Just finished off a bottle of Lagavulin 16 - took 10 years to do it - but, oddly enough I think the stonger tastes in bourbon actually helped me to finally appreciate this scotch.
That said, might be awhile before I pick up another smack-in-the-face Islay....
Young Islays like the Froaig and Ardbeg 10's.....and all the Kilchoman's for that matter.....really have that Islay "bite" (as I refer to it). They definitely have their place in my cabinet but I really enjoy the additional complexity and balance the older expressions have to offer. Well-rounded and much more refined.
Both great depending what mood you're in.
"The last time I turned down a whiskey, I didnít understand the question."
Not sure the whole heavily peated/medicinal thing is for me ... but, I'll keep trying now and again. I was also gifted a Laphroaig Quarter Cask. Frankly, that one just frightens me ... it still isn't opened ... and probably won't be for some time!
Man the Laph QC is some phenomenal Stuff. Do not be afraid of the Froaig embrace it.
Funny I have a bottle ready to drop off for a buddy tonight, just bought a new house. Maybe I will swap it out for the Balvenie Carib Cask that I bought. Both are favorites of mine. But, your comment has me thinking that the QC does not have quite the appeal for the uninitiated that I thought.
Had a dram of the Glenmorangie Nector D'or and this is some impressive stuff. I have a bottle of Astar that I enjoy but, haven't had much else from them. They are really turning some interesting stuff out at Glenmorangie. Looks like I will need to start to give them a little more love and funding. :-)
If your friend is not a big scotch whisky drinker (or whiskey drinker at all), I would go with the Nectar D'Or or the Balvenie - I think a Speysider would appeal to most, especially the ones with the nice finishes like the Sauternes, Sherry, or Carribbean casks IMHO...
The biggest punch in the face islay I've had is Ardbeg Uigedail. Following closely behind is Laphroaig 18. If you haven't had the Uigedail, but love amped up peat that still has layers of complexity you should really go buy a bottle. Every time I had a glass I marveled at how good it was.
I like the LE Arbegs like Uigedail and Alligator much more than their standard 10yo. I'm a fan of Bruichladdich's Octomores, but I'm afraid to say that I was really unimpressed with the Laphroaig 10yo and and Lagavulin 16yo. I did pick up a Binny's Duncan Taylor NC2 of a 13yo Laphroaig that is quite delicious. It just has a much finer point on the camphor/medicinal qualities that turn me off in the standard bottlings. Perhaps the higher ABV helps as well.
"A man comes from the dust and in the dust he will end-- In the meantime it is good to drink whiskey."