To briefly recap - I've tried scotch in my youth , had a couple of single malts , didn't do much more. Went to the Vintage House in Soho. They recommended Balvenie 12yo doublewood as a good "starter" - and lovely it is ( was - not much left now !) too.Smooth , very easy to drink and a lovely starter.
Went back and they recommended a Highland Park 21 yo - and this was a delight ! Somewhat more complex and with a somewhat "floral" taste in parts and I seem to discover soemthing a bit different each time I return to it.
Next the Aberloaur A'bunadh. Batch 16 59.6%. I bought this after recommendations in this forum . Liked it , but found it a bit "full on" and think it's probably more a winter drink.
Dabbled with some Glenmorangie 12yo and a Glenfiddich 12 yo.
Bought a Highland Park 12 y.o. It was Ok , but the 21 y.o is far more subtle - found the 12 y.o a bit too "peaty".
So - back to the Vintage House today for some advice on what next. The advice I had went along the lines of " You seem to like the sherry finishes and that may be one of the reasons that you like the HP 21 y.o. - as it's finished in a sherry cask". I was set to play it safe with some srt of speyside , but was directed towards a "Provenance " autumn distillation of a Scapa 1898 distilled Atum 89 and bottled Winter 2004.46% alc/vol.
The rationale was that it is finished for 6 months in sherry wood and the salesman's view was that whilst at first glance ( taste?) the mixture of an Orkney malt with sherry finish could sound unlikely , the sherry tempers the "peaty" taste I am a little indifferent towards and brings out the more floral and citrusy notes.
It's a lovely malt to sniff and savour - I'm just starting to earn how important it is to smell and not gulp it down straight away!It's got a rather dry finish to it and with a fruity yet slightly spicy feel. Not as subtle a range of tastes as the HP 21 , but probably my 2nd favourite right now.
Delighted with the advice from the Vintage House ! The slaesman tells me my aversion to the medicinal tastes and peat may well be a transitory thing and I will acqure the taste soon.
Next and obvious questions ( and thanks in advance )
1. This is bottled byDouglas McGibbon and Co - how does this differ to a "standard" Scapa distillation?
2. Given my (still developing) tastes above - what next ? Are there other sherry/Island marriages I should try ?
If your looking for a sherry/Island marriage you might consider Bruichladdich - Infinity 55.5%, it does have a good whack of peat but the sherry balances it out quite well. Another one to try is the Signatory Brora (Sherry cask) 1981 54%, not an Island malt, but good sherry influences, or, if you want to loose the peat try the Signatory Clynelish 10yo 59%, it's smokey and fruity.
It is different to its illustrious neighbour and a cracking wee dram.
A little - dare I say - salty and packed with flavour. Not a great deal of peat but enough to linger a little with a smidgin of smoke. I can't remember if it's sherried - don't think so but don't take my word for it.
Paul - I'll be quaffing the Infinity tonight. Looking forward to it as I've not had it for a while.
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