i've told you all of my growing admiration for the islays. i've just finished my first bottle of lagavulin and i'm halfway done with my first ardbeg ten i bought last week (that is some great stuff). here's my question. . . .
now that i've grown to like the taste of these peatier whiskies, i find the other bottles i have open right now ( highland park 12 and the balveinie 12) to not be as satisfying. i enjoy them, but i find myself just hurrying to finish them so i can pour a dram of ardbeg. what's the deal?? do any of you find that whiskies from other regions no longer suit your tastes like they used to after drinking the smoke/peat?
If you're keen on dramming an Islay, and you mentally start to "taste" the smoke & peat, then having a more gentle speysider will obviously miss the mark.
I decide what sort of malt I feel like, and then look forward to enjoying that particular style, i.e. I'll come home from work, feel like something soft and fruity, then look forward to enjoying a Glenfarclas or Balvenie. And then once I pour it, the taste matches my expectations.
Also, you have to be mindful of what is already on your palate. After all, some lighter malts will not taste great after dinner if you've just had a heavy, spicy meal. (Although this is when a weighty Islay hits the spot beautifully).
There's a time & place for everything!
Strange thing though, is that I also like the lowlanders Bladnoch and Rosebank, even though they're completely unpeated. Just finished my last bottle of lowland and usually with summer almost gone I don't need a lighter one on the shelf but already I'm missing it and may have to pick up another bottle (just finished a lovely '90 12yo Signatory Bladnoch).
Overall though, if I was just limited to islay whiskies for the rest of my days, I'd die a happy man. Funny considering that they were waay too strong for me the first time I had them!
However, I think the bulk of the malt drinkers can be classified into peat/sherry/lowland lovers.
Have known seasoned malt drinkers to detest peat. Others, are so hopelessly hooked onto peat that it is only non-availability of a peaty dram which gets them to drink a Macallan or a Balvenie.
I tend to drink a lot of one style of whisky, then "revisit" something else, and get excited about it again. Currently on a Spey kick, looking for bold sweet malt, and was drinking Bourbon in the spring, and Laphroaig all winter.
I, like Admiral, love to have the "perfect dram" around - and try to keep at least 6 quite different whiskies around at all times.
I think as you experiment, you come back to "baseline" whiskeys, for me those are maybe Aberlour, Johnny W Black, Maker's Mark and Highland Park. I tend to compare new whiskies to these in my mental notes.
Either way, Justin - you are either finding out what's really enjoyable for you, or just on a temporary journey to Islay. Enjoy your twofold security.
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