Your thoughts are appreciated. Thanks.
Following up on Lawrence's recommendation - the McClelland Speyside is priced at $32.65 in Ontario (vs. $39.95 in BC) and the young (5 yr. old) McClelland Islay is $31.70... worth a shot. Also a relative bargain - try the Longmorn at $44.95. Not available in BC -and normally $43 in Alberta it is an excellent malt. (See below)
While there are some noteworthy blends (for example, I just picked up some Campletown Loch 25 year old ~ Springbank Distillers, around $70)... the cheaper, less noteworthy tend to be so as a result of their high grain whisky component... The grain whisky / malt whisky proportion is never disclosed - but generally thought to be 60/40 in average-premium blends and possibly as much as 80/20 in lesser blends. Basically, no matter how good or how many different single malt whiskys go into the mix on a blend - there is no escaping the dilution of grain whisky.
So, if you enjoy them, fine. I wouldn't say no to a Famous Grouse (while I have taken a pass on the JW Red) I would be in the "life's too short" camp and suggest that Single Malts are worth the extra...
The bargains on your Ontario price list (Cdn $) - and also showing the BC and Alberta prices:
Aberlour 10 at $40.80 ON / $39.95 BC / $25.50 AB
Glen Garioch 10 at $39.95 / n.a. / $33
Dalmore 12: $46.65 / $46.95 / $31
Highland Park 12 $59.95 / $59.95 / $38
Laphroig 10 $44.95 / $52.45 / $32
Longmorn 15 $44.95 / n.a. / $43
Scapa 12 $44.95 / $55.95 / $41
So, a couple of messages:
1) When travelling to Alberta - take an extra suitcase
2) Be happy you're not in BC
I don't know about where you are at, but here, the McClellands is about the same price as Auchentoshan Select, Bowmore Legend and Glen Garioch 10 yr. There are also several othere cheap malts available: Glen Moray, Aberlour 10, Dalmore 12, and Speyburn (though I don't recommend Speyburn).
I'd like to get some whisky connoisseurs' opinions on a debate my buddy and I have been having. Although we enjoy malts, our everyday drink tends to be the more moderately priced and widely available blends. In particular, Johnnie Walker Red (I know the Black is better, but it's expensive) and the Famous Grousse.
That's all it takes for malt snobs to jump in and suggest comparable value in the single malt world - especially here in Canada where we can have such opressive local governments monopolizing distribution, offering limited supply and dictating ridiculous pricing - as is Chris' dilema in Ontario and mine in British Columbia. It's enough to lead someone to drowning their Scotch - blend or otherwise - in Coke!
OK - there's my rant. But truthfully, one of the more measurable values I have received from visiting this site has been the discovery of some pricing anomolies (great value opportunities) in different parts of the country that I have been able to take full advantage of.
In my entire life, I've never tasted a malt/grain blend. Friends have always told me that blends are bland and disinteresting compared to singles.
Are these friends right or are certain blends really that good that they warrant distracting me from my single malt voyage of discovery?
In general I don't like blends, preferring single or vatted malt or grain bottlings (many of which are blends of malts or of grains, of course) over blends. A good blend, to me, is one where I can't tell it has any grain whisky in it (which tells you why I don't like them in general). I don't like a corn overtone to the malt whisky (which is why I prefer Forty Creek Barrel Select to their Three Grain malt/maize/rye product). Some say they drink blends when they're drinking, not appreciating but I prefer a decent unassuming grain whisky to a blend (especially a cheap blend) most of the time but that's just me.
A blend I do like that isn't at all expensive is Teachers Highland Cream. Don't know why but I do like that one (I like Ardmore and Laphroaig which go into it, perhaps that's why). I'll certainly drink it instead of cheap grain whisky!
Te Bheag is pretty good though I do get a corn overtone from it. Johhny Walker is quite drinkable, even Red though it is kind of rough. I'm not fond of Famous Grouse (no grain overtone, just bland IMO), Grant's Family Reserve (bland again) or Ballantines (even though it contains my favorite single, Ardbeg) but again, that's just my taste and opinion.
hpulley wrote:Grain/malt blends are different, not worse or better. They should be taken on their own merit, not compared directly to things which they are not. To me, you can't compare malts to grains or either of them to blends; might as well compare them to gin and vodka.
Yep that's what I thought when I read your post eel (though I disagree with the gin/vodka comparison a bit ), but it's straight to the point. There are a lot of ppl out there who generally despise blends for the simple fact that they are what they are.
Personally, I enjoy a glass of Johnnie Walker from time to time which is a real good one imho regarding the price/performance ratio (is that expression correct? sry if not =) ). You get a good taste for a reasonable price. Never tasted Teachers, but I will if I get the chance. Don't go for Black Bush though my first impression was a strong hint of smelly feet in the nose ^^
well you can't argue about taste...
Like many things, depends on your mood. Sometimes the sweeter, grainier Grouse other times the mellow Black.
Fact is you can't go wrong with either; two of the finest whisky's in the world.
To follow up on this thread and the search for a "reasonable blend" - my vote goes to Campbeltown Loch 25 year old. It sells for around $70 Cdn in Alberta - and when I last checked the Ontario (LCBO) website it looked like they were clearing them out for the giveaway price of $24.95... If I'd known I would have backed up the truck (hey, it's only a few thousand miles away).
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