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did some comparisons recently

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RetFor started a discussion

I picked up a couple new smokey malts recently, Talisker Storm and Laphroig 12 yr Cask Strength, so I decided to do a comparison of all my smokey malts, tasting them all together. (Well, most of em, I left out Kilchoman.) I arranged the order so that ones that I thought would be similar would be together for a better comparison. The order was:

Caol Ila 12 Year Talisker Storm Lagavulin 16 Year Balvenie Peated Cask Tomintoul Peated Cask Laphroig 12 Year Cask Strength Ardbeg Uigedail

My wife and I were pleasantly inebriated by the end, although she ended up just having a minimal taste of the Balvenie and the Tomintoul; she thought it would be too much otherwise. All were great malts, but Lagavulin retains its crown as my favorite. After that I'd rate them Caol Ila, Ardbeg, Talisker, Balvenie, Laphroig, Tomintoul. My wife's favorite was, and still is the Ardbeg, although we generally agree on the rankings otherwise.

Our last bottle of Caol Ila didn't keep so well, and wasn't as good by the end of it. Luckily, we had finished it so we opened a new one for this. WOW what a difference. So smooth, so delicious. While I'd say the first three were definitely all of a similar vein flavorwise, I think the Caol Ila is a little 'oilier' than the other two, with sweeter undertones and a thicker mouthfeel.

The Talisker on the other hand, is a bit lighter and sharper. Not quite as smooth. Also very good, but with a slight aftertaste. Can feel that maritime Talisker character, but not too much, which is a good thing for me. I didn't like the regular Talisker (10 year?) all that much. This is a good compromise for me though between the sea and the smoke.

The Lagavulin, while not quite as smooth as the Caol Ila has a wonderful woodiness to it that the others dont have. A much fuller, more robust flavor. For me, its got the perfect balance of everything.

Although it has a very nice flavor, the Balvenie had a bitter aftertaste that knocked it down a notch. Overall very nice, though.

Tomintoul wasn't by any means, but neither was it great. Nice and smooth, but bland in comparison to the others. While it has a nice flavor, theres not much to it.

I've had the regular Laphroig before, but like Talisker, it wasn't really my thing. Too iodiney/oily for my taste. You don't notice that as much in the cask strength, though. In fact, the first time I tried it all I noticed was a burn from the strength of it. This time, however, my throat was 'pre-greased' so I was better able to taste it. Much better than the regular one, but still not as good as some of the others.

And lastly the Ardbeg. Again, due to the high ABV its not always easy on the palate, but its definitely got a nice deep full complex flavor to it. Very nice. But still not as nice as the Lagavulin imo. Some day I'll have to compare the two head-to-head.

All in all, fun times were had and we'll definitely be doing something like this again. Maybe do the speysides and highlands next time.

9 years ago

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