What are the experts thoughts? Is one of these better than the other? Am I missing some other good ones?
It usually has a price tag slightly higher than, say, Johnny Walker Red, and I find it a very smooth and mellow blend. Some might suggest that it doesn't have many obvious, standout characteristics, (e.g. smoke, peat, etc) but then isn't that what blends are for?
I believe it is the JW Black which offers the Islay influence most. Others I rotate into my cabinet (always 1 blended, but no blend at the moment) are Teachers Highland Cream (not a liqueur, despinte the word 'cream'), Famous Grouse (no bait here), Chivas Royal Salute 21yo minis I find for less than $10 (a rare find,but has happened).
Cheers -- St.Peat
Whyte and Mackay is very nice, light sweet and moreish.
Claymore is very good for those who like sweet whisky.
Lang's supreme for those who like creamy and fruity whisky.
Stewart's cream of the barley is a whisky which lives up to it's name.
Isle of Skye 8yr old is excellent.
If you can find it, Dew of Ben Nevis is one of the best blends you will ever taste and is much better than the Ben Nevis malt in my view.
1. JW Black
2. Famous Grouse
4. JW Red
5. Clan Macgregor
Here's that same list in order of price in Indiana for a 1.75 L bottle.
1. Clan Macgregor $15
2. Ballantines $27
3. JW Red $33
4. Famous Grouse $35
5. JW Black $57
So, the one that's in my decanter, ie. what I drink the most for a reasonable price is Clan Macgregor followed closely by Famous Grouse. Both widely available in my area.
Have you tried Islay Hallmark? It is made by Morrison Bowmore so it likely contains a fair amount of Bowmore. I think it contains mostly (even entirely?) islay whiskies. It is cheaper than Te Bheag but more than JW red.
How could I forget. It tastes strongly of Bowmore and is a fine dram which is worth comparing with a glass of Islay Mist (which relies on Laphroaig)
Both these whiskies taste, in my view, like young malts and I reckon that only a real expert could differentiate between these drams and actual single malts.
Te Bheag is also a fine dram but even better is Macnamara by the same company (Praba Na Linne) which is very chewy and rich with salty notes and a "smacky" finish.
But what struck me most that evening was the impressive Black Bottle!!
Very, very more-ish! Go for that one!
The same goes for Campbeltown Loch 25y as well, but I don't know weather that will fit your definition of inexpensive.
It's alright but it wasn't as good as I remember it with an especially spirity nose. However, it did improve as you went down the glass and it is very moreish if you are in the right mood.
If you can get your hands on the Islay Mist, you are doing well as it is an excellent blend and one that I reckon only an expert could tell that he wasn't drinking a young Laphroaig.
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