Thanks in advance
If you want something I like, Kilchoman has some pretty decent bottlings as does Bunnahabhain.
You really can't go wrong with Highland Park for my money.
If you want to try a selection and not break the bank, search out some "mini" bottlings which give you a taste of the whisky for a reasonable outlay. Or go to a whisky shop for a tasting, if any are being held in your area. Many shops will have bottles set aside for samples, just ask. There may be a small fee to offset the cost of opening the samples.
Ganga wrote:Minis...a great way to explore. As far as I know, most places can get you sample bottles of the Glenmorangie range. This would allow you to not only look at the spirit (Original) but the influences of port (Quinta Ruben), sauternes (Nectar D'or) and sherry (Lasanta).
If you haven't tried an Islay, I suggest getting one. Laphroaig 10 or Ardbeg 10 are going to be big flavor whiskies and will give you an idea of whether this is for you or not.
I would suggest trying HP 12. Think Balvenie Doublewood only there is a touch of smoke.
And Old Pulteney 12. This is delicate and features maritime influences without the peat.
Hopefully you now have a starting point.
I like this response, excellent recommendations.
I'm disappointed in the current Highland Park 12, and recommend the Benromach 10 instead; it's simply a better whisky with a similar profile... If you like this, step into the Talisker 10 next time you buy; an iconic, singular dram. Both of those are $60ish here.
Those three take you out of the wheelhouse you're in now without throwing all caution to the wind. For an introductory Islay, I'd recommend the Kilchoman Machir Bay ($60); though full-bodied and young, it's not the hammer. Or the Caol Ila 12 if priced the same. Stepping up in potency from there is the Ardbeg 10, $52 locally...I can't think of a better value in an honest, full-power Islay.
Being new, take small sips - 1/2 teaspoon or slightly more - that your saliva will dilute naturally and open up the spirit. If you find one too hot for your tastes - or too much smoke/peat - add a few drops of water and try again in a few minutes. You can repeat that until you either drown it or find your preference.
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