Single Malt Scotch

Discussion in 'Other Beverages' started by WunderLlama, Apr 21, 2019.

  1. TheInsomniac

    TheInsomniac Aspirant (267) Jan 11, 2015 New Mexico
    Society

    I pick my battles poorly.

    You're never going to find me switching back and forth between whiskey and whisky in the same sentence if I'm comparing an Irish single malt to a Scotch single malt. They're both whisk(e)y, no matter how it's spelled (spelt?).
     
    lucius10 and Premo88 like this.
  2. thesherrybomber

    thesherrybomber Aspirant (258) Jun 13, 2017 California
    Society Trader

    Do y'all think there's a higher curve for peat or hops? Because for me, I still can't stomach certain hop varieties, while with peat, I can at least tolerate (one of my least favorite experiences was with Laphroaig 10 early on, and even then, I could find things I liked about it and didn't give it a below average grade).

    I tend to prefer peat as an ingredient, rather than the main course, and enjoy more when paired with sherry flavors. Light, coastal peat, as someone else said, seems to be in my wheelhouse...
     
    Squire and SierraNevallagash like this.
  3. drtth

    drtth Poo-Bah (3,851) Nov 25, 2007 Pennsylvania

    As I mentioned in a post earlier in this thread, there's an Islay finished in Sherry barrels you might enjoy, it's called Bowmore Darkest. It's a favorite of mine and from the bottles I've had I'd suggest it has an almost faultless peat/sherry combination.
     
    Squire, TongoRad and thesherrybomber like this.
  4. drtth

    drtth Poo-Bah (3,851) Nov 25, 2007 Pennsylvania

    If by chance you've not been there yet I suspect you'd greatly enjoy a visit (to include dinner) at the Scotch Whisky Experience in Edinburgh. It's just a bit down the Royal Mile from the Castle. In addition to a "tour" they have a bar with hundreds of different single malts on offer. (There's also a pretty well stocked store.) I'd also suggest planning on having a dinner there. They have a whisky Sommelier who will help you with deciding on pairing different whiskies with the different courses of your meal.

    https://www.scotchwhiskyexperience.co.uk
     
    Squire, rozzom, John_M and 1 other person like this.
  5. TongoRad

    TongoRad Poo-Bah (2,611) Jun 3, 2004 New Jersey
    Society Trader

    I went to a dinner like that one time and was pleasantly surprised at how well each whisky accompanied each course. That was my first introduction to Aberlour A'Bunnadh, too, which was quite memorable; but overall the selections were all varied and interesting.
     
    rozzom and drtth like this.
  6. drtth

    drtth Poo-Bah (3,851) Nov 25, 2007 Pennsylvania

    Was the meal was focused on Scotch cuisine? The Amber Restaurant in the Whisky Experience has that focus. I was once lucky enough to be part of a dinner party at the Whiskey Experience and quite enjoyed that part as well as the pairings.
     
    TongoRad likes this.
  7. TongoRad

    TongoRad Poo-Bah (2,611) Jun 3, 2004 New Jersey
    Society Trader

    No, it was actually more Northern Italian than anything else, but kind of light and elegant. The chef put together the menu alongside the Whisky Ambassador, and they did meet the challenge head on. It just goes to show how versatile these pairings can be.

    Naturally, I'd love to try the same thing with Scotch cuisine if I ever come across it.
     
    Premo88 and drtth like this.
  8. John_M

    John_M Poo-Bah (6,332) Oct 25, 2003 Oregon
    Moderator Society Trader

    Good to know. We didn't make it to Edinburgh last trip, but we won't miss a visit next time. A visit to the whisky experience sounds like a must.

    Much to wife's surprise, she really enjoyed Glasgow and Islay, so a second trip to Scotland is a certainty I think
     
  9. drtth

    drtth Poo-Bah (3,851) Nov 25, 2007 Pennsylvania

    If you can schedule it to be there during the Tattoo.... That's an experience to remember. Also another bit to consider is the Festival and The Fringe, after that she may not want to come home. :slight_smile:
     
    #89 drtth, May 1, 2019
    Last edited: May 1, 2019
    Premo88 and John_M like this.
  10. SierraNevallagash

    SierraNevallagash Disciple (368) Sep 23, 2018 Maine
    Trader

    I feel the need to correct you, good sir. A, I love a super smoky whisky. I also almost always add a few drops of water to any dram I'm sipping, to unlock the oils. My circle of whiskey sipping comrades would unanimously agree with me. Also, Dalwhinnie 15 is a favourite of mine. A staple. A go-to. I'm all too familiar with it. It's actually a peated malt. In fact. The bottle even says so. It's a whisper of dry, ashen smoke (like Oban) but it's there, and it's delightful. In fact, I may argue that Dalwhinnie 15 is one of my favourite peated malts. I address you with no aggression, but there are erroneous claims in your comment that I felt the need to address. Sure, there are peat heads, and hop heads, but let's put that broad brush down for a minute. Drink what you like. Don't worry about what's in the other laddie or lassie's glass.
    Cheers!
     
    Premo88 likes this.
  11. SierraNevallagash

    SierraNevallagash Disciple (368) Sep 23, 2018 Maine
    Trader

    Bowmore Darkest is actually the old label for the Bowmore 18. They removed "darkest" from the label, presumably because of the bit of pushback from the public, regarding the rather silly name for a whisky loaded with E150A caramel colouring. "Yeah! This is our darkest whisky, because we put more dye in this one than any of our others!". It's just Bowmore 18 now. No hate though. Bowmore is fantastic. @thesherrybomber will most certainly find this well within his wheelhouse. The peat is in the spotlight, but not stealing the stage.

    My signature blend is 60% Oban 14, 20% Bunnahabhain 12, 10% Glenmorangie Quinta Ruban, and 10% Bowmore 12. My god. Oak, nuts, plums, figs, cherries, apples, malted barley, a hint of brine, seashell, and a wisp of campfire smoke. Anyone who shits all over blended malts has never tried blending malts.
     
    Premo88, Squire and drtth like this.
  12. thesherrybomber

    thesherrybomber Aspirant (258) Jun 13, 2017 California
    Society Trader

    Haha... for the price, I'm almost tempted to go with Amrut Fusion.
     
    Premo88 likes this.
  13. SierraNevallagash

    SierraNevallagash Disciple (368) Sep 23, 2018 Maine
    Trader

    Yeah, it's $120 here. Quite a few options at that price that easily rival Bowmore 18. But I've also never had Amrut, so I can't speak for that. That's getting into 21 year old territory, or some really damn good ryes. Man, I wish I was still in California. We could totally have met up and gone halves on a really nice bottle. Are any of the Amruts peated?
     
    Premo88 and thesherrybomber like this.
  14. thesherrybomber

    thesherrybomber Aspirant (258) Jun 13, 2017 California
    Society Trader

    According to their site:

    Amrut Amalgam
    Amrut Peated (also cask strength version)
    Amrut 100 Peated
    Amrut Fusion

    Ppm in the 10s-20s, unfortunately. They also produce a rye...
     
  15. SierraNevallagash

    SierraNevallagash Disciple (368) Sep 23, 2018 Maine
    Trader

    That's quite detectable. Ardbeg is about 50 ppm, where as Bunnahabhain is somewhere between 2 and 5 (according to you, if I recall).

    I don't fully understand the science behind peat ppm, and how it translates, but if Ardbeg 10 is around 50, something that's say 15ppm would be considered a relatively peaty whisky.

    Frankly, I'm just not 100% on board with the peat ppm thing. There are just so many variables. The type of peat, where it's from, how it's burned, the smoke-channeling mechanism, how wet the malt is, batch size, burning temp. Peat is peat, but I can guarantee that a 50ppm Lagavulin and a 50ppm Arbeg, at the same age, if put side-by-side, one will seem peatier/smokier than the other. Or any two distilleries for that matter. Hell, maybe even 2 different 50ppm malts from the same distillery. I just feel that the peat ppm measurement system has a lot of room for all sorts of variables that will prevent a consistent, accurate, reliable, and predictable outcome.
     
    Premo88, TongoRad and thesherrybomber like this.
  16. drtth

    drtth Poo-Bah (3,851) Nov 25, 2007 Pennsylvania

    Surprising given that it was labeled Darkest 15 yr and seems to be still available locally with that label.
     
  17. SierraNevallagash

    SierraNevallagash Disciple (368) Sep 23, 2018 Maine
    Trader

    You are correct. I meant 15. The 18 has only been labeled as "18", I believe. Everything I said previously still stands, minus the incorrect age statement. If you're seeing bottles on the shelf labeled "Bowmore 15 Darkest", then I'm fairly certain you're just seeing old bottles.
    Also, and don't quote me, but I believe while it had the "Darkest" label, it was bottled at 40%, whereas the new 15yr bottles that don't say "Darkest" are bottled at 43%. I could be wrong about that, but I don't believe I am. But you're right. It was the 15, not 18. The 18 is also sherried, but it isn't advertised as heavily as the 15 year. The sherry maturation/finishing is the 15's big selling point.
     
    Premo88 and drtth like this.
  18. thesherrybomber

    thesherrybomber Aspirant (258) Jun 13, 2017 California
    Society Trader

    Yeah, I mean, Octomore has ppm levels in the hundreds, but I've been told it doesn't hit you over the head and comes off as "delicate". Not sure about the whole process, but possibly their long stills have something to do with it? Again, a ton of variables, like type of peat, aging, distillation, etc.

    I've heard Ardbeg described as Laphroaig's "little brother". Any idea the reasoning behind that? Anyway, unlike with beer, one of the reasons malt drinkers love them is because of the differences between batches. You get some old timers complaining that x has changed for the worst (especially with blends, which doesn't surprise me, considering much of the good stuff used to go into them decades ago).
     
    Premo88 and SierraNevallagash like this.
  19. SierraNevallagash

    SierraNevallagash Disciple (368) Sep 23, 2018 Maine
    Trader

    I've been told those super duper heavily peated Octomores sort of resemble a pungent funky cheese, at least in aroma, if not also in flavour. I've never had an Octomore.

    Ardbeg is Laphroaig's little brother? If anything, I would argue the opposite. I've never heard that, but Arbeg has the lead in ABV, and is much fuller in body. Viscous. Ardbeg peat is all earth and wet moss and brine. Real earthy peat. Laphroaig is all iodine and ashen smoke. Less brine. I prefer the flavour and aroma of Laphroaig 10, but the body of Ardbeg 10 is heavenly. Ardbeg, to me, definitely drinks like the bigger, fuller whisky. That's a weird one. I guess perhaps because the massive iodine note is toned down in Ardbeg (it's still absolutely there), and it doesn't quite have the "smoke" note of Laphroaig. I'd have a hard time calling Ardbeg a "little brother" to anything haha. Maybe Laphroaig's chubby cousin, but certainly not a little brother. Then again...we're talking about whisky...maybe that's getting just a touch too philosophical. They're both noisy neighbours, but I feel like Laphroaig is the one who's always playing music too loud, while you're pretty sure Ardbeg might be a drug dealer. Laphroaig is David Bowie and Ardbeg is The Moody Blues. Laphroaig is a 1966 Ford GT40 and Ardbeg is a 1957 Mercedes 300SL Gullwing. But most importantly, Laphroaig is a Fender Stratocaster, and Ardbeg is a Gibson Les Paul.
     
    Squire, Premo88, rozzom and 2 others like this.
  20. thedaveofbeer

    thedaveofbeer Initiate (161) Mar 25, 2016 Massachusetts
    Trader

    I thought scotch was expensive... then I started drinking craft NEIPAs and bourbon barreled ages stouts.....
     
  21. John_M

    John_M Poo-Bah (6,332) Oct 25, 2003 Oregon
    Moderator Society Trader

    It's pretty peaty/smoky, but as @thesherrybomber mentioned, it really doesn't hit you over the head. The peat quality is just one note in a chorus of lovely flavors (it has a very rich, malt backbone). I've never gotten a pungent funky cheese aroma, but then I wasn't looking for it (the peaty quality is more apparent on the nose than on the palate, and it definitely has a very smoky/peaty aroma). I've had 3 different batches so far, and while I know the ppm range varies considerably for different Octomore bottlings, they all smelled and tasted pretty similar to me.

    Bruichladdich also makes a very heavily peated whisky called Port Charlotte, for those who can't get enough peat and smoke. For me it was too much of a good thing, as the peaty quality seemed to completely overwhelm the flavor profile.
     
    #101 John_M, May 1, 2019
    Last edited: May 2, 2019
    Premo88 and thesherrybomber like this.
  22. darkandhoppy

    darkandhoppy Aspirant (259) Dec 26, 2008 Connecticut

    Balvenie Doublewood is delicious and quite reasonably priced. It's finished in Sherry casks. Balvenie also has a singlefill thats aged entirely in Sherry Butts. I think that's a 15yr, so a little spendier (relatively speaking).
     
    Premo88 and Jacobier10 like this.
  23. Premo88

    Premo88 Poo-Bah (1,782) Jun 6, 2010 Texas
    Society Trader

    Thanks for the info! Same to @SierraNevallagash.

    It sounds like Talisker 10 may be my best bet for sea/brine. I've tried Lagavulin (16 and 9), Ardbeg (10 and Uigeadail) and Springbank 12, and for the most part their peat and smoke flavor comes off as peat and smoke, not anything maritime. I used to get a lot of sea character out of Lagavulin 16 back in the early 2000s when I first tried it, but now it's all sweet peat -- not a bad thing, just different.

    Bruichladdich Classic Laddie has been on my list to try, and I'll move it up.

    One thing I learned from reviewing 100s of beers: Never count out anything when it comes to how your palate will interpret flavors. Whisky is definitely teaching me that. What tastes like A-B-C one night can taste like D-E-F the next and A-D-F the following week. Highland Park 12 did that for me, and my bottle of Old Pulteney 12 is doing that. Bunnahabhain 12 did that a bit. Ardbeg 10 didn't change a ton, but it definitely got sweeter and less smokey as I got deep into the bottle.

    Thanks again for the info!
     
    Squire, TongoRad and thesherrybomber like this.
  24. Squire

    Squire Poo-Bah (2,154) Jul 16, 2015 Mississippi
    Society Trader

    The brineist whisky of my acquaintance was a 10 year old Ardbeg but that was a good many years ago when most people of my acquaintance couldn't pronounce even the major malt brands.
     
    Premo88 likes this.
  25. TheInsomniac

    TheInsomniac Aspirant (267) Jan 11, 2015 New Mexico
    Society

    Sorry, but this is not correct. There is no peat used in distilling Dalwhinnie, and hence no smoke. There are flavors of peat, which come from the water source naturally flowing through peat. They do not, however, use peat in the manufacturing process.

    Don't take it from me, take it from them: https://scotchnoob.com/2016/07/25/dalwhinnie-15-year/

    "In this way, with no peat or sherry or wine-cask influence, you can perceive the elemental building blocks of single-malt whisky."

    You will find people claiming in the web that the peat/smoke is "light." These are people who don't actually know the manufacturing process of Dalwhinnie. They are generalizing from broad knowledge of how scotch is made. But at Dalwhinnie they use no peat smoke. The flavors are coming from the malt, the water, and the barrel.

    Here is what you are reading on the label: "From it, all the pure spring water used in distilling Dalwhinnie™ flows over rich local peat through Allt an t'Sluic, the distillery burn"

    "burn" in Gaelic is basically a spring, or source. They are not burning it, and not smoking it. This is, in fact, one of the things that sets Dalwhinnie and similar whiskys apart from others. If you don't believe me, go take the tour and prove it for yourself. I have, among many distilleries around the country.
     
    #105 TheInsomniac, May 7, 2019
    Last edited: May 7, 2019
    Premo88 likes this.
  26. TheInsomniac

    TheInsomniac Aspirant (267) Jan 11, 2015 New Mexico
    Society

    I used to drink lots of hoppy beers, back when they were the best (only?) microbrews around. But I grew to dislike them over time, so I'd say I'm similar to you. Meanwhile, I've grown to like whisky more, whether smoky/peaty or not. Hoppy, bittery, coppery beers aren't really worth my time. I'll let it sit in the glass until it's too warm to even finish... and then drink it anyway because I hate to waste things. I've also been known to put it back in the fridge just to cool it off and tamp down the flavor. I'm usually opposed to that in beer, where I want a little warmth so I can taste it. But when it comes to cheap lager, or extremely hoppy beers, ice cold is the only way I can take it these days.
     
    thesherrybomber and Premo88 like this.
  27. SierraNevallagash

    SierraNevallagash Disciple (368) Sep 23, 2018 Maine
    Trader

    I'm at work, and don't have time to correct you in detail, (I'll gladly return acter 9pm EST)

    But just out of curiosity, why would they describe their own malt whisky as "gently smoky", if there wasn't a single wiff of peat smoke in it?
     
  28. SierraNevallagash

    SierraNevallagash Disciple (368) Sep 23, 2018 Maine
    Trader

    You're quoting a random person's tasting review as a source of evidence. You're also quoting someone called 'The Scotch Noob". I'm quoting the Dalwhinnie distillery. I'm sorry, but you're just wrong in this case. I mean no aggression, but I just don't care for being corrected when I'm already correct in the first place. I work with some of these distilleries. I'm not an expert in anything, but I generally know what I'm talking about.
     
  29. drtth

    drtth Poo-Bah (3,851) Nov 25, 2007 Pennsylvania

    Because there are other ways of drying the malt that involve smoke from something other than peat. Smoky does not necessarily entail peat smoke.
     
    TheInsomniac likes this.
  30. drtth

    drtth Poo-Bah (3,851) Nov 25, 2007 Pennsylvania

    Also, I forgot to mention that it is possible for "smoke" to be imparted by the char on the barrels used for aging.
     
    TheInsomniac likes this.
  31. Highbrow

    Highbrow Devotee (434) Jan 7, 2011 California
    Trader

    pretty sure Dalwhinie's malting has previously been described by Diageo as "lightly peated".

    ____________________


    [​IMG]
     
    SierraNevallagash and drtth like this.
  32. thesherrybomber

    thesherrybomber Aspirant (258) Jun 13, 2017 California
    Society Trader

    I guess it would depend on what one considers "light"! For those who only drink Islay's big three, it probably won't even register. I have heard some people say they get a "fishy" taste, so maybe that's how it manifests?
     
  33. TheInsomniac

    TheInsomniac Aspirant (267) Jan 11, 2015 New Mexico
    Society

    Yes, some peat flavor is imparted by the water, as the description from the bottle I quoted above notes. Of course peat is a part of the marketing of Scotch (and Scotland, in general), and Diageo, caring far more about the marketing of the labels they own than their production, is not trumpeting the fact that one of their brands doesn't use peat smoke. But not every scotch whiskey uses peat smoke.

    But there's a reason why EVERY review of Dalwhinnie mentions how light the smoke is. As @drrth noted, there are other sources of smoky flavors in whisky than smoke itself. In the case of Dalwhinnie it's the use of previously charred, ex-Bourbon barrels.
     
    #113 TheInsomniac, May 9, 2019
    Last edited: May 9, 2019
  34. TheInsomniac

    TheInsomniac Aspirant (267) Jan 11, 2015 New Mexico
    Society

    Yeah, except you don't. Since you don't want to take it from my actual personal experience, you can watch the video yourself:

     
  35. SierraNevallagash

    SierraNevallagash Disciple (368) Sep 23, 2018 Maine
    Trader

    No, I want to take it from your personal experience. I claim not to to an expert, but I do have a degree of expertise when it comes to the subject. That, I will not get in to. I know your wrong, you think you know I'm wrong. So let's just agree to disagree. This thread is full of great people, and I don't want to see it ruined over a petty argument about peat. I think it is, you think it's not. Let others make their own decision, and close the book on it. No need for arguments over beverages.
     
  36. SierraNevallagash

    SierraNevallagash Disciple (368) Sep 23, 2018 Maine
    Trader

    *won't take it from
     
  37. TheInsomniac

    TheInsomniac Aspirant (267) Jan 11, 2015 New Mexico
    Society

    So I guess you didn't watch the video. The video proves you are wrong. The guy is literally standing in the distillery. There is no "agree to disagree." There are just facts. The guy states the facts plain as day on the distillery floor.

    Just wow... that uptight about being wrong. Simply amazing.
     
  38. Highbrow

    Highbrow Devotee (434) Jan 7, 2011 California
    Trader

    what's even more "wow" & nothing short of "amazing" is your video comes from here:

    https://www.whisky.com/whisky-database/distilleries/details/dalwhinnie.html

    scroll down & read the info under the "Malting" header from your source.

     
  39. Snowcrash000

    Snowcrash000 Meyvn (1,477) Oct 4, 2017 Germany
    Trader

    I've got no dog in this fight, I just think it's fascinating that this site is directly contradicting itself in the video and text. I've got no idea who's "right" here, nor do I particularly care, but I shall be making some popcorn anyway :smile:.
     
    Premo88 and WisestWizard like this.
  40. TheInsomniac

    TheInsomniac Aspirant (267) Jan 11, 2015 New Mexico
    Society

    The text is not strictly correct. The "lightly peated" is coming from the water, as the description on the bottle says. It's peated in that there are mild peat flavors. It is not peated in the literal sense of having used peat smoke in the drying of the malt. As the video, on the distillery floor, clearly states, one of Dalwhinnie's characteristic traits is that they use unpeated malt. The fact that they invoke peat via the water source, and people generalizing broadly from how scotch is made, have contributed to the misconception that it they use light peat smoke, when, in fact, they use zero peat smoke.*

    *I suppose it's remotely possible that Dalwhinnie is literally lying to everyone about how they make their whisky on the distillery tour. But I don't traffic in conspiracy theories, and there's zero evidence to believe that since one of the distinguishing characteristics of Dalwhinnie relative to other scotch whisky is the relative lack of smoke/peat influence.
     
    #120 TheInsomniac, May 9, 2019
    Last edited: May 9, 2019