I don't have much experience with IBs but those I have tried were great and I would like to try more.
Calling all those experienced with indie's, help me find out those which perform consistently well, are hit and miss, you would go for and you wouldn’t go within five feet of.
I appreciate this could be difficult to vote on so any thoughts, comments or experiences would be good to hear.
I hope this helps others too.
My old favorites are Signatory and Cadenheads. I still get Signatory Vintages today and the occasional bottle or two from Cadenhead's whenever I get through Edinburgh. Dewar Rattray is one of my newest IB finds and I've been impressed with both their quality and cask selection. Scott's Selection and Douglas Laing for my other two picks with Duncan Taylor a sixth I couldn't mark that also has great bottlings.
Gordon & MacPhail: If only for their role in keeping some of the less well known malts in the public eye.
Douglas Laing: Have experienced some superb Old Malt Cask bottlings. The 1975 Ardbeg 25YO has to count amongst the finest whiskies I've tasted.
Signatory: Has been very reliable. Some of their Sherry casked releases are very tasty. But that 1980 Caol Ila 16YO cask-strength was a knockout.
In Canada, we don't have access to such a wide range of IBs; however several are starting to make inroads into the fragmented provincial markets.
I picked DL, DR, GM, Signatory and the SMWS. These are IBs from whom I have several different single malts each and overall i've always liked what I've had. Some have been amazing and some have been only OK, but none have really left me unimpressed. However, that's not the case for all IBs: I generally quite like Bruichladdich (especially their peated whiskies), but for the life of me, I haven't had a bottle from MMD that i've ever wanted to rush out and buy.
And, i totally agree with Wave for his reasons for buying IBs: cask strength!!!
IB pricing is interesting: to get started with IBs, the prices are not neccessarily competitive with standard OBs. However, when the ages get up (or the distillery is rare), the prices can become very competitive: 1970's ardbegs, cask strength, for half or less than OBs. But, you have to be careful: OMC (Douglas Laing) had as overall pretty good selection of Port Ellens but the one released last year (at least in Canada) was good, but not fantastic in my opinion. So, because so many of the bottles are single cask, or at the most, a vatting of only a few casks, there is definitely variation, even on their "standard" products.
LagaDrinker wrote:What is the best place to buy these IB's online? TWE seem to have the largest selection I have found but I cannot find an IB that has there own online shop. If I could I think I would try more IB's than I have.
There are at least two on your side of the pond. Cadenhead's and Berry Bros & Rudd, Signatory doesn't have their own on-line shop though Royal Mile Whiskies carries many of their bottlings.
bcrossan wrote:Nobody talked much about Hart Bros... I guess I should be wary of those then?? My local store has a Mortlach, Macallan, and Laphroig by them. I have been tempted several times but held off because I can't find any comments or notes on any of these.
Hart Brothers are usually very good. I did not think much of the Macallan but i do know a lot of people who thought it was great.
If you can get the Talisker 13 year old i can definitely recommended it, one of the best taliskers i have had.
I can say that Single Malts of Scotland, Douglas Laing and Hart Brothers seem to be consistently above average.
I've had two bottlings from Berry Bros (Berry's Best and Coal Ila 25) and thought both to were poor so I wouldn't recommend them.
I do have a MMD Mortlach downstairs, I might need to crack it open before too long. . .
I've also been pleased with all the Signatory Cask Strength Collection bottlings I've tried.
I can't make any conclusions yet about the SMWS, since I've only opened one of the bottles I have from them (but I like it!).
I have a Dewar Rattray Mortlach on the way, because I've only heard good things about DR bottlings.
Scott's Selection bottlings seem to be really solid as well, but most of them are out of my price range....
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