Hello from Huntington Beach, California USA!

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  • normanlao
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    Member normanlao
    Joined: 13.08.2015Posts: 19CollectionNorm's CollectionRatings: 1
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    "Heidjer" wrote:
    Hi Norm and welcome to the forum.

    I started out tasting whisky about two years ago and Ardbeg Uigeadail was among the first twenty whiskies I tasted and now going 300 (thanks to the German forum infrastructure and the possibilities of mailing samples), it's still among the top 20 whiskies I've tasted.

    If you want to try more sherried non-peated whiskies, I would not necissarily start with the 18yo Macallan since it is that expensive. In the German forum we're about to blind taste alternatives, but even without that, I'd recommend to try GlenDronach 15, 18 or 21yo or some older independent sherry cask bottlings that are still in the two digit price range. I haven't tasted any Aberlours yet, but the 18yo is said to be very good.

    If you want to try different peated malts, I'd also recommend Laphroaig. If you don't want to spend too much it'd be the Quarter Cask, if you want to spend more the 10yo Cask Strangth (any batch) is the best regularly available bottle imho. A great expression if you can find it in the US would be this year's Cairdeas: http://www.whisky.com/whisky-database/bottle-search/details/fdb/Bottles/Details/laphroaig-feis-ile-2015-200th-anniversary-edition.html
    It's really the essence of Laphroaig.

    I'm a huge fan of this distillery, so you may want to try the standard 10yo in a bar first, since the medicinal side of peat is not everyone's cup of tea.


    Thanks for the advice!!!
    "I am a Ranger." "We walk in the dark places no others will enter." "We stand on the bridge, and no one may pass." "We live for the One, we die for the One!"
  • normanlao
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    Joined: 13.08.2015Posts: 19CollectionNorm's CollectionRatings: 1
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    So thanks to everyone for the feedback. I've taken a great deal of time to deliberate on several choices to round out my starter set for my bar.

    I DO truly enjoy the Ardbeg so I decided on continuing that exploration with the Laphroaig Quarter Cask and the Lagavulin 16. The Balvenie Doublewood 12 was also highly recommended so I decided to taste that for my Speyside and I've always wanted to try Glenmorangie because of recommendations from friends as being a very good social whisky - so I decided to collect the Glenmorangie 18 as my Highland whisky.

    The Lagavulin 16 was a little higher priced than I wanted, but both Ben and Horst recommended that so based on their feedback, I was able to justify the price in my own mind LOL!

    The Glenmorangie 18...I know that there are a lot of choices in the Highland Single Malts but there is just something about the presentation and the color that seems really intriguing to me.

    So I have attached an image of my Single Malt Starter Bar. If there is ONE more bottle that needs to be there, please let me know. Otherwise, I think I have reached a pretty good balance and volume for what I need for tasting and relaxing.

    Thanks everyone!

    Norm

    IMG_0052.jpg 242.6K
    "I am a Ranger." "We walk in the dark places no others will enter." "We stand on the bridge, and no one may pass." "We live for the One, we die for the One!"
  • Heidjer Member Heidjer Joined: 05.07.2014Posts: 39CollectionHeidjer's CollectionRatings: 0
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    Good selection. Enjoy them thoroughly for a couple of weeks and eveluate what you like and dislike. Only then I'd recommend to go on for more.

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  • normanlao
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    Joined: 13.08.2015Posts: 19CollectionNorm's CollectionRatings: 1
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    "Heidjer" wrote:
    Good selection. Enjoy them thoroughly for a couple of weeks and eveluate what you like and dislike. Only then I'd recommend to go on for more.


    Thanks! I really look forward to enjoying them. So far I have tasted all of them but the Balvenie and that will most likely be this weekend.

    I have tasted all of my Islay collection and so far, Ardbeg is still my favorite. It may not have the same refinement and roundness as the Lagavulin 16 or the sea-spray saltiness and mellow caramel of the Laphroaig Quarter Cask...but what I LOVE about the Ardbeg is the DEMAND it makes of me as I taste it. It seriously commands all of my taste buds because it is such an extreme flavor profile and I enjoy the large flavor - even if a tad unrefined compared to the other Islays.

    The Glenmorangie I find quite delicious in an Orange Creme and slightly spicy way. And that will probably be a nice change if I feel I need some variety from the Islays.

    But, like food, you gravitate towards the flavors you like and ultimately stay within the comfort level of that specific profile.

    My other Single Malt Scotch drinking friends are surprised how much I enjoy the Islays. And in some ways, so am I. But I am glad that they didn't turn me off to this tasting experience. Far from it and quite the opposite.

    Although, I have to say - HORST's videos have really given me a fantastic education about the tasting approach and experience and I can clearly admit that if it wasn't for his VLOGs - I probably wouldn't have tried at all. But I truly appreciate HORST's respect and approach to teaching while tasting.
    "I am a Ranger." "We walk in the dark places no others will enter." "We stand on the bridge, and no one may pass." "We live for the One, we die for the One!"
  • horst_s Administrator horst_s Joined: 01.07.2014Posts: 345Ratings: 704
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    "normanlao" wrote:
    Although, I have to say - HORST's videos have really given me a fantastic education about the tasting approach and experience and I can clearly admit that if it wasn't for his VLOGs - I probably wouldn't have tried at all. But I truly appreciate HORST's respect and approach to teaching while tasting.
    Thank you very much for the praise.
    Kind regards, Horst Luening, Master Taster, Whisky.com
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  • normanlao
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    Joined: 13.08.2015Posts: 19CollectionNorm's CollectionRatings: 1
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    "horst_s" wrote:
    "normanlao" wrote:
    Although, I have to say - HORST's videos have really given me a fantastic education about the tasting approach and experience and I can clearly admit that if it wasn't for his VLOGs - I probably wouldn't have tried at all. But I truly appreciate HORST's respect and approach to teaching while tasting.
    Thank you very much for the praise.


    My pleasure Horst! Thank you for continuing to make fantastic and educational videos. If you keep making them, I will keep watching them!
    "I am a Ranger." "We walk in the dark places no others will enter." "We stand on the bridge, and no one may pass." "We live for the One, we die for the One!"
  • normanlao
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    Member normanlao
    Joined: 13.08.2015Posts: 19CollectionNorm's CollectionRatings: 1
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    Hello Whisky friends!

    Last night, I conducted my very first formal Single Malt Scotch Whisky tastings with one of my best friends. I actually even downloaded and printed out the Whisky.com Tasting PLACEMATS which are AWESOME and perfect to help a first time tasting. These tasting placemats from Whisky.com were a HUGE help in the tasting process. Each glass had a number marker and you just associated the flavor profile (or profiles) below the glasses and you created a very comprehensive tasting!

    The offerings for the evening were:
    1. Balvenie 12 Year Aged Doublewood
    2. Glenmorangie 18 Extremely Rare
    3. Laphroaig Quarter Cask
    4. Lagavulin 16
    5. Ardbeg Uigeadail

    Each tasting was 1 ounce in a Glencairn Glass

    Here are my nosing and notes as tasted NEAT:

    1. Balvenie 12 Doublewood: Vanilla, honey touch of green apple and pear, no smoke, tapering finish
    2. Glenmorangie 18 : Orange Citrus creme, touch of peach and nutty, very understated finish
    3. Laphroaig Quarter Cask: Medicinal and aromatic smoke, salty, iodine, caramel, lingering finish
    4. Lagavulin 16: Aromatic smoke, spicy and hot, iodine and sea salt, caramel, very quick finish
    5. Ardbeg Uigeadail: Heavy smoke, peaty, chewy, salty and sweet ham and bacon, tart, long finish

    Here are my nosing and notes as tasted with ONE Teaspoon Distilled Water:

    1. Balvenie 12 Doublewood: increased fruitiness and creaminess
    2. Glenmorangie 18 : increased vanilla, almond and toffee notes
    3. Laphroaig Quarter Cask: more sea salt and caramel notes, stronger dried red fruit notes
    4. Lagavulin 16: more floral, more iodine and an overall more medicinal smoke, less spicy
    5. Ardbeg Uigeadail: lighter smoke and sweeter, a little stronger caramel and tobacco note



    We did a complete and thorough tasting, with nosing notes, neat tastings and with a bit of water for ABV dilution. What an amazing and delicious experience! The GBut for me...the Ardbeg Uigeadail still reigns supreme! I think my sentiment speaks for itself. The Uigeadail was the very first Scotch Whisky that I tasted and it's been my favorite since.

    The Balvenie was probably the most surprising to me and very enjoyable. I can see why it is a very easy introduction into tasting Scotch single malts. Glenmorangie 18 had the most impressive bottling and packaging, but sadly for me - the least memorable flavor profile.

    What a truly fantastic experience and I thank Horst, Ben and all of you who suggested tasting options for me!

    Until next tasting...

    Norm

    IMG_0093.jpg 267.1K
    "I am a Ranger." "We walk in the dark places no others will enter." "We stand on the bridge, and no one may pass." "We live for the One, we die for the One!"
  • normanlao
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    Member normanlao
    Joined: 13.08.2015Posts: 19CollectionNorm's CollectionRatings: 1
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    Another image - my tasting notes...using the placemat!

    IMG_0108.jpg 287.7K
    "I am a Ranger." "We walk in the dark places no others will enter." "We stand on the bridge, and no one may pass." "We live for the One, we die for the One!"
  • 116520 Member 116520 Joined: 12.06.2015Posts: 90Collection116520s CollectionRatings: 42
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    Thank you for sharing your experience. If you have to rank the whisky you have tasted, how would you rank them?

  • normanlao
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    Member normanlao
    Joined: 13.08.2015Posts: 19CollectionNorm's CollectionRatings: 1
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    "116520" wrote:
    Thank you for sharing your experience. If you have to rank the whisky you have tasted, how would you rank them?


    I DO think the Balvenie 12 Doublewood is a really great introductory expression to begin the conversation and tasting with people.

    I personally love as big and bold of flavors as I can find so I sent myself right to the most recommended (on an average of at least 20 different whisky tasting sites and video blogs) - which was the Ardbeg Uigeadail.

    I would rank my tastings as such:

    1. Ardbeg Uigeadail
    2. Laphroaig Quarter Cask
    3. Balvenie 12 Doublewood
    4. Lagavulin 16
    5. Glenmorangie 18

    To be honest - being part of the Islay grouping, Lagavulin 16, for me, did not distinguish itself and present a strong enough identity to separate it from Ardbeg. Laphroaig QC was really different and more on the medicinal, iodine, salty and smoky range. But Lagavulin again, for my taste, just didn't separate itself from the much more powerful and hard hitting smoky, smoked ham, bacony, peaty campfire expression of the Ardbeg. Perhaps the Lagavulin 16 is just more refined for my taste and a little smoother than I would like from the Islays? But I like flavors that take risks and push me to figure them out.

    I hope this helps!
    "I am a Ranger." "We walk in the dark places no others will enter." "We stand on the bridge, and no one may pass." "We live for the One, we die for the One!"
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