A Conversation for Scotch Whisky

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Post 1

Orcus

What an entry! Nice to see Macallan up there - that is my personal fave (not tried those above it in the list). I recently got an 18 year old Macallan for only £20 - the offlicence was closing and having a clear out smiley - biggrin


Brilliant!

Post 2

Wand'rin star

As a very long term single malt drinker (my grandfather was a blender), I concur.
I've bought cheap single malts in African dutyfrees because they charged the same price for single or blend and very expensive 30year old Laphroaig in Singapore duty free - I made a mistake in the currency conversion calculation smiley - star


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Post 3

Munchkin

Waaah! I now have a terrible hankering for the bottle of Laphroiag at home. And its only half past two! How will I make it through work?!
That aside, a top entry.
On Duty Free, I've noticed that most Duty Free prices basically cause a litre to cost the same as a high street seventy centilitre bottle.
Oh, and I once saw a pub in Glasgow selling twenty five year old Macallan, at a tenner a glass! smiley - bigeyes


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Post 4

Mens Sana In Thingummy Gosho

Congrats on getting this one in the Guide whisky smiley - hug As I pointed out when it was in the editing process, if there's anyone who can give the lowdown on the differences in the various regions (Lowland, Highland, Islay, Orkney, etc, it would put the lid on a really good entry smiley - tongueout


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Post 5

Konrad (1x6^(9-8)x(8-1)=42) (OMFC) (Goo at work, alabaster at home)

Top entry! But a run down on regions would be fantastic.

Laphroaig is the best way to keep scotch to yourself. I don't know anyone else who drinks it (I love it).

Konrad


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Post 6

Konrad (1x6^(9-8)x(8-1)=42) (OMFC) (Goo at work, alabaster at home)

Top entry! But a run down on regions would be fantastic.

Laphroaig is the best way to keep scotch to yourself. I don't know anyone else who drinks it (I love it).

Konrad


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Post 7

Orcus

Don't let me near your house then smiley - winkeye


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Post 8

Mens Sana In Thingummy Gosho

Laphroaig is my favourite too Konrad smiley - tongueout I like all the Islay malts, but especially that one smiley - biggrin


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Post 9

Whisky

Ok, a quick breakdown of the regions

Basically these are divided into Lowland, Highland, Speyside, Campbeltown, The Islands and last but not least Islay.




Lowland whiskies are few and far between nowadays, about the only version widely available is Glenkinchie by United Distillers,

They are characterised as being lighter bodied and more subtle than the other malts, however, for a hardened Laphroaig lover, they might seem to lack a little (or a lot) of flavour and body.
My favourites (if you can get hold of them), are Rosebank and Bladnoch

For a whisky fanatic its always useful to have a bottle of Lowland Malt in stock to initiate guests into the art of Malt Scotch. My favourite whiskies are the result of several years of testing and developping the palette, but for someone who has never tasted a decent whisky, they might be a little overpowering and offputting.

My advise for a novice, start with the lowland malts and work your way up.



Speyside Malts come next

They are the most common malts, coming from the vicinity of the River Spey. They boundaries of this region have become a little fudged
due to commercial requirements.
Classic, fruity malts with little or no peat used in the production process generally come from this region. The first to become popular was The Glenlivet, which was soon followed by several others, wishing to cash in on their geographical location so you get Tamnavulin Glenlivet and others, all with the Suffix Glenlivet, which means that they hark from the valley of the Livet, but not from the same distillery as "The Glenlivet".

Island Malts.

This classifies all the Scottish Islands with the exception of Islay.
Orkney, with Scapa and Highland Park

Mull, with Tobermory and Ledaig (which is actually the old recipe for Tobermory made in the same distillery, but much more peaty and flavoursome than the current Tobermory).

Arran, Isle of Arran opened about 5 years ago now, I've not yet tasted anything from their stills. However, they did bring out a couple of barrels at 3 years old and if you are willing to pay a lot of money for a young whisky, you might just find a bottle.

Jura, Isle of Jura, to my palette this is a lighter version of Highland Park.

Islay, Ok I'm biased but I really love Islay malts, peaty, smoked, a hint of seaweed and TCP (or in the case of Laphroaig, a bucket of TCP). Not for the faint hearted!! And probably not for the novice.
If you have grown to love your Laphroaig and want to initiate a friend into the pleasures of Single Malts it's probably not a good idea to start them off on your favourite tipple, it'll probably frighten them off for good!
Here's a list of the 8 Islay malts (In my order of preference)

Port Ellen - Lighter and subtler than Laphroaig, but much more interesting (Unfortunately the distillery has been closed down since the early eighties and there isn't much stock out there).

Ardbeg - Closed down in the early 80's, there was a small production run carried out in around 1990, then in 1998 it was purchased by Glenmorangie and re-opened. Its possible to find several versions of the 1990 as well as older bottlings, however, it remains to be seen if Glenmorangie will be able to keep up the quality

Caol Ila - Easily described, take whisky, add bucketfulls of peat and sell - the perfect malt for a "peathead"

Bruichladdich - The lightest of all the Islays, a great way to be introduced to the Island.

Laphroaig - Antiseptic in a botttle - but don't be put off by the description it's really good

Bowmore - Recently Bowmore have brought an extensive range of different bottlings, Cask Strength, Port wood finished, Claret Wood and a couple of others, the last time I counted there was about a dozen different varieties available, all good (except in my humble opinion, avoid the "Bowmore Legend", it hasn't got the age marked on the bottle but I feel is a little too young and aggressive.

Bunhahabhain - Another heavily peated whisky, not as much TCP as Laphroaig, but more body than Bruichladdich

Lagavulin - Let me ask you one question, how can one distillery produce enough whisky to put bottles in every supermarket in Europe, far undercutting their competitor's prices without sacrificing quality??? Enough said

The next region is CAMPBELTOWN - once home to a dozen or more distilleries, today there are only two left: Glen Scotia (lightly iodine, a hint of peat), which resembles some of the Island malts, and Springbank, which is excellent. end of story. Springbank also produces a second product Longrow, which is more heavily peated, also excellent, the problem is getting hold of the stuff as it is extremely hard to find.

Finally comes the HIGHLANDS, this is virtually impossible to classify as it covers such a large geographical area and range of styles.
My personal favourite is Clynelish from the extreme north east.


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Post 10

Mens Sana In Thingummy Gosho

smiley - bigeyes


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Post 11

Traveller

I have only just discovered and joined the H2G2 website and I am still not too sure of all the protocols relating to published articles. However, I have tried to provide some brief information relating to the main regions, to cover them all would be a major work. I hope this is of interest, I found the original article fascinating and informative.


LOWLANDS:

Lowland distilleries are nearly all close to Glasgow or Edinburgh in a region south of a line drawn between the Forth and Loch Lomond. Most Lowland malt whisky goes straight to the cask for blending, and single malts from the remaining distilleries have become quite difficult to come by. Lowland distilleries tend to use unpeated malt and have a dry finish and a low aromatic intensity, untempered by Islay peatiness or coastal brine and seaweed. Because of the lightness of Lowland malts, it seems that they can take very long maturation without becoming woody.

In the late seventies there were ten operating distilleries,of these only Rosebank and Bladnoch were available as single malts. Now there are only three distilleries, namely; Glenkinchie, Auchentoshan and Ladyburn.

Rosebank, a very light, sweetish whisky with little aftertaste, was generally considered to be the best Lowland malt. Auchentoshan Distillery, on the northern edge of Glasgow, produces a whisky that has a light aroma and a clean, dry finish. Auchentoshan has a unique mash production technique. Instead of the usual 3 or 4 infusions with hot water there is one charge, stirred for 20 minutes and left to stand for an hour. The drained wort goes into the Washback (a pine tank where the Wort is fermented) , while the residue is used to sparge the next batch of mash. Glenkinchie Distillery is situated just outside Edinburgh. It's product is representative of the style of Lowland malt whiskies: fragrant, with a clean, fresh flavour and a dry finish.


HIGHLANDS:

The bulk of all single malts comes from the Highlands, which is by far the biggest region. The region is roughly bounded by Old Pultney in Wick, west as far a Oban, east as far as Peterhead and south to Glengoyne. With such a large region there is a great diversity in the qualities of whisky from each area. Many distilleries produce whisky that is light and fragrant, with none of the overpowering peatiness of the Islay malts. The far north of the Highlands has several whiskies with a notably heathery, spicy, character, probably deriving both from the local soil and the coastal location of the distilleries.

The Highland malts have several sub-divisions, with the West Highland malts generally comprising Islay and Campbeltown, and the most well known East Highland malts coming from the Speyside area. Some of the notable Highland malts include Glenmorangie, Dalwhinnie and Dalmore. Glenmorangie is a very popular whisky, having a fragrant and delicate fragrance and a sweet flavour, not unlike a Lowland whisky. The most well known highland whisky is probably The Glenlivet, which comes from the Speyside area. George Smith took out the first official license for a distillery in 1824 and Smith's Glenlivet (now The Glenlivet) became one of the finest malts available. Several whiskies are known as Glenlivets but many, such as Macallan have dropped the hyphenated Glenlivet from their name.

Speyside:

There are about 55 distilleries around the Spey, Scotland's second longest river. Individuals have their own special favourite malts but outstanding in this area is Macallan, one of the greatest of all malt whiskies. The distillery is on the Spey, close to Craigellachie. Macallan is distilled in small, directly heated stills and matured in sherry casks. It is a fragrant malt with a smooth rich flavour. Other well known malts from this region include, Glenfiddich, which is probably drunk more than any other single malt and is one of the largest selling malt whiskies in the world, Gragganmore, Glenfarclas, Dufftown-Glenlivet, and Knockando.

Islay:

Islay is a small island with eight distilleries off the west coast of Scotland . It is an island of peat and the dark, densely textured peat gives the whisky a unique quality. Islay peat contains a substantial amount of seaweed and it burns with a dense, strongly flavoured smoke. This permeates the malt to such an extent that it is carried over into the distillation process. The Islay malts are the big bold malt whiskies with a heavy peaty fragrance and flavour. Two of the most well known Islay malts are probably Laphroaig and Bowmore. Laphroaig arouses strong feelings and is disliked by many that describe it as 'tasting of cough medicine'. The distillery is situated on the seashore and it cuts its own peat. the smell of seaweed and the smoky peat obviously impart a great deal to the flavour of Laphroiag. Bowmore is a powerful but less pungent whisky than Laphroiag. Bowmore ages very well and there are a few remaining examples of 18 and 21-year-old malts available.

With so many distilleries producing malt whisky it is impossible to list them all. Everybody will have a favourite, but the good thing is that there are no bad ones and working through as many as possible is a labour of love.

My favourites? Macallan, Bowmore and Cardhu


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Post 12

Whisky

Nice one, I like your descriptions smiley - cheers

whisky


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Post 13

Munchkin

Traveller, if you write something in your home space then people can leave you messages. At that point one of the ACEs (semi-official greeter types) will come along with some useful links to help explain the site to you. Hope you enjoy the place. smiley - smiley


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Post 14

Orcus

What do you mean 'semi'-official? smiley - steamsmiley - winkeye


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Post 15

Whisky

Hey Orcus, which half of you is official?

The top or bottom

smiley - biggrin


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Post 16

Orcus

Actually it's my right hand side smiley - winkeye


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Post 17

Whisky

< squinting at orcus from the left hand side of his screen

Yup, I think your right there, I sure wouldn't want to see your left hand side have any sort of official responsibilities smiley - yuk

smiley - tongueout


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Post 18

Orcus

Well, being of the demonic persuasion I wouldn't want to talk up my sinister side smiley - winkeye


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Post 19

MrsCloud

Ah glad to see someone mentioned Cardu notably the only wiskey that I vaugly like. I'm in the strange position of not liking wiskey but being a wiskey buff by being educated by a group of friends who all drank single malts.

Up untill last summer was living in Edinburgh which was great for getting single malts, my other half is fond of Ardberg and Jura for milder days. One of our other friends has recently emmigrated to Texas so has to come back to buy up Brunahaben to take back with him.

One of my boyf's b-days I went to Valvona and Crolla (interesting food shop in Edinburgh) and selected six minatures from the window that I hadn't heard of. From this we came to the concluesion that Sheep Dip (yes it was a whiskey) is not to be touched with a barge pole, Glenkichie is ok but not brillent and Cardu's lovely, I can't remember what the other three were.

It's really annouying now the southern side of the border whiskey is so much more expensive £17 v's £22 for a bottle of Jura! My boyf and his best mate from Edinburgh rekon they should open a whiskey specialist bar in Cambridge (where we now live) but the girlf or the mate (who happens to be my mate) and I say only if they have chocolate on sale as well as chrisps (a pet wish/peeve).


Brilliant!

Post 20

Whisky

Ooooh, someone who likes Ardbeg, Tell him I feel sorry for him... Not for liking Ardbeg, on the contrary, he's got great taste, just for having decided to like a whisky that's such a pain in the neck to get hold of smiley - winkeye

As to Sheepdip - I totally agree with your comments, the stuff shouldn't even be used for dipping sheep in - you'd get done for cruelty to animals...

By the way, if he likes Ardbeg, see if you can get hold of a bottle of Port Ellen one day, it's even better (but unfortunately as rare as rocking horse droppings smiley - winkeye.

Just thinking what I could recommend for someone who likes Cardhu...


If you can ever get hold of a miniature of either Blair Atholl or Mortlach, you might like those...

Just one tip, let them breathe before you drink them, if its a miniature, empty it into a glass and let it stand for a couple of hours before you touch it (believe it or not, whisky works like red wine, only a lot slower, it really does need time to breathe.


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