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Top 3 new discoveries in the last 6 months?

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roark started a discussion

What were your Top 3 new discoveries over the last 6 months? (i.e. Tasted for first time over last 6 months and loved it above all other new ones you've tasted during that time.)

And so we have a reference on your personal preference, what is your most often restocked go to bottle of all time?

For me:

Balblair 2002 - Floral/aromatic, Delicate, honest/clean/fresh Kavalan Solist Ex Bourbon - very fine spirit, sweetness is understated but so present, with very interesting notes (coconut and maybe white tea?) Ballantines 17 - the first blend I was truely floored by.

Go to: Lagavulin 16

10 years ago

16 replies

@Nozinan
Nozinan replied

Top 3 New Discoveries:

  1. Amrut Cask Strength original bottling (2007). It was the most memorable dram of my trip to Calgary in December.

  2. Booker's Small batch bourbon. The intensity of flavour and the thick mouth-feel were awesome. It was my second bourbon (of now 4) and I may never find one I like as much.

  3. Forty Creek Heart of Gold. An almost opposite of the Booker's, the flavours and smells are delicate, subtle, and it's a completely different style for a completely different mood.

In terms of my most often restocked bottle, I have bought more Aberlour A'Bunadh than any Scotch, but I only go through 1-1.5 bottles a year, depending on whether I can get people over to help me drink it. In the last year though, I've bought more bottles of Bladnoch than anything else, but that was more because there's no guarantee it will ever be available again. In that case I probably go through less than one bottle per year, and as it's rarer in North America, only for special occasions.

The only Scotches I've ever specifically replaced once emptied have been Springbank 12 YO CS, Aberlour A'Bunadh (I try to open a batch matching my age every year starting last year), and Bladnoch (I replaced a 10 year old with my current open 11 year old.

Of the bottles I have open, I would replace my Springbank Claret Wood if it were readily available, HP 12, Bruichladdich classic and Peat, Bowmore Laimrig, I'd also replace my Amrut bottles and Booker's. But it takes me a long time to go through these and while I WOULD replace them on the shelf in principle, I might force myself to empty a few before opening something, and I have a lot of untried malts to go through as well.

Such problems...

10 years ago 1Who liked this?

@Onibubba
Onibubba replied

Top 3 discoveries in the last 6 months:

1) I finally got around to trying Octomore, and I loved it. Got to sample a 2.1 at a bar, so I bought my first bottle, a 5.1. Since then I have bought another 5.1 and a 4.2, both unopened as of now. Heady stuff.

2) Weller 12 YO. Why had it taken me so long to try this? Probably because bottles have been scarce, and I am scotch whisky first, bourbon second. Still, this is a stellar drink, affordable, and takes oxygen well. Meaning the half full bottle I have tastes better now than when I opened it.

3) I got to try a sample of Black Bull 30. Quite possibly the best whisky I have had the pleasure of tasting. It might edge out the Balvenie Tun 1401 Batch 3 for me. If I ever found a bottle of this, at a reasonable price, I would pick it up. Wish I could get just one more taste...

My go to distillaries/drinks are Laphroaig for peat, Glenmo for sweet, and HP 18 for spot on.

10 years ago 2Who liked this?

@YakLord
YakLord replied

Top three new discoveries (October - March): Aberlour a'bunadh [Batch 46 - first a'bunadh ever, and I was very impressed], Nikka Miyagikyo 15yr, and Bain's Cape Mountain Single Grain from South Africa.

As for re-stocking, I've tried to avoid restocking any particular bottle, as there are so many different expressions to try that I don't want to fill up valuable cabinet space with repeats. The only exceptions for this rule so far have been Aberlour 10yr, and Compass Box Spice Tree.

10 years ago 0

@Alanjp
Alanjp replied

My top three recent discoveries:

1) Baby Blue corn whisky from Balcones. I tried it at a tasting event and truly fell in love with the thing, a uniquely sweet taste compared to anything I had ever sampled before. I know it's not everyones cup of tea, I spoke with @cowfish about this very same thing last weekend, but it done the business for me!

2) Teeling single grain whiskey, tried it this past weekend at Whisky Live and again found something that was just very different to the norm. Couldnt buy a bottle as it had sold out by the time I got round to attempting to purchase it, but it's now on the list to purchase going forward.

3) Armorik Breizh French Whisky (Whisky Breton), Whilst trawling through the TWE site every now and then I see something that stands out and warrants further investigation. I'd not tried French whisky before but when seeing the bottle online I thought I would take a chance. It was worth it too, quite a full bodied dram, there's a darkness to the taste as well, almost heavy, but very decent all the same.

Go to: Surprisingly I would admit it has been the Glen Moray Chardonnay Cask finish, yes it's cheap, and no it probably shouldnt work as well as it does, but I reckon I've gone through 3 or 4 bottles since first trying it. It's one I keep coming back to.

10 years ago 0

@PMessinger
PMessinger replied

@roark Great discussion you have started. For myself and my admiral/wife our top 3 new whisky's this past 6 months would have to be Scapa 16yr old. Dalmore 18yr old. High West Campfire. As to restocking my cabinet I have three that will always be on hand Octomore (any of them) Old Pulteney 12yr, and my favorite blend Isle of Skye 12yr old or the 8yr old. Thanks again for such an interesting discussion. :)

10 years ago 0

roark replied

@pMessinger - Glad you found it interesting. Let's see if it stays alive. And thanks to both you and @Onibubba, I feel a little less of a sucker now with the pricy Octomores. Been thinking about buying a bottle of the 10, just so see where all that youthful beauty landed.

10 years ago 0

@Ol_Jas
Ol_Jas replied

A little different answer here:

First, I discovered that I dislike sherried drams. For a long time, I'd been ignoring them in my selections in favor of peat-dominated scotches and bourbon-matured scotches. Over the past six months, I tried a few sherried guys and bought a bottle of a'bunadh batch 44. Not for me. Too sweet and flat. I could probably enjoy a dram of something heavily sherried at Christmas, but otherwise it does very little for me. Better than bourbon, though...

Second, ditto on bourbon. I live in the USA and grew up, so to speak, drinking and mixing bourbon. Now that I feel like a serious whisk(e)y drinker, I gave serious attention to bourbons like Wild Turkey Rare Breed. Like the sherried scotch, it doesn't do it more me. Too sweet. And maybe this is a conditioning thing, but it tastes like it belongs in a tall glass mixed with Coke.

Third, peated whisky is totally where it's at. Nothing else really does it for me, I've discovered. I like some other stuff (like basic bourbon-matured Irish and Scottish whisky Knappogue Castle and Old Pulteney), but mostly as a counterbalance to the peated stuff.


To be more orthodox, my top three recent whiskies are Laphroaig 10 CS, Ardbeg Corryvreckan, and peated IB BenRiachs (to which the OBs, like Curiositas, are probably an equal).

My most often restocked bottles of all time are Laphroaig 10 CS and Knappogue Castle 1995 or 12YO.

10 years ago 0

@Ol_Jas
Ol_Jas replied

Given what unopened bottles are currently under my bar and what I plan to pick up when I visit the UK this June, here are the top three+ discoveries that I HOPE to make in the NEXT six months:

Mezcal. I have a bottle of Del Maguay that I intend to open around Cinco De Mayo. Bring on the smoke!

PC7. I've had the An Turas Mor and thought it was great. i'm currently sitting on a bottle of unopened PC7 that I hope will rock my world in fall 2014.

Springbank Claret Wood. This has nothing but awesome reviews. A bottle is patiently waiting for me under my bar. (It was a toss-up whether to call out this bottle or the Longrow Red in this slot.)

Talisker 57 North. I plan to finally buy this bottle when I visit the UK this June. It will be my nightly tipple while I travel around Northern Ireland.

10 years ago 0

@sengjc
sengjc replied

Amrut Intermediate Sherry. Longrow CV. Glenmorangie Ealanta.

10 years ago 0

@sengjc
sengjc replied

If I could, I would sneak in the Kavalan Sherry as the fourth. ;)

10 years ago 0

roark replied

@OlJas - I am glad you posted because I was beginning to suspect that maybe I just do not enjoy heavily sherried malts myself, though I do not mind the sherry influence in peated malts it would appear. "Too sweet and flat" just about describes my experience with Glendronach 15, 18, 21 (which came highly recommended to me). The difference is that I am such a newbie that I not quite ready to pronounce an entire category gone. Peated malts are certainly my center too, but I've been trying to specifically break out into newer experiences. For now, I've found that lighter malts (Tomintoul, Balblair, An Cnoc) are providing a nice contrast to the peat blasts.

10 years ago 1Who liked this?

@olivier
olivier replied

@OlJas It is rare that one sees a mention of Knappogue Castle 1995, but it is quite startling, with a unique nose of red berries (like the German Rote Grüze one eats in the fall).

10 years ago 0

@olivier
olivier replied

@OlJas I think you'll like the Talisker 57 North. IMHO it is the best OB Talisker, with its citrussy nose and taste.

10 years ago 0

@Ol_Jas
Ol_Jas replied

@roark, I think we’re of the same mind about sherried whisky. For me, they fall in the category “bad whisky is still better than a good day at work”—that is, I appreciate that feeling lukewarm about a whisky type is one the best problems to have when you consider the scale of REAL problems that many people have. They’re fun and I’ll keep trying them when offered, but I’m unlikely to buy another bottle anytime soon.

And I agree that sherry influence that plays second fiddle to peat is a nice combination. But I still prefer Ardbeg’s Corryvreckan to their Uigeadail, for example.

And I like your list of lighter malts to provide contrast to the peaties. I don’t think I’ve had Tomintoul or Balblair; I’ll put them on my mental list for the next time I need a lighter one. And I really do think you need that contrast: For a while I was drinking nothing but different peated whiskies I reached the point where the peat no longer stood out to me as a special flavor component. I think I have tasting notes somewhere for Connemara CS that say something like “It’s got a clean, fresh blast—is that the peat? I can’t even tell anymore.” Then I went and bought a Nadurra.

10 years ago 0

@Ol_Jas
Ol_Jas replied

@olivier, I think the basic Knappogue Castle single malts are some of the best values around. The old 1995 and the newish 12YO that replaced it are very similar. Light, crisp, easy—though I can’t claim any recognition of those Rote Grüze berries you mention. :)

And thanks for the note about the Talisker 57 North. Part of my fascination with it is probably due to its unavailability where I live, but it really does sound like a taste experience that’s right up my alley. Really zippy.

10 years ago 0

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@PMessinger