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Old 08-21-2009, 01:47 PM   #11
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All scotches are "smokey" as the malt is smoked over peat fires. From there, there are 4 general geographical classifications with taste affectations:

Highland: floral; Speyside: peaty; Lowland: earthy; Islay (pronounced I-lah) very smokey, salty, hint of iodine.

Fine highlands: Highland Park, Glen Farclas, Glen Livet (a lilghter one), Balwinnie (I like the double wood)

FIne Speyside: GLen Fiddich (often called a highland, but...)

FIne Islay: Laphroigh, Lagavoulin

lowland and Welsh whiskeys are around but harder to find on a regular basis in this country.

Blends: most have a pronounced raw alcohol aftertaste as that's what they are blended with. However, a few are exceptional. Johnny Walker Black Label, Dewars White Lablel, Bells.

What is it with Chivas Regal? It is a quality product. It is a "sweet" not "smokey" scotch so if you don't like the smokiness, Chivas is for you. I don't order or buy Chivas, but if I am served it I always find it to be a satisfying body and flavor. It is just not my usual taste.

Some stores stock a "classic malts" tasting box. 6 or 8 famous single malts (in small bottles) with the details all spelled out. Worth the price for the education.
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Old 08-21-2009, 01:48 PM   #12
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My favorite so far is Talisker, I've had their best at a resort on Captiva Island that sells for about $1000/bottle and was floored by the flavor. So I tried something more in my price range, the 10 year old and it is still very good, a deep smokey flavor.
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Old 08-21-2009, 02:45 PM   #13
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My current favorite is Highland Park. The 12-year-old is reasonably priced. The 15-year-old is expensive but worth the price.
I picked up a bottle of the 12 year old Highland Park for my brother. The only reason I picked that one is that we lived the first few years of our lives in Highland Park (NJ).

That you everyone for your input. This has been a great education so far.
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Old 08-21-2009, 03:04 PM   #14
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You might want to try Laphroaig if for no other reason than as a comparison. Many Scotch drinkers think it's the ultimate single malt, the standard against which others are to be compared. To me, however, it's way over the top: extremely smoky and peaty, tastes of tar and medicine, salty. One reviewer described it as giving the "impression of a campfire from driftwood at the sea." Too much unless you're of the "more is better" school of thought.

A similar but much more palatable Scotch is 16-year-old Lagavulin.

You should also try Macallan, which is at the opposite end of the spectrum from Laphroaig -- very refined, more like Cognac.

BTW, when I said the 15-year-old Highland Park is my current fav, I meant 18-year-old. This site describes it thusly:
Highland Park 18 Year old / Flat Bottle
Single Island Malt Scotch Whisky One of our all-time favourites, this has to be one of the most consistently excellent malt whiskies of the last ten years. Showered with awards and praise from all quarters, it was named as 'Best Spirit in the World' by F. Paul Pacult of the Spirit Journal in 2005. Unfailingly excellent, especially after a good meal. 'Best Spirit in the World' - Spirit Journal listing the world's best 100 distilled spirits 2005. "After 25 years' experience, it fits my profile of what makes a perfect whisky, which is to say it's totally in harmony, there are no rough edges and everything is melded together brilliantly." Paul Pacult, whisky expert, 2005 Gold Medal: San Francisco World Spirits Competition, 2005


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Old 08-21-2009, 09:11 PM   #15
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I recently bought a bottle of Lagavulin because I was in the mood for it again. Haven't had it in house for several years. It will last awhile too. I find with fine whiskeys that I enjoy trying new ones and revisiting old favorites over the course of years. One of life's culinary pleasures.
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Old 08-21-2009, 10:07 PM   #16
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I agree with Robo about Lagavulin...one of my favorites. But my all-time favorite is another smoky single malt from Islay called Ardbeg. The first time I tried it I refused to eat or drink anything for hours afterwards for fear of losing the taste of it in my mouth.
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Old 08-21-2009, 10:17 PM   #17
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Personally, I'm not fond of the SM Scotches that taste like they've been strained through the fireplace, Lagavulin included. At one point in my extensive drinking career, I tried nearly every top shelf Scotch I could find in the local area, trying to decide which I liked best. The one I consistently keep around (even though I drink Scotch 3 or 4 times a year) is Dalwhinnie. Some smoke, very smooth, goes well with a good cigar in the yard under the shade tree.
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Old 08-21-2009, 10:36 PM   #18
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I agree with Robo about Lagavulin...one of my favorites. But my all-time favorite is another smoky single malt from Islay called Ardbeg. The first time I tried it I refused to eat or drink anything for hours afterwards for fear of losing the taste of it in my mouth.



I've had Ardbeg probably a half a dozen times and I agree, it is very nice. Coming from someone who prefers irish whisky over scotch, that's saying something.
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Old 08-22-2009, 02:13 PM   #19
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OK so with all the talk of Ardbeg I wanted to find that, but could not. I ended up getting a bottle of Laphroaig (how do you pronounce that?) 10 year old. It is quite good, but as Scotch mentioned, it is a bit over the top. It tastes like I am drinking a campfire, which is not necessarily a bad thing. I think my next bottle I would like to be similar to this, but just a bit less smokey. What would be a goot bottle based on that description?
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Old 08-22-2009, 03:11 PM   #20
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While I am more of a single barrel Bourbon man.. Balvenie Scotch Doublewood 12 YR. is very nice...

Oooo this is a very nice scotch. Water brings out the sweetness in scotch. Sometimes I put a teaspoon of water to a shot of scotch in a tumbler and enjoy. Other times I keep them in separate vessels and sip a little of both.

Other times I just toast the absence of water like a missing friend.

I am also an Single Malt Irish Whiskey and single barrel bourbon nut too.

Don't get me started on the subtleties of beer.
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