OT: Scotch thread

8893

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8893

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Went to Scotland last June. Didn’t get to Islay though.
Yeah, we did England, Ireland and Wales two summers ago but didn't get to Scotland at all, so I figure another trip is in order. Probably not a family one though.
 

storrsroars

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Much as I would've loved to, I couldn't fit Islay into my itinerary when I was last there. It's a PITA to get to. But did spend some quality time at Cardhu (Speyside) and it was very interesting. Like most things European, what you really notice is "old". But end of the day, it's not all that much different than taking your first real winery tour.

I might do it again for Islay for Laga and a pub or two and a nice bike ride - you kinda have to commit to that island once you're there - but like with wineries, seen one, seen most of them.
 

DALTX

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My first Caol Ila 12 is running low. What to get next? Talisker 10 or Laphroaig Quartercask (have tried neither yet)? Or another Caol?
 
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As a side note, the oak casks used in Scotland are mostly used American bourbon casks.
My personal favorite is Laphroaig Quartercask.
 

8893

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My first Caol Ila 12 is running low. What to get next? Talisker 10 or Laphroaig Quartercask (have tried neither yet)? Or another Caol?
I don't know how or why this happened, but two weeks ago I found Lagavulin 16 at my local for $61. I bought two bottles. The first is almost gone already. Wish I had bought more.
 
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My first Caol Ila 12 is running low. What to get next? Talisker 10 or Laphroaig Quartercask (have tried neither yet)? Or another Caol?
Big peat/Islay fan: I don't like Talisker 10. I bought a bottle some years back and it sat on my shelf for a long time. IIRC it's the most fruity of the peaty scotches; the combo didn't work for me. It was quite different from the rest of the crew: Laphraiog, Lagavulin, Caol Ila, Ardbeg, etc - hopefully someone else can confirm.

I drink Quarter Cask more than any other scotch so I'll certainly recommend it. It's a better version of their 10 year; once you try it you'll probably never buy the 10 year again given the price proximity.
 

storrsroars

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I drink Quarter Cask more than any other scotch so I'll certainly recommend it. It's a better version of their 10 year; once you try it you'll probably never buy the 10 year again given the price proximity.
Never tried any Laphroaig other than standard issue, which I don't like. Compared to Lagavulin 16, which I love and always have on hand, I've found the Laphroaig to be "medicine-y", probably the heavy iodine notes. Also get a flavor like burnt microwave popcorn. Just not enjoyable for me compared to other Islays.

I've been looking for something on par or better than Laga for 25 years, but no scotch has topped it for my palate. My issue is that here in PA, Lagavulin 16 is $92. Would love to find something less expensive that's as enjoyable. Laphroaig Quarter Cask 96 proof is only $60, so if that's more quaffable than the 10, I'd spend the money. But I can't really get a sense of whether I'd like it from these reviews, which are all over the map.

Also, anyone try Ardberg Uigeadail? Never had it, but sounds intriguing.
 

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Never tried any Laphroaig other than standard issue, which I don't like. Compared to Lagavulin 16, which I love and always have on hand, I've found the Laphroaig to be "medicine-y", probably the heavy iodine notes. Also get a flavor like burnt microwave popcorn. Just not enjoyable for me compared to other Islays.

I've been looking for something on par or better than Laga for 25 years, but no scotch has topped it for my palate. My issue is that here in PA, Lagavulin 16 is $92. Would love to find something less expensive that's as enjoyable. Laphroaig Quarter Cask 96 proof is only $60, so if that's more quaffable than the 10, I'd spend the money. But I can't really get a sense of whether I'd like it from these reviews, which are all over the map.

Also, anyone try Ardberg Uigeadail? Never had it, but sounds intriguing.
Yes, the Uigeadaill is quite good. I think you might like Caol Ila 12 year. Profile is similar to Lagavulin. Laphroaig has a more medicinal peat that is rather different. Ardbeg is less medicinal than Lagavulin, more of a BBQ meat char profile. I would skip the Quarter Cask, although it is better than the 10 for someone who doesn't like that band-aid taste.

The bottle to grab right now for you is the Game of Thrones Lagavulin. Also, the 16 can be had for much less than $92 around New England.
 

HuskyHawk

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My first Caol Ila 12 is running low. What to get next? Talisker 10 or Laphroaig Quartercask (have tried neither yet)? Or another Caol?
Depends on where you are and what you can find.

I found Talisker 10 recently for $40. That was a steal. You might like the GOT Lagavulin, and it won't be around for long. Longrow is my favorite peated malt, but it's different, more earthy and less smoky. Port Charlotte might be a great fit if you like Caol Ila.

Long term, look into Independent Bottlings. Signatory, Gordon & Macphail, and others. There is a lot of Ledaig, Caol Ila, Bowmore and other peated malts out there and they are usually a better value than original bottlings from the distillery.
 

CL82

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I don't know how or why this happened, but two weeks ago I found Lagavulin 16 at my local for $61. I bought two bottles. The first is almost gone already. Wish I had bought more.
Feed a cold, drown a fever?
 

8893

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Feed a cold, drown a fever?
Ha! Somewhat, but not with good Scotch! I actually poured a couple fingers of the Lagavulin on Sunday night, and then realized that I couldn't taste it well enough to waste it. Then I went back to the Grand Marnier, which has taken quite a hit since the flu came on. Had a bit of Calvados, too.

Tried some red wine last night for the first time since before the flu hit. It wasn't terrible, but I still can't taste well enough for it to be very enjoyable, either. Today seems to be much better so far though.
 

storrsroars

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Yes, the Uigeadaill is quite good. I think you might like Caol Ila 12 year. Profile is similar to Lagavulin. Laphroaig has a more medicinal peat that is rather different. Ardbeg is less medicinal than Lagavulin, more of a BBQ meat char profile. I would skip the Quarter Cask, although it is better than the 10 for someone who doesn't like that band-aid taste.

The bottle to grab right now for you is the Game of Thrones Lagavulin. Also, the 16 can be had for much less than $92 around New England.
Good to hear on the Ardbeg. The GOT is a "special order" in PA, meaning it's not in state stores and I have to pay to have it shipped to my house or to my local store. Ridiculous gov't monopoly here. And yes, I usually buy my Laga on Long Island for $60-ish, but didn't make the annual Christmas relatives/booze-buying trip this year, so I'm down to one bottle.
 

storrsroars

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Do you guys in CT and elsewhere in the Northeast have Westland American Single Malt (American Oak) in stores yet? We just got it here in PA. It's not really comparable to Islays for smokiness/peat, but it is "traditional Scotch" in that it follows use of malted barleys (mostly domestic US in this case) and does give you the leather/pipe tobacco notes along with vanilla and fruit.

I found it an interesting and enjoyable bottle that's not directly comparable to anything else in my cabinet. First had it at the Whisky Bar in Seattle (great place, btw, huge selection and total whisky nerds behind the bar) three years ago so am happy it's finally found its way to PA. It's about $65 here. I'd think fans of the Highlands and Speyside scotches would enjoy it.
 

HuskyHawk

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Do you guys in CT and elsewhere in the Northeast have Westland American Single Malt (American Oak) in stores yet? We just got it here in PA. It's not really comparable to Islays for smokiness/peat, but it is "traditional Scotch" in that it follows use of malted barleys (mostly domestic US in this case) and does give you the leather/pipe tobacco notes along with vanilla and fruit.

I found it an interesting and enjoyable bottle that's not directly comparable to anything else in my cabinet. First had it at the Whisky Bar in Seattle (great place, btw, huge selection and total whisky nerds behind the bar) three years ago so am happy it's finally found its way to PA. It's about $65 here. I'd think fans of the Highlands and Speyside scotches would enjoy it.
Yes, like most craft it is way overpriced for what it is. Very young, which is its downfall. Needs a lot more time in barrel, and the new charred oak adds a lot of wood, without the effect of time. It's drinkable, but not a great use of $65.

Mad River in Vermont makes a single malt too, they distill beer. So it has hops in it as well. The latest one is v3 and they distilled a pretty good Double IPA (Tribute). Pretty unique profile.
 
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hmmm… I may have to change my BY default bias from 'who cares what you think? you taught me nuthin' to 'maybe some here do more than change feet when they open their mouth.' reading this thread can do that to a fellow. so, thanks for that, cuz I likes to larn me sum stuff. 'course, when I saw the title 'Scotch Thread,' all this yankee hillbilly thought was 'noice, they gonna talk aboot the scotchfolks who started making 'murican corn likker down in Old Bourbon county in virginny back in the day.' guess not. sure would be nice, though. 'peaty and mediciney?' yikes. on the udder hand, ya skooled me.a lot. props.
 

HuskyHawk

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At the risk of ridicule, I post my Scotch reviews on Reddit at r/Scotch (Bourbon too, and Rum on occasion). Scotch Whisky My handle is WildOscar66. HuskyHawk was unfortunately taken, so I had to assume a different moniker. The latest was 4 days ago, #83. Should hit 100 this spring. Learned a lot doing that, especially reviewing things blind.

New one just went up. Reviewed last night.
 
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storrsroars

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Yes, like most craft it is way overpriced for what it is. Very young, which is its downfall. Needs a lot more time in barrel, and the new charred oak adds a lot of wood, without the effect of time. It's drinkable, but not a great use of $65.

Mad River in Vermont makes a single malt too, they distill beer. So it has hops in it as well. The latest one is v3 and they distilled a pretty good Double IPA (Tribute). Pretty unique profile.
No Mad River in PA. Would be interested in trying that. Agree with general point on Westland being "young", but I believe they'll get better, perhaps a lot better, in coming years. We've got a local distillery, Wigle, that's been producing various things for about a decade now. Early stuff was not all that great, and a lot of what I'd call "hipster experimentation", but the brown stuff they've held for aging keeps getting better.

At the risk of ridicule, I post my Scotch reviews on Reddit at r/Scotch (Bourbon too, and Rum on occasion). Scotch Whisky My handle is WildOscar66.
Never even thought to look for a scotch sub. Has to be less depressing than r/worldnews...
 

HuskyHawk

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That's begging for explanation.
I am and was a fan of Oscar Wilde. When HuskyHawk was taken years ago as I tried to come up with an Xbox gamertag, I kept trying to find something that wasn't "word1234" or gibberish. I inverted the Oscar and the Wilde...omitting the e and Microsoft accepted it. Reddit presented the same issue, and even worse, I still needed numbers. Those you can guess I am sure.
 

HuskyHawk

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No Mad River in PA. Would be interested in trying that. Agree with general point on Westland being "young", but I believe they'll get better, perhaps a lot better, in coming years. We've got a local distillery, Wigle, that's been producing various things for about a decade now. Early stuff was not all that great, and a lot of what I'd call "hipster experimentation", but the brown stuff they've held for aging keeps getting better.

Never even thought to look for a scotch sub. Has to be less depressing than r/worldnews...
Some of these distilleries will survive, some won't. Try Balcones Texas Malt if you want the closest comparator to Westland. Shanahans in Colorado is decent too.

The craft distilling world is a mix of people distilling well, but selling young (Westland), selling absolute garbage (many of them, look for "cardboard" flavors and smells), and others who are keeping the lights on by selling Gin or Vodka while whiskey ages. But the good ones are doing creative things. Westland has one aged in a unique local oak vessel for example. Some are finishing bourbon, as you might Scotch, in wine, port or sherry casks. Mad River distills beer (made popular by Charbay Distillery – 13 Generations of Distillers) That's the creativity they will need to compete. If you like rum, Privateer in Ipswich MA is phenomenal. Woman distiller named Maggie Campbell. Maggie's Farm is a rum distiller in PA that is supposed to be good too. Pittsburgh's Craft Rum Distillery ~ Maggies Farm Rum ~ Official Site
 

storrsroars

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Some of these distilleries will survive, some won't. Try Balcones Texas Malt if you want the closest comparator to Westland. Shanahans in Colorado is decent too.

The craft distilling world is a mix of people distilling well, but selling young (Westland), selling absolute garbage (many of them, look for "cardboard" flavors and smells), and others who are keeping the lights on by selling Gin or Vodka while whiskey ages. But the good ones are doing creative things. Westland has one aged in a unique local oak vessel for example. Some are finishing bourbon, as you might Scotch, in wine, port or sherry casks. Mad River distills beer (made popular by Charbay Distillery – 13 Generations of Distillers) That's the creativity they will need to compete. If you like rum, Privateer in Ipswich MA is phenomenal. Woman distiller named Maggie Campbell. Maggie's Farm is a rum distiller in PA that is supposed to be good too. Pittsburgh's Craft Rum Distillery ~ Maggies Farm Rum ~ Official Site
Having spent most of the past 15 years in various segments of the food industry, a key consideration for folks 3-4 decades younger than myself is "local". Sometimes (actually, often) local trumps "good". And younger folks of any generation always feel a need to "change the rules".

When I exited high-end coffee, there was a ton of experimentation going on with yeast fermentation (as opposed to natural fermentation all coffee beans go through for at least a short stage). Purpose was to augment inherent flavors. Funny thing was, not even half a generation ago, prolonged natural fermentation was seen as bad, and a cheat to make lousy coffee taste good. Now that the 20-30 somethings understand the science, it's become a desireable thing to play with. This resulted in a lot of crap thrown against the wall and sold as "premium" coffees. This was also the case in brewing technologies (many former "industry darling" devices didn't last more than a year or two). Basically a lot of Emperor's New Clothes, which I find a ton of in everything from nanobreweries to tacos.

Anyway, that was a long way around to saying that patience will prove out what and who were worth following and consuming. Yes, Wigle gets a ton of bad reviews and the price points on many bottles are wacky compared to other quality major regional brands, but there are some gold nuggets in their product line. Maggie's Rum is good - if you really like rum and are willing to pay for it (I generally only use it for a mixer and the only bottle in my cabinet is Cruzan Gold, which is perfectly fine for my needs.) There are maybe three categories where I go as top shelf as I can afford, the rest are "popularly priced" (e.g. Evan Williams, which makes a perfectly fine Manhattan, or Luksosowa, because who really needs Tito's if you're doing shots?) Another Pittsburgh local is Boyd & Blair vodka, which I don't own as it goes for $30+, but was the star in probably the best vodka martini I've ever had.

That said, you should be hosting a video podcast. I wish I had the time/stamina/money to drink as much as you :D. I appreciate the knowledge drop.
 
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