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Feb 8, 2007 04:34 AM

Scotch help needed

Hi All, My husband is a big scotch fan, but since I'm not a scotch person myself, I can't really tell a good one from a bad one (they all taste too much of peat for me). I'd like to get him a fairly nice (no more than $125, I'd say) bottle for valentine's day. His tastes run to MacCallan (sp?) and Laphraiog (again, sp?), and I got him a bottle of Oban for Christmas which he says he likes (but ... could just be being nice?). Anything I'd be able to get in a state-run ABC store that would be interesting and tasty but somehow a little different that you can recommend? Thanks very much in advance for any help you can give.

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  1. Being in California, I don't know what they carry in state-run ABCs, but here are some suggestions in your price range:

    1. Laphroaig Quarter Cask
    2. Laphroaig 10 year old cask strength
    3. Highland Park 18 year old

    1. Spending more money on a bottle of scotch doesn't necessarily mean it's that much better
      or preferred by a scotch drinker. McCallan is from the Highlands Region which produces a
      softer and slightly sweeter style of Scotch. Laphroaig is from Islay, which in general gives us a style that is drier and peatier. Normally, most prefer one style or the other. To just throw names out there like SKU has is easy to do, but Laphroaig Cask Strength and the
      Highland 18 are as far apart in style as a steak cooked rare and one well-done. A brand
      that I've had sucess selling for many years is Springbank from Campbelltown and I've never
      had anyone ever not come back and not say they didn't love it. The 21 year old is in the $$$
      range you wanted to spent, and it has all the components nicely meshed together that I'm
      sure will make anyone happy.

      1 Reply
      1. re: jonathon

        Was it necessary to demean my response? I took it from the posting that the poster's husband was pretty open style-wise, since he likes both McCallan and Laphroaig. Since we know he likes Laphroaig, I threw out two that would likely please any Laphroaig fan. I added in the Highland Park because I think the 18yo is a superior whisky and I don't think I've ever head anyone say a bad word about it; my guess is someone who likes Laphroaig and Mac would enjoy an HP. Personally, I'm not a Springbank fan, I think it's overpriced, and I doubt I'd suggest it to someone who I wasn't sure about, but that's just a matter of opinion.

      2. Fantastic input, thank you both so much. I'm tossing on the baby and heading to the ABC store right now. I'll let you know what I end up with (and then maybe later how he reacts to it). I'd heard this business about Scotch's being very different from area to area, so it surprises me that my husband is splitting the difference this way (one would have tended to think he'd like one or the other). I will look for the Campbelltown as my first choice.

        1. I really appreciate the ideas/help from both of you. Unfortunately (feel me fuming) the ABC stores of NC are basically useless. They checked their books, and they not only don't have Campbelltown (and had never heard of it) but can only get me a bottle if I order an entire case. The in-store choices were pretty bleak. I ended up with a 15 year old fine-oak Macallan. But I've noted your suggestions, and next time I'm in duty free I will do my darndest to pick up a bottle of one of them for him. Thanks again, very very much, for your help.

          3 Replies
          1. re: LulusMom

            Your pick is a good, solid one. To go to some extremes, like Laphroaig, can be dangerous if he doesn't like it. For instance, once a year I really like that scotch, but that's it.

            1. re: LulusMom

              Ditto that you made a good choice. I think you might've been mistaken- Campbelltown is an area, Springbank is the actual distillery that was recommended. FWIW, I'm a big fan of Talisker and there are a couple of bottlings out in the 18-year-old range that are reasonable and should be very good (I"ve only tried the one that came out about a year ago, haven't had the one that's more recent).

              1. re: ted

                Thanks for clearing that up for me about Springbank/Campbelltown. You're exactly right - I must have misread it because I had down Campbelltown as the name of the scotch. Oops. My husband is a big Talisker fan too, so I'll keep that on the list. The good thing about this kind of present is ... you can keep giving the same sort of thing over and over again, and know it will be appreciated. Thanks to everyone for your help. I'll be passing through a duty-free shop before the end of the month, so he'll likely get something in addition to his v-day present.

            2. A particular favorite of mine is Abelour 15 - nicely priced and very good

              2 Replies
              1. re: weinstein5

                I'm drinking that now as my occasional nightcap, and enjoying it a lot.

                1. re: weinstein5

                  If you like Aberlour 15, buy all of it that you can find as they no longer make it. The produce a 16yr old instead. Have you tried 'abunadh' [sp?] also from Aberlour? Cask strength and wonderful. An attempt at re-creating a bottle from the mid 19th century found inside of a wall during renovations.