favourite scotch whiskey
I'm looking to purchase a nice bottle as a gift... wondering what i can get around the $100 range (willing to go a big higher). I don't know much about scotch whiskey but this person has enjoyed glenfiddich and bowmore in the past. Is there something out there that's a little different than the typical scotch/whiskey brands? He received a bottle called A'bunadh over the holidays and really enjoyed that as well. Any ideas would be appreciated. BTW it has to be available in Ontario.
Easy... I have three favorite scotches. Aberlour A'Bunadh ("Original") very nice smooth sherry flavors, honey. It's cask strength (120 proof) and very reflective of the Speyside region. about US$70 but very difficult to find. The next one is fairly easy to find, Glenlivet Nadurra ("Natural"), also cask strength 120 proof, but representative of the Highlands, a bit drier, vanilla and malt flavors. Also about US$60-$70. And finally, from the Islands, the smoky, peaty Laphroaig 10 Year Old Cask Stength. Hard to find, but the regular 10 year is available everywhere and the Quarter Cask is also somewhat available. Peaty and smoky, but not as much as a Lagavulin. 110 proof. nice balance and exactly what an Islay should be. Also about $70.
Put it this way, you can get all three, or you buy a bottle of Blue Label for $200... and I don't think blends are nearly anywhere as flavorful as single malts. If youre ever in Saratoga Springs NY, www.9mapleavenue.com
LCBO has a crappy whisky selection! There are so many things I could recommend but was just looking at their website, and in the $100 range there were a few interesting items. My advice would be to go to a good store (what city are you in - that is going to make a huge difference) and ask for a recommendation on an independent bottle. These are ones that are done by a company who buys a cask from a distillery and bottle it often at a different age than the standard distillery bottlings. Murray McDavid, Hart Brothers, Gordon McPhail are some of the better companies doing this. It is then something a little different.
There are a few really nice items on the LCBO for around $100 (I'm assuming you meant Canadian $)
Nikka Yoichi 10 ($110) is actually a Japanese single malt but it has a great flavor, much like a good Highland Scotch, and it certainly is a bit different.
Lagavulin 16 ($110) is a big, smoky, classic that everyone should try. If your giftee likes Bowmore, I would give it a go.
Aberlour A'bunadh is a heavily sherried whisky, but I think the recent editions have not been as good as previous ones. If you want to go for something in that vein, I would recommend the Macallan cask strength ($100 at the LCBO) or the Glenfarclas 15 or 17 (both of which are listed at under $100)