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What whiskies would this esteemed network suggest for the best quality/price ratio?
For me, Johnnie Walker Gold indisputably provides better value than Blue. Also, my everyday dram is Evan Williams Black whilst no luck on an every day pleated scotch...
That's just me to frame the discussion, love to hear your thoughts! Slainte'!
I only started my whisky journey at the end of last year, and so have been working my way through the supermarket bargain shelves and look every week. All purchases have been under £30 and some as low as £22. I haven't had a bad drop and have enjoyed each of the following: Balvenie 12 Year Old Doublewood, Glenmorangie 10 Year Old, The Glenlivet 12 Year Old, Highland Park 12 Year Old, Laphroaig 10 Year Old and Quarter Cask (a particular favourite) Old Pulteney 12 Year Old and Talisker 10 Year Old. Currently writing next years wish list and have just bought the latest whisky bible and 101 whiskies to try before you die, but I'll always keep and eye on the special offers on the shelves !
One of the things I like about the holidays (writing this on Dec. 2nd) are the holiday gift sets the spirits industry puts out. In the last month I've bought a Johnnie Walker Black boxed set with a stainless steel flask, a Glenfiddich 12 year old set with a tasting diary and a Glencairn glass, and a Glenlivet 12 year old boxed set with two tumblers that look like they are Glencairn Canadian style glasses. Each set cost the same as the normal price of bottle, so they are good values for the price, and they give me a good reason to revisit these entry level whiskies.
@MacBaker62 -- I've been eyeing the Glenfiddich 12 set myself.
You absolutely can't go wrong with either Redbreast 12yr or Buffalo Trace.
my staple bargain bottle is HP12 here in the States, midwest region. Quarter Cask is also a good deal. Red Breast is incredible but is starting to get a bit pricey at $50 but still incredible for that price. A couple more that I frequently purchase from the bargain shelf are Isle of Skye 8yr, and McClellan's Islay, Lowlands, Highlands. I agree that Black Bottle is also a good bang for the buck, but I'm getting quite irritated with their current marketing campaign that insists I mix BB with colas. Someone should be shot for that.
So many great answers have been given here, I'd need a few lines just to second my favorites. Instead, I'd like to share one which was recommended to me recently by K&L's spirits buyer: GlenDronach 12. Didn't see this one coming and if it weren't for a very emphatic personal reco I wouldnt have gone for it, but... Wow! (& Speysides aren't always on my list!) This is rich, full and velvety. It's done mostly in ex-bourbon, with a short Sherry finish which really makes it glow. Good just about anytime, easy and comforting. Drinks beyond its price, IMHO, and makes a very good impression. Happy someone helped me discover it, so hopefully someone here will also benefit.
All 700cl; prices in my local area of Alkmaar, The Netherlands
Ardbeg 10 (approx €35-45), Laphroaig quater cask (€35-45), Tomatin 12 (€25-35) for a single malt
Pigs Nose for a blend (approx €15-25)
@evarees I can see myself picking up a bottle of GlenDronach as the next bottle. I had a sample of the 12 and found it very agreeable.
I've recently tried two relative new-comers that surprised me. Both are well worth a try if you like American oak-aged whisky at a higher than usual abv:
Deanston Virgin Oak, 46.3%, Un-chill filtered ($35 US): a young whisky, but refreshing and satisfying
Tullibardine Aged Oak, 46%, ($40 US): a vatting of 15+ yo and younger whiskies: !!danger!!
@Victor I only wish to add 1 bottle to your bang for your buck list, Caol Ila 12... but I'm very partial to it, love the finish
@evarees. Totally agree on the Gendronach 12. It's kind of like an old style Macallan at half the price.
@BlueNote Also the GlenDronach 12 rates 92/100 according to Jim Murray (for those that care)!
@systemdown @BlueNote Glad to hear I'm not the only one who stumbled across the GlenDronach.
@evarees. Have you tried Big Peat? It's a malt blend of Ardbeg, Caol Ila, Bowmore and Port Ellen by Douglas & Laing. Very tasty and not a bad price. The original at 46% is better than the Christmas one at cask strength. I also am told that the Finlaggan cask strength is another Islay malt blend that is very good and also very good value. Cheers.
@Victor I am now on the hunt for Kentucky Gentleman Blended Bourbon.
@Wodha, you put a big smile on my face! I had to recently resist the urge to buy up large amounts of Kentucky Gentleman when it went on sale here for $ 10.49 plus tax for 1.75 Litre bottles. Reason finally prevailed, and I figured that I could spring for the full $ 12.49 if I had to, when my current bottle was empty. My big fear was that maybe the batch quality would change and it wouldn't be as good. That's always an unavoidable risk, though. And living in fear is not good.
Hey, save me a bottle of that Templeton, would you? They don't sell that stuff around here.
@Victor Templeton is almost always availible here, if you want we can work a way out to get a few bottles to you as long as your greater 48 stateside.
@ssmith84, is Templeton regularly available at Binny's? If so, I will get some when I visit Chicago at some point. If I don't find it I may drop you a line. Shipping around here is a hassle, since it is a felony crime in Maryland to receive a shipment of spirits. Thanks very much for the offer, though.
@Victor Binny's is hit or miss, sells out quick... But I usually have an ace in the hole at a small local shop that carries stuff forever as their sells even near Binny's. Prime example is Ardbeg Airigh Nam Beist for $80 still in stock and on the self!
sales*, and aren't near* autocorrect on my phone is interesting
@Victor There's seven 6-bottle cases of Templeton right down the street from me here in the University Village store. I'm temped to buy a case for my dad since he proclaimed it the best whisky he's ever had and can't get it in his home state of Idaho. It's $41 a bottle. Didn't you mention you visit Bainbridge Island annually? I could grab a few now for the next time you're in the area.
@ssmith84, wow, you could run a situation comedy off of your autocorrect...looks like it could get you into real trouble in the wrong context.
Thank you for referring me to your sleeper shop. I would love to get a bottle for later pick up, but it will probably be awhile before I get back to Chicago. Not having tried Templeton yet (and running into real bottle storage issues here) one bottle would be good for now.
@Wodha, much as I would love to visit your neck of the woods soon, that seems less likely in the near future. I have been to Seattle a couple of times, but not yet to Bainbridge Island. Thank you very much for offering to help, but I can't predict at this point how soon I could get out there.
@ssmith84, if you are willing to "buy and hold" until I can get out there, I have access to excellent prices here, and could pick up a bottle for you at our local prices for delivery/exchange when I get to Chicago. Take a look at Montgomery County Maryland DLC online inventory. Examples of prices: Elijah Craig 18 yo for $ 37 including tax, Thomas H. Handy Sazerac Rye for $ 64 including tax. Malts too, of course.
Makers Mark 46 is really good, I'm on my 2nd bottle. You can get it here in the states for $30.00 or less.
@BlueNote Thanks for the reco and insight. I've seen that Big Peat bottle around, and I have to say I judged it a bit by the cover: I have no idea who that label was advertising to! I read up on it now and I'm game next time I come across it.
@evarees. Yeah, the bottle is a bit goofy looking, but all the major reviewers give it very high marks. If you like Islays, I think you will like this, it's got all the right ingredients including some Port Ellen.
@evarees. That cask strength Finlaggan I mentioned is actually not a malt blend. Inside word has it that it comes from Lagavulin.
For bourbons here in the US, I would say Kentucky Gentlemen and Old Crow are two very drinkable and well priced whiskeys.
As far as blended Scotch goes, Black Bottle, Clan McGregor and Teacher's are all quite good. Teacher's is unique, as it has a higher malt content than most blends. Black Bottle, at about $20, is as close to an Islay as a blend can come. Clan McGregor has a very good leathery/vanilla palate up front, but leaves a bit of a medicinal and alcoholic aftertaste. All are good neat with a few drops of water.
I'm surprised I haven't seen Speyburn 10 YO for a single malt out here. You can find a 750ml bottle out here in the states for somewhere in the neighborhood of $30. The one problem I have with it is that it's way too drinkable.
@chuck51 , Saw Speyburn 14 in Trader Joes in San Francisco Bay Area for $15 + tax.
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