Birthday Bash Buying: Suggestions?
hey, folks. a newbie here--and a relative newbie to SMSW (and to scotch--and whisk(e)y--more generally)...
here's the deal. i've discovered/developed a taste for scotch these past couple of years. my first single malt was an absolute home run: laphroaig quarter cask, the one single malt of which i've bought multiple bottles thus far. i live in japan and have started to explore the world of japanese whisky, as well, but, so far, i've found more satisfaction in scotch expressions. i have a birthday coming up (5-0!), and I've decided to spend a few bucks on buying several bottles at once, perhaps doing some head-to-head comparisons/tastings. apart from laphroaig's QC and 10 y.o. expressions, i've invested in bottles of ardbeg 10 and talisker 10 (last year's b-day), as well as nikka's yoichi NAS (dirt cheap, and quite nice) & from the bottle (a vatted expression, tho' apparently we should call it a blend). other drams i've had include bowmore 12; highland park 18 y.o.; and several ardbeg NAS expressions (uigedail; airigh nam beist; supernova 2010). so far, i've found laphroaig brings satisfaction that no other expression has really managed to do, a start-to-finish pleasure on all fronts. uigedail may bring equal satisfaction, but it is different (partly the sherried finish?), not to mention coting about twice as much (i can get the QC for the equivalent of about 36 US dollars--and it was as low as 30 or so before a recent price hike due to a declining yen). so, i would like a little advice. i am looking to spend maybe 120 bucks or so tops, for which i can get 3-4 nice bottles online in japan. i've pretty well settled on caol ila 12 (about 35 bucks) and lagavulin 16 (about 45 bucks). after tat, i have a few ideas, and i'd love any advice or input on the matter. which of these do you think would make an interesting combination for comparison or advancing my education?
--highland park 12 (quite enjoyed a dram of the HP 18: surprising, given my love of islay expressions and the failure to get my itch scratched by non-islay offerings)
--laphroaig cask strength (i've yet to try it and LOVE the QC, as well as the 10 y.o.--and the 15 or 18 would be too dear)
--springbank 10 (or CV)(have heard much good buzz about this one, although my one dram of it left me undecided, so maybe more time to get to know it would be informative?)
--the peat monster (or big peat or some other strong specialty bottle)
--nikka's pure malt white and pure malt black (blends/vatted, but with good word of mouth, and also very cheap: around 15 bucks for 50 cl for each)
--some dark horse... maybe a different character to contrast with the others?
if i settle on the HP 12, i might be able to squeeze in an extra inexpensive bottle (or possibly the 2 nikka offerings): HP 12 can be had for about 25 bucks online. however, it is one of the bottles that i can probbaly get my hands on more easily than, say, the peat monster. my only misgiving about the peat monster or perhaps big peat is that it might duplicate much of the character of the caol ila 12--and i'm sure that i have a relatively undiscerning palate, so maybe it would provide less of an education than trying something a tad different (HP 12, for example, or maybe a cask strength sherried expression like glenfarclas 105?)
generally, i find that i like expressions that leave a strong impression of one sort or another. however, the most satisfying drams, so far, have been impressive at every step of the journey to the bottom of the glass: i've been less than fully satisfied with "one-trick ponies" like talisker 10 (great pepper kick) or supernova (wonderful alcohol tongue prickle/heat), which just didn't do it for me.
any thoughts? i'd love to hear. as you can probably tell, my tastes tend toward the smoky, peaty, big, and meaty: an "if it ain't islay, it ain't scotch" sort of approach (i know that's not true, obviously, but it describes my enjoyment so far)...
thanks in advance, and slainte!
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