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Reasonable Islay Scotch

Hi all!

I'm a new member here, so not sure what the perfect etiquette is for asking questions, but here goes....

It seems that over the last few months I've started learning to really love Islay Scotch. Been through a fair number of them. My favorite at the moment is the Lagavulin 16, but also a fan of the Ardbeg Uigeadail, Laphroaig 10, Caol Ila 12 and on and on.

My question is - can anyone recommend some sort of reasonable peaty-smokey, Islay-style Scotch (or even other whiskeys) that aren't going to be such a chunk of finances? I know it likely won't be as good as the above, but even something fairly tasty that I can have as more of an everyday malt. I mean, I'm still going to keep drinking the above whiskys, but would love if I could find something more day-to-day that's not going to cost me between 70 and 90 dollars a bottle.

Any help would be great - and thanks!

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  1. Bowmore Legend at around $30 is nice enough, and cheap enough, to drink every day.

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    1. If you live near a Trader Joe's, see if they have Finlaggan malt whisky in stock. It is from Islay and sells for around $20. Try it and see what you think.

      Here is Ralfy's review:


      Black Bottle is a blended Scotch whisky with some Islay whiskies in the mix and has some peaty-smokey taste to it.

      2 Replies
      1. re: DavidT

        You can also see if any of the merchants near you carry a line of whiskies from "Jon, Mark & Rabbo." They are independent bottlers and have a whisky called "The Peaty One" in their lineup. It should sell for around $30.

      2. Great suggestions, everyone. Thanks so much!

        1 Reply
        1. re: VeniceFood

          VeniceFood -

          If you do try any of the whiskies suggested, please be sure to let us know what you think of them and if any of them will give you what you are looking for.

        2. Not sure where you're located, but Laphroaig 10 yr can usually be found for $40-45, just last year I got the quarter cask for $50 in Florida.

          You might be able to find Bowmore 12 yr for around $40.

          Ardmore traditional cask is not technically an Islay but it is quite peaty and could pass for one, and I have found it for around $30-35.

          1. It's hard to beat Black Bottle at $16. It's a blend from Islay

            1. I bought Black Bottle and a Laphroaig 10. The Black Bottle is obviously a step down from the others, - but for the price, happy to have it so I'm not always dipping into the expensive stuff.

              The Laphroaig 10 I haven't opened yet - but I'm a big fan of the 10 Cask Strength, so I'm going to have to assume that I'll be pretty happy with it, and $40 isn't bad!

              While I was shopping, I also saw the McClelland's Islay Scotch Whisky for around $22 or so. Is that any good? (For the price, I mean.)

              2 Replies
              1. re: VeniceFood

                Opinions vary a lot on the McClelland's - I have seen it described as ghastly, but I don't think it's bad for the money. It is generally thought to be 5 yr old Bowmore, and I find it very similar to Bowmore Legend, rather briny with some moderate peat and smoke. I have seen the legend for $26 at which price I would choose it.

                I also use the Black Bottle as a Scotch to drink when my palate is not fresh, but I still want something decent to drink.

                1. re: VeniceFood

                  I do not like the taste of McClelland's

                2. Laphroaig 10 must have gotten really expensive. I've never paid more than $30 for it.

                  4 Replies
                  1. re: Josh

                    I've seen it for $30 as recently as a year ago, but not lately - where/when did you pay that for it?

                    $38 is the cheapest I see on the free version of www.wine-searcher.com

                    1. re: ncyankee101

                      My bottle was purchased more than a year ago, so I guess I'm behind the times. Weird to see it that pricey. Glad I'm now getting into armagnac.

                      1. re: Josh

                        I wouldn't think Armagnac is any cheaper, I have a bottle I paid $33 for and that is the least expensive I have seen, Been trying to order Marie Duffau Napoleon for that price from Hi-time wine but it's always out of stock.

                        1. re: ncyankee101

                          I paid about $30-35 for mine, but it sounds like Laphroaig 10's getting to be around $45-50. (Granted, not a huge difference there.)