Looking for a Recommendation..
I am very glad to be on this forum as a newly-obsessed scotch fanatic . I have become very interested and have tried quite a few malts and blends in the past month.
I am looking for a good sort of middle of the road single malt to get in my bar (aka the cabinet above my fridge) and hopefully into my favorites. Basically I am looking for something that runs along the light, sweet, fresh, sherry, fruity speyside kind of range that has just a HINT of smokey/peaty flavor. I would prefer an older expression (18-21+ years) as they tend to seem a bit more complex and rich in flavor and texture, however I would also appreciate younger (at least 10-12 years) recommendations that are more affordable. I don't want to spend over $200, and cheaper is always better as long as it's good.
I realize this is an odd request for a single malt, as malts tend to have regional traits, but I am hoping the trend of regions blending will play to my favor here. I have had Laphroaig and it was just too much for me, I am trying to get used to it but its not a favorite, although it has a wonderful nose. The smoky flavor I am looking for would be similar to that found in Johnnie Walker Blue Label, for those who have tried it. But I can't bring myself to spend that much on a blend without an age, even if I enjoy it. The closest thing I've found so far has been Clynelish, but not quite enough smoky-ness for me. I haven't found anything that gets just the right smoky amount as I have found in "nicer" overpriced blends.
For reference, here is what I have tried so far:
-JW Black Label
-JW Green Label
-Glenfiddich 12 (great for the price)
-Glenlivet 12 (too much spirit heat for me)
-JW Blue Label
-Balvenie 15 Year Single Cask @ Cask Strength (odd nose)
-Glenmorangie 12 yr Lasanta
-Glenmorangie Extremely Rare 18 Year
-Laphroaig 10 Year
-Clynelish 14 Year
-Chivas Regal 12 Year
Thanks to those who made it through all that and replied. I appreciate all answers.