Recommendations (Most Likely Islay)
My first single malt (that was memorable) was Lagavulin. I have been chasing the smoke of that first dram for a number of years at this point but have been ending up with too much iodine and sweetness. I have ventured over to Laphroaig 10 and 15, Ardbeg 10, Caol Ila 12 and Talisker 10. I also keep Glenmorangie 10, The Macallan 10 (oak) and 12 (sherry) and a few other less smoky drams around but they speak to me less often.
My question is where can I find the smoke with less iodine and sweetness? So far Talisker has been best. I usually drink my scotch with a few drops of water. Any recommendations? Bowmore maybe?
Recommendations (most likely Islay)
If you are looking for smoke and like smoke but without all the medicinal characteristics of Islay malts, then BENRIACH Curiositas 46%ABV or BENRIACH Curiositas 40%ABV is the expression(s) you want. A fantastic dram. If you can find the 46%ABV which was the first release, buy it. It may be difficult to find. It is more intense than the second release of 40%ABV. But settle for the 40% if that is all you can find. You will be pleasantly surprised.
A bit of history: Years ago when BENRIACH was owned by Seagrams ( Bronfmann family ), it was thought that since the company didn't own an Islay distillery, SMOKEY Islay malts would be difficult to obtain for blended whiskies. To combat this, BENRIACH ran peated batches to ensure they would have smokey whiskies for the Seagram's blends ( i. e., CHIVAS REGAL ). A smart idea, but as it turned out, Islay malts survived and thrive; so peated whiskies are available for the blending houses. For me BENRIACH is a much under-appreciated malt which deserves to move to the front of the class.
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