But I've had some Lowlanders that I think are great-- and I know I'm not alone.
So lets have some
notes on your favorite Lowland bottles
thoughts about what makes a Lowland whisky good and distinguishes it from other styles of whisk(e)y.
Thanks in advance for your contributions.
However, with time I believe you learn to appreciate the lighter style. I still don't particularly enjoy Auchentoshan (although I've not tried the new range to be fair), but I really like Bladnoch (lots of grass, butter and lemon in the non-sherried bottlings), Rosebank (more or less the same, only bigger and with added honey and spices), and particularly St Magdalene (typically more robust than the other Lowlanders).
It's the lemon, butter and particularly grass aromas and flavours that really define the Lowland style for me. Some people like that profile, some don't. I didn't at first but it grew on me, making me realise that great whisky doesn't necessarily need to contain a thousand flavours to be enjoyable.
As for my favourite Lowland bottlings, a 19yo 1979 Rare Malts St Magdalene comes out on top (and is virtually at the top of my all-time favourites), with a 16yo 1991 Single Malts of Scotland Rosebank (the 55.2% one) also being very good. I find sherried Bladnochs to be excellent too.
http://www.vooreenmooiglas.nl/index.php ... kys&id=805
Not cheap but it seems to be very related to the much more expensive Auchentoshan 32yr (Also Single Cask, Oloroso sherry and distilled on the same day 14/3-1973 but for some reason higher ABV)
According to the text on the label of the 10yo, 'triple-distillation gives ... a very light and delicate character with a sweetness and fruity flavour enjoyed even by those unaccustomed to fine malts'. That's one way of putting it, I guess.'A single malt for blend drinkers' would be another...
If you're drinking single malt whisky because you like a drink with more
character and personality than the average blend you have no business with the 'standard' Auchentoshan 10yo, if you ask me. And if you don't care about individuality and style you might as well save yourself some money and stick to blends...
The criticism here is directed at the Auchentoshan 10 (a fun SMS IMO... quite nice), but this popular website, which ranks all of the distilleries in Scotland hands out failing grades to almost all lowlanders on principle.
I've often heard the accusation that if you're buying Lowland, then you might as well be buying blended. Most blends are based on Speyside Whisky and that's what they taste like-- A smoother, lighter, weaker, Speyside maybe with a little smoke thrown in for good measure...
Lowlanders are nothing like this. The Tross's list of their distinctive characteristics is good and it gets me thinking. It seems to me that a lot of the flavor of lowlands comes from oak influence. I imagine that at a young age, the lightly flavored distilate showcases subtle oak influences which wouldn't be bold enough to speak for themselves over peat or sherry. So the typical Lowland flavors of grass and butter are miniaturized versions of the typical aged Bourbon flavors of wet leaves and sap.
Anyways, my girl and I opened up a bottle of Rosebank 15 from Connoiseurs Choice a while ago and it knocked us over. It has all those flavors The Tross mentioned, but with something more exotic thrown in--peanutbutter, coconut...
I'm also thinking about picking up a Rosebank 17 c/s from GM. Anyone tasted this?
St. Magdelene is also usually excellent.
We don't get the f+f bottlings in Boston unfortunately, but I have got my hands on a John Mcdougal's Selection c/s Bladnoch 15 and a Connoiseur's Choice Rosebank 15 (this one's very nice).
I see a lot of negative posts on Auchentoshan. I would understand if people felt that it was a little lacking in character-- it doesn't have much of that lowland grassiness and butter The Tross brought up, just the marshmallow/coconut that reviewers often ascribe to lowlands. Still I like the stuff and some of the older bottles are very nice IMO. The weakly flavored, but smooth distillate picks up flavours from casks in a very straightforward way and so it is that I just picked up a 21 yo 1973 vintage that I think was in a bourban cask-- it's a powerful whisky, very thick for 43%, perfectly balanced, sweet, soothing, long on the finish, and it tastes surprisingly like a bourban. I felt like the 17 yo bordeaux finish had the same syndrome: an impeccably harmonized whisky, with clean, beautifuly integrated cask influences, and suprisingly little distillery brand character... something different and very nice, I'll take that...
Do any of you have any thoughts on these bottles:
-Rosebank 16yo, 46%, Connoisseur's Choice
-Bladnoch from Provenance (a new bottling, age in the early to mid teens can't remember anything else about it though)
-Bladnoch 13 46%, Connoisseur's Choice (this one's been around for a bit)
I'd be interested.
At the SMWS Extravaganza in Boston I tried The McGibbon's Provenance Bladnoch 13 YO, I'm not sure if this was the one you were asking about above or not, but it was a very good Bladnoch. If I saw one and the price was right, I'd definitely buy it.
I picked up a 16 Year Old Cask Strength from their shop, which hasn't been completely drained yet. I enjoy it, but I've found I prefer Glenkinchie's 12 over it.
The other Lowland I enjoyed was the Auchentoshan Select, which was a budget purchase that turned out to be a pleasant "light spring day" dram.
vivbao wrote:I opened a Auchentoshan Three Wood recently and I rather like it.
As do I. It is a little funny... That is, the widely purveyed notion of Lowland single malts being light and delicate that continually makes the rounds. Then one comes across something like the Three Wood, or one of the older vintage Auchentoshan issues. Even when the light and delicate description does appear to have merit, this does not necessarily preclude such a whisky from having a tremendous flavour impact. For example, Rosebank - to my taste buds, at any rate - always seems to display a uniquely piercing quality on the palate (never mind the nose) that many single malts from other regions simply cannot match. Love the 1989 Cadenhead 9YO Cask Strength!
I was a "chin to the atlantic wind westering-ho gung-ho islayphile"...until i was seduced by a F&F Bladnoch, and subsequently a SMOS rosebank...
oh, the subtleties! oh, the sweetness of their delicate nature! glorious...and subtly different.
i like the 3 wood...but is it a typical lowlander? i hardly think so.
Reggaeblues wrote:i like the 3 wood... but is it a typical lowlander? i hardly think so.
Yet strangely enough, there's a resin-like quality to the Three Wood that reminds me a little of the 21YO as well as of the 1965 Distillery Archive bottling (never had the opportunity to taste the 1966, alas) - something along the lines of furniture oil.
Jackson himself used to remark on the question (when assessing older Auchentoshan) as to whether or not the whisky gained from extended maturation.
i was at an SMWS tasting last year that ended with the customary(and excellent!) fire and brimstone Islay(a Bowmore, I think) but it was the opening dram that I regret not buying - a bewitching, subtle, complex and sweet Auchentoshan. I bought a Craigallechie which i thought impressed me the most at the time. there was also a highland Park on the flight...but somehow it's the "light and gentle" 'toshan that evokes the most powerful memory...
I personally love Glenkinchie. The 10 year old is fantastic, but I recently got a bottle of the 1992 Distillers Edition and I absolutely love it. One of my favourites so far.
I haven't seen much mention of Glenkinchie in this thread, which surprises me. I find it complex and delicious. It has a grassy, herbal aroma, a full, sweet flavour and a long finish. The Distillers Edition adds more fruity characteristics and biscuit flavours, like shortbread.
Megawatt wrote:A curious note about Auchentoshan: I bought a bottle a year ago and it was very smoky. It took me by surprise. I tried a bottle that my friend bought at the same time and it was light and smooth like an Irish whiskey. This leads me to believe that the bottle I had might have been a mislabeled Bowmore or something...is that even possible?
BTW-I bought a bottle of Bowmore Legend and it was so incredibly intense and smoky I would have mistaken it for a somewhat young Lagavulin. I went back to the same store and bought the next bottle in the batch...tasted like typical current-day nasty Bowmore cough drops. I can't account for the difference either, except that the Legend is made of stuff that they didn't want to keep for later vintages. Mistakes are always possible in bottling halls though...witness Serendipity.
Bladnoch for me has to be right up there in the decent whiskey stakes and there are plenty of highland and speyside whiskies that could fit in to the light category too.
ANybody who dismisses lowlanders probably has not has a Bladnoch sherry cask. Further there are plenty blends out there that give Malts a run for their money ...... just more cases of Malt snobbery.
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