Recommendation please Balvenie to Highland Park to what next

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gazza1955
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Recommendation please Balvenie to Highland Park to what next

Postby gazza1955 » Tue Feb 28, 2006 8:58 pm

Hi

Wonder if I could plague you with a newbie question? Some years ago my wife bought me a bottle of Knockando . Loved it . I'm 50 and in my midlife crisis want to try out malts.

A couple of months ago I went to The Vintage House in Soho , explained I didn't want anything too "difficult" and that I had tried Laphroaig some years ago and just found it too medicinal/seaweedy. The (very helpful) guy recommended a Balvenie 12 y.o doublewood. Beautiful ! A very very small dash of water and perfect to sip.

Went back there today and asked for a recommendation. He suggested a 12 y.o Highland Park . Bought it , but before I left he poured me a nip of Highland Park 21 y.o. It was as if the sun had come out from behind a cloud ! Could still taste it half an hour later , it lingered so well and I found myself heading back to "trade up" . Bought the 21 y.o Highland Park.

Now I have a dilemna . At £50+ , the 21 y.o Highland Park is not "everyday" stuff. Should I get myself some 12 y.o for my tippling - what am I missing out on ? Or should I try something else and if so , what ?

I've tried Glenfiddich before ( the "standard stuff"), but not a patch on the Balvenie or the Highland Park

Thanks for reading this and I'd welcome any suggestions

Cheers !

Gary

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Postby Scotchio » Tue Feb 28, 2006 9:06 pm

Welcome to the forum and be prepared for a bewildering array of excellent advice though not necessarily from me. The 2 you've enjoyed so far are fairly rich so maybe an Aberlour Abunah or 10 would be a useful well priced next step.

Lord_Pfaffin
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Postby Lord_Pfaffin » Tue Feb 28, 2006 11:48 pm

May i suggest three 15yo SM's that i really enjoy, the Balvenie Single Barrell, Dalwhinnie and Bruichladdich. A step up from the Balvenie 12 DW, reasonably priced, sweet and smooth.
I never did like any Aberlour, stuff tastes cheepish tangy and tacky.

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Postby Lawrence » Wed Mar 01, 2006 12:38 am

Yes, despite what "some" :wink: people might say about Aberlour it's actually quite rich, both the 10 and the a'bunadh are rich flavourful malts and well priced. You might also consider the Balvenie 10 or the Balvenie 1991 Port Wood, both are exceptional malts.
Last edited by Lawrence on Wed Mar 01, 2006 1:21 am, edited 1 time in total.

jimidrammer
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Postby jimidrammer » Wed Mar 01, 2006 1:01 am

Welcome, Gary. My mid-life crisis started a little earlier that yours, at 44 I've just been at this a little over a year and still rolling. Any Balvenie is worth a try. I would also recommend: Glenrothes, Glenmorangie, Glen Garioch. Not sure what is available to you or the list could go on and on and on...I'd give another vote for the Aberlour A'bunadh, I never fail to recommend that. :wink:

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Postby Photon » Wed Mar 01, 2006 1:51 am

Gary,

If you like the peat and smoke in the HP, but are not up for "medicinal/seaweedy" you might want to try a Bowmore 12. Its sweeter, with a good dose of peat smoke.

-P.

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Postby irishwhiskeychaser » Wed Mar 01, 2006 2:07 am

Welcome Gazz, as a person who has yet to appreciate the iodine/seaweed whiskies I am proably in you league. HP 12 is a great value for your buck drink and I favour it above the 18yo and the 25yo is better still but all HP's are great. Not too sure about the 21yo as I have not had it but obviously good stuff too. SO you wont go wrong with any HP really. AS mentioned before Dalwhinnie 15yo is also good everyday whisky as any Glenrothes that I have had as long as you are not going for mad old stuff. Also if you are interested Connemara Irish Single Peated Malt is worth a try and has got great reviews from the critics.

Enjoy

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Gazz- What next?

Postby Muskrat Portage » Wed Mar 01, 2006 4:36 am

jimidrammer wrote:...I'd give another vote for the Aberlour A'bunadh, I never fail to recommend that. :wink:

Jimmidrammer: You are a drammer of discriminating tastes, I too would recommend Aberlour A'Bunadh. I've sampled batch 13 - lovely.

Gazz, welcome to the forums from another "just north of 50" member (June 1955). Haven't had a midlife yet, 'though. After the A'Bunadh, the Glen Rothes 1989 is superior to the 1992 IMHO, and Glenmorangie 18 is a pleasing dram. If you can, make like Frodo and go to a tasting venue for sampling at a reasonable price.
Musky P.

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Postby parvus » Wed Mar 01, 2006 5:19 am

I was disappointed with the Balvenie Doublewood and the HP 12, both at 40% were just lacklustre. I'd recommend you try the Glen Elgin 12, it is a underrated and highly delicious malt.

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Postby edjohnb » Wed Mar 01, 2006 8:53 am

I'd go for the wood finishes from Glenmorangie. I have tried the Port Wood and Madeira Wood finishes. Beautiful. Not too expensive as well. They are about GBP30 in Singapore.

I just got the A'Bunadh last month, haven't had a chance to taste it. jimidrammer, was it really that good? Mine's bottles at 60%abv. Is that batch 13 or 14?

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Postby corbuso » Wed Mar 01, 2006 9:36 am

I have tried many Highland Parks, including the 12, 18, 25 and 30 YO, but unfortunately not the 21 YO.
HP are very good whiskies and I personally prefer the 18 to the 12YO, because it is more complex and more sherried. The Balvenie DoubleWood is a good all round unpeated and smooth whisky. If you like sherries whiskies, I would then recommend you the Balvenie 15 YO single casks.
Of course, there are plenty of nice whiskies, but you should not be disappointed with any HP or Balvenie.

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Postby bamber » Wed Mar 01, 2006 10:07 am

For me it's all about variety and contrasts. You may never find another whisky that tops that HP 21yo (I assume it was an independent bottling), but you cannot eat caviare every day.

Why not try some of the readily available OB's we all know so well -

Macallan 10 / 12yo (UK / US)
Talisker 10yo - peaty but somewhere between HP and Laphroaig.
Glenfiddich 15yo or 18yo (these are much better than the 12yo)
Glenmoranige 10yo

I would buy all of them open them all at once and bore your wife silly with observations and tasting notes :D
Last edited by bamber on Thu Mar 02, 2006 10:37 am, edited 1 time in total.

jimidrammer
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Postby jimidrammer » Thu Mar 02, 2006 3:20 am

edjohnb wrote:I'd go for the wood finishes from Glenmorangie. I have tried the Port Wood and Madeira Wood finishes. Beautiful. Not too expensive as well. They are about GBP30 in Singapore.

I just got the A'Bunadh last month, haven't had a chance to taste it. jimidrammer, was it really that good? Mine's bottles at 60%abv. Is that batch 13 or 14?


Batch #13 is 59.8% abv as is Batch #11. Batch #8 and #12 are 60.2 and 60.0 respectively. The new Batch #15 may be 60% as well, haven't had it yet. The minor abv difference is not really important, but does distinguish one from another. Batch #13 was considerably spicier to me, but the 8 & 12 were almost identical. The batch # is listed on the label, so have a look, either way I can say it is a very unique favorite of mine and when I'm in the mood for it nothing else will do. I missed batch #14 already as #15 replaced it before I needed to restock. :cry:

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Muskrat Portage
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A'Bunadh batch 14

Postby Muskrat Portage » Thu Mar 02, 2006 6:43 am

jimidrammer:
If you know anyone coming to Canada, they can still get batch 14 here, it just came in this past month. You have batch 15 already? Hmmm. :roll: Musky P.

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Postby gazza1955 » Fri Mar 03, 2006 12:26 am

Just to thank everyone again and for those I haven't replied to separately, I am now the proud owner of a Aberlour A'bunadh. Batch 16 59.6% .

Everything above about honey and sherry , but with a really nice charecter and still quite firey.

I fear I am on the slippery slopes here . £50+ on Tuesday and another £30 today :-)

Thanks again

Gary

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Postby Scotchio » Fri Mar 03, 2006 9:45 am

As slippery slopes go this is one of the better ones to slip down.
regards
Steve

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Postby MGillespie » Fri Mar 03, 2006 2:03 pm

Good call, Gary, and welcome...please let us know what you think of it, since most of us haven't seen Batch 16 yet. My stores still have Batch 14 on the shelves.

Mark

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Postby Sherried Malt » Sat Mar 04, 2006 3:53 am

Gary, allow me to echo Mark's request about posting a note on the Abunadh 16 when you try it. Until I read your post, I didn't know that the 16 had already been released. I've just seen the 15...

And not to add to your spending woes, but if you're still searching for the next step up from the HP 12, let me strongly recommend the HP Bicentenary from 1977. For my money, it's better than the HP 25.

Good luck on your jourrney!

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Postby MGillespie » Sat Mar 04, 2006 1:16 pm

Amen...the HP Bicentenary is outstanding!

Mark

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Postby gazza1955 » Sat Mar 04, 2006 1:50 pm

Folks

People have asked for some comments on the Abundah 16. The last thing I feel able to do is to write "proper" tasting notes - I am still a virgin . My malt history has really been over the last decade. It might help to say waht my ( very limited ) experience is:-

Glenfiddich 12 yo - enjoyed a lot
Glenmorangie 10 and 12yo - didn't enjoy as much as the Glenfiddich , but suspect the taste is a little "acquired"
Knockando - I've had 2 bottles , one , long gone was ( I think a 1984) and more recently a 1992. I really liked the Knockando - a little "dry" , but sweet if slightly oily.

A month or so ago went to Vintage House in Soho and at their recomemndation bought the Balvenie 12 Doublewood. This was very good indded. Really smooth and almost a little fruity. Rich without cloying.

So , on Tuesday went back again and ended up with the HP 21 yo ( which is a bottling for Vintage House). I really loved this. I tasted it in the shop and 21 minutes after went back to buy it. A lovely lingering taste which seems to change and I suspect it's a bit too "good for me" ( or too subtle for my palate).I love the slightly honied taste without it being "sweet" and there is a dryness in it which starts to take over after the initial sip. I can almost taste it now.Strange , but I suspect experienced posters will tell me you develop a "whisky memory"

And the Abundah 16 ? I do like it - a lot , but think I prefer the HP , which just seems to have a bit more charecter. It's very rich , warm and has a lovely dark colour and it's a very full taste. The sherry tase doesn't quite dominate , but is very pronounced. It has a caramel/toffee hint to it and is very inviting. Not as smooth as the Balvenie , but very easy to drink . I just wonder whether I have bought it just a little too late - as we approach the Spring , somehow the HP feels more fresh and seasonal and I'd have loved to have had the Abundah on a very cold winter's night , relaxing in front of a warm fire. More charecter than the Balvenie , but there just seems to be a wider range of stimulus to the taste buds in the HP

My apologies for some very amateurish notes , but I'm still a novice. Hope this helps a bit . I'd certainly recommend it - it's full of flavour . Puts me a little in mind of a very mature armagnac , but with a greater range of tastes.

Cheers

Gary

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Sherried Malt
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Postby Sherried Malt » Sat Mar 04, 2006 3:21 pm

Gary, I thought your notes were extremely helpful. I especially liked how you compared one whisky to another, which gives me a context to better understand the comments and how one whisky stacks up to its brethren. I wish more people did that...

And I completely agree that there may be seasons where one whisky goes better than another. Very much like how some red wines are "too big" during the summer... That said, I'm going to try an Abunadh this summer to see if that's true here! :wink:

Well done! :)

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Postby Deactivated Member » Sat Mar 04, 2006 4:47 pm

Folks -
HP have in fact released a 21yo. It's a limited edition chosen by Gerry Tosh and is launched as Ambassadors Cask 21yo bottled at 56.1% available from the distillery.
It's tasted in this months WM but doesn't get high marks. But, you know, it is an HP sooooooooooo.......... :lol:

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Postby MGillespie » Sun Mar 05, 2006 3:59 am

Gary, you did a good job for your first time. Sherried Malt made an excellent comment about your comparisons of one whisky to another...that's a lesson I'm going to start using in my tasting notes.

I'd also agree that there are whiskies that are suited to certain seasons. I have a hard time drinking Laphroaig in the summer, but it's perfect on a cold winter's night.

Mark

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Postby gazza1955 » Wed Apr 19, 2006 7:18 pm

Thanks to everyone for some very helpful replies.

Several excellent pieces of advice in private mail too. One overwhelming message was to try a wide range of whisky as what you like one day may not appeal the next and it can depend on mood etc.

I hadn't realised just how much variety there was . The Highland Park 21 remains a favourite and seems to have a real depth to it.Some days it seems peatier than others and there are some lovely "floral" flavours that seem quite elusive.

Vintage House recommended a Scapa 14 ( they said that the marriage of Island whisky with sherry casks may be what is tantalising my tastebuds). Very nice too.

Several people recommended Dalwhinnie 15yo , so went off to get some today. This has the smoothness I love and tastes quite soft - but the way this softness turns to peatiness as it slips down is really more-ish.

Lots of bottles on the go at the moment and may have to finish a couple off to create an excuse to get more. The Knockando 82 has served me well , but is down to the last inch or so.Not sure I'd rush to get another Knockando though .

Anyway I am rambling. Thanks everyone for the great advice

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Paul A Jellis
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Postby Paul A Jellis » Wed Apr 19, 2006 7:42 pm

Good choice. Stand (or sit) near an open window when you drink it - I should be able to catch a whiff on the breeze!

Cheers

Paul

gazza1955
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Postby gazza1955 » Wed Apr 19, 2006 8:13 pm

Paul

Tell you what - you do the same with the "Infinity" you recommend ( I'm tempted to try it...) . Anyone else here in Bedfordshire ? Would be great to have some local tastings...!

Gary

Paul A Jellis wrote:Good choice. Stand (or sit) near an open window when you drink it - I should be able to catch a whiff on the breeze!

Cheers

Paul

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Re: Gazz- What next?

Postby DramMeister » Thu Apr 20, 2006 3:09 pm

Muskrat Portage wrote: If you can, make like Frodo and go to a tasting venue for sampling at a reasonable price.
Musky P.


This got me thinking. There's a great off licence in Leamington Spa (EH Smith) which has usually about a dozen bottles open for tasting. There are very generous and last time gave us a free rein. Of course you feel obliged to spend too much money in compensation.

They also have branches in Bicester and Banbury. These are probably not to far for you. You now just have to persuade the wife to drive you there and back!

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I'm suggesting

Postby YK23 » Fri Apr 21, 2006 2:11 am

Auchentoshan Three Wood
I'ts pretty different from what you tried before, pretty light but rich sweet and complex.

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Postby Scotty Mc » Mon Apr 24, 2006 2:37 pm

Lawrence wrote:Yes, despite what "some" :wink: people might say about Aberlour it's actually quite rich, both the 10 and the a'bunadh are rich flavourful malts and well priced.


I love the 10yo, reminds of Christmas with the nutmeg, cinnamon and spices.

Maybe try visiting an Oddbins store, they usually have quite a few a bottles open (the York branch has a wall full of them, great way to get drunk for free!)

For me its trial and error, maybe try buying the miniatures first and if you like it, then buy the bottle.


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