Greetings to all!
Spent some years sampling different import and micro brewed beers, where I prefer stronger ales like quads or a good imperial stout. Now venturing into bourbon and scotch. So far, I 've tried Woodford Reserve bourbon; I've also tried Macallan 12 (sherry oak) and Glenfiddich 15.
Hands down, scotch is far more interesting to me. Of the two I've tried, my preference is slightly in favor of the Macallan, though the 'fiddich is quite good.
I'm thinking of trying one of the Glenmorangie's next, or maybe a Glenfarclas. Part of me wants to go Lagavulin 16.
Any suggestions?? Thanks in advance!
Well I'll tell you right now the lagavulin is going to be very different from what you've tried.
What you've had is mostly sweeter whiskies. Lagavulin is smoky, peaty and somewhat savory. It's something most people either love or hate.
That said, you should try at least one Islay scotch (ardbeg, laphroaig, Lagavulin, Caol ila, Bowmore, etc.)
Glenfarclas and glenfiddich are generally good, affordable sweet whiskies.
Thanks for the feedback. It's the difference that makes me interested in Lagavulin. Just as quads tend to be sweet in beer, sometimes I go the other way for a double IPA and enjoy the piney bitterness.
The Macallan and Glenfiddich that I tried were definitely sweet. The only thing off putting about Lagavulin or any of the other Islay scotches is the peat. Smoky is fine, but I have no clue what the peat tastes like. Is it earthy, grassy or something else? Since our tastes are all a little different, I guess the only real way to know is try it :D
Definitely try the Lagavulin 16 - it is one of the most universally acclaimed scotch products available for single malt fans and will knock your socks off. However, the Lagavulin Distillers Edition and 12 are two that will not be so universally loved. I didn't like either one, although they are favorites of many others.
smoke vs peat....not an easy one to answer.
Peatiness is smokey, but it's not just smoke. It's not smokey like woodsmoke or a bonfire (although some can be), it's more like the smoke you would get from dried leaves and icing sugar - such as very good tobacco. Hard to imagine I know, good peating wafts and gently floats above your tongue and leaves you with a long finish with a destinctive sweetness. It's the sweetness that characterises it unlike a drying woody finish from woodsmoke.
There are different types of peat used for whiskies, maritime peat (island) contains more plant matter than mainland peat, so you get a more earthy medicinal sweetness, mainland tends to be more smokey.
In terms of a line of variation;
Lagavulin 16 - very smokey level of peatiness, verging on woodsmoke.
Ardbeg 10 - perfect balance, smoke but done sweetly with great deftness.
laphroaig 10 - medincinal, salty smoke. Seaweed and iodine.
It's kinda hard to describe it to you, you need to tatest the stuff really. Laga is good, but if you want a masterclass on how peat is handled with balance then pick up an Ardbeg 10.
I also prefer the 12yr Laga to the 16yr, less heavy hitting smoke, more sweet and no chill filtering and cask strength :)
Islay Peat & opelfruit,
Thanks for the info! Much appreciated! I see that Masters of Malt is again able to ship to USA, so the plan is to order some samples and taste some of the different scotches on my wish list.
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