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Request a Special Scotch Recommendation

We'll be going on vacation with a cousin and his family in July - seven days on a houseboat. This guy is like a brother, and we both love our scotch. We've been buying Balvenie 21 yr. as our good stuff, but I'd like to get him something special. Any first-hand recommendations? Something smooth and a bit peaty would be nice. Your opinions are valued and appreciated!
 
You might check around with really good liquor stores (or online) for one of Balvenie's 30 year old releases. I have a friend who collects them, and while some of the rarer years are several thousand dollars, most are considerably less.

If the Balvenie 21 Portwood is a regular on your barshelf, they probably WON'T send you into sticker shock. :001_smile

NANP™
 

Luc

"To Wiki or Not To Wiki, That's The Question".
I will keep an eye on this thread. I love Bourbon and Cognac but I am not a big fan of Whiskey/Whisky or Scotch... I probably didn't get the right bottle yet...
 
Laphroaig 15 year, or anything older if you can find it.

+1 ... since the man asked for "Smooth and Peaty," this is it.

Has anyone ever come across "Prime Malt?" Its supposed to be Laphroaig-made under a generic label. Same great whiskey, but considerably less expensive due to the plain packaging.

I got a taste of this at my all-time favorite Scotch bar, Birds of a Feather in Fell's Point, Baltimore, MD. They specialize in single-malts, and really know their stuff.

I've been looking for it for about 10 years now, but I can't find it. And no liquor store has ever heard of it, either.
 
For your smooth but peaty criteria (more on the peaty), I'd recommend a good Talisker.

I've had the 18yr and the 1996 Distiller's Edition....the latter was equisite but a pretty penny.
 
+1 ... since the man asked for "Smooth and Peaty," this is it.

Has anyone ever come across "Prime Malt?" Its supposed to be Laphroaig-made under a generic label. Same great whiskey, but considerably less expensive due to the plain packaging.

I got a taste of this at my all-time favorite Scotch bar, Birds of a Feather in Fell's Point, Baltimore, MD. They specialize in single-malts, and really know their stuff.

I've been looking for it for about 10 years now, but I can't find it. And no liquor store has ever heard of it, either.

Yes I have heard of "Prime Malt." I own a bottle or what is left of a bottle. I had no idea who made it. Very plain label. I have no idea where I got it. Somwhere in DC though. Maybe Pearsons. I will look around a bit. If I see it I will let you know and you can swing down from B-more some day and buy some up. I would have said that it is Islay for those that feel that Laphroaig is just too darn restrained and much too smooth. I like Laphroaig. I am not sure I like this stuff at all. I will have to taste it again after hearing about it from you. I do not think in all the time I have been reading whisky porn I have ever come across the name in print or anything about it at all!
 
How about one of the older Ardbegs?

IMHO, none of the peaty whiskeys are smooth. I LOVE the heavily peated malts, Ardbeg, Bowmore, Laphroaig, Lagavulin and Talisker, but I would never describe any of them as smooth, unless in comparison to one another.

When I think of smooth I think of the best Highland malts. Yes, they are much less "defined" than the Islays but the good ones can please very well.

In this regard my favorite gift scotch is Highland Park 18 year old. I think it is the best all around malt you can buy...with price as part of the equation.

If you want to spend a more and throw your giftee for a loop, which I like to do on occasion, go with a Springbank. People ignore the Campbeltown malts as anomalies but Springbank is killer stuff. If you have the scratch, the 21 year old is probably the biggest, smoothest malt I have ever had. Its big bucks though! Their younger ones are excellent too and much cheaper.
 
We'll be going on vacation with a cousin and his family in July - seven days on a houseboat. This guy is like a brother, and we both love our scotch. We've been buying Balvenie 21 yr. as our good stuff, but I'd like to get him something special. Any first-hand recommendations? Something smooth and a bit peaty would be nice. Your opinions are valued and appreciated!

I take it you are trying to best the Balvenie 21 year old or go something different in a similar price range? I would cruise directly over to maltadvocate.com and do some searches through its database of reviews which is amazingly open to everyone that logs on. Very reliable publication in my experiences. Not sure I would consider Balvenie 21 peaty--not my favorite label overall--but if you consider it peaty, MA seems to really like the 25 year Balvenie which is within striking distance of the cost of the 21 year old. Otherwise there are lots Scotches that at least purport to be what you are after. I always wonder who is buying all of them as there seem to be so many out there!

Heck, buy your friend a subscription to Malt Advocate or better a membership in MA's whisky society. I am frankly impressed and jealous.

There must be a lot of useful reviews on line. Wine Enthusiastic I think reviews some spirits and I like their wine reviews. whiskymag.co is wonderful, too, and they have reviews by Michael Jackson on line for free. I would trust his reviews completely. He says the 25 year old Balvenie has more peat than he had remembered. Remember when trying to look things up in these databases the reason you cannot find Balvenie under the Bs, may be because it is "The Balvenie" under the Ts. Same thing for other brands of Scotch that take the "The."

Have fun on the boat.
 
The Macallan's 25 y.o. is very nice. Highland Park 18 would be something different for you to unravel or even a 25y.o. An older Lagavulin would be killer too and xly complex. Or you could go the other way and get a Remy Martin X.O. and a couple of Cohibas for a change and talk about the difference!
 
Thank you all for the great suggestions. I see three I want to try. There will be plenty of time to make a thorough evaluation. Can't wait!
 
Laphroaig 15 year, or anything older if you can find it.

+1 ... since the man asked for "Smooth and Peaty," this is it.

Laphroaig is absolutely one of my all time favorites, and it's about as peaty and smokey as it gets. However, I'm not sure that Lagavulin (another Islay malt scotch) isn't just a bit smoother. In fact, I usually describe Lagavulin as being similar to Laphroaig, but slightly smoother and more refined. You could not go wrong with either.

Enjoy!
 
For your smooth but peaty criteria (more on the peaty), I'd recommend a good Talisker.

I've had the 18yr and the 1996 Distiller's Edition....the latter was equisite but a pretty penny.

Talisker 18. Incredibly Smooth and Warming without the harshness and bite of the Ten. Don't get me wrong, I love the Talisker 10. It's great in the winter. But the 18 is incredible.

How about one of the older Ardbegs?

The OOgie, or Ardbeg Uigeadail
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and the Airigh Nam Beist
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are two that I have wanted to try but have held off on. They have received great reviews, though.
 
I don't know how much peat you want in your scotch, but I will give you an excellent recommendation for one of the smoothest of all time, called Glenfarclas. It is the last of the small family distilleries and one of the oldest around, good luck bc
 
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