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I used to hate Islay malts until...

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@Nurd52
Nurd52 started a discussion

I had my first sip of Ardbeg 10 YO. Man what a revelation in taste and complexity. Just for giggles I re-visited my Laphroig 18 YO last night and I can now relate to it much better than before.

But the Ardbeg just knocked me out even more! Here I thought I'd never buy bottle of Islay anything but decided to give a whirl because it was on sale here in the the Mpls area for US$41.95 so it was a reasonable experiment.

I finished my first bottle in over 4 nights!

I don't know why I like it so well now. I guess it just takes getting used to the peat.

Has anyone else had similar experiences going from hating Islays to loving them?

12 years ago

2 replies

@Nock
Nock replied

@Nurd52 When I first started drinking single malts about 13 years ago I was in love with Glenmorangie (every expression I could get my hands on). At one point in 2002 I bought the classic malt sample set with 6 single malt samples (Oban, Glenkinchie, Cragganmore, Dalwhinnie, Talisker, and Lagavulin). I remember felling like they were all decent until I got to Talisker. I wrote down that it was horrible. And then I tasted Lagavulin 16yo . . . I wrote down as my tasting notes, "NEVER BUY."

Then in 2005 I was coming back from Canada and picked up a duty free Macallan and Highland Park. The Macallan was a bit disappointing, but the Highland Park had this wonderful quality I couldn't quite put my finger on. After some research I figured out it was peat. And I began to crave more of it! I remembered my experience with the Classic Malts and was afraid of the Lagavuin so picked up a bottle of Talisker 10yo. It was wonderful . . . but I needed more peat! So then it was on to a bottle of Lagavulin 16yo. That was even better . . . but I needed more peat! That lead me to Ardbeg, and then Laphroaig. I was sad to reach the end of the peat road in 2005 with Laphroaig 10yo Cask Strength. At the time that was about the heaviest peated malt you could buy. I cried that I couldn't get more peat . . . until I heard about Octomore at Bruichladdich in the works. I had hope again.

And so I have been on a peat freak hunt ever since. In 8 years it has never waxed; never waned. There have been times I wish I could like less peated single malts. So I buy them . . . and never am satisfied. And I am sad to find out that adding more peat (as in the recent Octomore expressions) doesn't always yield a peatier taste.

I am still on the hunt for peat (in particular younger bottled Brora from 1972). But my favorite peat fixes are: Ardbeg Supernova 2009, Corry, and Uigeadail, and Laphroaig 10yo Cask Strength. I am enjoying the young Kilchomans, Port Charlottes, and Octomore. However, I am in anxious anticipation to see these come out in a standard bottles that are reasonably priced.

That is my peat freak story

12 years ago 3Who liked this?

@talexander
talexander replied

Strangely, I love the Islay malts as soon as I started tasting whisky. I think the first Islay I ever bought and realized I was drawn to the island was actually a blend: Islay Mist 8 Year Old - which was a good introduction to the peated malts (it's a blend of Laphroaig with some Highland and Speyside malts, and grain whisky - I know that probably sounds horrible but it's good for the money!) Then it was Bowmore 12 Year Old, and then Ardbeg 10, then I was on my way. So, they were always my favourite.

12 years ago 1Who liked this?

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