Single Malt
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03-03-2017, 02:29 PM
RE: Single Malt
(03-03-2017 09:27 AM)Grasshopper Wrote:  It's funny that I find Scotch more complex than either of those, because conceptually it's simpler -- nothing in there but malted barley, whereas the others have some of that plus corn and rye. I can only conclude that barley must be inherently more complex and interesting than either corn or rye.

If you ever decide to try your hand at homebrewing, you'll soon discover that there are a lot of different varieties of barley, and a lot of different ways of malting it. You can make, for example, either a pilsner or a stout out of the same barley, depending on how you malt and roast it, and that same complexity carries over into Scotch -- which I tend to think of as beer carried to its logical conclusion. Smile

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03-03-2017, 02:31 PM
RE: Single Malt
Have you ever been to Scotland Dr H?
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03-03-2017, 03:10 PM
RE: Single Malt
A number of years ago I forayed into Scotland and ended up visiting the Royal Lochnagar distillery. It's on the River Dee not far from Balmoral Castle.

Ended up staggering out of there with a bottle of this:

[Image: royal-lochnagar-12yo.jpg]

Very hard to get this stuff where I live. Which is probably just as well.
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03-03-2017, 03:53 PM
RE: Single Malt
(03-03-2017 09:50 AM)Deesse23 Wrote:  *pours himself some Balvenie 2x wood*
Well,
my favourite is Bowmore Enigma. A friend also introduced me to Lagavulin 16y. These are my two tops atm. Yet, i also wont pour HP or Macallan in the gutter. As long as its not too heavy on peat ( almost like munching soil), i probably am gunna luv it.
Ohh, a friend once got himself some Ardbeg 18y (and shared some with me). Impressive, but insanely expensive.
cheers

Lagavulin 16 is pretty peaty, albeit not as aggressive as Laphroaig. The 16 was pretty much all I had seen for years (and even that came and went), until a few months ago a 12yo cask-strength, and an 8yo suddenly popped up.


The cost of the Ardbeg 18yo raises one of my current peeves:

Fifteen years ago in the US you were hard-pressed to find more than a couple of single malts, unless you happened to live in one of the biggest cities, and even then you had to know where to go. That was kind of the leveling-off point for the great microbrew/brewpub revolution here, and there were glimmerings that the next big trend was going to be single malt Scotch.

Boy, was it ever. Over the next few years labels that previously could only be had by leaving the country began popping up on shelves in liquor stores across the country. Even shops whose principle customers were typically guzzling blackberry brandy and watermelon wine out of brown paper bags, suddenly had a selection of $100/bottle malts on offer. This was all right as far as it went, and I built up a good part of my collection during this period, stepping over the bodies on my way in and out of various shops.

Increased demand seems to have fostered the reopening of a number of distilleries as well, some of which had been closed for decades.
Also well and good.

Then we started seeing the "special editions", malt expressions of either extreme age (21yo, 25yo, etc.) or odd age (13yo, 17yo, etc.), usually at twice the price (or more) of the other top-end products from the same distillery. For a while these were few and far between, but eventually they became more and more frequent. And it seems like every other one came with a story about a few special casks being laid-away by a master distiller, all but forgotten, and suddenly rediscovered, propitiously during the current single malt market boom.

It reached the point where today it is quite common to see a top shelf of 10 or 12 "special editions" going for anywhere from $250 a bottle and up. This past Christmas a I saw a bottle of The Macallan 21yo special priced at $1200. This in my neighborhood liquor store, a neighborhood mostly inhabited by blue collar workers and junior professors from the local university. I asked the proprietor if they had sold many bottles of this particular offering, and he just snorted, "might as well be full of colored water; we're never going to sell that." But the state liquor control commission makes them carry it, who knows why.

Now, I can easily accept that a few of the many distilleries that closed in the 60s, 70s, and 80s may have done so while still having Scotch aging in storage. And I can believe that a few of those casks maybe got overlooked for 15 or 20 years, and were rediscovered and bottled by the new owners when the current single malt boom was well under way. But it stretches credulity just a bit to believe that every distillery just happened to misplace a couple dozen casks of their finest product under the back steps of the malting house for two or three decades, and is just fortuitously rediscovering them at the same time as everyone else.

Especially incredible given the rather meticulous tax system in place to assure that the government gets its share of the revenues for this beverage -- hard to believe that the tax man would let a warehouse full of casks just slip his notice. It's difficult for me not to see this as simply a marketing ploy to the credulous and well-heeled, not unlike some of the magical devices offered for sale at exorbitant prices to high-end audiophiles with more money than brains.

I am especially inclined to this opinion having sampled some of these flamboyantly-priced malts. At last reckoning, I've tasted Scotches ranging from $3/bottle to $1500/bottle. There isn't much I can recommend at under $30/bottle, -- you won't find too many single malts in that range anyway. But, in my humble opinion, you can have some of the best single malt whisky in the world for under $150/bottle, and much of it for under $100/bottle.

Anything above that . . . well, there may be a rare exception, but most of that stuff is, I think, more for impressing your friends with the label (and the fact that you spent a ridiculous sum on the bottle), than about any serious increase in the quality of the contents.

Comments and other opinions welcome.

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"So, I became an anarchist, and all I got was this lousy T-shirt."
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03-03-2017, 04:14 PM
RE: Single Malt
(03-03-2017 02:31 PM)Mathilda Wrote:  Have you ever been to Scotland Dr H?

Not yet, but the Islay tour is definitely on my bucket list.

I am something of a Caledonophile; currently learning to play the highland pipes. Big Grin

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03-03-2017, 04:16 PM
RE: Single Malt
(03-03-2017 03:53 PM)Dr H Wrote:  
(03-03-2017 09:50 AM)Deesse23 Wrote:  *pours himself some Balvenie 2x wood*
Well,
my favourite is Bowmore Enigma. A friend also introduced me to Lagavulin 16y. These are my two tops atm. Yet, i also wont pour HP or Macallan in the gutter. As long as its not too heavy on peat ( almost like munching soil), i probably am gunna luv it.
Ohh, a friend once got himself some Ardbeg 18y (and shared some with me). Impressive, but insanely expensive.
cheers

Lagavulin 16 is pretty peaty, albeit not as aggressive as Laphroaig. The 16 was pretty much all I had seen for years (and even that came and went), until a few months ago a 12yo cask-strength, and an 8yo suddenly popped up.


The cost of the Ardbeg 18yo raises one of my current peeves:

Fifteen years ago in the US you were hard-pressed to find more than a couple of single malts, unless you happened to live in one of the biggest cities, and even then you had to know where to go. That was kind of the leveling-off point for the great microbrew/brewpub revolution here, and there were glimmerings that the next big trend was going to be single malt Scotch.

Boy, was it ever. Over the next few years labels that previously could only be had by leaving the country began popping up on shelves in liquor stores across the country. Even shops whose principle customers were typically guzzling blackberry brandy and watermelon wine out of brown paper bags, suddenly had a selection of $100/bottle malts on offer. This was all right as far as it went, and I built up a good part of my collection during this period, stepping over the bodies on my way in and out of various shops.

Increased demand seems to have fostered the reopening of a number of distilleries as well, some of which had been closed for decades.
Also well and good.

Then we started seeing the "special editions", malt expressions of either extreme age (21yo, 25yo, etc.) or odd age (13yo, 17yo, etc.), usually at twice the price (or more) of the other top-end products from the same distillery. For a while these were few and far between, but eventually they became more and more frequent. And it seems like every other one came with a story about a few special casks being laid-away by a master distiller, all but forgotten, and suddenly rediscovered, propitiously during the current single malt market boom.

It reached the point where today it is quite common to see a top shelf of 10 or 12 "special editions" going for anywhere from $250 a bottle and up. This past Christmas a I saw a bottle of The Macallan 21yo special priced at $1200. This in my neighborhood liquor store, a neighborhood mostly inhabited by blue collar workers and junior professors from the local university. I asked the proprietor if they had sold many bottles of this particular offering, and he just snorted, "might as well be full of colored water; we're never going to sell that." But the state liquor control commission makes them carry it, who knows why.

Now, I can easily accept that a few of the many distilleries that closed in the 60s, 70s, and 80s may have done so while still having Scotch aging in storage. And I can believe that a few of those casks maybe got overlooked for 15 or 20 years, and were rediscovered and bottled by the new owners when the current single malt boom was well under way. But it stretches credulity just a bit to believe that every distillery just happened to misplace a couple dozen casks of their finest product under the back steps of the malting house for two or three decades, and is just fortuitously rediscovering them at the same time as everyone else.

Especially incredible given the rather meticulous tax system in place to assure that the government gets its share of the revenues for this beverage -- hard to believe that the tax man would let a warehouse full of casks just slip his notice. It's difficult for me not to see this as simply a marketing ploy to the credulous and well-heeled, not unlike some of the magical devices offered for sale at exorbitant prices to high-end audiophiles with more money than brains.

I am especially inclined to this opinion having sampled some of these flamboyantly-priced malts. At last reckoning, I've tasted Scotches ranging from $3/bottle to $1500/bottle. There isn't much I can recommend at under $30/bottle, -- you won't find too many single malts in that range anyway. But, in my humble opinion, you can have some of the best single malt whisky in the world for under $150/bottle, and much of it for under $100/bottle.

Anything above that . . . well, there may be a rare exception, but most of that stuff is, I think, more for impressing your friends with the label (and the fact that you spent a ridiculous sum on the bottle), than about any serious increase in the quality of the contents.

Comments and other opinions welcome.

On the other hand, the boom in single malt popularity has caught some distilleries unawares. Recently I had a yen (pun intended) to get some of the peaty Yoichi whisky from Japan, only to find that it is no longer available. Basically, it got mentioned on some stupid TV show, and fans of that show bought it all up. So no more Yoichi whisky until they regenerate their stock. I also heard that Laphroaig will no longer be releasing anything older than 15YO, because there isn't any left. I did see a bottle of 30YO in a local liquor store, going for $999.95, but there won't be any more of those coming out. I think there is a legitimate shortage of older Scotch, which was rare to begin with. This is the same reason that we're seeing more and more NAS (no age statement) whiskies.
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03-03-2017, 04:25 PM
RE: Single Malt
(03-03-2017 04:16 PM)Grasshopper Wrote:  I also heard that Laphroaig will no longer be releasing anything older than 15YO, because there isn't any left.

Interesting. Where did you hear that?

I ask, because for many years the only Laphroaig to be had here was the 10yo and the 15yo. Then a half-dozen years ago or so, the 15yo was replaced with the 18yo -- I ran out and bought the last bottle of 15yo in town when I heard that; still have it. It's been 18yo ever since.

Just last year they re-released the 15yo for their 200th anniversary, but I hadn't heard that it was coming back permanently.

Am I gonna have to go out and scour the state for 18yo now? Blink

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"So, I became an anarchist, and all I got was this lousy T-shirt."
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03-03-2017, 04:28 PM
RE: Single Malt
(03-03-2017 04:25 PM)Dr H Wrote:  
(03-03-2017 04:16 PM)Grasshopper Wrote:  I also heard that Laphroaig will no longer be releasing anything older than 15YO, because there isn't any left.

Interesting. Where did you hear that?

I ask, because for many years the only Laphroaig to be had here was the 10yo and the 15yo. Then a half-dozen years ago or so, the 15yo was replaced with the 18yo -- I ran out and bought the last bottle of 15yo in town when I heard that; still have it. It's been 18yo ever since.

Just last year they re-released the 15yo for their 200th anniversary, but I hadn't heard that it was coming back permanently.

Am I gonna have to go out and scour the state for 18yo now? Blink

http://wordsofwhisky.com/laphroaig-18-ph...-end-2016/

This is in the nature of an "insider tip" rather than an official announcement, but it sounds legitimate and plausible to me. Not that I could afford the 18yo anyway.
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03-03-2017, 09:40 PM
RE: Single Malt
(03-03-2017 03:53 PM)Dr H Wrote:  
(03-03-2017 09:50 AM)Deesse23 Wrote:  *pours himself some Balvenie 2x wood*
Well,
my favourite is Bowmore Enigma. A friend also introduced me to Lagavulin 16y. These are my two tops atm. Yet, i also wont pour HP or Macallan in the gutter. As long as its not too heavy on peat ( almost like munching soil), i probably am gunna luv it.
Ohh, a friend once got himself some Ardbeg 18y (and shared some with me). Impressive, but insanely expensive.
cheers

Lagavulin 16 is pretty peaty, albeit not as aggressive as Laphroaig. The 16 was pretty much all I had seen for years (and even that came and went), until a few months ago a 12yo cask-strength, and an 8yo suddenly popped up.


The cost of the Ardbeg 18yo raises one of my current peeves:

Fifteen years ago in the US you were hard-pressed to find more than a couple of single malts, unless you happened to live in one of the biggest cities, and even then you had to know where to go. That was kind of the leveling-off point for the great microbrew/brewpub revolution here, and there were glimmerings that the next big trend was going to be single malt Scotch.

Boy, was it ever. Over the next few years labels that previously could only be had by leaving the country began popping up on shelves in liquor stores across the country. Even shops whose principle customers were typically guzzling blackberry brandy and watermelon wine out of brown paper bags, suddenly had a selection of $100/bottle malts on offer. This was all right as far as it went, and I built up a good part of my collection during this period, stepping over the bodies on my way in and out of various shops.

Increased demand seems to have fostered the reopening of a number of distilleries as well, some of which had been closed for decades.
Also well and good.

Then we started seeing the "special editions", malt expressions of either extreme age (21yo, 25yo, etc.) or odd age (13yo, 17yo, etc.), usually at twice the price (or more) of the other top-end products from the same distillery. For a while these were few and far between, but eventually they became more and more frequent. And it seems like every other one came with a story about a few special casks being laid-away by a master distiller, all but forgotten, and suddenly rediscovered, propitiously during the current single malt market boom.

It reached the point where today it is quite common to see a top shelf of 10 or 12 "special editions" going for anywhere from $250 a bottle and up. This past Christmas a I saw a bottle of The Macallan 21yo special priced at $1200. This in my neighborhood liquor store, a neighborhood mostly inhabited by blue collar workers and junior professors from the local university. I asked the proprietor if they had sold many bottles of this particular offering, and he just snorted, "might as well be full of colored water; we're never going to sell that." But the state liquor control commission makes them carry it, who knows why.

Now, I can easily accept that a few of the many distilleries that closed in the 60s, 70s, and 80s may have done so while still having Scotch aging in storage. And I can believe that a few of those casks maybe got overlooked for 15 or 20 years, and were rediscovered and bottled by the new owners when the current single malt boom was well under way. But it stretches credulity just a bit to believe that every distillery just happened to misplace a couple dozen casks of their finest product under the back steps of the malting house for two or three decades, and is just fortuitously rediscovering them at the same time as everyone else.

Especially incredible given the rather meticulous tax system in place to assure that the government gets its share of the revenues for this beverage -- hard to believe that the tax man would let a warehouse full of casks just slip his notice. It's difficult for me not to see this as simply a marketing ploy to the credulous and well-heeled, not unlike some of the magical devices offered for sale at exorbitant prices to high-end audiophiles with more money than brains.

I am especially inclined to this opinion having sampled some of these flamboyantly-priced malts. At last reckoning, I've tasted Scotches ranging from $3/bottle to $1500/bottle. There isn't much I can recommend at under $30/bottle, -- you won't find too many single malts in that range anyway. But, in my humble opinion, you can have some of the best single malt whisky in the world for under $150/bottle, and much of it for under $100/bottle.

Anything above that . . . well, there may be a rare exception, but most of that stuff is, I think, more for impressing your friends with the label (and the fact that you spent a ridiculous sum on the bottle), than about any serious increase in the quality of the contents.

Comments and other opinions welcome.

My, my, skeptical, are we? I like that in a person. Some scotch has seemed to keep an even keel (like Macallan and Glenfiddich) over the last few years, but I did notice that Famous Grouse is about 50% more than just maybe 5 years ago. I drank that a couple of times, but am not a real fan. I also think the producers/distributors are cashing in while they can, to be honest.
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06-03-2017, 03:08 PM
RE: Single Malt
(03-03-2017 04:28 PM)Grasshopper Wrote:  http://wordsofwhisky.com/laphroaig-18-ph...-end-2016/

This is in the nature of an "insider tip" rather than an official announcement, but it sounds legitimate and plausible to me. Not that I could afford the 18yo anyway.

How did I manage to miss this? This past Saturday I hit every liquor store in this end of the valley, and Laphroaig 18 is not to be had. Damn!

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"So, I became an anarchist, and all I got was this lousy T-shirt."
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