I like Laphroag single malt Scotch because of its smoky character but it can be incredibly expensive. I need to replace an almost empty bottle. Any suggestions about equal Scotches, lower in price, that match the taste and quality? We have access to most major stores here in Orange County, including Trader Joes, Costco, BevMo, etc.
Your best bet is to try the Finlaggan, which is sold at Trader Joe's (in San Francisco) for about $18. It is an Islay-made malt that should be similar to Laphroag, although I cannot promise you will like it as much.
There is a thread on "The Return of Finlaggan to SoCal Trader Joe's" from last week on this board. Check it out for more info.
Also check out:
Jeesh, I just paid over $40 for 10-yr Laphroag this weekend at our local state-run liquor store, and according to the price, it was on sale for about $7 off the regular price. Even in St. Thomas earlier this month, the duty-free shops both in Charlotte Amalie and at the airport had it for $35. $30 sounds like a steal....
Islay malts are among the smokiest out there. All the "known" distilleries are generally in the $30+ range. Your alternatives are therefore somewhat limited, and the above suggestions are quite possibly your best bet. (In other words, there's no great "undiscovered" Islay malt out there.)
You could also look for a line of whiskies produced by "Jon, Mark & Robbo." I have seen them at BevMo. One of their whiskies is from Islay malts. It is called "The Smokey Peaty One." I think their whiskies sell for around $25.
I see I have duped what SKU mentioned above, here is a link to JM&R:
By the way, if you do try the Finlaggan or any of the alternatives suggested here, please let us know how they compare to Laphroag!
Finding something with the "peaty" smokiness of Laphroaig at a cheaper price would seem to be a difficult task. YOu might try Bowmore Legend, which you might be able to find at around $20. See: http://www.wine-searcher.com/regions/....
I can find bourbon and other whiskeys with a smokey flavor. Bourbons have a smokey flavor, because they have to be aged in newly charred barrells. Some Irish whsikeys from the Cooley distillery have a prety smokiness, but it's not the same as Laphroaig. Connemara is peat and smokey, but it's not anything like, imo, Laphroaig, and a bottle of Connemara is going to cost you at least $30.