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I'm not expert in smoky whiskie even though I like them when are not very strong, but I feel that Ardbeg 10 is bonfire and not medicinal.
For me as I spent many summers in the Swedish north there it is huge amounts of peat, I usually associate peat with a bit sourness. Like a Bruichladdich unpeated classic laddie.
But in Sweden we just use the work "rökig", (english: smokey) to describe a smokey whisky. The word peat we don't use. What word(s) is used in German? I would presume that "rauch" is used but also some other words?
I'm along the same line as you are with smoky whiskies. I like whiffs of smoke that compliment the scotch...not an overpowering "stink" of medicine, iodine, etc.
The best advise that I can give is to experiment and keep track of what you like and don't like. Unfortunately, everyone has a different "line" that separates which smoky whiskies they like and don't like, and as you can already tell, opinions vary (something Laphroaig takes pride in).
But in general, it's best to work your way up in intensity. If you like the Talisker 10 and want more smoke, then try the Storm. If you like the laphroaig Triple Wood, then try the ten year or Quarter Cask.
For me, I don't like smoky whiskies that are aged only in ex-bourbon barrels; the nose is too strong. However, I LOVE smoky whiskies that are finished/aged in sherry casks/butts: Laphroaig Triple Wood, Bowmore 15, Ardbeg Uigedail, and Talisker Distillers Edition, for example. The influence from the sherry gives it extra complexity while balancing out the intensity.
Now that I think about it, though, if you like "clean smoke" (like you said), consider Kilchoman Machir Bay. They are not too heavily peated and I remember it being very crisp and kind of refreshing. The Kilchoman Sanaig has more sherry influence if your looking for complexity. An added note: the Machir Bay is very affordable (less than $55 where I'm from) so it's not like you're going to be out 100 dollars if you don't like it.
Great advice thanks for commenting I went with Benromach Peat Smoke 2006/1016. It's fantastic, It's a smoke I like sweet not medinical or meaty very well done.
They use the words 'rauchig' and 'torfig'. Where the first one means smoky and the second one peaty.
@FUBAR Hey Fubar! Great question this one. I really like it. I felt like this for a long time as well. If you want a CRISP, clean smoke - which is not overwhelming, the Mackmyra Svensk Rög is on the top of my list! To me, this is a absolutely wonderful dram.I hope you find what you seek!
Tastes are changing lol, just picked up a bottle of Lagavulin 16 and love it!
I agree with @hwchoy about Laphroig 10, @FUBAR. Campfire 100%. Great companion drink to an American style barbecue cookout! Liquid campfire smoke, haha.Ardbeg 10 is less bonfire to my palate, but also heavily peated. So maybe this is resulting from what @horst_s described, different burning practices/phenols, etc.In my opinion, Talisker 10 is the best. Only as smokey as say... smoked salmon. Laphroig, on the other hand, could be nicknamed "Smokey the Bear."
@bedlamborn Funny how much we disagree! Different palates entirely!I don't find Laphroaig medicinal AT ALL. Not even the slightest bit.
That hows how our different senses are from person to person. Because I get an iodine tone from the Laphroaig which I associate with medications against cough when I was young.
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