Laphroaig 10 Surprise
So far I've had 5 "different" whiskies. Four were from Glenmorangie from a sampler (which lead me to purchase a Quinta Ruban and still hunting for a Nectar D'Or) and Macallan 12. I love them so much I swear whisky is my new favorite thing. I'm going to go broke replenishing my stock
So, tonight at a lounge I saw a bottle of Laphoaig 10 sitting on the shelf and ordered a glass (neat, and I requested it served in a "nosing glass" as I don't know what the glass is actually called in a bar). I figured this was a cheaper way of figuring out what I like than buying and bottle and hating it.
Well, I'm glad I did. I drank liquid old english pipe tobacco. I can't stand old english pipe tobacco. At first I was disgusted and the bartender walked buy and made a disgusted face at the smell. I then decided to try it again and really pick out each flavor.
Yep, still gross. But I can say that I appreciate the work that went into this whisky. It's just not for me.
So, I have to ask. Is this peaty, smoky flavor common in whisky? Did I just get lucky with my first two bottles or am I going to be severely limited in what I will be enjoying. What are whiskies I should just straight up avoid? The peat, seaweed, smokey flavor is NOT my thing.
I must say I feel a little less manly. Perhaps I don't deserve my beard.
It's all a matter of taste. I love the big peaty Ardbegs as well as completely peatless Balvenie Doublewood. There are many hundreds of different offerings. You can spend a lifetime tasting them all.
The Japanese also make wonderful whiskeys.
Having said that, there are a number of scotches that have varying levels of peatiness and/or smokiness, from mild to heavy. Many of the Islay whiskies are peated, but there are also peated expressions from other regions (BenRiach produces both peated and unpeated whiskies, for example). Of the Islay scotches, I've tasted Lagavulin 16, Ardbeg Corryvreckan, and Bunnahabhain 12. The Laga & Corry are different but both are pretty peaty, whereas the Bunna is a very mild expression. I haven't yet had the pleasure of tasting any of the Laphroaig expressions.
By the way, I found the Lagavulin 16 a little too smokey for my palate, but very much enjoyed the Corryvreckan. The Bunnahabhain was on the verge of being too mild for me.
As for being limited, absolutely NOT. There are a LOT of scotch whiskies to be had that are not peated, far more than I can name. Get on one of the online stockist and read through the tasting notes for some suggestions. On some of those websites, you can search by region if you're like me and didn't really know any distilleries by name when I first started.
And what may sound surprising is that if you sip your way through some other different expressions and work back to one that is mildly peated, you might have developed a taste for it.
No need to give up the man card either :D We all have different tastes.
Enjoy the journey!
Peat can definitely be an acquired taste. You didn't know it before sipping the Laphroiag 10 but that distillery is considered by some to be peatier than most other expressions known for a smokey/peat taste profile.
The good news for you is that most scotch does not feature a peaty pallet and there are plenty of bottles for you to try without that seaweed smokey flavor that you detest.
So which distilleries are known for peat? Ardbeg, Laphroaig, Caol Ila, Lagavulin and Talisker are at the forefront but there are others. My guess is that somewhere less than 20% of the scotch whisky out there can be lumped into the "peaty" category.
Because being peaty is becoming more popular with scotch enthusiasts you should be able to find some mention of it on the label or in the packaging so I recommend you do some reading before purchasing. If you can, attend some scotch tastings. This will greatly improve your whisky experience and will lead you to other bottles that are similar to Glenmorangie.
If you like Glenmorangie I recommend something from Cragganmore, Dalwhinnie, or Balvenie. All are relatively easy to find and should be similar to what you have tried already.
Don't give up yet! Try a taste of the cleaner, more refined Ardbeg 10. I prefer it to the Laphroaig 10 by a mile.
If that is still not to your liking try a Bowmore 12.
Just sitting here, sipping on some Laphroaig 10. From your reaction to trying the laph 10, I'd say give up on Islay or maybe try it again in a years time, doesn't mean you're less manly. The smoky peaty flavour is a characteristic of Islay whisky. Personally, I love Islay but everyone's taste buds are different. You said you enjoy Glenmorangie and Macallan so why don't you try some different Speyside or Highland malts? (I have seen Macallan described both as Speyside and Highland??)eg Glen-fiddich/livet/rothes/moray/farclas. I haven't tried The Balvenie yet but I have never heard a bad word about it. Perhaps a softer region like the lowlands, eg Auchentoshan..
There is nothing wrong with having an aversion to the smell of band-aids and the taste of turpentine which characterize many Islay malts.
As already stated, there are many fine single malts out there with much less peat and smoke. My favorites include a half dozen relatively inexpensive, readily locally available and totally enjoyable "core expressions" from Speyside and the Highlands. They are not peat- or smoke-free, but the emphasis is on heather, honey, sherry and malt. In no particular order: Aberlour 12, MacAllan 12, Balvenie Doublewood 12, Cragganmore 12 and Dalmore 12. Fine whiskies all.
Some possible "intro to peat" entries include Highland Park, Oban, Old Pulteney, Bunnahabhain and Bowmore. These are peated more heavily than the Speysides, but are milder than the typical Islay peat monsters like Laphroig, Ardbeg, Talisker and Lagavulin.
If you can find a local whisky tasting event, it is a great opportunity to taste before investing in a bottle of something you may not like.
Case in point - a friend told me he hated Islay scotch because of Laphroaig 10 and instantly changed his mind when I gave him some Ardbeg Corryvreckan.
One of the worst ways to try an Islay is to pour a glass then immediately taste it and it will always go better with a first timer if you'll pour a glass, then spend the next 10 minutes or so getting acquainted with it. Just sniff it and get your senses used to the idea of what's in the glass before giving them a full-on assault.
Using this approach I've had many first time tasters like Islay's right away.
Keep that Laphoaig for a later date. I think down the road you may learn to love it.
I started my journey with Lagavulin 16 not knowing anything about the different regions and flavors.
I fell in love with the islay whisky flavor of peat and smoke.
I have recently been working on the Belvenie flavor profile. Just opened a bottle of single cask 15 and found it to be absolutely beautiful stuff. Mouth feel is thick and the flavors are completely unpeated and without the smoke.
A couple days before that I opened a Balvenie 17 YO Maderia cask. At this time the 15 without the added wine finish is better although I do like the wine finish on many whisky's.
It's a journey for sure as long as the pocket book holds up.
I just got back from a store that is a bit of a drive to see what they had in then Bavnie tun 1401 to see if they had the newest batch 9 but no luck.
They did have some batch #6 so I picked up a couple to add to the collection.
They have more batch #6 in stock so I'm thinking of buying more as it's $225 each which is a good price.
Anyway, have fun as this Scotch whisky is incredible stuff.
No end in sight.
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