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


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The Isle of Skye lists three distilleries. That's probably the smallest number of distilleries for any named region in Scotland! But honestly, Skye = Talisker. IMHO, Talisker (the standard 10 year old) is a brute on the outside with amazing complexity under the smoke. When I pick up a Talisker, I'm initially hit in the face with the smoke, and the 10 year aging really doesn't smooth out the smoke. It is enough, on a coastal region of one of the most rugged islands out there, to give you this great taste profile. 

 

I really like this from Masters of Malt: "It's a bonfire of peat crackling with black pepper, with a touch of brine and dry barley. A welcome delivery of orchard fruit provides a delicate and beautiful balance."  But, you've got to go through the flames to get to the rest of the flavor! I probably always have a bottle of Talisker around. The current on is still unopened, and I should probably rectify that!

 

I'll also say you're on your master class in whisky when you can differentiate Skye and Islay. I don't know that I could do it on a blind taste test.

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8 minutes ago, ScubesDad said:

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

 

It's actually, of course, much more complicated than that!

 

“Scotch whisky” means a whisky produced in Scotland:

(a) that has been distilled at a distillery in Scotland from water and malted barley (to which only whole grains of other cereals may be added) all of which have been:

  • processed at that distillery into a mash;
  • converted at that distillery into a fermentable substrate only by endogenous enzyme systems; and
  • fermented at that distillery only by the addition of yeast;

(b) that has been distilled at an alcoholic strength by volume of less than 94.8 per cent so that the distillate has an aroma and taste derived from the raw materials used in, and the method of, its production;

(c) that has been matured only in oak casks of a capacity not exceeding 700 litres;

(d) that has been matured only in Scotland;

(e) that has been matured for a period of not less than three years;

(f) that has been matured only in an excise warehouse or a permitted place;

(g) that retains the colour, aroma and taste derived from the raw materials used in, and the method of, its production and maturation;

(h) to which no substance has been added, or to which no substance has been added except:

  • water;
  • plain caramel colouring; or
  • water and plain caramel colouring; and

(i) that has a minimum alcoholic strength by volume of 40%.

 

That's from https://www.whiskyinvestdirect.com/about-whisky/scotch-whisky-legal-definition#

 

Didn't find an official definition but that's pretty much my memory of the requirements. You can contract out the malting process, for instance, but mashing, fermenting, distilling, aging, etc., all have to occur in Scotland. Japanese Malt Whiskies (and American Malt Whiskies) are made by the same methodology, but they're not Scotch. However, some of them, especially the Japanese, have gained a reputation as being as good or better than Scotch. And there are some up and coming American Malt Whiskies as well. I've only had a few; a couple were frankly crap,  and a couple were amazingly good, but very different from a  Scotch whisky.

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15 minutes ago, Bo1953 said:

The Balvenie Tasting Collection

Glenmorangie Single Malt Tasting Collection

 

I think I just said these are my two favorite distilleries, Bo!

 

What's in the tasting collections? I could probably find it on Google, but I'm curious.

 

Oh, and I'm not posting my current inventory. I think It might scare me...

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19 minutes ago, Bo1953 said:

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

Bo - Considering what you have in stock, "ready for consumption, to a great degree", I'm not sure I need to know what a nice evening with friends will be like at your place, under cover of night. Hold off for a couple of days though, markeb and I will be there as soon as we can. I won't take it upon myself to invite anyone else.

Edited by Spif Barwunkel
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19 minutes ago, Bo1953 said:

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

 

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.

 

Cheers and bon voyage

You always struck me as being a very generous friend, Bo. 😊

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33 minutes ago, ScubesDad said:

 

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".

 

33 minutes ago, ScubesDad said:

 

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".

 

Good old BREXIT. In fact, the EU has the mandate but nothing stops a distiller from selling their product elsewhere. The US has no such restrictions unless you trademark the name, but you can not because there are to many products called scotch,

 

Never heard of Glen Breton as to scotch whiskey goggle scotches made in Taiwan and see what it is called. Then try Japan.

Both of these scotches can be bought locvally here in Geogia and they clearly call themselves SCOTCH

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1 hour ago, C-Dragons said:

😁 

It's actually the container for the bottle of Cardhu.

 

62F62ED6-ED85-4314-802A-A45840455CFC.jpeg

 

Cardhu 12 Yr Speyside Single Malt 750ml

 

This is the Cardhu I buy. I have had the 15yr and 18yr.  As I said I do not trust Cardhu No age on the bottle.

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18 minutes ago, FloweryBranch said:

Both of these scotches can be bought locvally here in Geogia and they clearly call themselves SCOTCH

 

Are you looking at the distiller's web page, Masters of Malt, or a Google search to Total Wine and More (or similar)? 

 

The Google hit to Total Wine and More lists the Glenora products as Scotch, but their label clearly states Single Malt Whisky. If you look at the Kavalan bottles on Masters of Malt, they are clearly labeled Single Malt Whisky. Your retailer in Georgia may be putting them on the Scotch aisle, but they are not, and are not marketed as, Scotch.

 

kavalan-sherry-oak-whisky.jpg?ss=2.0

 

GlenBreton_Rare.jpg?format=500w

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Bo - I’m a little late to the the party but if you are still inviting CC friends, the Balvenie collection gets my vote. I’ve never seen any Balvenie on X and the Macallan offerings are not ones I would would choose to consume. I was able to convin$e our barkeep at the Martini Bar on Infinity last September to procure a bottle of Dalwhinnie for consumption during our cruise.

 

Although I do love Lagavulin, I am required to take it out on the deck to drink. Plus, the price of Lagavulin has gotten a bit out of hand, especially here in Virginia where we only have State ABC Stores. 

 

One last thought about scotches that are a little more budget friendly. Tomatin makes a nice 12 and 14 Year Old that stack up against the Balvenie Doublewood and Caribbean Cask for about $20.00 less per bottle. 

 

 

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1 hour ago, Bo1953 said:

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

 

You gave away the one that would be drunk alone. The rest are good scotches and I would say "offer the drinker their choice"

Personally I would ask for the bunnahabhain as I have never had it.

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46 minutes ago, C-Dragons said:

You always struck me as being a very generous friend, Bo. 😊

c - I cannot say that I was totally happy about doing it....

 

Considering she and several friends sailed with us on the Millie in Alaska a few years back and we took the Macallan tasting together, there was very little reason not to, IMO.... LOL

 

I will get another bottle, sometime sooner or later... OR maybe as a birthday gift I can ask???

 

Cheers and bon voyage

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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, Spif Barwunkel said:

Bo - Considering what you have in stock, "ready for consumption, to a great degree", I'm not sure I need to know what a nice evening with friends will be like at your place, under cover of night. Hold off for a couple of days though, markeb and I will be there as soon as we can. I won't take it upon myself to invite anyone else.

s - not to worry, invite who you think would appreciate the offerings accordingly...

 

😎

 

You will be carpooling right?

 

Cheers and bon voyage

Edited by Bo1953
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13 minutes ago, RICCruisers said:

Bo - I’m a little late to the the party but if you are still inviting CC friends, the Balvenie collection gets my vote. I’ve never seen any Balvenie on X and the Macallan offerings are not ones I would would choose to consume. I was able to convin$e our barkeep at the Martini Bar on Infinity last September to procure a bottle of Dalwhinnie for consumption during our cruise.

 

Although I do love Lagavulin, I am required to take it out on the deck to drink. Plus, the price of Lagavulin has gotten a bit out of hand, especially here in Virginia where we only have State ABC Stores. 

 

One last thought about scotches that are a little more budget friendly. Tomatin makes a nice 12 and 14 Year Old that stack up against the Balvenie Doublewood and Caribbean Cask for about $20.00 less per bottle.

r - one is never late to my parties....

 

Cheers and bon voyage

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1 hour ago, ScubesDad said:

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

The Scotch Whisky Association doesn't limit its legal battles to the prevention of the use of the designation "Scotch" for single malt whiskeys made outside Scotland. In 2009, it lost its 9-year legal battle attempting to stop the small Cape Breton distillery from incorporating the word "Glen" into the name of its single malt whisky. The Association argued that use of the name "Glen Breton" could confuse consumers.

 

Upon the final court decision, the distillery decided to dedicate a bottling to celebrate this epic battle. "Fittingly, we called it the 'Battle of the Glen'."

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1 hour ago, markeb said:

I think I just said these are my two favorite distilleries, Bo!

 

What's in the tasting collections? I could probably find it on Google, but I'm curious.

 

Oh, and I'm not posting my current inventory. I think It might scare me...

m - you mean it might scare me???

 

The Balvenie contains: Doublewood 12 yo, Doublewood 17 yo and Caribbean Cask 14 yo

 

The Glenmorangie contains: Lasanta (Sherry Cask) 12 yo, Quinta Ruban (Port Cask) 12 yo and Nectar D'or (Sauternes Cask) 12 yo

 

Cheers and bon voyage

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7 minutes ago, Fouremco said:

The Scotch Whisky Association doesn't limit its legal battles to the prevention of the use of the designation "Scotch" for single malt whiskeys made outside Scotland. In 2009, it lost its 9-year legal battle attempting to stop the small Cape Breton distillery from incorporating the word "Glen" into the name of its single malt whisky. The Association argued that use of the name "Glen Breton" could confuse consumers.

 

Upon the final court decision, the distillery decided to dedicate a bottling to celebrate this epic battle. "Fittingly, we called it the 'Battle of the Glen'."

How is/was it?

 

Are there bottles left perchance?

 

Cheers and bon voyage

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I Am beginning to think that we have the making of a major request to upgrade the scotch inventory on X....

 

Were we to each write in to request different brands, it just may work by the time sailing begins again... after all there is a lead time to get them on-board...

 

Cheers and bon voyage

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8 minutes ago, Bo1953 said:

How is/was it?

 

Are there bottles left perchance?

 

Cheers and bon voyage

Yes, it's still available, there seem to be a few online offerings still. You can order directly from the distillery too, but only for delivery in Canada.

 

I've not tried it, but I've read positive reviews online.

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Somebody threw out the age thing...

 

I've been drinking Scotch whisky for about 31 years. The first probably 10 years of that was Glenlivet 12. The oldest whiskies I have in the house right now are a Glenfarclas 21, a Balvenie 21 Port Wood aged, and a Balvenie 21 Madeira aged. I think the oldest I've ever had on hand was a Glenfarclas either 23 or 25. I'm one of those whisky snobs that was all over MacAllan for dropping age statements.

 

I don't know that I care anymore. For several reasons. One, as a very good friend, and Scot, who's no longer with us, and I discussed years ago, more time in bad oak does not a good whisky make. There are points of diminishing returns in aging. At some point, your whisky will start tasting like wood. Something that's more likely to turn up in an auction bottle, which will fortunately never be opened and simply auctioned over again. It'll sit on a shelf in a beautiful bottle with a small LED ring light under the shelf so all the visitors can ooh and aah at the bottle of really old whisky. Watch that Netflix documentary with Jim McEwan; all the major distillers have the same visceral reaction to the thought of buying a £5-10,000, outrageously old bottle. None of them would do it, and they could.

 

Second, warming trends have just changed how long it takes to age a whisky in Scotland. The effect of 12 years in 2020 (or 2008 for a current bottling) is just not the same as is was 50 years ago. You're having more temperature extremes, and almost certainly faster aging of the whisky. Not yet to Bourbon extremes, but it can't be the same unless they suddenly go to aging it in temperature controlled warehouses, and that's not part of the charm that justifies the prices.

 

Third, the blender matters. You can blend an amazing whisky from younger whiskies. Some of the Scotch distilleries are also aging some product in smaller barrels, which is also common in Bourbon and craft distilled American whisky. That alters the aging process as well. So you can mix an older flavor profile from a small barrel with a more traditional profile from a standard barrel, and end up with the flavor profile of whatever age you want, if you're good. And most of them are good to very good.

 

I look at age statements as an indication. I scoffed mightily a Lagavulin 8 as a marketing gimmick so they wouldn't have to wait 8 more years to sell the whisky; it's a very nice whisky. It's different from the 16, but it's very good. I'm personally not a huge MacAllan fan, so the no age statement from them doesn't really impact me much. It's unfair to MacAllan, which is a fine whisky, but I just feel like they've become the Patron of Scotch, and their price is just not inline with what I can get from Balvenie or Glenmorangie.

 

 

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22 minutes ago, Bo1953 said:

m - you mean it might scare me???

 

The Balvenie contains: Doublewood 12 yo, Doublewood 17 yo and Caribbean Cask 14 yo

 

The Glenmorangie contains: Lasanta (Sherry Cask) 12 yo, Quinta Ruban (Port Cask) 12 yo and Nectar D'or (Sauternes Cask) 12 yo

 

Cheers and bon voyage

 

Nice collections. The Glenmorangie is exceptional. The Doublewood 17 fills a hole in Balvenie's collection that didn't exist...

 

I have CellarTracker for wine, Bo. I have bottles in it that aren't there anymore, but even allowing for that, CellarTracker gives you a total. Tonight is DW's birthday and I'm making pizza. I just pulled a mid-priced 2010 Gaja out of the basement. I don't need that much information on the whisky...

Edited by markeb
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After reading all of this some thoughts:

 

Scotch whisky is from Scotland.

 

I love Islay. They're often lumped into one basket of peat, but I find them the most diverse than any of the other regions, cask finishing excluded. Laphroaig is easy to find and relatively cheap at the 10 yo mark. It's a great whisky IMO. Also a very good value. I find it more medicinal than many of the others with more of an iodine flavor. It can be aggressive for a beginner but it is pure Islay. The older ones are more rich and smoky. Try an 18 yo if interested in seeing the evolution. There are older versions but they are very expensive. Lagavulin is very rich and smoky in the standard 16 yo version. A great whisky, but you need to know what you're getting. The Lagavulin 12 yo cask strength is even better IMO with better balance and less richness. It's a bit more in price but I find it a better whisky overall. This is one I will always seek out. The 8 yo is also good but priced accordingly. Caol Ila is probably my favorite. It's a great blend of smoky and medicinal but often more balanced and subtle. The base 12 yo is very good and also a good value. I have a bottle of 25 yo but haven't opened it yet. I need to give it a try. Bowmore is also a well known brand but they seem to be a bit more inconsistent. I also have a 25 yo bottle I need to try. Lots of other whiskies too but I'll stop here for Islay.

 

As far the others which I'm not nearly as familiar with. The Macallan makes great whisky and is a staple among whisky lovers of that style. They're very smooth with a taste of Sherry. I have some older ones and will pull them out occasionally. Everyone like them no matter their experience with whisky. I also like the Glenmorangie Quinta Ruban. That's a great whisky at a very good price and not much peat if that's your thing.

 

A shout out to markeb above for mentioning CellarTracker. I use it for wines though not spirits. This is a great resource for those who store multiple bottles of pretty much anything with alcohol. Lots of great tasting notes as well.    

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2 hours ago, FloweryBranch said:

 

Cardhu 12 Yr Speyside Single Malt 750ml

 

This is the Cardhu I buy. I have had the 15yr and 18yr.  As I said I do not trust Cardhu No age on the bottle.

Mine is more of a collector's item. 😎

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3 hours ago, Bo1953 said:

c - I cannot say that I was totally happy about doing it....

 

Considering she and several friends sailed with us on the Millie in Alaska a few years back and we took the Macallan tasting together, there was very little reason not to, IMO.... LOL

 

I will get another bottle, sometime sooner or later... OR maybe as a birthday gift I can ask???

 

Cheers and bon voyage

I say go for it... ask. You deserve it! 🎂 😎

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10 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

Of course taste and favorites are such a subjective thing I don’t know if this will help you much but I’ll throw out a few thoughts.

I prefer  Speyside and Lowland Single Malts. I’ll drink a Highland from time to time (especially if someone else is buying) but they are a bit too Smokey and peaty for my taste. Islay  ( eye-la) and Jura malts are are way too Smokey and not pleasant at all. They taste like someone filtered whisky through campfire ashes. Wish I could give you my tasting notes but the truth is I just don’t have that sophisticated a palate. Some people can tell you how many clouds were in the sky the day the barley was harvested and such , not me. Instead I’ll just provide a list  of my favorites. I’m a firm believer that you should find what you like, what’s worth you money and drink that no matter what the “experts” say. So here’s my list. 
*Anything by Balvenie:  The 12 year Double Wood is any every day favorite. The 14 year Caribbean Cask is a treat from time to time. The 21 yr old Port Wood aged is incredible. For me it’s a once every few year’s extravagance. 

*Anything by Glenlivet  Their base product is quite smooth and enjoyable. 
*Glenfiddich- except for the last few years of experimentals. Their “Fire and Cane” might be the worst thing I’ve ever tasted. It’s pure campfire.

*The Singleton

*Tamdhu
 * The Macallan - pretty much all theirs. They do wonderful tasting events too. Lots of fun and history and culture mixed in with a quick but good whisky education. 
 My son tells me some of the Japanese malts are fantastic. I’m old school and possibly some other less complimentary things but I just don’t go there. 

 
You’ve always offered me sound and reasonable thoughts and advice. I hope this helps on your Scots Whisky journey. 
 

 


 

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5 hours ago, Bo1953 said:

I Am beginning to think that we have the making of a major request to upgrade the scotch inventory on X....

 

Were we to each write in to request different brands, it just may work by the time sailing begins again... after all there is a lead time to get them on-board...

 

Cheers and bon voyage

Unfortunately, if the cancellations persist into mid 2021 or later, they may not have enough funds to create an inventory of any single malts!

 

Cheers Bo

 

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