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Speyside vs Islay vs Skye - Input Please.....


Bo1953
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Will some of the Scotch drinkers provide your input on these differing regional products?

 

If you would provide your personal tasting notes and brands that are not widely and those which are widely available, that would be great.

 

Then those which have been seen, at least once, on in any bar on X, rather they still are available or not.

 

Cheers and bon voyage

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Not much to add other than suggest you do a road trip to those areas once travel becomes safe.  I did a road trip to Speyside to visit my favourite distillery (The Macallan) and enjoyed many local whisky’s that are limited production and only found in the area. Unfortunately their names escape me (having a few dreams can do that to you).

 

I’m following this thread as one can never learn too much about Single Malt Whisky from Scotland.

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r - thank you!

 

I have met a few scotch drinkers on-board and here on CC...

 

Now to pick their taste buds and thoughts not only for myself but for a few others who wish to know, virtually.

 

Cheers and bon voyage

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1 hour ago, Bo1953 said:

Will some of the Scotch drinkers provide your input on these differing regional products?

 

If you would provide your personal tasting notes and brands that are not widely and those which are widely available, that would be great.

 

Then those which have been seen, at least once, on in any bar on X, rather they still are available or not.

 

Cheers and bon voyage

 

I will try to make this short. There are two forms of scotch whiskey, Blends and single malts. The Scottish people created blends when they found that they could drink the whiskey sooner than the 10 years needed for single malt whiskey to mature. The aging being the evaporation of the alcohol (angle’s share) over time.  Scotch is white, but gets its’ color from the madeira casks that they use to store the whiskey in bonded warehouses. The two dominate tastes come from the material used to heat the stills (which are still used today). Spreyside uses wood to fire their stills , and the Isles and some mainland distilleries where peat is the Source for heating. The smoke permeates into the liquid, and you get  your Peattie taste’.

 

Last year the scotch voted the best Scotch Whiskey was not from Scotland, but from Taiwan and is call “KA VA LAN”. I is good and quite smooth. I believe the scotches made in Washington state, Japan and Taiwan use closed stills so they can achieve whatever taste they want. The Scottish distilleries continue doing what they have been doing for hundreds of years'

 

I have a number of single malts that I like, but my favorite single malt scotch is a Spreyside scotch called Cardhu. If you have had Johnny Walker Black (a blend of some 40 scotches) the dominate Scotch in that blend is Cardhu. My favorite Blend is ”The Famous Gross” half the cost of Black and much smoother.

Ps I have enjoyed reading your posts

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2 minutes ago, FloweryBranch said:

 

I will try to make this short. There are two forms of scotch whiskey, Blends and single malts. The Scottish people created blends when they found that they could drink the whiskey sooner than the 10 years needed for single malt whiskey to mature. The aging being the evaporation of the alcohol (angle’s share) over time.  Scotch is white, but gets its’ color from the madeira casks that they use to store the whiskey in bonded warehouses. The two dominate tastes come from the material used to heat the stills (which are still used today). Spreyside uses wood to fire their stills , and the Isles and some mainland distilleries where peat is the Source for heating. The smoke permeates into the liquid, and you get  your Peattie taste’.

 

Last year the scotch voted the best Scotch Whiskey was not from Scotland, but from Taiwan and is call “KA VA LAN”. I is good and quite smooth. I believe the scotches made in Washington state, Japan and Taiwan use closed stills so they can achieve whatever taste they want. The Scottish distilleries continue doing what they have been doing for hundreds of years'

 

I have a number of single malts that I like, but my favorite single malt scotch is a Spreyside scotch called Cardhu. If you have had Johnny Walker Black (a blend of some 40 scotches) the dominate Scotch in that blend is Cardhu. My favorite Blend is ”The Famous Gross” half the cost of Black and much smoother.

Ps I have enjoyed reading your posts

fb - Thank you very much for your insight and the compliment...

 

Personally, it has been quite some time since having had Famous Grouse, will try that one specifically in the next few weeks.

 

Have you had any favourites on-board or rare ones that you can recommend?

 

bon voyage

 

p.s. - Lived in Roswell & Sandy Springs for a combined 15 years some time ago... I have visited FB and liked that town a great deal... neighbour.  😎

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I found the attached chart which you may find helpful.  Whisky fits into 4 general categories and once you determine which Whisky you prefer you can then try others that are similar.

 

Early on I determined that The Macallan 18 yr old was my favourite and now tend to enjoy whiskies that are near that on the chart (occasionally trying one completely different).

 

Onboard Celebrity usually has The Macallan Gold but soon should have 10 or 12 as they move away from their non-year labelling.

 

I’ve also found Highland Park on board which I also recommend.

 

Should we ever be on the same ship together I hope you’ll join me at The Macallan tasting.  Let me know if you have any questions or wish to know other Whisky I like.

 

175A5CD4-5BD6-4AFE-9CE1-09068D7C48D0.jpeg

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I'm an Islay fan myself. These tend to be peatier than many other whiskies. On my last cruise on Equinox, I was primarily drinking Lagavulin and Caol Ila. I didn't pay much attention to others available. 

Edited by JL87
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I guess I asked for this one! Maybe we can talk about something different for a few hours.

 

During the last few months of no sports and a lot of Prime and Netflix, a couple of things I’ve stumbled across:

 

On Prime, The Three Drinkers Do Scotch Whisky. Each episode is a half hour. More entertainment than education, but they hit most of the major regions of Scotland. 
 

On Netflix: Scotch: A Golden Dream. Really the story of Jim McEwan, originally of Bowmore, then Bruichladdich, and Ardnahoe, all on Islay. Worth a watch. 
 

I’m fat fingering on an iPad, which isn’t my best posting method. And I’ll stick with Islay for the moment. I personally find Islay to be the most unique Scotch Whisky, but it’s also an acquired taste. I’ve heard people describe Islay as smoke and iodine, maybe smoke, salt, and iodine. Pretty much everything is smoky and peaty, but they’re all different. Bowmore is a totally different animal than Lagavulin. Both have smoke and peat, but Bowmore is much more subtle. I personally love Lagavulin, but it’s a whisky that’s best appreciated in moderation. Smoke and peat will get you. Oddly, in spite of its rep, I find Lagavulin more balanced than Laphroaig, which usually gets me with smoke. 
 

My favorite from Islay may be Cao Ila, which just seems to balance the smokiness of Islay with some of the more subtle flavors of Speyside or the Highlands.  The 12 year old is good, the 18 was always amazing. It looks like the 18 and older are being bottled again; the 18 ceased production during one of the big whisky shortages a few years back. 

I’ve seen Lagavulin on X. I think they sell some of the others at duty free, but I’m not sure what you can get by the glass onboard. Oddly, Scotch whisky doesn’t currently seem to be as heavily allocated as bourbon, so bar stockage is probably more of a function of price and popularity. I would never expect to find some crazy hidden gem on a cruise ship. 

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1 hour ago, FloweryBranch said:


I will try to make this short. There are two forms of scotch whiskey, Blends and single malts. The Scottish people created blends when they found that they could drink the whiskey sooner than the 10 years needed for single malt whiskey to mature.

 

I have a number of single malts that I like, but my favorite single malt scotch is a Spreyside scotch called Cardhu. If you have had Johnny Walker Black (a blend of some 40 scotches) the dominate Scotch in that blend is Cardhu. My favorite Blend is ”The Famous Gross” half the cost of Black and much smoother.

Thanks so much for this info. I really like The Macallan.

I bought this bottle a couple of years ago, without trying it and wondered if it would be to my liking. I've been saving it for a special occasion.

 

E7D6F64F-F8E9-4FEE-A52C-C48244A2B957.jpeg

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1 hour ago, Bo1953 said:

fb - Thank you very much for your insight and the compliment...

 

Personally, it has been quite some time since having had Famous Grouse, will try that one specifically in the next few weeks.

 

Have you had any favourites on-board or rare ones that you can recommend?

 

bon voyage

 

p.s. - Lived in Roswell & Sandy Springs for a combined 15 years some time ago... I have visited FB and liked that town a great deal... neighbour.  😎

Small world. I lived for twenty years in Roswell in an Avida complex off 92 near the Cobb/Sandy Springs border. We moved Flowery Branch to be near our boat (5 minutes vs an hour drive) . Back to Scotch. I noticed Highland Park mentioned, I am quite a fan of Highland Park and Scappa both made on the Orkney Islands where my wife was born and we have visited numerous times to see family. 

 

The chart you have been offered is quite a good one. Notice the "Dalwhinnie" on the legend it is also quite good. Also Mcallan 15 is mentioned that is a nice smooth scotch and any 18, 25  etc would just get smoother. Be leery of distillers getting away from aging their scotches. Cardhu played that game several years ago. Everything on the bottle was the same except "12 year

Single Malt". This label read Real Malt. It appears they were running out of the scotch. 75% of their production goes to Spain the number 1 consumer of the scotch and with Johnny Walker there was little left. According to the Malt Shop on the High Street in Edinburgh they were crooked and trying to sell a blend as the single malt

 

Here is a Scottish toast for you "Here's to them what's like us..Damn few and there all deed" and in the immortal words of Robbie Burns "drink the water's of life" to keep you healthy.

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1 hour ago, RickT said:

I found the attached chart which you may find helpful.  Whisky fits into 4 general categories and once you determine which Whisky you prefer you can then try others that are similar.

 

Early on I determined that The Macallan 18 yr old was my favourite and now tend to enjoy whiskies that are near that on the chart (occasionally trying one completely different).

 

Onboard Celebrity usually has The Macallan Gold but soon should have 10 or 12 as they move away from their non-year labelling.

 

I’ve also found Highland Park on board which I also recommend.

 

Should we ever be on the same ship together I hope you’ll join me at The Macallan tasting.  Let me know if you have any questions or wish to know other Whisky I like.

 r - that would be an honour for sure... I usually board with at least one friend who is a scotch drinker and as such on every sailing I have done the Macallan tasting and get something different each time, which is wonderful.

 

Thank you again ....

 

Cheers and bon voyage

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27 minutes ago, C-Dragons said:

Thanks so much for this info. I really like The Macallan.

I bought this bottle a couple of years ago, without trying it and wondered if it would be to my liking. I've been saving it for a special occasion.

 

E7D6F64F-F8E9-4FEE-A52C-C48244A2B957.jpeg

 

Like the cup

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Here's what I know about Scotch, I like it, it's getting way too expensive lately, and I'm not a fan of the Islays at all, and I have tried them more than a few times. 

 

Some of my favorites, (pretty much any age) Balvenie, Glenmorangie, Abelour, Glenfarcas, Glenrothes, Glendronach, Oban, Macallan, 

 

I tend to also like the Cask Strength bottlings, but you have to be real careful drinking those. 

 

Also, I'm a heathen, I prefer my scotch over rocks. My money, my way, I know what the experts recommend. 

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4 hours ago, Bo1953 said:

Will some of the Scotch drinkers provide your input on these differing regional products...Cheers and bon voyage

Bo1953, suggest you try Laphroaig from the Island of Islay (pronounced Eye-la) off the west coast of Scotland. ‘Nuff said...

p.s. Unfortunately Celebrity has not stocked Laphroiag for some time. When you cruise again, take a bottle with you. Will be happy to join you for a wee dram or three...

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22 minutes ago, ORV said:

Also, I'm a heathen, I prefer my scotch over rocks. My money, my way, I know what the experts recommend. 

Be careful if you visit Scotland, people have been known to be banned from bars for doing that... and never order a Johnnie Walker in Scotland....

😋

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My husband loves Glenfidich  but also really enjoys Jameson’s Irish Whiskey...Available on boad in a series of maturity, the more you pay the better it gets (no surprise)!

 

Strongly suggest, Bo, when all this awfulness is over you book a 2/3 week tour of Scotland. Much as we may not be true Scotch fans (I don’t drink it at all) we do love the country. We are world wide travelers but Scotland can surpass so many places for history, landscape, quirky accommodation and distillery tours! There are so many wonderful Inns with accommodation, food, wood fires and with a ‘top shelf’ of fantastic whiskeys you could enjoy the holiday of a lifetime...We keep promising ourselves a return visit.

 

If you cannot wait until the world returns to something like normal why not look at buying a load of miniatures and have some private tastings? If you search on line you will find a variety of providers...

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1 hour ago, Crown Vic said:

Bo1953, suggest you try Laphroaig from the Island of Islay (pronounced Eye-la) off the west coast of Scotland. ‘Nuff said...

p.s. Unfortunately Celebrity has not stocked Laphroiag for some time. When you cruise again, take a bottle with you. Will be happy to join you for a wee dram or three...

Interesting. I was offered Laphroiag in the Retreat on Edge.

Unfortunately, I don’t care for it at all.

Edited by C-Dragons
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 I am certainly not a Scotch whiskey expert, but I do have the occasional dram. Over the years, like any other whisky drinker, I have acquired the tastes that suit me. While I am not averse to trying new offerings, I remain loyal to the whiskies that got me here. They adorn the palate with a pleasurable mouthfeel and thus provide a pleasant sipping experience.  I’m talking single-malts not blends, served neat or with just a splash of water.

 

Although Islay and Skye produce some very heavily-peated and smoky whiskies - that also happen to be some of the most award winning - those drams are not my cup of tea. I’ve heard it said that the true single-malt scotch drinkers are Islay devotees. I’ll not dispute that but those flavors and characteristics don’t work for me. That being said, I did find one that is a favorite. Bunnahabhain cuts back on the peat, smoke and minerals, thus providing a nice whiskey for my non-devotee palate. For me it brings out more softness with its vanilla and toffee flavors. Perhaps now I won’t be considered a complete sissy.

 

Glenlivet and Glenfiddich are the most popular Speyside whiskies. I prefer The Balvenie 12 year DoubleWood, some honey and chocolate toffee ending with a little smoke. Glen Moray is also enjoyable. FYI, Glenlivet has introduced a Rum cask “Caribbean” influenced whiskey. It promises to be a little sweeter while inducing some reggae dancing and slurred Bob Marley songs. I might have to try it.

 

Bo, you did not ask for these but you’re going to get them anyway

 

From the Highlands, I like Glenmorangie. This is a very flavorful family of whiskies and a good introduction to single-malts. 

 

From the lowlands, a very smooth, flavorful single-grain whiskey is Port Dundas. Not easy to come by anymore. You will have to search. Check out the difference between single malt and single grain on Google.

 

With the exception of Port Dundas, I have seen these whiskies on ships and all are easily found in your favorite liquor store.

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6 minutes ago, C-Dragons said:

Interesting. I was offered Laphroiag in the Retreat on Edge.

Unfortunately, I don’t care for it at all.

 

2 hours ago, markeb said:

I personally find Islay to be the most unique Scotch Whisky, but it’s also an acquired taste. I’ve heard people describe Islay as smoke and iodine, maybe smoke, salt, and iodine.

 

It's always bad when you quote yourself, but...

 

Other than maybe Bowmore, Islay is advanced whisky drinking for those who care for smoke, peat, and iodine!

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3 minutes ago, Spif Barwunkel said:

 I am certainly not a Scotch whiskey expert, but I do have the occasional dram. Over the years, like any other whisky drinker, I have acquired the tastes that suit me. While I am not averse to trying new offerings, I remain loyal to the whiskies that got me here. They adorn the palate with a pleasurable mouthfeel and thus provide a pleasant sipping experience.  I’m talking single-malts not blends, served neat or with just a splash of water.

 

Although Islay and Skye produce some very heavily-peated and smoky whiskies - that also happen to be some of the most award winning - those drams are not my cup of tea. I’ve heard it said that the true single-malt scotch drinkers are Islay devotees. I’ll not dispute that but those flavors and characteristics don’t work for me. That being said, I did find one that is a favorite. Bunnahabhain cuts back on the peat, smoke and minerals, thus providing a nice whiskey for my non-devotee palate. For me it brings out more softness with its vanilla and toffee flavors. Perhaps now I won’t be considered a complete sissy.

 

Glenlivet and Glenfiddich are the most popular Speyside whiskies. I prefer The Balvenie 12 year DoubleWood, some honey and chocolate toffee ending with a little smoke. Glen Moray is also enjoyable. FYI, Glenlivet has introduced a Rum cask “Caribbean” influenced whiskey. It promises to be a little sweeter while inducing some reggae dancing and slurred Bob Marley songs. I might have to try it.

 

Bo, you did not ask for these but you’re going to get them anyway

 

From the Highlands, I like Glenmorangie. This is a very flavorful family of whiskies and a good introduction to single-malts. 

 

From the lowlands, a very smooth, flavorful single-grain whiskey is Port Dundas. Not easy to come by anymore. You will have to search. Check out the difference between single malt and single grain on Google.

 

With the exception of Port Dundas, I have seen these whiskies on ships and all are easily found in your favorite liquor store.

s - Of course I did... any maker you like is welcomed here...

 

We want to know everyone's thoughts, regardless if we happen to like that House or Region...

 

Thank you for you input...

 

Cheers and bon voyage

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4 minutes ago, Spif Barwunkel said:

Glenlivet and Glenfiddich are the most popular Speyside whiskies. I prefer The Balvenie 12 year DoubleWood, some honey and chocolate toffee ending with a little smoke. Glen Moray is also enjoyable. FYI, Glenlivet has introduced a Rum cask “Caribbean” influenced whiskey. It promises to be a little sweeter while inducing some reggae dancing and slurred Bob Marley songs. I might have to try it.

 

4 minutes ago, Spif Barwunkel said:

From the Highlands, I like Glenmorangie. This is a very flavorful family of whiskies and a good introduction to single-malts. 

 

On some level, Bo and I are having fun with each other today. I'd joked with him in another thread that I was looking forward to a discussion of Speyside vs Islay vs Skye (whisk(e)y discussions used to be a thing around here), and lo and behold, there was the thread!

 

While I'm a big fan of Islay, my two favorite distilleries are probably The  Balvenie and Glenmorangie. And my personal, all time, favorite whisky is Balvenie 21 Port Wood. Not inexpensive! But amazing. The 12 year DoubleWood is probably my go to whisky.

 

Glenmorangie has a fascinating range of whiskies. They've really gotten on the finishing kick, and do it very well. Their high end (well, 18 year; I'm not into $3000 bottles of whisky), is as good as any out there, and their various 12 year old finished whiskies are just great drinking whiskies. Some of those finishes are duty free editions, and I"m not traveling to the UK right now!

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4 hours ago, Bo1953 said:

Will some of the Scotch drinkers provide your input on these differing regional products?

 

If you would provide your personal tasting notes and brands that are not widely and those which are widely available, that would be great.

 

Then those which have been seen, at least once, on in any bar on X, rather they still are available or not.

 

Cheers and bon voyage

 

Finally a thread and topic of some interest.

 

I have found the offerings on X over the past few years have become more mainstream (or pedestrian) without the broader range of offerings which once were available.

 

I have been a scotch drinker in excess of 20 years and while I still enjoy the mainstays, Macallan, Glenlivet, Glenfiddich, etc, over the past few years I have wandered further astray looking for something different....as I think you are looking to do.

 

I prefer whisky from Islay region primarily due to the fact that I often enjoy a cigar with my scotch, and I need a (heavily) peated drink to stand up to the cigar.  Lagavulin is and will always be my first love which I return to frequently. Not always available on X haven't been able to find in for a few years. Lagavulin spoilt me and and i have a penchant for the "medicinal" scotches. Laphroaig is my everyday go to for a nice peat and the go to bottle my kids buy for me when then need a quick gift. The last time I found Laphroaig on X was early 2019.  Again quite smokey and iodine rich.

 

I have never really tried any Speyside creations; however, in the summer of 2019 I couldn't find a peated scotch on X and the F&B Manager met me with a bottle of Oban...lightly peated and not overbearing a good one if not smoking at the same time.

 

I recently acquired a Jura 12 yr, and it is a very enjoyable drink, it is a gentle mix of smoke, fruit, spice and not very sweet...so far it has left a positive impression.

 

Highlands are my go to if I am not smoking, but rather reading or socializing.  Currently I have Aberfeldy, Glengoyne, and Singleton of Glendullan on the bar. Aberfeldy is the foundation for Dewars, and is a light fresh and fruity dram.  Glengoyne (18 yr) is a more complex whisky with a bit longer finish, richer and spicier, very enjoyable.  The Singleton of Glendullan (available in the travel sector only ie duty free, this is my second bottle) has hints of chocolate, a wee touch of smoke, and a nice finish that ends on a nutty note.

 

All my whiskys are stored in the cellar at a fairly constant 65 degrees fahrenheit. My glasses are stored in the fridge, and I only add a drop or two of water....very seldom will I add ice, preferring to add a couple of stones to keep it a bit chilled.

 

Good luck on your journey!

 


 

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4 hours ago, FloweryBranch said:

 

 

 

Last year the scotch voted the best Scotch Whiskey was not from Scotland, but from Taiwan and is call “KA VA LAN”. I is good and quite smooth. I believe the scotches made in Washington state, Japan and Taiwan use closed stills so they can achieve whatever taste they want. The Scottish distilleries continue doing what they have been doing for hundreds of years'

 

 

 

By definition and law, to be called a Scotch Whisky, it has to be distilled in Scotland.

 

There are many whiskies distilled outside Scotland in the same manner as Scotch; however, they cannot be called "Scotch".

 

In fact, Glenora Distillery in Nova Scotia was the first  to distill a single malt whiskey in North America - "Glen Breton".

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What I currently have in stock and ready for consumption, to a great degree, are the following:

 

The Balvenie Tasting Collection

Glenmorangie Single Malt Tasting Collection

Bunnahabhain Single Malt 12 yo

Black & White (Blended)

Royal Salute 21 yo (Blended) Limited Edition

Aberfeldy 12 yo

Johnnie Walker Platinum

Johnnie Walker Black 12 yo

 

My limited collection, meager as it is, currently...

 

I did have a Macallan 21 yo but a friend coveted it so much I had to give the bottle to her... as a gift.

 

Of what is left, what is recommended for a nice evening with friends or what should be consumed under cover of night? LOL

 

Cheers and bon voyage

Edited by Bo1953
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