As the title suggests, I am rather new to whisky... However the other day, I came into possession of a bottle of Laphroaig QC.
Now I have had my fair share of cheap whisky, but nothing in comparison to Laphroaig. My problem is, the raw alcohol in the QC, to me, overpowers and takes away from all the other flavors. More specifically, the smoke. From other posts, I am guessing that this sensation would be refereed to as the "iodine" or "medicine" like taste, but I cannot be too sure.
I love all things smokey, but realizing that my palette may not be developed enough to fully enjoy Laphroaig, my question is: Are there any whiskys that one can recommend that are smokey, yet not overpowering with the raw alcohol kick that Laphroaig gives? Ideally, I would like to work my way up to the Laphroaig, Ardbeg etc, but don't really know where to start.
Upon looking through the forum, I see that Talisker 10y or the Highland Park 12y are quite popular among the beginners of the bunch, but would they be something that I am looking for (again, smoke smoke smoke)>?
Thanks all and happy drinking..
Are there any whiskys that one can recommend that are smokey, yet not overpowering with the raw alcohol kick that Laphroaig gives?
Welcome to the forum. The Lappy QC is a little rough around the edges imo. The 10yo would be more approachable for an inexperienced palate.
Many people jump in at the deep end and just go for the big peaty ones, in fact they are the gateway into whisky for many. Lagavulin 16 goes down easy and is the easiest Laga to find (they do a more expensive 12yo that has more punch), there are many Caol Ila with varying levels of peat/smoke and Caol Ila is another great distillery. Ardbeg is fantastic stuff imo, the 10yo and Uigeadail are as good as peatsmoke gets for the money.
So they^ are the big four i suppose (all from Islay), Kilchoman is also heavily peated and located on Islay, and Bowmore and Talisker are down the peat scale but offer smoke.
Longrow is heavily peated but less pronounced with smoke, more farmyardy (and very nice). Other distilleries are offering peated batches like Benriach or Bladnoch but you will need to double check your buying a peated bottling.
Hope this helps.
You can get peated Speysiders too, Benriach do a range called Curiositas which uses heavily peated barley and is very good.
both avaliable online from good retailers (thewhiskyexchange or masterofmalt)
.....as previous people have suggested too; if you want smoke and you want it from a supermarket then walk in and pick up a bottle of Lagavulin 16yo - you aint gonna get more smoke than that. It's like Lapsang Souchong (heavily smoked black tea).
It sounds like Lagavulin 16y is where I should venture on with. Interestingly, the 12 y and 16y are the same price around my way?!? Benriach also sounds appealing, and at half the price of the Lagavulin, I might just start with that.
I only wish that I had access to "taster" bottles of whisky which the rest of the world is privy to. Liquor is so heavily taxed here that 4 drinks at a bar costs the same as a bottle in stores! Oh well... such is life.
Be careful with the Lagavulins; the 12year old is not the same as the 16year old! The 12yo is small batch, cask strength un-filtered and not sherried.
The 16yo is chill-filtered, standard strength, mass produced and sherried.
They are totally different animals, the 12 is not really "smokey" but more "peatey". It's one of my favourite drams but if you want smoke with your Laga then pick up the 16yo.
I looked for Caol Ila 12 but it would seem no one carries it around my way. I did however stumble upon another peated whisky by the name of Connemara. I was told that it is rather smooth, peated and smoky. Any thoughts?
Don't fear the Islay stuff. Just get stuck in. I see the Laga 12 is the same price as the 16, if i was you i'd snaffle a bottle of the 12yo before that changes -- it'll keep.
Before venturing into the higher-end peated whiskies, I would recommend you to try your Laphro Quarter Cask with a dash of water. The Laphro 18YO and QC tastes almost like cask strenght.
After tasting the Laphro, I would recommend you to try one of each of the basics: Lagavulin 16, Laphroaig 10, Caol Ila 12 and Ardbeg 10. You will probably identify with one of them, and then you can try their higher-end products.
I am a huge fan of both, Lagavulin and Ardbeg. Lagavulin also produces the 12YO, which is Cask Strenght and really peated, and also the Distiller's Edition, which, If I am not mistaken, is aged in Pedro Ximenes casks, which will grant it some sweetness, absent in most other peated whiskies.
Ardbeg produces the Corryvreckan, which is also heavy on the smoke and ABV, which you may want to save for later when you are more used to the peated bottles.
If you prefer the Laphro, you shoud really buy the 18YO. It corrects the roughness of the Quarter Cask, adding some sweetness and depth.
And if you are a millionare, just get a Port Ellen.
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