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Best Single Malt

What is the best single malt scotch whisky that you have ever tried?

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  1. Wow, that is a matter of taste. Different whiskies are good for different things and at different times.

    I would say that my overall favorites have been:

    Highland Park Bicentenniary Edition (1977 vintage reserve)
    Ardbeg Uigedail
    Lagavulin 16 yo
    Laphroig Quarter Cask
    ...but there are so many more.

    As you can probably tell, I'm a fan of the peat.

    1. I don't much drink Scotch, but my husband offers his favorite: The Macallan 18 yo.

      1. Hard question. I'd say that the best I've had was the Scott's Selection North of Scotland 1964. (actually a single grain, not a single malt- but oh so delicious.)

        1. "Wow" is right. If EVER there was a subjective, purely-a-matter-of-taste question on malt whisky, this is it!

          Personally, I prefer Highland malts -- distilleries such as The Macallan and Highland Park, for instance. Specifically, I favor the 18 year olds from both, but generally drink the Macalan 12 as my "usual." Some of the Cadenhead special bottlings have been quite special. Others, of course, prefer the Islay malts -- Laphroig and Lagavulin -- but they are too peaty, too much iodine, for me.

          3 Replies
          1. re: zin1953

            I definitely 'lean' towards the island malts, Laphroaig and Bowmore being my overall faves spanning varying ages, but I'd have to admit that Highland Park 18 is among the best malts I have ever tried. Jeez, for something to appeal to all comers I'd be hard pressed to suggest another, unless it was Glenmorangie's Port Wood Finish.

            1. re: zin1953

              The Macallan is not a Highland Malt it's a Speyside Malt

              1. re: Kaspar Hauser

                Correct -- as within the sub-divisions of the Highlands -- but in this context, I was distinguishing it from Islay and Lowland.

            2. Macallan 18 for special occasions.
              Oban for the usual.

              1 Reply
              1. re: vonger44

                I'd thumbs up both of those. Mac is soooo smooth, but I like the smoke of Oban the best.

              2. The best I have had is the Glenmorangie finished in a Sauterne cask -

                1 Reply
                1. re: weinstein5

                  That's exceptionally good stuff. The Glenmorangie cask strength is also remarkable.

                2. I think it is all a matter of personal preference. If I had my druthers, I would not be drinking single malts at all. Instead, I would be haivng a fine potstill Irish whiskey, Like Green Spot, or would be with the poster above having a cask strength Scott's selection, except mine would be from Linlithgow.

                  However, if corced to choose a single malt I could enjoy regularly, it would be Talisker from Skye. Less peat in it's taste and more pure smokiness. But I also enjoy other sinlge malts too. There simply is no best.

                  1. The "best?" According to what measure? Maybe you really mean "favorite." Because my favorite will probably differ from everyone else's favorite since this is so subjective. I'm curious as to your inquiry, too? Are you looking to expand your Scotch Whiskey horizon, wanting to get into the party or just trolling?

                    My favorite Highlands are The Balvenie Portwood and Glen Farclas 21. My favorite Islay is Lagavulin 16 and probably my all time favorite is Talisker Distiller's Edition.

                    That being said, I also enjoy Johnny Walker Gold and Blue. And Bushmill's 21yo Irish is absolutely stellar. At least in my opinion.

                    16 Replies
                    1. re: Mutt

                      Well "favorites" for me would be Springbank's Campbeltown 15 yo. Springbank has been ridiculously hard to find in the States of late, however. The Talisker is another fine option. I must admit if pressed that, in general, I prefer a good Irish pot stilled such as Readbreast 12, 15 if you can find it, or Green Dot.

                      1. re: Harp00n

                        Harp00n, not trying to get nit-picky with you, but it is Green Spot, and if you want it in North America, head for Ontario. Early thihs year, I was told by J. Mitchell & Son (see: http://www.mitchellandson.com/green_s...), which owns the brand although it is made at Middleton, that it is not imported into the U.S. but you can get it in Ontario. I got one bottle a couple years ago, which I ration out to myself slowly. I'll take a Green Spot or Red breast over most Single Malts or Cask Strength Scotches, on most nights.

                        As a coincidence, I had both the Talisker Distiller's Choice and the Springbank 15 yo on Thursday night. After watching the Rangers beat the Flyers, my friend and I went to Keens for a couple fine whiskys. Keens has a great whisky selection, but it lacks good Irish whiskey.

                        1. re: Captain

                          Oh Captain, my Captain, my ship has gone astray! I KNOW it's Green Spot,lol.I had a similar melt-down on the N.E. board today; referring to The Four Chimneys in Bennington, Vt. as the "Four Columns".

                          My single bottle of "Green Spot" was captured in Belfast thru a friend with Middleton connections.This while we were on holiday in Ireland this past summer. That's great info on Ontario but I wonder if it's available in Nova Scotia as well? Looks like further investigations are in order.

                          1. re: Harp00n

                            It's possible you might find it in Nova Scotia, but I know they did not sell it in Montreal. I walked all over the place checking various liquor stores (all state owned) in search of it, to no avail.

                            I got the one I have a few years ago in New York, when Park Ave. carried it. It took me a year to open it.

                            So, it's possible to find it in Belfast? I may be playing a little golf near there this May. Perhaps, I can get another.

                            1. re: Captain

                              Sorry, I need to bring a little more clarity to "captured". It was a suprise reciprocal gift for some single barrel bourbon that I knew my friend had been lusting after.
                              I see Berry Bros & Rudd, allegedly, have eight (8) bottles in stock and are willing to ship Green Spot to The States with a six (6) bottle minimum order. That would work as a joint buy if you've made some converts in Gotham, Captain. As for me, that would be a hard sell to SO. It's the price of another Thomas & Thomas flyrod and...well, I won't bore you with that domestic skirmish.

                              More off topic and not to turn this into Trip Advisor; get a copy of Georgina Campbell's Ireland for Gourmet Golfers. I don't golf. I bought it for the cousins, who were on that same trip, that do. If you have the time, take a Black Cab tour of the former "Troubles"' neighborhoods. Lastly, under penalty of excommunication, make the time for a pilrimage to The MAJESTIC Crown Liquor Saloon.

                              1. re: Harp00n

                                I don't think arranging for the import of six bottles of Green Spot will be in my future over the near term. Although, I have been tempted to try to arrange to get some Old Comber, which would probably not be opened until I was on my death bed, considering that I have not been able to bring myself to open my bottle of A.H. Hirsch for over two years. Perhaps it could be sprinkled over me right afer I expire, and I'll be revived by "uisce beatha."

                                Thanks for the recommendations. Sounds like I should avoid letting people know that most of my family readily answers to "Mac" as a nickname and knows the meaning of "slainte."

                                1. re: Captain

                                  It is a new day in Northern Ireland. Just resist the temptation of becoming too jocular in a, seemingly, "neutral" watering-hole such as The Crown. Let the Craic come to you and trust me, it will.

                                  Slainte, Guid forder!

                                  P.S. At the Half: Pats 17, Jets 10

                        2. re: Harp00n

                          I heartily agree, Springbank Cambeltown is one of the best I've ever had. They used to make a more "affordable", 12 yr. 100 proof that was my favorite, but sadly for some reason stopped production on that one years ago. Woodland Hills Wine Co. in Los Angeles used to carry all the Sprinkbank single malts, and is worth a try if you have trouble finding them. BevMo carries the 10 year.

                          1. re: rotie77

                            Hey, thanks for the heads-up "rotie77". 10 yo is readily available here in New England but everthing else is tough to get. If you take a look at Springbank's website everything but the 10 yo reads "not available in Canada & U.S.", or words to that effect. As an aside, I don't want to get wrapped-up in that thread on Vodka but, and I'm hardly the first to make this bloviation, if you want taste & nuance in your vodka drink gin! :-)

                            1. re: Harp00n

                              Here's a link for a shop closer to you that carries most of the Springbank available in this country, including the 15 yr old...and some quite older and outrageously expensive. If you order any of those, invite me over!


                              And let me say, grasshopper, that vodka is one of the most misunderstood and underappreciated spirits out there. If you ever get to San Diego, I'd be happy to demonstrate. ;^)

                              1. re: rotie77

                                What a great link, thank you very, very much! As Big Joe Turner would sing; "I'm like a one-eyed cat peepin' in a seafood store!" I will definitely be ordering from this site, C'mon over.

                                Now, not to twist your tail much, how can you say 'vodka is.....an underappreciated spirits"? It's the opium....err, I mean liquor of the masses. The majority of which, drink it precisely because it has no discernible taste. And just to make sure, the bulk of it gets drowned in a sugary mix of some sort. Oops, I've done it, haven't I? :-) :-) :-)

                                BTW, you're in San Diego? Pats 28, Chargers 20

                                1. re: Harp00n

                                  Oops, should have said "good" vodka.

                                  Shh, don't tell anyone, I'm actually a Steeler fan. But the Chargers have been getting the bounces all year, and that usually spells Super Bowl. However, my money is on the Ravens getting McNair to the big party.

                                  1. re: rotie77

                                    Well at least I didn't make any donation to Vegas :-)

                                  2. re: Harp00n

                                    As an aside, if you've never looked at the D&M website . . .


                                    . . . they have one of the most amazing single malt (and Armagnac) selections I've ever seen.

                                    1. re: zin1953

                                      Sorry for the delayed response, thanks for this :-)

                          2. re: Mutt

                            No I mean 'Best that you have ever tried.' That's what the question is. Thanks for your input. Just curious as to the different tastes out there. It used to be that many people were into the Speysides and Highlands but now the smokiness of the Islay's seem to be picking up in terms of preference. Personally, Glenlivet 21 yo is nice but I like trying them all.

                            For a blend Johnnie Walker Blue is great but it's a blend and that's for another discussion.

                          3. Probably a 30-something year old Springbank at cask strength bottled by Adelphi when they got started back in the late 90's. Had it for free at a tasting but couldn't stomach ponying up $150 or so for a bottle- if only I'd known.

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: ted

                              Oh yeah! If you check out the great link above that rotie77 so kindly provided you'll see a bargain. A Springbank 1967 cask strength now on sale for $499.99 marked down from $524.99. It must be an after Christmas clearance sale.

                            2. I'm still a newbie to the world of Whisky, but my favorite thus far is Balvenie 12yo "Double Wood". Aged first in traditional bourbon oak, then a second period of time over sherry casks. The result is smooth, earthy, but overtones of sweetness (honey/vanilla bean) For me, the complexity is the alluring part. Also enjoyed Glenmorangie 15yo...I'd like to explore the Irish stuff, as I also know the meaning of "slainte"...

                              9 Replies
                              1. re: Bababooey

                                Careful Bababooey, if you go "Irish" you may never look in your rear-views again!

                                1. re: Harp00n

                                  Amen. Particularly if you can find and enjoy potstill whiskey, the products from Cooley, and some of the more common Irish whiskeys (Powers, Jamesons, Tullamore Dew, etc.).

                                  With regard to potstill, wthe heart and sole of Irish whiskey, you should try and should be able to find: Red Breast. See: http://www.bevmo.com/productinfo.asp?.... I think Harp00n might agree with my opinion that Red Breast is the true uisce beatha (pronounced "Ish-ka BA-ha").

                                  1. re: Captain

                                    The Red Breast is very lovely- agreed. Also,from Cooley, I recently enjoyed a bottle of Locke's 8 year single malt. tasty!

                                    1. re: pork_chop

                                      Well "pork_chop", you've hit upon one I haven't checked off on my "list" yet. Another fairly new single malt, also from Cooley, is Michael Collins which is on that same list. Thanks for the rec.....miles to go before I sleep,

                                      1. re: Harp00n

                                        About Irish whiskey:
                                        I have to say some are smooth (Bushmills 10 and Clontarf single malt) (if you like smooth try Scottish Glengoyne too)
                                        some are disgusting (Tyrconnel, Paddy (blend))

                                        If you (like me) prefer a peaty taste and you like the smoothness of the Irish ones try Connemara (this is a single malt).
                                        If you like more pungent peat don't turn your back on Islay.

                                        Irish malts I tried: Clontarf, Tyrconnel, Jameson 12, Bushmills 10 and 16, Connemara plain, 12 and cask strength version. Irish blends I tried: Bushmills white and black, Jameson, Clontarf plain and reserve, Tullimore Dew, Paddy. (maybe I should give Redbreast a try...)

                                    2. re: Captain

                                      Well there's nothing to disagree with here, Captain. Curiously, and you probably know this, Powers out sells Jameson by a healthy margin in Ireland. And yet, in the States there are generic type bars who don't know anything but Jameson & maybe Bushmills White. At this level I'll take the Powers everytime. When you get to Belfast check out the newest, Feckin Irish Whiskey - Portaferry, Co. Down. I don't believe it's available over here yet. They've got a hilarious gift box that's a mini-wooden shipping crate stamped "POLICE EVIDENCE". Ya,it's gimmicky but it's not a bad 80 proof blended.

                                      BTW, final: Pats 37, Jets 16

                                      1. re: Harp00n

                                        Feckin sounds like it was meant to intimate a word that is spelled similarly, but with a "u" instead of an "e". I may need to get some for my collection.

                                        I also agree with regard to Powers. To quote a regular at one of my former watering holes: "It sets you right" and "It talks to ya."

                                        It's a shame that the only Irish whiskeys served in most places are basically equivalent to a decent blended scotch, if that.

                                        BTW, I'm a Giants' fan, which offers me little consolation. I already hear enough about the Patriots from those I attended college with in Buzzards Bay.

                                        1. re: Captain

                                          And you would be absolutely right. In "polite" company in Ireland it's used exactly as friggin' is here. Hmmm.... let's see, you're a boat owner, a Rag Man I'm guessin', and went to college in Buzzard's Bay so we must be takin' Mass Maritime, eh?

                                          As a N.Y. "Football" Giants fan, about now I'd say you should be envying those Jets fan's. Oops, sorry :-)

                                          1. re: Harp00n

                                            Not a boat owner, but I did acquire mooring rights this fall. If I get a boat, expect it to have rags, and a bottles of Barbancourt and Red Breast, as well as the worst pepper vodka I can find. I use Captain because I worked as one in a former life and career, before grad school and being lashed to a deck. I did go to Mass

                                            My rooting as a fan has now all transferred to the NY Rangers and whatever players I pick in my fantasy playoff league. fortunatley, the Rangers play near Keens, so if I get to a game, I can get a fine dram either before or after. And if I don't feel like a big steak or chop, the prime rib hash served in the bar goes well with single malt. Unfortunately, Keens has not gotten a clue about Irish whiskey.

                                2. Lagavulin is my favorite.

                                  Aberfeldy is also delicious.

                                  1. This is such a hard question since there are so many and I like my scotch according to time of day, weather, mood... but it I had to choose one right now it would be Laphroig Quarter Cask.


                                    1. I really like Dalwhinnie Single Malt. Also Macallan 12 as a staple.

                                      1. I am surprised no one has mentined Caol Ila 25 year (please don't ask me to pronouce it!). Nice smooth single. Sits in a place of honor at our bar!

                                        2 Replies
                                        1. re: kate used to be 50

                                          FYI, Caol Ila is pronounced cull EE-la. It's a fine Islay malt, though I prefer the peatier ones from the south shore.

                                          1. re: sku

                                            Thank you. When we have our scotch drinking friends over for a night of single malt bliss, I'll now be able to tell them how to pronounce it.

                                        2. Single Malts vary by their weight ( How light or heavy they may
                                          be), by the sweetness ( Highlands ) or by their smokiness ( peat ).........there is no best.......best is what YOU prefer...

                                          1. Though I don't know much about whisky, I did have the wonderful opportunity to taste many different whisky's on a cold, rainy July afternoon at The Whire Hart Inn in Edinburgh. I was facinated by how different they all were, but the winner for me was (and still is) Isle of Jura 16 year.

                                            1. During the Whisky Fringe in Edinburgh (an amazing whisky tasting put on during the Festival) in 2004, I had the opportunity to taste many amazing drams. Two stood out as my all-time (so far) favorites: Caol Ila 12 year with a Sherry finish (I think. I just tried to look this up and find that it may have been the Distiller's Edition, which is finished in Moscatel casks... I'll have to check my notes later on) and the Highland Park 25 year. Ahhhh. Peat.

                                                1. re: thegolferbitch

                                                  Aye, so is that what got ye back on yer feet, Lassie?
                                                  Just like in the classic Hammer Film's "Whisky Galore!" aka "Tight Little Island".

                                                  1. re: Harp00n

                                                    Well excuuuuuuuse me, the doctor DID say sip fluids. Hey, Harp00n I haven't seen that movie. That's an oldie oldie, isn't it. <1950? Here's a question. I received a bottle of Knockando for Christmas...is it true (Harp00n or anyone) that they were bought by J&B? Haven't tried it yet...I think I like Oban because it's a little more "salt" and a little less peat, and I don't know what the Knockando will be like.

                                                    1. re: thegolferbitch

                                                      Yes, 1949 and it's in gloriously luminescent b&w. For the record, it's Ealing Studios not Hammer, as in I musta been.... Ealing had all those great early Alec Guinness comedies, as well. If you liked "Waking Ned Devine" & "Local Hero" you should love this!
                                                      Here's a link; http://www.allmovie.com/cg/avg.dll?p=...

                                                      Knockando is owned, as is J&B, by the huge multi-national UDV (Diego). A goodly amount of Knockando goes into J&B, btw. Oban is very good indeed. You can over-do the "peat thing" to the point it's almost as much about testosterone as anything else. Which is why my favorites are Springbank, Highland, Oban, etc.

                                                2. Douglas Laing single-cask bottling of 1978 Macallan. Incredible nose, very complex whiskey. Truly a great one.

                                                  1. My treasured bottle of 17 year old Ardbeg, no longer made. It's a peaty, iodine wonder with a good backbone of sweek oak.

                                                    1. Without any claim to expertise I have a preferance for Glenfiddich. The original bottle was given to me more than 10 years ago and sat unsampled for years and gradually was consumed. When gone I decided to do an internet search of GREAT single malts which led me to one which I purchased and found to my horror that it tasted just like the concoction described in the movie "Mr. Roberts" where iodine was added to lend it a "scotch" taste. It didn't go to waste ( it was donated to a friend who valued that particular taste) and I have since gone back to my original exposure. Like good bourban, I enjoy it as a "sippin whiskey". I believe the donated one was called Talisker and was said to be from the isles. If anyone has knowledge and or appreciation of this product I would like whatever info you can provide. Thanks...

                                                      3 Replies
                                                        1. re: feelinpeckish

                                                          I'd have had really nice feelin(s) without giving a peck if you'd donated it to me. It may have been an unaquired taste on your part but Talisker is one of the GREAT whiskys : -)

                                                          1. re: feelinpeckish

                                                            You should try the Glenfiddich Solear Reserve. Based on you comments, I'm sure that you would really enjoy this relative newcomer to their lineup.

                                                          2. Any Ardbeg
                                                            The Benriach "Authenticus"
                                                            Highland Park 12
                                                            abunadh [from Aberlour]
                                                            Any Clynelish
                                                            Scapa 14
                                                            Aberlour 15

                                                            1. We're going to a tasting on Sunday featuring the following:

                                                              Glengoyne 17 y.o. distillery bottling

                                                              Balblair 10 y.o. Gordon & MacPhail bottling

                                                              Jura 16 y.o. distillery bottling

                                                              Glenfarclas 105 distillery bottling

                                                              Tomintoul 30 y.o. Stillman’s Dram

                                                              Speyburn 10 y.o. distillery bottling

                                                              Bowmore Dawn (Port Cask Finish)

                                                              Bruichladdich 12 Whisky Galore bottling

                                                              Any thoughts on these? Am looking forward to the tasting and would love to hear any opinions on the whiskies before trying them.

                                                              2 Replies
                                                              1. re: jnstarla

                                                                I just picked up a bottle of the Jura 16yo because the bottle was interesting and it sounded good. My first wee dram was last night and it was wonderful. Very smooth with a lovely finish. A very nice complement and change to the heavy duty Islay's that I favor.

                                                                1. re: jnstarla

                                                                  I like the Glengoyne 17 the best of this lot. I'm also quite partial to Macallan 25 and Springbank Cambelltown. Of the "finished" scotches, the Glemorangie portwood has some wonderful chocolate notes. On the Irish sid, I am quite fornd of Middleton Extra Rare and Conamara.

                                                                2. Ok, how about:

                                                                  Ardbeg 1974 CC Gordon & MacPhail
                                                                  Port Ellen 20 RM cs
                                                                  Lagavulin 12 cs

                                                                  On my palate there is a "need for peat"

                                                                  1. Edradour Cask Strength is the best I've had.

                                                                    1. Single-malt? Laphroaig!!! ... The taste of salty, wet burned canvas -- ahh ... couldn't be better ... Irish? Powers it is!

                                                                      1. My very favorite is Glen Turret, which is about impossible to get in the states.
                                                                        Next would be Balvenie Special Reserve, Highland Park, Macallan---12 is fine by me, followed by the usual set, Glen Kinchie, Talisker, Oban---none of these, obeying the instructions of the first lovely people who gave me the Macallans' Special Reserve, will I drink with ice, coffee, or water. One exception: Dalwhinnie seems to taste better over ice. I enjoy Glen Morangie, and find The Dalmore a very, very nice underpriced Scotch, which, alas, people are getting on to, so the price is bound to rise.
                                                                        I wish more hotels and bars would expand their offerings beyond the usual GlenFiddich and Glenlivet, which taste like bourbon to my palate, and not even good bourbon at that. I like Cutty Sark better than those two, but for that one I omit my rule of neither ice nor water, and pile on the ice, which takes away the roughness a bit.

                                                                        1. Wow!
                                                                          67 replies, and no one has yet mentioned my favorite. Cragganmore.

                                                                          9 Replies
                                                                          1. re: jerryc123

                                                                            My favorite is Laphroiag. A more interesting question is what is your favorite cheap blend? I vote for Lauder's.

                                                                            1. re: jerryc123

                                                                              About a decade ago my wife and I set up a tiny single malt tasting - just ourselves and two good friends - with all the single malts available in 5cl bottles in my town. At the time Cragganmore was available as part of a six-pack with Talisker, Oban and a few others marketed as "Classic Malts of Scotland." Of the ten single malts I was able to furnish, Cragganmore was the only one we all liked. I gather it's more floral and less peaty than most, and I love its approachability as much as I do its complexity.

                                                                              1. re: tcd

                                                                                I've had The McCallan 18 and I believe the other was a 25 yr. I lost a bet to my buddy,Slippy,and, had to buy him a bottle. I preferred the 18 yr old. My other is Oban. I love the smoky pleasure of it.In a poorly equipped bar (I'm in Texas)it's McCallan 12 or Glenlivet
                                                                                A wee dram and some hot tollhouse cookies and I'm in heaven.
                                                                                1. stick whole HOT cookie in mouth.
                                                                                2. swig a portion of the nectar
                                                                                3. hold, hold, hold ( Braveheart quote)
                                                                                4. feel the chocolate and Scotch ether fill your sinues
                                                                                5. swallow
                                                                                6. rinse with water ( I prefer seltzer)
                                                                                7. repeat
                                                                                8. laugh if you want , but try it once, it's our not-so-secret family tradition

                                                                                I was born in Edinburgh, and have tasted boocoos of fine Scotchs
                                                                                The most recent one I tried was callled " Black Water " in Gaelic, but was like residue from a charcoal filter...yuck

                                                                                1. re: Rustcat

                                                                                  If you're going to drink with a cookie in your mouth, there are cheaper options than Macallan 25 that will do just as well!

                                                                                  1. re: tdg

                                                                                    these were 2 differing thoughts....1st was fave Scotch , mine are 18 Mccallan and 2nd was Oban. 25 Mccallan was 3rd. Second was a suggestion that does not require a better Scotch to enjoy ( I usually use 12 Glenlivet). I rarely , if ever, partake in blends. Try the cookie thing and send me a thank-you note

                                                                                  2. re: Rustcat

                                                                                    I actually am a big fan of doing the same with shortbread... and a simple, affordable blended scotch.

                                                                                    1. re: mhiggins

                                                                                      I didn't realize that there was a secondary point of discussion; scots whiskey to drink with cookies. amen to the Walker's ut I think it goes best with that or also with chocolate(Sharfenbarger(sp?) dark), is Dalwhinnie, which has such nice heathery and honey notes.

                                                                                      1. re: chazzerking

                                                                                        Just recovered my new malts from the UK and my father......

                                                                                        G&M 1970 Mortlach (bottled in 2001) Best non Islay I have ever tasted.

                                                                                        G&M 1964 Glenburgie (bottled in 2004) very rich.
                                                                                        G&M Highland Park 30. underwhelmed. Have to put water in it to release any nose.
                                                                                        Coal Ila 18. Awesome. Much more smokey than I anticipated.
                                                                                        Bunnhabhain 18. milder than I expected. again water brings out much more character.

                                                                                        My favourites are 1. Ardbeg 25, 2. Lagavulin P/X finish, 3. Mortlach 1970

                                                                                    2. re: Rustcat

                                                                                      For a brief time, I chanced on a Macallan 15 - and didn't snag more when I could...it was a limited run, but given the price of the 18 and the taste of the younger, the 15 was quite good in my opinion.

                                                                                      I'm also partial to the Glenrothes.....and surprisingly, the Dalmore cigar malt.

                                                                                2. I would say my favorite is Bushmills Black followed by Jameson, although there are some different names mentioned here that I will be looking for.

                                                                                  1. This is fascinating...I have been drinking single malts for years, specifically Speyside whisky (The Glenlivet 18, Glenfarclas 25, The Macallan 18 and Glenfiddich 18 are my usual choices), but have never been able to understand why anyone would like Islay scotch. I realize that everyone has different tastes, but for those of you who enjoy Laphroaig, Lagavulin, etc., do you like the taste of iodine, or do Islays not taste like iodine to you? I do not wish to be disrespectful, I am just trying to understand how tastes can differ so much. Of course, who wants a boring world in which everyone likes the same things?

                                                                                    5 Replies
                                                                                    1. re: LeftCoastRider

                                                                                      Don't look at me! I'm with you . . .


                                                                                      1. re: zin1953

                                                                                        Iodine? Never tasted it. Really. However, there have sometimes when a sip feels more like chewing on ashes or moss, rather than a sip of anything. I think it very much is a matter of taste and preference, and often, my taste buds prefer something from the otherside of the Irish Sea.

                                                                                        As you wonder about Islay, I wonder why more people don't drink potstills. Sometimes I think, well, that leaves more for me. At other times, I think, if more people drank it, there would be more varieties of it.

                                                                                        1. re: Captain

                                                                                          Perhaps different taste perceptors explain the difference. My friends who share my preference for Highland or Speyside whisky all taste a medicinal iodine quality in the Islays. In a similar vein, my wife thinks brussels sprouts taste sweet and she loves them, while most people find them bitter. Thanks for the feedback.

                                                                                      2. re: LeftCoastRider

                                                                                        I love Islays. I would describe the taste as full of seaweed and smoke rather than iodine. When I want a softer drink I go to Calvados, Cognac, or Bourbon all of which I like better than most single malts. I haven't access to many Ryes, but think I might sometime find one brawny enough to offer an alternative to my Laphroiag.

                                                                                        1. re: LeftCoastRider

                                                                                          First of all, lets not generalize too much. Not all Islays are peat monsters. Bunnahabin and most Bruichladdichs have very little peat. And of course, BenRiach, Talisker and other non-Islay malts can be very peaty.

                                                                                          That being said, I love the smoke, medicinal flavors, seaweed and salt of the heavily peated Scotches. I tend to find the type of Speysiders you mention boring (excluding Mac 18, which I do like). I want flavor and lots of it and yes, I want smoke and sea and all of those things that some others find repulsive.

                                                                                          As for Iodine, I can't say I can identify it by smell (I don't hang out in hospitals), but it is certainly a term used quite often to describe the malts I like, so I suppose I do like the taste of Iodine.

                                                                                          Why? I don't know. Why do some people (myself included) love calf's liver and onions while others despise it? Just a matter of individual tastes.

                                                                                        2. Some Scots friends of mine bought back a bottle of Japanese Santori single malt from Japan, as a joke - but on tasting it, it proved to be luscious!
                                                                                          (as for Scotch, I prefer Islays and Talisker).

                                                                                          1 Reply
                                                                                          1. re: Peg

                                                                                            We were talking to the landlord at a guesthouse near Ben Nevis, (he recommended Highland Park) who allowed as how he didn't really believe that Santori had filled an oiltanker with highland river water, and that he had to admit that the Japanese "scotch" he'd tried was actually...well...honestly...it was...well..."perfectly palatable."

                                                                                          2. A friend of mine runs a restaurant and poured a sampler of Murray McDavids for me once. I can't remember which I liked best, but all blew me away. Bar none, the finest scotchs I've ever had.

                                                                                            For a more accessible, day to day type stuff, I'm a big fan on Balvenie 12 year double wood.

                                                                                            1. Best I've ever tried is hard to say. What is in my cabinet here at home is The McCallan, red label cask strength.

                                                                                              Someone was mentioning Irish down in this thread, I have two that are my favorites, which is good since they're inexpensive: Tullamore Dew and Kilbeggan.

                                                                                              If you want to uncork me, however, start talking about bourbon...

                                                                                              1. I'd go with anything from Islay, with Lagavulin as my fave.....the Islay scotches are complex and hard to approach at first (particularly that has a very heavy nose) but the complexity pays off.

                                                                                                4 Replies
                                                                                                1. re: algorithmnation

                                                                                                  Not all of the Islay Whiskies are so hard to approach

                                                                                                  I was lucky enough to spend last week touring the islands distilleries with the founder of Compass box Whisky, John Glaser. It gave us an intro to seven of the eight distilleries where we got some great tours and people opened some astonishing bottles and casks.

                                                                                                  My favourites were a special 12yr Oloroso aged barrel from Bowmore's cellar. A similar 21 year old from Lagavulin and, my personal best, a 10 year old bourbon refill from Caol Isla which has previously been best known for producing malts for Johnny Walker but is now getting a justified rep in its own right.

                                                                                                  We also spent a lot of the week working in the distillery at Kilchoman, the newest distillery on Islay. They will not be releasing their first spirit until 2011, but, the new spirit is fruity and elegant and promises a great deal



                                                                                                  1. re: Simon Majumdar

                                                                                                    I've been drinking Balvenie Double Wood 12 year for a number of years. I would like to try something new but don't want to be disappointed spending good money on something so different from The Balvenie. Any suggestions?

                                                                                                    1. re: ppmaysa

                                                                                                      Just received my new malts.

                                                                                                      Mortlach 1970 bottled in 06. Oustanding. If you like heavily sherried flavours along the lines of Macallan and Abelour, this is incredible. Also got a Linkwood 1972 bottled in 06. Lots of honey flavours. Another winner. Both are independent bottlings from G&M.

                                                                                                      1. re: ppmaysa

                                                                                                        I've turned several people on to the Dalmore Cigar Malt - for it's price, it's a nice "every day" kind of SM.....