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In my quest to find a very good and affordable single malt, I came across these reviews. I also used the widely available Single Malt Flavor Map to guide me, especially into the smoky regions. I had tried Laphroaig 10, Lagavullin 16, and Talisker 10 at the bar, but those were all way too smoky for my tastes. Since I am a non-smoker, I began to wonder if many of the glowing reviews for the heavily smoked malts were from heavy smokers who did not mention that. When it comes to smoked meats, I at least want to know that it tastes like good smoke, but not be dominant.
Well, this one was always sold out and unavailable for tasting at the bar, so I was quite hesitant that it may be too smoky for my tastes and held off buying a bottle. Finally, I simply put my faith in all of you and just plunked down $50 US when I finally found a bottle. Thanks to all of you!
My first impression is still the same. If this one had any more flavors of smoke and sweetness, it would be downright obnoxious and I would not like it. Instead, I would call this one's flavors "In Your Face". When sampled against JW Gold Label 18, it made the poor old JW almost taste like water, so that was a surprise. The one that got me started on this quest now took a back seat to Highland Park 12. However, since I don't always wish to drink something this assertive, I found only two more that I like slightly better, but this is for my tastes only (Glenkinchie 12 and Aberlour 12).
I will most certainly buy this one again, and may spring for the 18 year old, even at double the price. Will the 18 become my new favorite? Who knows.