Discussion in 'Fly Fishing Forum' started by Trapper Badovinac, Feb 7, 2014.
If you're looking for deals I think Trader Joes has the best price on liquor.
I have a question for you seasoned scotch drinkers.
Last weekend I tasted some Laphroaig for the first time. Definitely a big difference from the sweeter tasting varieties I've had up till then. It was like drinking a glass of smoke, really. I wasn't terribly put off by the taste, but I did wonder what the draw is for people. Do you just get used to that smoky taste and other flavors start to get noticed that can't be found in other types of scotch?
It is the combination and the complexity of flavors in the style that do it for me. The peat is definitely right upfront for the Islay's, not hiding out in the background as a subtle accent. But once you get over the initial "shock" of the new flavor, it is the combination of all the flavors that are so appealing.
Best analogy I can come up with at the moment is barbecue, or smoked meats and fish. It is the combination of smoke and other flavors that make them interesting. The whole becomes greater than the sum of the parts.
Single malt scotch was always that mysterious thing my Dad seemed to hold in high regard. He had fancy Macallan in wooden boxes, etc. One day I bought a bottle of Lagavulin 16 yo (remarkably cheap at the naval base specialty liquor store). I have to admit, it was totally wasted on me. after trying it once I handed the rest of the bottle over to my Dad the next time I saw him. Maybe scotch will appeal to me in another 10 years?
I was fishing for Silvers and big bows at an out of the way bush lodge in Alaska once. I ended up trading a Texan some Jack Daniels for some single malt. He asked me "Do ya' really like Scotch?" I replied, "No one simply likes Scotch. You either love Scotch or you think it tastes like lighter fluid." He thought it tasted like lighter fluid.
Never checked Trader Joes, will have to do so. I've been happy with the selection and prices at the Total Wines & More Bellevue store. I like 33,000 square feet of drinking pleasure choices.
I for one am glad the state is out of the state run liquor store biz.
I got my first bottle of Lagavulin 16 year a few weeks ago. I'm in looooooooove.
Try the smokey / peaty stuff with a drop of water.. I mean literally a drop of water and let it open up a bit before you drink it. Actually this will work for all scotch, although may not be needed for all scotch or scotch drinkers. I myself prefer a milder scotch, but can appreciate most scotch.
Recently, I had Yamasaki (sp?), a Japanese scotch I really liked.. Of course it was 18 years old. Another one I've tried recently is Singleton, but my go to scotches for now have been ones like Speyburn, Aberlour 12, MacCallen 12 and a blend called Sheepdip....
So many scotches, so little time and they go great with cigars and fishing!
If you like the peaty stuff, try McCarthy's. It comes out of Oregon and I find it holds it own against Lagavulin and Laphroig.
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Great point that many overlook. Good cool liquid water in small doses is the key to opening up the flavors in whisky and making it so interesting and enjoyable. (BTW, ice is not the same as "good cool liquid water", at least not im my opinion.)
Sounds like I like a bit more water than you, but most of what I have in the cabinet is barrel strength stuff that needs more of a splash than a drop to come around.
As Dottiesdad mentioned, it is the combination of the heavy smoke from the peat, the bit of salty brine from the North Sea, the malt, the vanilla from the oak barrels (casks) and the hint of charcoal and bourbon or sherry or port also that comes from the aging barrels, etc. All of this together produces that wonderful flavor all the Islay and Isle of Juro Scotches have. One sips it after mixing in a bit of clean, clear, pure water to open it up (My late great uncle and my father call it either branch water or spring water.) and savors the various flavors present in each sip.
Don't get me wrong, the other single malt scotches are good, but they don't have the strong smoke and complexity of the Islay and Isle of Juro ones. The Japanese whiskey and the McCarthy's that were mentioned also superb Islay style scotches, even if they aren't distilled in Scotland.
And you don't have to go broke to get a good single malt, or a very, very good blended scotch. Speyburn 10 yr old is a very nice Scotch and it runs around $20.00 a bottle before taxes. And if you wish to try a rather nice, but inexpensive Islay, Black Bottle Scotch, which is a blended made entirely of Islay single-malts is the ticket. It runs around $20.00 a bottle before taxes and I was very pleasantly surprised at how good it is. My favorites are from Bowmore, Laphroig, Ardbeg, Lagavulin, Isle of Juro, McCarthy's (difficult to find since they only do a few barrels a year), and Amrut Fusion (it is made in India)
As has been mentioned, the smokey, peaty Islay and Isle of Juro Scotches are like a superb liquid barbeque.
I swung past Costco today and they had the 18, and a Kirkland 40 year for $900. I wasn't going to try that one (but mostly because hey - costco hasn't been around for 40 years, so where do they get this stuff). As an aside, my go-to is Talisker 10, but they had a bottle of Talisker Storm. Has anyone tried this?
$900? It's from Glenlivet Distillery. I'm impressed that there are people out there who could appreciate this stuff, boggles my mind!
I'll stick with Southern Comfort and Steel Reserve (kidding).
Yamazaki. It's made by Suntory. It's said that what the Scots make by accident, the Japanese make by intent--which speaks to what terroir is all about. That said, I've tasted a number of Japanese whiskeys, and they've been all quite good in their design. Quite affordable, if you happen to be in Japan.