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Favorite Peaty Blend


ramblinman
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As Ive mentioned in another thread or two just getting into peaty whisky. Obviously Laphroig 10 yr is a bargain at its price but looking even further down the shelf what's your favorites?

So far I've had a bottle of Islay Mist 8 year and Black Grouse. Both good, but I enjoyed the Islay Mist a bit more and for me it was cheaper to boot. If I find a store reasonably close by I think its going to become the new office scotch.

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Favorites are Laphroaig Cask Strength and 18yo,  Lagavulin 16yo and Ardbeg Uigeadail.  There are lots of other special releases but, these are fairly available and some of Islay's best IMHO.

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On 4/7/2016 at 0:03 AM, ramblinman said:

As Ive mentioned in another thread or two just getting into peaty whisky. Obviously Laphroig 10 yr is a bargain at its price but looking even further down the shelf what's your favorites?

So far I've had a bottle of Islay Mist 8 year and Black Grouse. Both good, but I enjoyed the Islay Mist a bit more and for me it was cheaper to boot. If I find a store reasonably close by I think its going to become the new office scotch.

I like the new Black Bottle.  Apparently it's not as good as the old version but I never tried it so I can't be disappointed.  If you can find it, Black Grouse Alpha Edition is excellent.  Teacher's Highland Cream is also decent, though less peaty than the others you mentioned.  

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  • 6 months later...

I find that the new Black Bottle is not as peaty as Teachers Highland Cream to me, so I'd choose Teachers. I haven't tried Black Grouse, so I can't comment on it. I'd like to try Islay Mist, but I've never seen it in my area. Johnny Walker Black and Double Black are also options to consider. For a single malt, give Ardmore Legacy a try...or even better Ardmore Traditional Cask if you can find it (discontinued in the US). All of the ones mentioned are cheaper than Laphroaig 10.

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The OP was asking about recommended peaty blends that were cheaper than Laphroaig 10 single malt. Suggesting more expensive single malts or even blends more expensive than Laphroaig 10 is not what was asked for.

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IncredulousNosco

Okay, so the topic is Favorite Peaty Blends. This is a good topic! Here, I'll make my list from GREAT to okay.

 

The answer of favorite peaty blend is easy, it's Big Peat Cask Strength Christmas Edition. first off, this isn't cheap (as the OP added to the requirements of the thread and as such is slightly off topic) and it's technically a vatted malt and not a blended Scotch. But it is an arse-kicking ~55% ABV, NAS, NCF, NCA vatting of youngish Islay malts to be specific. And hoooooooboy is it ever a big hitter. Sure, when you first open the bottle you're overwhelmed with the smell and taste of axle grease and new tires. But after letting the bottle open up even a little bit the peatiness reverts to an absurdly deep smoke and malty-briny ocean spray mix, with very little medicinal flavor. Basically it's like waking up on a cold beach with your head resting in the dead ashy embers of last night's campfire. But it's hard to find and it'll run you $70. 

 

On to the cheap!

 

  • And first the Very good:

 

I'd say # 2 is likely Isle of Skye 8 year old. Don't make the mistake of going for the 12yo, the 8yo is where it's at. 43%ABV  for a blended Scotch for about $28. It's Talisker (a major component) coastal and peaty, along with the fruit, honey and maltiness of Speyside’s Glensomethingoranother, along with light sherry. The only thing missing is a bit of woodspice. This is a spectacular pour for the price! But then Isle of Skye 12 year old is 43%ABV for about $32. Four more years for four more dollars? Seems like such a good deal! But no, the 12 year doesn’t even come close to being as good as the 8 year. Sure, it’s “smoother” and very easy to drink…but Talisker peaty-ness takes a seat in the back, as you might expect since it’s a bit older, and for whatever reason the coastal flavors die off as well as compared to the 8. The Speyside side of things now cranks up the vanilla and even some caramel and even some subtle woodspice. Maltiness is still there, of course, but even that is has been pushed back. So 8 year is absolutely the way to go with this cheap and lovely blend.

 

And # 3 is pretty darn close to # 2 and has been mentioned up-thread, but for about $18 you can have a bottle of Islay Mist. This is as close as you can get to Big Peat for very cheap. It's the same idea, young Islay whisky, but this is blended Scotch proper with grain whisky in the mix, unlike Big Peat which is just malts. It's a nice peaty sipper which it also pretty good in mixers. I also don't mind adding some ice to this (maybe 1 times out of 10...) to get feeling of a cold day on the beach. 

 

  • Now to the pretty good to okay:

 

#4 is Black Bottle. A 43% ABV blend which can be had for mid $30s. The good news is that this is very similar to Bunnahabhain ('cause it's in there), but with a hint of peatiness added and the sherry component stepped back. The bad news is the blend leaves a very thin and disappointing aftertaste. I suggest getting it, but not over #2 and #3 above. 

 

#5 is the very cheap and okay blended Scotch, Label 5...and apparently one of the best selling in the world. I first tried it as a mini, along with a mini of Dewers and something else I can't recall. Label 5 blew those away. I've now gone through a 0.75L for $17 and a 1.75L handle for $27! Insanity. That is the least amount I've ever paid for a whisky. As for the taste, it is one of these whiskies that hit the gamut of both smoky and sweet. I’ve done some side-by-sides and can confidently say that it is serviceably similar to Highland Park 12yr. Yeah, HP is WAY better, with a more defined sherry flavor and more maritime influence. But Label 5 makes up some ground with slightly more smoke. The major difference is when you try to dig deep for more flavors. While the HP keeps going with the depth of the maritime influences, the Label 5 is pretty thin on the aftertaste. But what are you going to do, it is $0.60 per dram!

 

 

 

 

 

Edited by IncredulousNosco
"t" goes before "h"
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IncredulousNosco

TLDR for the above post:

 

Take $40 to $45 to a good liquor store and get a bottle of Islay Mist AND a bottle of Isle of Skye 8 year old. 

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*Irrelevant personal information alert* I haven't met a blend that I enjoy as much as malts.  If I don't want to spend a lot of money, I typically go with bourbons as the QPR is just a lot better for value brands.  This is likely obvious to anyone on SB, but it informs the following response, so I figured I would include it.  I don't drink a lot of blends neat (Compass Box, mostly), and I don't make enough mixed drinks with scotch to justify keeping blends around much. So typically, I just use whatever I have around.  If I have a blend that's not peaty and I want to change that, I pour in a splash of whatever heavily peated malt I have lying around.  Just something to think about!

 

If I have a blend, I like JWBlack 12 okay.  The old black bottle was fine.  Compass Box Glasgow Blend is good,, but not worth $40.

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TLDR for the above post:

 

Take $40 to $45 to a good liquor store and get a bottle of Islay Mist AND a bottle of Isle of Skye 8 year old. 

Thanks for the suggestions. I've never seen Islay Mist in my area, but I think I may have seen Isle of Skye...now I've got to remember where I saw it so I can give it a try.

In regards to Black Bottle, when was the last time you had it? For me, the new Teachers, while not as good as the old Teachers, still has more peat flavor than the new Black Bottle. Fortunately, I have quite a few bottles of the older vintage of Teachers, so I'm still enjoying the old Teachers recipe. I had to add some Ardmore to a new bottle of Black Bottle that I bought to amp up its soft peat flavor...it's better now.

I've never heard of or seen the last one you mentioned in your previous post, but that was your lowest pick anyway.

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IncredulousNosco
15 hours ago, lcpfratn said:

In regards to Black Bottle, when was the last time you had it? For me, the new Teachers, while not as good as the old Teachers, still has more peat flavor than the new Black Bottle. Fortunately, I have quite a few bottles of the older vintage of Teachers, so I'm still enjoying the old Teachers recipe. I had to add some Ardmore to a new bottle of Black Bottle that I bought to amp up its soft peat flavor...it's better now.

I've never heard of or seen the last one you mentioned in your previous post, but that was your lowest pick anyway.

 

I never had the old Black Bottle, only the new one, which I had maybe 2 months ago. I liked it a ton when I first open'd it, but later on the thin blendiness turned me off a bit. 

 

Regarding Isle of Skye 8yo, don't get a bottle hoping for a huge peat blast. I'd say it's maybe slightly more peaty than Black Bottle. But the good news is that it is very good otherwise. And that peat flavor is more akin to Talisker--which I find singularly peaty, not like anything else--than most any other drink available, I imagine. For the price it's a no-brainer to pick up and try. 

 

For that big and cheap peat hit you really do need to track down Islay Mist.--bummer you haven't seen it locally.  

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  • 1 month later...
On 10/26/2016 at 2:48 PM, IncredulousNosco said:

Okay, so the topic is Favorite Peaty Blends. This is a good topic! Here, I'll make my list from GREAT to okay.

 

The answer of favorite peaty blend is easy, it's Big Peat Cask Strength Christmas Edition. first off, this isn't cheap (as the OP added to the requirements of the thread and as such is slightly off topic) and it's technically a vatted malt and not a blended Scotch. But it is an arse-kicking ~55% ABV, NAS, NCF, NCA vatting of youngish Islay malts to be specific. And hoooooooboy is it ever a big hitter. Sure, when you first open the bottle you're overwhelmed with the smell and taste of axle grease and new tires. But after letting the bottle open up even a little bit the peatiness reverts to an absurdly deep smoke and malty-briny ocean spray mix, with very little medicinal flavor. Basically it's like waking up on a cold beach with your head resting in the dead ashy embers of last night's campfire. But it's hard to find and it'll run you $70. 

 

 

 

Picked up a bottle of this year's edition just this morning. Not had it before so I am looking forward to it, especially after reading this!

 

 

big_peat.png

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On 10/26/2016 at 11:22 AM, BigPapa said:

Talisker 10 is one of my favorites 

Ditto! Excellent one of my top three! ..although it is a different beast than the Islay peaters. To me, Talisker is more smoky than peaty, and has a ginger-spice to it. I love it.

 

EDIT: Sorry..just saw this was a peated BLEND thread..and obviously Talisker is not a blend.

 

It certainly isn't heavily peated, but there is just enough Talisker in JWB 12 to make it my favorite blend. As mentioned old Black Bottle was very good..but that isn't what the new stuff is.

 

Edited by weller_tex
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IncredulousNosco
3 hours ago, beasled said:

 

Picked up a bottle of this year's edition just this morning. Not had it before so I am looking forward to it, especially after reading this!

 

 

 

 

Very nice! It looks like I didn't mention it, but my bottle is the 2014 edition. And lucky me, one of my local stores still has a couple in stock. I suppose your bottle is the 2016 edition--I'd love to hear your first and third impressions of it. 

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44 minutes ago, IncredulousNosco said:

 

Very nice! It looks like I didn't mention it, but my bottle is the 2014 edition. And lucky me, one of my local stores still has a couple in stock. I suppose your bottle is the 2016 edition--I'd love to hear your first and third impressions of it. 

 

2016 yep. 

 

I cracked it open today actually, curiosity got the better of me. Need to spend some more time with it, but my first impressions are very good! It's not as TCP-y as I was expecting, getting a lot of tropical fruit but also great amounts of peat (but not overpowering). 

 

Its very drinkable for the proof, too.. great stuff!

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I second the recommendation for the Isle of Skye 8 year blend. Great for the price. I miss the Ardmore Traditional Cask. 46% NCF peated single malt for $30? That was hard to beat.

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I second the recommendation for the Isle of Skye 8 year blend. Great for the price. I miss the Ardmore Traditional Cask. 46% NCF peated single malt for $30? That was hard to beat.

I found a small rural store that had a half dozen dusty Ardmore Traditional Cask bottles on the shelf a while back...they all somehow followed me home. [emoji6][emoji106]. It's been replaced with Ardmore Legacy, lower proof and a bit higher price, but I haven't tried it yet.

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11 hours ago, lcpfratn said:

I found a small rural store that had a half dozen dusty Ardmore Traditional Cask bottles on the shelf a while back...they all somehow followed me home. emoji6.pngemoji106.png. It's been replaced with Ardmore Legacy, lower proof and a bit higher price, but I haven't tried it yet.

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The reviews I've read of the Ardmore Legacy haven't been very good, so I've been avoiding it. Let us know if you give it a try.

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  • 4 weeks later...
On 11/28/2016 at 1:17 PM, weller_tex said:

 . . . . It certainly isn't heavily peated, but there is just enough Talisker in JWB 12 to make it my favorite blend. As mentioned old Black Bottle was very good..but that isn't what the new stuff is.

 

 

Pretty much my take on it, for blends anyway.

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  • 3 weeks later...
MeAndMyWhiskey

Islay Mist 8 year is the peatiest blended whisky I've found. I think it has far more peat influence than JWB 12 (though less balanced than JWB 12). There are times I think that peat isn't really meant to "play nice" in a blend. Islay Mist was my introduction to peated whiskies. I got a taste and thought, "I want more of that" and my next drink was Laphroaig: Jumping in the deep end!

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On 10/26/2016 at 9:48 AM, IncredulousNosco said:

And # 3 is pretty darn close to # 2 and has been mentioned up-thread, but for about $18 you can have a bottle of Islay Mist. This is as close as you can get to Big Peat for very cheap. It's the same idea, young Islay whisky, but this is blended Scotch proper with grain whisky in the mix, unlike Big Peat which is just malts. It's a nice peaty sipper which it also pretty good in mixers. I also don't mind adding some ice to this (maybe 1 times out of 10...) to get feeling of a cold day on the beach. 

Just saw this the other day for $18. I tend to shy away from blends but this particular one has gotten some good press here and elsewhere on the internet. How would this compare to Famous Grouse? That's the last blend I bought and thought it was just "meh" overall.

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7 hours ago, emr454 said:

Just saw this the other day for $18. I tend to shy away from blends but this particular one has gotten some good press here and elsewhere on the internet. How would this compare to Famous Grouse? That's the last blend I bought and thought it was just "meh" overall.

 

Famous Grouse is much more malty in character and has only the vaguest hint of peat/smoke to me and so is not at all like Islay Mist.

 

There is a newer "Smokey Black" Famous Grouse (formerly called Black Grouse) that is intended to be more peaty. I haven't tried it but I expect it is closer to JW Black than it is to Islay Mist or a typical south coast Islay single malt.

Edited by tanstaafl2
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3 hours ago, tanstaafl2 said:

 

Famous Grouse is much more malty in character and has only the vaguest hint of peat/smoke to me and so is not at all like Islay Mist.

 

There is a newer "Smokey Black" Famous Grouse (formerly called Black Grouse) that is intended to be more peaty. I haven't tried it but I expect it is closer to JW Black than it is to Islay Mist or a typical south coast Islay single malt.

Picked up a bottle of Islay Mist this afternoon, and wow! For $18 this is a heckuva deal. To me, this beats Famous Grouse any day of the week.

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