HOME > Chowhound > Ontario (inc. Toronto) >


need scotch suggestion -- LCBO

I'd like to buy my husband a good bottle for Christmas but I don't know what I'm doing. He likes single malt -- already has a really peaty one in the cabinet and he says he has a "smooth" one. So something inbetween would be good.

Price point is $75-$100 or so.

Hope this is the right forum to post this -- thank you!

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. Go into one of the bigger stores (Queens Quay or Summerhill come to mind) and talk to someone there. I have always found the staff to be pretty good.

    I did the same, buying my dad a decent bottle. I think I spent a little more at $115 for Lagavulin Distiller's Edition which is excellent. It is peaty though but well balanced so that might work for you. Otherwise get the advice from someone in the store as there should be someone who knows their scotch.

    1. Dalwhinnie is my favourite--it's really smooth

      1. Ardbeg 10 year old is fantastic, and around 99 a bottle. Definitely peaty, but truly superlative. If you want to go a little smoother, maybe one of the Bowmores, like the sherry cask aged.

        2 Replies
        1. re: Snarf

          LCBO Summerhill was tasting the Sherry Casked and Port Casked Bowmores yesterday, they were very good. For my money the Sherry casked was better. They were marked at around $75 each.

          1. re: dgilks

            I second the Bowmore. A great balance between peaty and smooth.

        2. Lagavulin's peaty, while Dalwhinnie is very smooth with honey notes. If you'd like something in-between, I'd suggest Oban (which I think still comes in a 14 year old that's very nice).

          Ardbeg is also a very good choice, and it's a little unusual, both in taste and appearance (it's a little cloudy due to the filtering process).

          And if you want to throw caution to the winds and go extra-peaty, try Talisker (16 yrs).

          Distiller's editions of both Talisker and Lagavulin are very nice, ramping up the peat (but smoothly, mind you). Personally, I find the DE Dalwhinnie robs the stuff of the lightness that I like in it.

          Lastly, if you want something very interesting that also happens to be (relatively) cheap, try the blended Te Bheag (pronounced, "Chey Vek"). Smooth, cloudy like Ardbeg - it's a bargain.

          1. Thank you very much everyone!! I'll definately take this list into the LCBO -- don't know if I can get down to QQ or Summerhill but I will try.

            I just remembered that he also said something about cask aged or barrel aged? Are they all cask aged ?

            This is what we have in the cabinet:

            Bladnoch - 23 years
            Glenmorangie - quinta ruban - port cask - extra matured

            Sorry I am just so ignorant on this stuff -- I really appreciate all the help!

            2 Replies
            1. re: geoprincess

              Now you're talking! Single Malts are very personal as different regions have very different tastes so it's hard to recommend without knowing more. And now you've given us more! Glenmorangie is from the Highland region, so this is where you might want to look. I did a quick check of the LCBO website and found Tullibardine fits your price range. Specifcally:

              Check review here: http://www.whiskymag.com/whisky/brand...
              Available at Summerhill, Queen's Quay & Bayview Village

              Check revew here: http://www.whiskymag.com/whisky/brand...
              Available via online store only, you're out of luck if you want to buy before Christmas.

              Hope this helps.

              1. re: syoung

                Mmm...Tullibardine. In September, I visited Scotland and brought back a bottle of 1966 (my birth year). Can't wait to try it.

            2. Staff at other LCBO stores can help too, generally the outlets with large well-stocked Vintages stores also have knowledgable, helpful staff, the one at Bayview Village Shopping Centre comes to mind.

              I wouldn't put it off too long. I just came back from an lcbo store and it was crazy busy already. Better go sooner rather than later. First thing in the morning when they open is least busy, and the staff haven't had a chance to get frazzled yet.

              1 Reply
              1. re: JamieK

                I suggest that you check the inventory for stores before you head out. Some of the ones mentioned are special ones that got brought out only during the holidays. The scotch selection also varies greatly by the stores. QQ, Bayview Village, Royal York, and Summerhill would have the best selection.

              2. geoprincess - as cecilia advised, you should check inventory before setting out. You can find out how many bottles there are of any product at any particular store on the lcbo website -

                Just do a search, click on your product, then check the drop-down menu of store locations on the right.

                1. I bought Belvanie 15 year ($113.95 - I think?) for my co-workers.

                  it was recommended as THE Scotch to get (although I paid a little more), by 3 different LCBO's...

                  1. I recommend Highland Park 18 Year Single Malt at $120. I realize it is a tad out of your price range but imho, well worth the extra 20.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: radiopolitic

                      The Highland Park 18 was far too smooth and bland, to my taste. I felt I had wasted my money on it.

                      In terms of value, the Balvenie 10 year old (or the 12) are well within your price range and very very good. The 10 year old is about 1/2 the price of the 15 year old Balvenie mentioned above, and much better than 1/2 as good.

                      Glenmorangie is another high-quality, good-value bottle, with several variations (port cask, sherry cask iirc, etc.)

                      Happy hunting!

                    2. Wonderful -- thank you for all your help -- I'm going to go tomorrow and see what I can find on my scotch adventure -- again, thank yoU!

                      1. couple of tips....

                        1) There is a tasting room at summerhill where you can sample a few scotches. A dram varies in price from a buck to $4 depending on how expensive a bottle is. You can get to try some pretty pricey stuff for cheap like a Macallan 21.

                        2) I'm surprised nobody has recommended a Macallan 12. It is a staple IMO, a crowd pleaser that every scotch drinker I've ran into enjoys. It falls into your price range too, albeit LCBO does jack up the price compared to US pricing.

                        3) I actually find the Lagavulin distiller's ed to be smoother and less peaty than the regular 16. I second dgilks' suggestion.

                        4) Talisker 18 - winner of 2007 best whisky in the world. A good bang for buck performer, also fits your budget.

                        1. Geoprincess,

                          I suggest you read some of CamD's posts. He's a scotch afficionado/expert.


                          2 Replies
                          1. re: Splendid Wine Snob

                            Yeah, where is that CamD anyways? I was waiting/hoping he'd jump in on this one. Merry Christmas CamD wherever you may be. Hope everything is NB!!!

                            1. re: millygirl

                              I feel like I'm being called out here! I kept my mouth shut rather than rail against the LCBO.
                              Highland Park 18 was a solid choice. Really you can't go wrong with them. So balanced in everything they produce. I'm a snob and rarely have anything less than 18 years old. The new Glenmorangie range is impressive. I wasn't expecting much but they surpassed themselves. I'm waiting for the new premium one to arrive but I can't remember the name. The distillers edition Lagavulin is one of my all time favourites. Huge. I had someone in a restaurant move away because they thought I was quietly smoking when the bartender wasn't looking.
                              Hidden at the lcbo is Mortlach when they haven't been priced to scare you.
                              As always, and Mr.Millygirl can attest, I always push the non distillery products for value and for something a bit different but the lcbo is not the place for that.

                              And Merry Xmas to everyone!

                          2. I know it's too late now but as Ginsugirl's S.O. I recommend Glenmorangie; The Quinta Ruban. 10 years in Jack Daniels Cask and finished with two more years in Ruby Port cask for a rich dark chocolate flavour with a mintiness as you exhale.
                            You might prefer the Lasanta which is Olorosso Sherry cask the same way but tastes just like Christmas. Think candied orange peel, toasted almonds and dried apricots. Both $75.

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: Ginsugirl

                              Yeah, my SO is a complete scotch snob. As for myself, I'd rather a nice, dry Riesling.

                            2. We exchanged gifts last night before all the family craziness and he opened up a bottle of Highland Park 18 -- he was in love with it - I think we may have started a tradition here!

                              I'm keeping this list on file for next year --- I tried to look up CamD but I can't seem to figure out how to look people up on CH.

                              Nevertheless, thank you -- this Christmas was a success!

                              1. Hi all again -- the Christmas Scotch tradition continues :) I'm looking for another great bottle for my husband. My shopping mobility is sort of limited right now as we have a 5 week old so getting out is hard. Would love some advice from you all.

                                I bought Highland Park 18 last year and then for husband's birthday I bought him the Tullibardine Port Wood Finish Single Malt.

                                Is there anything new and notable at the LCBO this season? Would love suggestions again.

                                Just to recap -- what we have now is:
                                Bladnoch - 23 years
                                Glenmorangie - quinta ruban - post cask - extra matured
                                Highland Park 18
                                Tullibardine Port Wood Finish

                                2 Replies
                                1. re: geoprincess

                                  The Longmorn 16 is on my "to-do" list. Their 15 was my favourite at the $50 price point. The 16 is significantly more expensive ($100) but given the quality of the 15 it might be worth the price.

                                  1. re: geoprincess

                                    If you're looking for something that is rarer, I just checked and a couple of the North York LCBOs have a few bottles of the 10yr old Edradour left. It was in the Vintages catalogue about a month ago, it's from the smallest distillery in Scotland and is very favourably reviewed.

                                    It's not as aged and complex as your husband's current lineup, but it makes a great pre-dinner or post-work dram.

                                  2. If he likes peaty single malts, try Lagavullin. It is my husband's favourite and a Christmas gift giving tradition in our house.