friends are also incorrect about Kilchoman, though it needs some air time to open up and dissipate some of that "young spirit hotness". Look into some of the Port Charlotte bottlings too.

    Edit: Springbank and Longrow might also give you what you're looking for.
    Last edited by garbanzobean; 07-01-2014 at 14:29.
    Eric

  4. #4
    Enthusiast
    Join Date
    May 2014
    Posts
    253

    Re: Need Help Expanding My Horizons

    Glenmorangie offers some good training wheels.

    The peat blast you get up your nostrils is actually a phenolic and there can be many errors that show up in the nose and taste along with it. Burnt rubber, cleaning solution, band-aids, fake movie theater popcorn butter, etc. You just have to take your time and recognize where your tastes lie and what "good" whiskey is.

    Ralfy's videos have helped me quite a bit. Not that I think he has some amazing palate - everyone can taste as long as they're not all clogged up - but that he's had is face in a lot of whiskey over the years and is honest about his experience.
    Last edited by BootsOnTheGround; 07-01-2014 at 14:47.

  5. #5
    Connoisseur
    Join Date
    Jan 2014
    Location
    MD
    Posts
    889

    Re: Need Help Expanding My Horizons

    Good call on Ralfy's youtube channel. He's really helped further my malt education, and his videos are generally quite entertaining to boot.
    Eric

  6. #6
    Taster
    Join Date
    May 2014
    Location
    Atlanta
    Posts
    69

    Re: Need Help Expanding My Horizons

    Despite the young age of the distillery and the whisky, I would strongly recommend Kilchoman. Grab either the "100% Islay" or the "Machir Bay" expressions.
    Last edited by maybeling; 07-02-2014 at 05:26.
    Mike
    "I want a whiskey whiskey whiskey when I'm thirsty, I want a water water water when I'm dry"

  7. #7
    Guru
    Join Date
    Oct 2011
    Location
    Marietta, GA
    Posts
    2,543

    Re: Need Help Expanding My Horizons

    I had a similar experience - hadn't really ever liked Scotch until I tried an Islay single malt (for me it was Laphroaig 10yr), and I fell in love with how completely different it was from anything else. I kept trying others and didn't find much I really liked at first, but I've since really enjoyed some that aren't really peaty/smokey at all. Have you tried any port-wood finishes? Or sherried casks? One of the more recent items I've found I really like is Glenmorangie Quinta Ruban (12 yr that spent the last 2 in port pipes). I was able to try it for cheap as well (the stores had this "Discovery Pack" for $30 which included the Glenmorangie 10yr Original and 3 minis of different other offerings).

    On the peat side though, you may want to try Compass Box Peat Monster.
    Gary
    =-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=
    "Too much of anything is bad, but too much of good whiskey is barely enough." - Mark Twain
    "Because Whiskey Matters!" - David Perkins

  8. #8
    Novice
    Join Date
    Feb 2013
    Location
    Manitoba, Canada
    Posts
    14

    Re: Need Help Expanding My Horizons

    I agree re the Caol Ila 12. It is very good. Ralfy recommended it to me as a good option for Islay whisky. I tried it and it has become a favourite dram. A nice balanced smokey peated scotch. Get some new friends (just joking)

  9. #9
    Enthusiast
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
    Location
    Chicago Burbs
    Posts
    303

    Re: Need Help Expanding My Horizons

    This making me want to revisit my SMWS Port Charlotte tonight

  10. #10
    Advanced Taster
    Join Date
    May 2013
    Location
    Indianapolis
    Posts
    227

    Re: Need Help Expanding My Horizons

    Thanks to everyone for their suggestions!


    Quote Originally Posted by squire View Post
    The range is broad though, have you tried Connemara which is a peated single from Ireland.
    I have not. The only Irish Whiskey I've tried was some sort of Annniversary Bottling of Bushmills. I did like that one quite a bit.

    Quote Originally Posted by garbanzobean
    Ignore your friends re: Caol Ila. It is peated to the same ppm (35 ish) as Lagavulin (and in fact is the same malted barley as Lagavulin), and the 12 year old expression is quite good. I wouldn't really call it a value malt, but it can be had on sale occasionally. Also, don't be afraid to water your whisky. Cask strength peated whisky needs water to open up. Your friends are also incorrect about Kilchoman, though it needs some air time to open up and dissipate some of that "young spirit hotness". Look into some of the Port Charlotte bottlings too.
    OK, Caol Ila sounds like it might be the next one I try.

    Edit: Springbank and Longrow might also give you what you're looking for.
    I was doing some reading about Campbeltown malts and they indeed sound very intriguing. I'm going to try one of these as well.

    Quote Originally Posted by BootsOnTheGround
    Glenmorangie offers some good training wheels.
    Would you recommend starting with Original or something else?

    Quote Originally Posted by daryld911
    Have you tried any port-wood finishes? Or sherried casks?
    I did try a Macallan 12-year that was sherry-finished the other day. While I didn't taste any smoke, I did enjoy the sherry influence. I'm unfamiliar with port-wood but will definitely research that some more.

    Quote Originally Posted by Wee Robbie
    I agree re the Caol Ila 12. It is very good. Ralfy recommended it to me as a good option for Islay whisky. I tried it and it has become a favourite dram. A nice balanced smokey peated scotch. Get some new friends (just joking)
    Ha. The Caol Ila 12 sounds like a winner. I'm definitely going to grab one of those.

    I really appreciate the recommendations from everyone. Just one more quick question.....

    Are "peat" and "smoke" entirely different things? I'm still confused as to why the Ardmore has a much lower ppm than Talisker 10, yet tastes much closer to the profile of an Ardbeg than the Talisker does.

 

 

Similar Threads

  1. Leopold Bros. expanding distillery
    By AaronWF in forum Other American Whiskey
    Replies: 5
    Last Post: 11-14-2012, 16:42
  2. Binny's Is Expanding.
    By cowdery in forum General Bourbon Discussion
    Replies: 22
    Last Post: 12-08-2011, 13:19
  3. Expanding my spirits drinking.....
    By ethangsmith in forum Non-Whiskey Alcohol
    Replies: 24
    Last Post: 11-19-2010, 18:24
  4. Expanding the Bourbon Trail
    By pepcycle in forum General Bourbon Discussion
    Replies: 0
    Last Post: 04-28-2009, 08:34

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •  
Back to top