This is my first post on this forum, so first of all, Hello and thanks for all the knowledge all of you have shared until now.
I’m not new to Whisky. I drank a fair share of various standard offerings. Among the bottles I had were: Aberlour 10yo, Balvenie 12yo DW, Macallan 12yo, Singleton 12yo, Yamazaki 12yo, Jura 18yo, Glenkinichie 12yo, Glenfiddich 12 and 18yo and some others I sampled in smaller quantities.
Then at one point I tried some good Cognac and Rum and haven’t looked back at Whisky since. Perhaps whisky is not really my kind of spirit. I like it, but not as much as Cognac and Rum.
I also tend to think the Whisky market is in a bubble and the prices are plain outrageous for a lot of stuff that’s out there.
I can get beautiful 30yo Cognacs starting at 60 EUR and amazing quality 40+yo stuff in the 100-200 EUR bracket and I can only hope these great times last . One just has to venture away from the over-marketed stuff one sees in every single duty free shop.
Rums are an even better deal (my fav 12yo one costs 27 EUR) and probably nothing beats a glass of rum on a hot summer evening. And it’s not a heresy to have it with a block of ice or a slice of lime, so another good point there.
Anyhow, an educated person should always broaden horizons. Perhaps I’m a little bit too harsh; after all, all my Whiskies were entry level bottlings and for sure there’s a lot of great stuff to discover.
All this being said, I always thought of whisky as the most intriguing of aged spirits. Subtleties make all the difference here and variety is overwhelming. Time to rediscover!
I started with the two bottles I still had open – The Balvenie 12yo Doublewood and Glenkinichie 12yo. Balvenie was as rich and easy to drink as I remember, but something bothered me in its finish. The Glenkinichie struck me as very well balanced. Absolutely nothing wrong with it. Soft, light, floral … but forgettable.
And then I opened a new bottle of Lagavulin 16yo and oh yes – this is something very special. Immense array of new tastes and smells, changing and developing as it sits in a glass. Love it!
I then went on and ordered a bottle of A’bunadh – let’s see if all the hype is justified.
Can you please recommend me one or two bottles to try next? As you can see, I’m not really after basic stuff.
If I want sweet, I’ll drink Rum. If I want something winey or fruity, I’ll drink Cognac or Calvados.
I would like something big, complex, with lots of taste. Are there any bottles you’d consider the quintessence of Whisky? Absolute max budget is 75 GBP / 100 EUR per bottle but preferably less.
Of course, I’d love to share some Rum and Cognac recommendations if anyone is interested.
...grab a bottle of Ardbeg Uigeadail (£50 online) - 54.2%. It's big and peated. Personally for me Ardbeg Corryvreckan is more complex and better, but its £65 and a big higher in alcohol (57.1%).
If you want to really challenge your tastebuds you can try to pick up a Lagavulin 12 year old special release. It blows away the 16 year old and is massively complex.
I'm recommending Islays to you as you seem to like that (Lagavulin) and they are something totally different to run and Cognac in terms of taste profile.
...some of the sherried stuff if going to be more towards the winey elements, or have some of the sweetness. So Islay whisky is something totally different for you.
And they are massive bang for your buck malts that will light up your mouth.
Ardbeg oogie is now on the very top of my shopping list.
I'm not sure about the Lagavulin 12 and Corryvreckan - lots of mixed reviews about these two so I'd rather sample first before spending.
Nikka looks interesting and good value. Will try!
I checked my local store and they have Caol Ila 12, Dalwhinnie 15, Knockando 12, Oban 14 and Talisker 10. Anyhing particularly worthwhile?
From the others I also like the Dalwhinnie - a very good malt for the price. Crisp, floral and a touch of smoke. Lovely highland malt.
Others that might satisfy your palate:
Longrow CV (before it completely disappears)
Caol Ila Cask Strength (beautifully appetizing)
Agree with many of the suggestions listed above, too.
So just to let you know, the shopping list is now following:
Laphroaig Quarter Cask
Highland Park 18
and a Glenmorangie Nectar d'Or as an oddball.
It'll probably take me some time to taste all of this, but hopefully this is a representative enough set to help me find the favorite .
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