Lagavulin 12 CS 2002 special release has a much longer finish, oiler, saltier, a tad more liquorice and certainly more penetrating (due to cask strength) but lacks the complexity of Ardbeg... though not by much. Both appear equals in peat and smoke.
Ardbeg 10yo has more chocolate and tobacco. I gave up smoking (reluctantly) so I'm really drawn to Ardbeg 10yo on this note.
Ardgeg 10yo is a useful dram for preventing one from opening a last bottle of Lagavulin 12yo... I'm ordering more soon (Lagavulin)!
Note: Laphroaig has taken 3rd place.
I find it closer to Caol Ila than Ardbeg TEN but both are very good. I actually prefer the Laga 12yo CS to Ardbeg TEN but some older, higher ABV Ardbeg (especially the OMC 75' 25yo) I prefer over the Laga.
In fact I have had the Lagavulin on more than one occasion after and during the time where it was hard to find...mostly in the Classic 6 mini packs. But when it came out on shelves I found it to be much less sweet on the palate as I remembered. Go figure
As far as a race between Ardbeg and Laga I'll pick Ardbeg 10 for an everyday whille I sip a Lagavulin once in a while.
Harry, what are your favorite Caol Ila?
Whiskies.com has the 12yo, 18yo and Caol Ila 1990 (Gordon & MacPhail). Which would be closest to an Lagavulin 12yo CS?
The Dun Bheagan 10yo UCF is quite good for a young one. For an older one the '84 18yo Signatory is quite good (the '89 12yo Sig is also good but not as nice as the 18yo). Both of those are 43% so they can't compare with the alcohol content of 12yo Laga CS but they have many similarities in their noses and are also nice and dry, no sweetness which like you turns me off a bit from the 16yo (and especially the DE).
This is the local selection of Islays in the San Diego area:
http://www.bevmo.com/productlist.asp?ar ... ts&N=-5456
Any recommendations? I hate gambling on a bottle.
Both were sensational. I wouldn't really compare them with any Ardbegs or Lagavulins I've had - the only similarity was that they're all peaty and from Islay. But the flavour profiles were quite unique.
Have you tried the Lagavulin 25yo? I found this a bit disappointing. On its own merits, it was probably a pretty good whisky, but I probably hyped myself up into thinking it would be the best Islay malt ever. (25 years old and a massive price tag tend to have that effect on people!)
The Whisky Exchange had some Ardbeg 29yo Douglas Laing bottlings for around £80 which I understand to be some of the best expressions of Ardbeg. I was just about to purchase 2 bottles... they're gone now
Note: I edited my review of Lagavulin 12CS. Lagavulin 12CS is not dryer then Ardbeg 10yo... it's a bit sweeter by a hair. Still my favorite! Lagavulin 12CS has some traces of Laphroaig sweetness and character.
It's a shame Laphroaig has no trace of Lagavulin aside from peat. I'm tempted to mix all three (Ardbeg, Lagavulin and Laphroaig) for personal consumption
First impression was... just another Islay. It's definitely caught between the tug of war I'm experiencing with Laga 12yo CS and Ardbeg 10yo. I love both of these single malts equally in different ways.
Nothing really excited me about the Caol Ila outside of peat and salt. No complex coffee, tobacco or chocolate notes like an Ardbeg or the smoky, oily, liquorice, dry oak finish of Lag 12yo CS. Ardbeg has spoiled me for life.
After a second tasting I thought Laphroaig Light! Like Laphroaig its a sweet Islay but cleaner and gentler on the pallet with a bit of oak. Less bitter on the finish when compared to Laphroaig 10 cask strength. The finish was nice... starts sweet then ends long and salty... like Laga 12yo CS.
This Un-Chillfiltered Caol Ila is a nice dram but not worth more than a bottle of Ardbeg 10yo Un-Chillfiltered which can be had for $42.99USD.
Bear in mind also that (until very recently) Caol Ila was a reasonably inconspicuous malt. Apart from the Flora & Fauna bottling, it was a hard malt to come by.
The recently-released 12yo and 18yo versions have now changed that, but I daresay that - owing to the scarcity of bottlings -Signatory felt they could charge a bit more and get away with it.
Caol Ila CS unfortunately seems to have disappeared from the LCBO's shelves (and the database so if anyone knows of the physical location of a bottle, let me know). An Quaich has some, however, so I'll be tasting it soon anyhow and I'll let you know what I think (and whether or not I order a bottle) at that time.
It could have been snapped up (as has all of the Lag 12) - but worth a phone call as I wouldn't rely on the LCBO website being accurate on stock.
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