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1 minute ago, Jon L said:

Bourbon or Scotch.

They are out of Highland Park 18!

What is in the glass case? 

Most likely any bourbon over $80 wouldn’t be on the floor. 

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5 minutes ago, Jon L said:

In glass is $200+ 

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Candidates so far.  Take them all or?

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I would say those are solid choices minus the Jameson.  Get a Red Breast Lustua or Cask Strength if you want Irish. 

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I really like that Balvenie 14. Thanks for reminding me to snag another bottle. 👊

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Agreed, that Balvenie 14 is one of the best drinks for the buck out there.

Missing scotch, have not had a drink in four weeks. I guess they don’t want you loopie if you are learning to walk again?? Rococulous!

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Hmm.  I am (?used to be, before whisky) red wine drinker, and I don't know how I missed the whole sherry thing.  No idea what sherry bomb might taste like...yet.  

I am tasting the bottles in order of increasing alcohol content.  First Impressions first.

Balvenie 14.  It's good, but I think I have to come back to this to make up my mind.  I guess some are calling it Scotch for bourbon lovers due to a bit extra sweetness.  Well, I AM a bourbon lover, and I'd rather just reach for my Booker's or Old Forester 1920 for my bourbon fix.  Perhaps the 43% ABV is not enough for me.. 

Addendum.  Balvenie 14 does much better for me when I am not in analyzing mode and just kick back with it.  Very balanced, smooth with bit of bourbon sweetness and rum tropics. The only thing is Aberlour A'bunadh only costs $5 more at Total Wine, so this might be my last Balvenie 14... 

Compass Box The Peat Monster.  I knew I would like this, as it is made of "40% Laphroaig, 20% Ledaig, 13% Caol Ila, 26% Ardmore, 1% “Highland Malt” (60% Clynelish, 20% Dailuaine, 20% Teaninich)"  It's like spreading smoked honey over smoked bacon, without going over to yucky greasy mess.  There's surprising amount of complexity, organization, and clarity.  Good Stuff.  

*Edit*

Ha!  I guess I do know what sherry finish is like since I have an open bottle of Ardbeg Uigeadail!  Just to check myself, I tried the Peat Monster then Oogie, and I don't know how Ardbeg managed to make 54.2% ABV taste so smooth.  Wow, I guess all those little extra notes of various dark fruits in Oogie come from Sherry, and Oogie's peat can almost be called subtle compared to the truckload of unabashed peat from Compass box!

*Edit*

Ardbeg Corryvreckan.  Comparing Oogie and Corry side by side is a futile exercise methinks.  Such smoky peat and high ABV tending to overshadow subtle differences, which come out more as I add a bit of water.  But a part of me kind of prefer things at Cask Strength, as the pour punches my face 😄

 

Edited by Jon L
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You are going to like the Aberlour me thinks.

Not sure where you are but try to find some local stores that have some single barrel picks of 1792 Full Proof. 

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Aberlour A'bunadh  Yup, the moment I opened the cork and the aroma filled the room, I broke out laughing even before tasting it.  Candied orange peel filled the room, followed by dense, creamy, oily, warm fruits and caramel on palate, with incredibly long finish.  Loved it with or without water added.  

So, how does Aberlour 16 compare??

I think I am definitely cask strength type of drinker, so I have to wonder about Auchentoshan Valinch, Kilchoman cask strength, etc, although they are hard to find around here, and I guess people can't ship alcohol to Caly from out of state.  

Thinking about trying Highland Park Valkyrie with my BevMo coupon.   Should I skip it and just get HP 18?  

 

 

Edited by Jon L

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aber 16 will be thin compared to the Sherry monster that the A'bunadh is. 16 is a nice whisky just not the same powerhouse. I have a bottle of it right now but I am not compelled to open it because I still have the other Sherry monsters that I want to drink.

Auchentoshan Valinch, I've always described this as the perfect expression of auchentoshan. it is fairly straightforward but with lovely vanilla notes and great example of a lowland. I need more of it.

I would skip any of the HP no age statement {NAS} bottlings for right now unless you or able to sample them before buying. they seem to be struggling with the consistency and depth of flavor of their releases right now.

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random thoughts in regards to cask strength and just heavy-ass notes (both aroma and flavor)... i was best-served in allowing myself time to "get past" my palate requiring a certain intensity. it takes time to revert back to appreciating downproofed whisky or whisky that offers a more-rounded presentation (which doesn't mean there's less complexity, just less dominance of specific notes/flavors versus the full range of notes in that drink). it's a rather ironic journey - it's common to work your way upward in proof and intensity but after you've become accustomed to that, you could be missing on great stuff simply because it delivers a different presentation.

TLDR - don't be afraid to trust a distillery or bottler when they release something that isn't cask strength or not super peaty, super sherry, super-whatever. there's also a good chance when you look for stuff outside the three realms above that you're finding a ton of value too (because higher proof, more sherry, darker color, etc. almost always results in more hype and a higher price). 

 

 

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3 hours ago, Aura said:

it's common to work your way upward in proof and intensity but after you've become accustomed to that, you could be missing on great stuff simply because it delivers a different presentation.

I am sure this is true.  Any examples of lower proof goodies to try in future?

In the meanwhile, darn Bevmo sent me a $15 coupon, so I just picked up these, which happen to be 116 proof and 96 proof 😯  I think I am going to have to stop buying any more whisky this year.

 

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*Edit

Lagavulin 8
Peat and smoke forward, more so than Laga 16, smoke more obvious with less complex but more exciting, fresh approach with more tongue-tingling than Laga 16.  Not sweet compared to Ardbeg 10 or Laphroiag QC, drier and more precise, surgical.  Not sure I like that...  In fact Laga 16 is on the dry, focused side also.  I may not be a Laga person after all..
 
Laphroiag 10 Cask Strength
Love this Islay intense peat bomb.  I never loved Laphroiag 10 due to kind of burnt plastic/rubber aftertaste, the low 40% ABV not helping to bring other flavors forward IMO.  Cask Strength is another beast altogether, with much more of everything is framed boldly, with much less of funky aftertaste and enough sweetness to balance out the peat.  My favorite Ardbegs have met their match!
Edited by Jon L
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I agree with mikeymad. I bought/drank a bottle of the Aberlour 16 after enjoying the A'bunadh. Disappointing in relation to what the sherry beast was. Also agree with his statement regarding the HP stuff. I had a bottle of the HP Dark Origins. Certainly didn't live up to what I was expecting from that distillery. 

@mikeymad

Please list some other sherry monsters that you would recommend, I think this is what my palate prefers when it comes to whiskey.

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Having neglected bourbons due to tons of new Scotch lately, I finally gave up on finding Elijah Craig barrel proof anywhere near MSRP and bought one locally.  I hate limited-release bourbons that are hard to find and/or command huge premiums 😡 

Will EC BP be worth the money I paid?  Nose leads with mounds of melted caramel and mouth-watering sweetness.  One sip and dark oak hits the palate very briefly followed by intense caramel, then some more caramel, followed by less intense levels of dark fruits with salty, oaky, mildly sweet,  medium finish.  It's 131 proof but easier to drink with less burn than say.. Booker's 128 proof. Good stuff!  Although I ended up paying more than the readily-available Booker's or Forester 1920,  this is a must-have barrel proof for my collection. I like the regular EC small batch, which is great bargain at $25, but compared to barrel proof, the intense melted caramel never comes, with more muted oak and moderate caramel persisting evenly without the same complexity or dark fruit notes in mid-palate.  I wish I could find it near MSRP, but I will probably end up buying more in the future anyway...

*Edit. 

One really bad thing about EC BP is that it is soooo sweet and caramelly that I cannot enjoy ANY of my peated Scotch after drinking the EC BP.  The sweetness in peated Scotch that balances the peat gets completely overwhelmed by EC, even after water,  making my beloved Islay drams taste extremely unbalanced without balancing sweetness 😪

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Edited by Jon L
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