A Conversation for Scotch Whisky
barkingcat Started conversation Dec 29, 2006
Here in the States, availability of good whisky can be spotty outside high-end restaurants and package stores. Any comments on the more readily available single malts like Glenfiddich and Glenlevit(SP?)? What about Oban and the Dalmore (which I find to have a pleasant "honey" taste on the front of the tongue)?
Whisky Posted Jan 2, 2007
The whisky's you're talking about are still 'mass-produced' - which is why you can find them easily, however, that doesn't mean I'm going to slag them off just for the sake of it...
Glenfiddich's improved immeasurably over the last couple of years in that they've finally gone back to selling sufficiently old whisky...
The twelve year old version is drinkable and the 15 and 18 year olds are actually quite good.
Dalmore's not bad at all either - in my opinion, probably the better of the whisky's you've named there (far 'richer' in flavour than Glenfiddich).
Oban I personally find rather thin and aggressive, and bog-standard Glenlivet's not as good as the older (15 & 18 year old) Glenfiddichs.
If you like Dalmore, one you might find out there and like is Glenfarclas... The older the better if you do find any.
barkingcat Posted Jan 18, 2007
Whisky: My search for Glenfarclas, thanks to your suggestion, lead me to a retailer whose selection of single malts actually verged on daunting. Over time, with wallet and liver cooperating, I plan to sample as many as I can. I greatly enjoyed sipping (but not paying for) a dram of Macallan 30 yr old. I found Glenfarclas 12 to be somewhat more "complex" than Dalmore though I like both. I realize that Dalmore is a "Highland" whisky while Mac and Glen-F are "Speyside" (within the Highlands?). I've had Glenmorangie in the past and recall finding it a bit like Oban (both Highland?); but I assume that "regions" have far less impact on taste than barrel, for example, or water source. However, I believe I've detected almost as much "peat" in a couple of Highlands as Islays like Laphroaig (perhaps a sacrilege, but I'm not crazy about it). Damn shame that we can't grab a couple of seats together at a pub with a good selection and chat about the merits and flaws of a few dozen whiskies. Thanks again for your advice!!
Whisky Posted Jan 22, 2007
Hi again - yup, I suppose Glenfarclas is a lot fuller and heavier than Dalmore... The older ones (if you've a bottomless wallet) are _really_ smooth though.
The one highland malt with loads of peat I can think of off the top of my head is Brora/Clynelish (same distillery - the whisky has a different name depending on when it was made).
Oh, and don't be ashamed of not liking Laphroaig - I know a few people who describe the stuff as tasting like antiseptic mouthwash!
You're right about barrels making a lot of difference though...
If you ever get the chance - Glenmorangie do a range of whiskies 'finished' in odd barrels (i.e.: Aged normally for around 12 years then thrown into an old Port/Madiera/Sherry barrel for another two years) it's amazing the difference between them.
barkingcat Posted Feb 10, 2007
Still enjoying Glenfarclas (on my 2nd bottle) and I'm continuing my search with good result. Prior to your reply I noticed those Glenmorangie "barrel" varieties at a specialty shop, but didn't purchase. They also sold a 10 yr old Speyburn for 10 quid (at the current exchange rate) and I found it better than "bog-standard". I balked, though, at picking up comparably-priced Highland Park, fearing it might offer more peat than I like (well-founded?). Most 12 yr olds here start at 18-20 pounds whilst one could, of course, spend the annual national budget of a small Eastern European nation on the casks, 105s and 30 yr olds, etc. I would probably be quite satisfied rotating Dalmore, Glenfarclas and the occasional bargain for day-to-day consumption (as it were). If it's not a imposition, could you offer some opinions on "special occasion" whiskies? Your counsel is always appreciated!
Gavin Orr Posted Jan 26, 2008
My preference has always been Glenmorangie, in favour of the more popular Gelnfiddich.
I lived close to a distillery in Glasgow and heard that "in the day" every employee was given a gill of whisky (four or five standard measures) every day on leaving the premises, als if you didn't want it, you were allowed to pass it to the person behind you! Imagine leaving work and driving home after drinking two gills (eight or ten "over the bar" drinks)!
I heard they changed the deal in he nineteen seenteies, and gave employees a number of bottles each week.
Gavin Orr Posted Jan 26, 2008
Such spelling, I must reduce my own intake of the water of life.
2legs - Hey, babe, take a walk on the wild side... Posted Jan 26, 2008
Luckily speling korectly isn't a drawback to posting on HooToo
Personally I like Glenmorangie and glenlivit as my kind of 'mainstay' whiskys, I can see the sppearl of some of the more 'obscure' one's but often find the flavour too 'obscure' for my liking; I'd drink a glass or two perhaps, but still head on bakc to my 'standard' whiskys at the end of the day.... One of main trubbles is the diminishing return for your 'investment', past Glenmorangie and Glenlivit the price increase gets heftily steep for diminishing levels of 'improvement' in the drinkies.... Of course the real big price rise big is from teh cheap crap whisky to the 'half-decent' stuf, which is a price increase well-worth paying, just after that, I find your increasing by simular or higher amounts, for less return in the improvement in taste of the product..
Quite lik ethe Island of dura (spelling I know), that always goes down very well and a tipple of something like lafraf (spelling?) is nice sometimes, but that isn't really the kind of thing that as a rule I'd sit down and drink a bottle of.... Though it has been known
I've also noticed in the last few years or so, a lot of the 'own brand' supermarket stuff has improved dramatically of course its not quite up there with the real decent stuff but some of it appears to be getting somewhat close
Whisky Posted Jan 28, 2008
I think the idea of 'diminishing returns' is mainly to do with how well your pallet works...
If I'm buying wine (not in a restaurant) there's no way I'll pay more than £10-15 for a bottle, because I wouldn't be able to appreciate the difference...
Whisky on the other hand, I'll quite happily go up further... As a rough estimate (and not knowing what Scotch costs in the UK any more) I'm happy to spend upto twice what a bottle of standard Glenlivet will cost without blinking. If I spend any more than that, it's because I'm after something specific.
The other point I always make to the French when talking about whisky is that most Frenchmen are willing to spend £30-40 on wine every single time they invite someone round to dinner - but then baulk at spending over £10 on a bottle of whisky that'll last them several months
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