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Which Islay Malt to Start With?

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@blastedoak42
blastedoak42 started a discussion

As a newbie to single malt who started out with a few Speyside bottles, I am looking to expand gently into the peatier Islay malts.

Any suggestions as to a good starting point? Thanks people!

13 years ago

17 replies

@OCeallaigh
OCeallaigh replied

Well the first one I tried was Lagavulin 16 but wasn't a huge fan... however, I was determined to like peat. So I kept drinking it. I started drinking Connemara. The gentle sweet peat helped me acclimate to the flavour. Then I started drinking Laphroaig and over time, I just acquired the taste for it. Just drink as many peated whiskies as you can and eventually you'll give into the power of the peat.

13 years ago 0

@edceanncaidhe

@OCeallaigh peat is the true taiste of scotland (Fact) for me everthing else, is just fruit juice, in disguise as whisky . new brands ,new flavours, & all the sad connosrs of this world going mad for the new taiste...I say BOLLOCKS ArdBeg is the Daddy & laphroaig is its wee sister everything else is just fruit juice.....

13 years ago 0

@edceanncaidhe

take it from me my freind stick ur nose in Islay & keep it there. its the only place in scotland worth smelling ... good luck peathead//

13 years ago 0

@edceanncaidhe

@ed-ceann-caidhe dont waist your money on duff whisky ! & for gods sake, dont ,listen to all the.. I know everything about whisky type of people on this page .. do your self a favour & walk the peat road you,ll never regret it ..

13 years ago 0

@Andrew
Andrew replied

if you are looking to expand "gently" then maybe you want to take a stop before you jump to Islay .. Springbank 's more peaty sister Longrow offers a good option. Campbelltown is on the way to Islay after all. While Ed has a certain point, jumping to Ardbeg or Laphroig right from Balvenie may be too big a step .. we want you to like it after all. If you really want to jump in at the deep end I would go with the Laphroig Quarter cask, the best price point in Peat (My opinion) and you will certainly know what peat is about after your first glass, it is not in any way gentle though.

If money is not really an issue the Lagavoulin 16 offers the best chance for a gentle introduction to serious peat.. nice sherry notes like the HP and Aberlour you're familiar with make the peat mellower. Oddly though my wife hates the smell of it but likes any Laphroig or Ardbeg.

13 years ago 0

@BlueNote
BlueNote replied

@blastedoak42. Ardbeg 10 was the one that got me hooked on peat after resisting it for many years. Good price and could be considered the quintessential Islay. Bowmore 12 might also be a good entry point. I had to persevere to aquire the taste. Dobn't give up if you don't get it right away. Cheers.

13 years ago 0

@michaelschout

I agree that Bowmore 12 could be a good starting point, it was in fact the first single malt that I ever had. Lag 16 was what really got me hooked on Islay malts though. I think any of the typical Bowmores would be a great starting point if you're a little more timid about the peat because they are a lot less medicinal than Laphroaig or Ardbeg in my opinion. Just another small thing, personally I need to be in the right mood for an Islay malt, which thankfully is most of the time. There are sometimes though when I'll have a dram of Laphroaig QC or Lag 16 and can't stand them, just because I'm really not in the mood. I don't know if this happens to others or not, but it's something to consider maybe.

13 years ago 0

@T4sho3
T4sho3 replied

I would recommend getting the Islay collection from Whisky Exchange, it may be pricey but definitely will get you started into the peat, Islay Collection 2006 100cl / 48.08% Islay Single Malt Scotch Whisky Distillery Bottling Want to know more about Islay whisky? Here's the perfect intro - a quarter bottle each of Caol Ila 12 yrs, Caol Ila 18 yrs, Lagavulin 12 yrs (cask strength), Lagavulin 16 yrs and the delicious Port Ellen 6th release. Please note that the PE 6th release and Lagavulin 12yo in this pack are different strengths than the 70cl bottlings originally released! This was from the website and has a wonderful range especially ending with a port ellen, hope this helped

13 years ago 0

@OCeallaigh
OCeallaigh replied

@ed-ceann-caidhe I agree. once I developed the taste for it, I can't get enough. Ardbegs rarely cease to amaze me as well as some wonderful Laphroaigs and Caol Ilas. It's all about the peat.

13 years ago 0

UserRemoved replied

The Laphroaig 15YR is an elegant choice to begin your Islay journey. Also the Lagavulin Distiller's Edition is a great choice.

13 years ago 0

@blastedoak42
blastedoak42 replied

Thanks to all for your helpful advice. This certainly gives me a few starting points.

13 years ago 0

@hawkscotch
hawkscotch replied

Bowmore 18 provides the peat in a more subtle manner than some of the other Islay malts. I would give this a go. Eventually, a Lagavulin, Ardbeg or laphroaig is where you will want to get your peat hit!

13 years ago 0

@rwbenjey
rwbenjey replied

I would start with either Bowmore 18 year or Caol Ila 12 year. The big three--Ardbeg, Laphroaig, Lagavulin--can be quite strong for first timers (though that is subjective, as I was introduced with Laphroaig 10 year CS).

13 years ago 0

@db44
db44 replied

Albeit fom another newbie who can't claim a wide experience in sampling, I'm not sure you can -or would want to- start gently!

In no particular order, Laphroaig Quarter cask; Ardbeg 10; Lagavullin 16 - none of them will let you down if your chasing peat. Also I’ve found Bowmore darkest an interesting sideroad worth a try.

Against that, I've an unopened Caol Ila 12, so mibbe looking at earlier posts I've something a bit subtler on the way

Whatever way you go, enjoy.

13 years ago 0

@Alan
Alan replied

If you are used to Speysiders, the transition from sweet to peat might hit you like a wall. The core Ardbeg, Caol Ila, Lagavulin and Laphroaig expressions are all excellent, but you might be better going for Bunnahabhain 12 year old as a transition malt.

13 years ago 1Who liked this?

@Peatlover
Peatlover replied

i would say Caol Ila or Bowmore to start. I wouldn't go for "big heavy" (i.e. Laphroig or Ardberg). One of my favourite whiskies is Bowmore 12. Good price. Great whisky.

13 years ago 0