Skip to comments.Luxe For Less: Scotch
Posted on 09/18/2007 8:27:10 PM PDT by bruinbirdman
Ask any scotch drinker to name the smokiest whisky on the market, and "Ardbeg's 1974 vintage" is sure to trickle off his tongue.
Smokey, sure. And at $20,000, among the priciest.
For that, you get a pair of single cask, hand-blown bottles, which are stored in a double-barrel rifle case produced by British firearms maker James Purdey & Sons. It also contains eight hand-crafted sterling silver cups, a hand-bound leather book for tasting notes, and an Omas fountain pen. There are only 50 for sale.
In Pictures: Luxe For Less: Scotch
Not up for dropping your child's college tuition on your favorite tipple? There are more moderately priced alternatives that deliver just as excellent a flavor.
"If you have $20,000 to spend on a bottle of whisky, more power to you," says Kevin Erskine, author of the Instant Expert's Guide to Single Malt Scotch. "However, there are a number of fantastic whiskies within the reach of the average person."
Accessible Alternatives For novice scotch drinkers, Compass Box's Asyla Whisky is an approachable blend. It's sweet, delicate and smooth, with underlying flavors of vanilla cream and oak.
Aiming to up your scotch cabinet's ante? Erskine says that Old Pulteney's 12-Year-Old Single-Malt Scotch Whisky is a must-have. It's got a medium body and a clean, dry finish, and get this, a faint scent of sea salt.
Most decent scotches run around $40 for 750ml, but if you're willing to dig a little deeper, consider Chivas Regal's 21-Year-Old Royal Salute. A combination of fine and rare malt and grain whiskies, the flavor in this $180 bottle is strong and spicy, with a long finish.
Then there's the Ardbeg alternative to Ardbeg. Erskine says that Ardbeg 10-Year-Old is also an excellent choice. Available on Bevmo.com for $46.99, this "peat monster"--which means it possesses a very smoky flavor -- has a "fanatical following amongst whisky aficionados," he says.
Since I can’t find Glenmorangie in my area I enjoy Glenlivet.
These days I'm mostly a coffee man.
The best of Scotch is best suited for removing paint. And I’m of Scottish heritage. Yuck, what crap.
This is what you will find in the pantry of most Scottish households, and it is NOT single malt. Its actually a pretty good drink, but its only half whiskey and the rest is grain alcohol, but it tastes better than a lot of "single malts.":
Not all whisky could double as turpentine - generally speaking, the lighter the color, the less smoky/peaty it is.
Each to his own, but Scotch has been distilled for longer that written history, and there is a reason for it. It was an essential medicinal drink, used for everything that could ail a person.
As late as 1880 or so , whiskey was a staple in the Highlands of Scotland, just as important as oatmeal to a family surviving the winter.
In Scots gaelic the word is: "uisge-beatha" and in Irish Gaelic,"uisce beatha." The word whiskey comes from the gaelic.
Many of celtic ancestry don't like whiskey, but if they do not like it, they still need to know the history of what is being trashed.
Some of the best whiskey, and its hard to get because its home distilled with wild herbs, I assure you, will conquer a cold overnight.
If you want to experience a fine dessert, put a couple of table spoons of whiskey in a pint of heavy creme, and a half cup of sugar, and whip it into stiffness in a mixer or by hand. Wow! I like it over stawberries...ambrosial it is!
It is called Athol Brose. Good stuff in coffee too!
Favorites: Macallan 18 and Glen Rothes.
I’ve found Clan MacGregor to have a decent taste at a reasonable price. Can’t afford the Dalmore or Pinch except for special occasions. I’m also told that Cluny is a decent “budget” Scotch blend.
Most Scots drink Scotch rarely or for medicine for a cold.
But there is always a bottle for guests. I like Clan MacGregor and Cluny, but every once in a while you will find a small consignment of blended local Scotch which is really, really good, usually in a dark green bottle with a plain white label.
They go by various names , and often are the leavings of a blended Scotch run. And the Scots don't waste a thing, so they bottle it in a small lot.
The gaelic for whiskey, uisge-beatha, literally means "Water of life." It is that important historically, to keep one's health in a cold and damp climate while tramping the highlands. Often English soldiers did not understand how the highlanders could do that. Besides being tough, the secret was a tot of whiskey every hour or so, while on the move. And the lads used to give a little to their horses and dogs when needed. There are many funny stories about a dog or horse getting into the whiskey when none are around to stop them.
I’m working my way through a bottle of Laphroaig this year. It’s by far the peatiest I’ve ever had. Took some getting used to (I usually drink the Glenlivet 12 or Jameson’s Irish), but well worth the effort on cold and lonely nights.
15 Year Laphroaig is great. I like Lagavulin just a tad more.
I know a Scotsman who told me to try the Laphroig mixed in with whole milk. The idea of mixing scotch with anything seemed crazy, but what the heck I tried it with some 10 Year Laphroaig, and it was pretty good. A novelty in my opinion, but still not bad.
When I was in my 20's, I developed a love for scotch probably because I had access to this wonderful brand. My dad had bought a boat named "Royal Salute", not knowing what the term meant. People started giving him bottles as gifts, and since he didn't drink liquor, he passed them along to me.
These days Talisker and Lagavulin are what make me rich and good looking.
Maybe so, but I don't think many of them will have ever tried it. Not at $20,000.
Someone else said it... The smokiest I've ever had is Laphroiag (which is also the most iodine tasting scotch I've ever had... love it though).
Want smokey? Trying "Lagavulin". A full ashtray mixed with a shot of 20YO can't touch it...
Last night I was enjoying Glenmorangie. On special occasions, I enjoy some Cask 71.30 "Macadamia and Medicine".
Inspiring bold John Barleycorn!
What dangers thou canst make us scorn!
Wi' tippeny, we fear nae evil;
Wi' usquabae, we'll face the devil!
-- Robert Burns
A master blender (that’s BLENDER for you wise-guys out there) from Johnnie Walker sold me on the idea that single malts thrive with a splash of water. I’ve found that some of the Islay malts, Caol Ila for instance, need more than just a splash to take the heat out of them, makes for a much more relaxing drink.
Thanks for the recipe.
I know the history of my ancestors and much about their lives. We McIsaacs, now Kissick (Clanranald)were chased around and finally out of our homeland after Culloden. Never again will the MacDonalds be on the left.
I’m no teetotaler, as I love my stouts and ales, but as for whiskey: Do you think it has saved more Scotsman than it’s killed?
The purpose of the water isn't to take the heat out, but to open up some of the fainter notes. (It has been likened to the effect of a light sprinkling of rain in summer.) It's counterintuitive, as whisky is already mostly water anyway, but it does seem to work. It really only takes a few drops to do this. Many whiskies actually seem to get stronger with proper watering.
I'm not sure what causes it. It's not a dilution thing per se, as it works for both consumer-strength whiskies (40% ABV) and cask-strength whiskies preferred by aficionados (50-60% ABV). My guess is that it's caused by imperfect mixing between the water and the whisky, with your taste buds sensing the "edge effects" as the concentrations fluctuate.
Glenelg is my ancestral home.
Kudos to you and yours for surviving and flourishing. There's no better revenge.
Heres to us, there's none like us.
On that note I’ll toast: “Per mare per terras”
Lagavulin here. But then I have a bottle still half full from the 2000 election. Had one shot when Bush was declared winner; had a few more when the BS about Gore started.