I like the Auchentoshan 10yo very much. I understand that the 10y is more appreciated than the 'Select' but I never tasted that one myself.
My favourite however is Rosebank. There are a lot of different expressions on the market, most of them are OK. Lots of IB's (Independant Bottlers) that are widely available. Check the tasting room for reviews. The best Rosebank I know is the Rare Malt Selection, currently available as a 20yo.
Some of the young Auchentoshans are very spirity and need to be watered down to tame them. St. Magdalene is good if you can find it and there are some good Bladnochs around too.
Perhaps my bottle is now just old and stale but Glenkinchie 10yo is not one of my favorites -- I seem to remember enjoying it more when it was fresh so I may want to crack open my miniature for a comparison. Doesn't seem like a real lowlander to me and never really did, with a hint of smoke in the nose and no true citrousy or grassy notes; in many ways it is more of a light highlander except for the dry finish.
Auchentoshan is the first lowland I ever tried and I didn't like it (thought it was too weak and thin, couldn't appreciate it at the time) so for years I avoided it but I think I need to give it another chance. Only problem is I've been avoiding Morrison Bowmore bottlings recently after getting a bad Bowmore. I wonder if the Auchentoshans have the same problem as some of the Bowmores and Glen Gariochs?
Rosebank is one of my favorites. Murray & McDavid 1989 11yo and Signatory 1990 bourbon cask are both excellent. The Signatory 1991 11yo I have open right now is OK but not as good as the others I mentioned, just not as lively or well balanced. Good Rosebanks generally give me a nose of lemon grass, green apples and malt, with a medium spicy body and a spicy but short, dry and gingery finish.
Bladnoch is another favorite. I've got a 1988 14yo Conn. Choice Gordon & MacPhail bottling open at the moment and it is lovely, wonderful stuff, as good or better than the best Rosebank I've had. The nose is very nice with citrousy, grassy notes along with cereal, malt and even some peat, the body matches well with good mouth feel, cereal, malt and the finish matches again, dry as expected.
Littlemill is one which I've never loved. Strong lemon grass nose, very spirity in both the 1990 Signatory and 8yo OB bottlings I've made notes for. Perhaps there is a great bottling waiting for me -- I've heard that well aged Littlemill bottlings are nice but have yet to sample one.
Never had a St. Maggie or Inverleven. The only Inverleven I've seen for sale here was expensive and not well scored so I didn't pick it up.
What remains are existing stocks, mostly (entirely?) in the hands of independents. Even that is getting to be in rare supply. The one '91 I've tried is not as good as the '90 and '89s I've had so grab the older ones while you can. Perhaps '92 and '93 are better years, we'll see when they are bottled. That will be the end of it.
Luckily, Raymond bought and saved Bladnoch for us so we will have that one in future. Nothing new for a few years but there are decent stocks of it around.
Most lowlanders are gone. Until Bladnoch went back into production it was pretty much just Auchentoshan and Glenkinchie. The late eighties and early nineties were dark years for single malts, and lowlanders took the brunt of it, as they have for the past 70 years when their product has over the years been redistilled into vodka or gin, among other things. At one time there may have been more lowlander distilleries than anywhere else. No more.
I would go for a Rosebank, and especially the vintages from 1991, however most of the vintages from Rosebank are good. Some other nice Lowlanders are: Glenkinchie(how original to mention this one), Auchentoshan, Bladnoch, Inverleven, Littlemill and ofcourse there are some expensive ones like, Ladyburn, Glen Fagler and Kinclaith or perhaps a St Magdalene(aka Linlithgow). It's a very limited choice, I know, but my favorite is still a nice Rosebank...
I like the Signatory editions, but the Rosebank '89 was better from Signatory.
If you can find it: try, Lord of Scotland, Rosebank 1991, a real true cracker jack. The Murray McDavids are also nice from 1991.
And if you can let them send over to Canada, the Ultimate Series(from a Dutch independent bottler), has some nice versions too, from Rosebank
sorry to hear you have such a limited choice overthere.
Earlier this evening I discovered my Rosebank again, a bottling from the Ultimate. That's the 'private label' of an importer/merchant/distributer in the Netherlands.
It's a 1991, cask 2064, 7yo from a Bourbon barrel. This whisky proves all about Lowlanders, it truely is remarkable.
I can only confirm Eriks statement about 1991!
It is not possible to order liquor to your home and to do a special order through the LCBO you must order a case minimum order and if that product has not been imported before then you must wait for and pay for laboratory results to make sure it is safe to drink. 9 months or more average wait and 3-4 times markup for special orders (compared to none or 2 times markup at most for non-special orders). As I said, expensive and tedious!
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