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Journey Into Scotch...

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@MuddyFunster
MuddyFunster started a discussion

I'm a big American Bourbon and Rye fan, although my journey started with Japanese whiskies... have taken a few steps into Scotch... but not far.

So far I know I like peat... faves are Ardbeg 10, Laphroaig 10, Lagavulin 12 and 16... would be curious where to go from there...

Generally like fruit... particularly either light delicate fruit or rich dark fruits.

Also like complexity generally in whisky as long as there's some balance.

Not a huge fan of savoury barley when there's not much else going on... sometimes get a soapy burn from Scotch too... not sure if that is sulphur sensitivity or something else.

But I'm after some recommendations... really good Scotches to try... doesn't need to be light entry level because I think my palate is already pretty well trained.

3 months ago

16 replies

@Victor
Victor replied

@MuddyFunster welcome back!

Worthwhile choices in Scottish whisky? Easy to answer: look at the Connosr Top 100 rated whiskies. Anything that makes it there has plenty of fans and very few detractors.

3 months ago 4Who liked this?

@Nozinan
Nozinan replied

@MuddyFunster What kind of fruits do you like? Dark dried fruits like dates and prunes and raisins? Go for Glendronach, Glenfarclas or A'Bunadh.

Tropical fruits? Not Scotch but Amrut Cask Strength is excellent. Peat and fruit can be had with the peated versions.

Glenfiddich (the only one I ever enjoyed was the distiller's edition) and Glenlivet are fruity as well. The affordable ones are very entry level. The Nadurra, even the NAS version, is enjoyable. Stay away from the sherried Nadurra.

Just a very small start.

3 months ago 4Who liked this?

@MuddyFunster
MuddyFunster replied

Looking at the Top 100 and my eye has been drawn to Glenfarclas 25, Bushmillls 21 (Irish, I know), Highland Park 21, Talisker 18, and the A'Bunadh... but at some of the prices in the UK I'll definitely need to try first... definitely keen to try Gllendronach too... have heard the 15 is good?

3 months ago 4Who liked this?

@Nozinan
Nozinan replied

@MuddyFunster Try looking for 50 cc and 200 cc bottles. It might let you get more breadth of exposure.

I still have a bottle of Highland Park I bought in the first year of my whisky journey. Not bad, but I can't seem to get back to it. From 2011, it is probably the longest open of my 90 open bottles. Don't let what happened to me happen to you...

3 months ago 5Who liked this?

@BlueNote
BlueNote replied

@MuddyFunster I see you are in the UK. @RianC and @RikS are a couple of UK members who know their stuff. You could try to network with them for some ideas.

3 months ago 4Who liked this?

RikS replied

@MuddyFunster @BlueNote Hi there, a pleasure to make your e-acquaintance. Those ones, on your list, are certainly excellent drams (with exception of the A'Bunadh which I appear to be the only person NOT raving over as I think there are other nicer high ABV sherry-intense options, such as the Amrut Intermediate Sherry).

That said, and unaware of your spending habits and capabilities, I'd also say that you can find many extraordinarily interesting and nice expressions without going to such premium options. E.g. the Glenfarclas 15 which is a great option for nicely intense sherry. Glendronach 15 you already mentioned. Since you also enjoy peat, and the sweeter elements, I'd absolutely recommend you head for what many will argue is the perfect combination of the intensity of the two: Ardbeg Uigeadail (which IS one of my favourites). Then, I wouldn't be afraid to try some of the Distiller's Editions, which often appear to be synonymous to the 'standard' expression - matured in more or less interesting varieties and types of sherry casks. For example, I find the D.E. of both Lagavulin and Caol Ila to be excellent!

Also, since you know to appreciate the Laphroaigh 10, but have a palate that's already well used to bourbon and higher ABV (I looked at your cabinet) - another affordable and obvious thing to add to it is the Laphroaig Quarter Cask: only a fraction more expensive than the 10, but a higher ABV that's driving the palate much better.

Finally, being a bourbon aficionado as you are - maybe also experiment with some of the "bridges" matured in intense 1st fill bourbon cask. For example, explore the Kavalan sherry oak which is a VERY bourbon-ish whisky.

Those are some immediate ideas. Happy to discuss further. My MOST IMPORTANT advice, however, is this: whatever idea, question, query, perplexity or whatever you have or may have - just ask the people on this forum. I have only been here a few years, but I think it's one of the most competent and friendly group of people I ever have seen! The wealth of knowledge is deep and the experience of many here is just mindblowing, so... enjoy your journey!

3 months ago 5Who liked this?

@Nozinan
Nozinan replied

@RikS All good points, and I agree that the Amrut IS would have been a great choice for a sherry monster. But as far as I'm concerned the newer travel retail only 46% version is a must try before buying.

3 months ago 5Who liked this?

@BlueNote
BlueNote replied

@Nozinan Are you thinking that version of the Amrut is not up to snuff? I saw it in the Mexico City airport and passed in favour of some good Tequila. Have you had the Amrut? If so what do you think of it?

3 months ago 0

@Nozinan
Nozinan replied

@BlueNote If I had a chance to buy it I would probably try it if it were not too expensive. It would be nice to compare to the CS, and I know that the standard malt and peated malt, also at 46%, are good in their own rights. But I am still pained by the fact that they watered it down...

3 months ago 2Who liked this?

@BlueNote
BlueNote replied

@Nozinan You might have to have a word with Ashok. wink

3 months ago 0

@Nozinan
Nozinan replied

@BlueNote The distillery did say they would look at bringing it back, possibly I think in 2021. Perhaps we should have an email campaign to flood them with requests. Anyone know how to use change.org?

3 months ago 1Who liked this?

@Victor
Victor replied

@MuddyFunster among those you have mentioned, and their siblings: go for Glenfarclas 15 yo (by far their best product under 40 years old), Talisker 57 Degrees North, Talisker 18 yo, and Aberlour A'bunadh. Bushmills 21 yo is outstanding (Mr. Murray's multi-year Irish Single Malt of the Year), albeit thin in texture, and too easy to drink at 40% ABV. Highland Park 21 yo is great, but you have to leave the bottle open for 4 months for it to blossom. You will likely be disappointed before then. I separate myself from many here in saying that, so far, the only Glendronach that I trust is the Glendronach Cask Strength (batch 3 is the one I know). I haven't liked the sherry quality in the two samples of Glendronach 15 yo Revival that I have had. I would love for future experience to give me some better examples of Glendronach 15 than I have thus far had. Those I have had would have been fine if I didn't smell and taste sulphur. But I do. Amrut Intermediate Sherry I prefer to EVERY sherried Scottish malt in existence, but only the original product at 57.1% ABV. I have no data on the 46% ABV version of Amrut Intermediate Sherry. Get you some Amrut Naarangi if you want a unique experience. Orange rind and sherry treated barrels lead to sour and bitter orange with your sherried malt. Delicious, and, once again, so far, there is nothing else like it.

A'bunadh is very batch variable. Shop opinion for some of the best batches. Even a lesser batch is usually OK, but not always.

@Nozinan bringing back Amrut Intermediate Sherry Matured Single Malt? Excellent news! Thank you for posting.

3 months ago 2Who liked this?

@RianC
RianC replied

@MuddyFunster - All above are excellent recommendations and jump off points to finding what makes your palate zing!

My advice would be to try Scotches that have markedly differing flavour profiles. So Glenfarclas 15 or Glendronach 15 for sherried whisky, Ardbeg or PC 10 for peat, Springbank 10 Campbeltown, Old Pulteney 12, Clynelish 14 or AnCnoc 12 for Highland and Talisker 10 and/or Arran 10 for two different Island styles.

I agree with many that regions aren't particularly indicative of general flavour profiles but there is certainly still some overlap. Those suggestions would definitely give your palate and nose a good 'tour' of what Scotch can offer.

3 months ago 2Who liked this?

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