Islay- one by one
Though I would not say my single malt experience is limited, I am very limited in Islay distilleries. That said, I have committed to purchasing one bottle per distiller and finishing it before moving on to the next. I am currently finishing Bunnahabhain 12 and have a bottle of Ardbeg 10 waiting next. Now is the part where I need advice:
1. Laphroaig - 10 or Quarter Cask (same price)
2. Bowmore - 12 or Legend ($20 dollar price difference (worth it?)
3. Lagavulin - 16 or 12 ($35 more for the 12)
4. Bruichladdich - which one is best value?
5. Caol Ila - Intending to get the 12
6. Kilchomen - I'll take what I can find
In addition, I would love suggestions on a recommended order to approach these. After trying all, I intend to go back and try other expressions (ugga, corryvrecken, etc.)
Thanks for all your help!
I guess I would start with the Laphiog since its the best know and will give the best base to judge the other by on what a Islay should be. And then from there you can go the Lagavulin 16 and Caol 12. I would drink them in this order if it was me.
1. Laphiog 10- to set a base.
4. Bowmore- I am on of the few that prefer Darkest but to stay to the Islay, I would get 12
5. Bruichladdich- Classic to get a sense of what their base brand is and then try there heavy peated.
6. Kilchomen- 100% Islay if you could.
You must get the Laphroaig 10 (very tasty). It's an Islay icon. The quarter cask should be about $7 more so a good buy for the same price. I much prefer the Ardbeg 10 to both however. I felt the Quarter Cask (also very tasty) was a bit harsh, crude, green, unrefined. The Lag 16 is a very good dram but overrated and overpriced in my opinion.
The Bowmore 12 is a good whisky but boring compared to the big southern island peats.
From what I've heard on the Caol Ila 12, I'd not even bother with it.
I would say the Lag 16 is somewhat more refined that the Laphroaig 10.
Speaking of icons, although it is technically not an Islay because the distillery is on the Isle of Skye, Tallisker is an iconic peat monster nonetheless.
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