Which Scotch distilleries are firing on all cylinders?

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Kris Patten
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Re: Which Scotch distilleries are firing on all cylinders?

#51 Post by Kris Patten » September 24th, 2018, 7:56 pm

12 year old Fine Oak is going away....they will have a 3 sku range of 12 year going forward.

12 year Sherry Oak
12 year Double Cask
12 year Triple Cask

10 year will cease to exist, and some of 12 year SO will now be set down longer to produce more if the later age statements. Sherry oak will exist at a price above double and triple cask by a few dollars.
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Brian G r a f s t r o m
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Re: Which Scotch distilleries are firing on all cylinders?

#52 Post by Brian G r a f s t r o m » September 25th, 2018, 2:43 pm

Sanjay Nandurkar wrote:
September 24th, 2018, 7:37 pm
Sarah Kirschbaum wrote:
August 1st, 2018, 4:25 am
Hi Kris - Indeed, tastes differ, and I certainly can't fault that, but I do think quality has gone down objectively speaking as well.

If it wasn't already obvious, I am personally disappointed in what's happening there. I feel the brand is now more important than the product. The house that has openly stated that you can tell they care because they put everything in sherry cask, now putting a lot of focus elsewhere is hard to swallow. Maybe it's nostalgia on my part, or distaste for the marketing behemoth. I think they are trying to grow at crazy rates, increase the power of the already super luxury brand recognition, and decisions are being made more based on that than on the whisky. It's their prerogative, of course, but it makes me sad. But, if the Double and Triple Cask series frees up more space for the sherried line-up as you suggest, that would be great.
Macallan single cask prices have gone to stratosphere. However, their recent release of a 12 year old 100% sherry cask whisky is really good and inexpensive. Personally, i see much improvement especially after tasting their 12 year old "Fine Oak" cask.
What do you mean you see much improvement especially after tasting their 12 yo Fine Oak?
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Re: Which Scotch distilleries are firing on all cylinders?

#53 Post by Michae1 P0wers » September 26th, 2018, 9:28 am

Was gifted a 12 year Aberlour the other day. I hadn't had Aberlour in quite awhile, but this bottle is excellent. Kind of a sherry bomb but in the best way. Don't remember enjoying this as much, so maybe it just struck my mood for whisky at the moment, but I'll probably buy this again because at about $40 this represents good value IMO.

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Re: Which Scotch distilleries are firing on all cylinders?

#54 Post by Sanjay Nandurkar » September 27th, 2018, 2:30 am

Brian G r a f s t r o m wrote:
September 25th, 2018, 2:43 pm
Sanjay Nandurkar wrote:
September 24th, 2018, 7:37 pm
Sarah Kirschbaum wrote:
August 1st, 2018, 4:25 am
Hi Kris - Indeed, tastes differ, and I certainly can't fault that, but I do think quality has gone down objectively speaking as well.

If it wasn't already obvious, I am personally disappointed in what's happening there. I feel the brand is now more important than the product. The house that has openly stated that you can tell they care because they put everything in sherry cask, now putting a lot of focus elsewhere is hard to swallow. Maybe it's nostalgia on my part, or distaste for the marketing behemoth. I think they are trying to grow at crazy rates, increase the power of the already super luxury brand recognition, and decisions are being made more based on that than on the whisky. It's their prerogative, of course, but it makes me sad. But, if the Double and Triple Cask series frees up more space for the sherried line-up as you suggest, that would be great.
Macallan single cask prices have gone to stratosphere. However, their recent release of a 12 year old 100% sherry cask whisky is really good and inexpensive. Personally, i see much improvement especially after tasting their 12 year old "Fine Oak" cask.
What do you mean you see much improvement especially after tasting their 12 yo Fine Oak?
I meant to say 100% sherry oak tastes better than the Fine Oak. To my taste the oak influence (from fine oak) is slightly jarring whereas the sherry one is more integrated and seamless

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Re: Which Scotch distilleries are firing on all cylinders?

#55 Post by Brian G r a f s t r o m » September 27th, 2018, 10:30 am

Ah. Ok.
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Re: Which Scotch distilleries are firing on all cylinders?

#56 Post by Sarah Kirschbaum » September 27th, 2018, 12:15 pm

I have to say I've been very impressed with Lagavulin across the board, recently. High quality and consistency with very little BS. We don't buy many standard distillery releases anymore, though we do taste quite a few - the Lagavulin 12 Annual Rare Release is an exception. The '15, which can still be found here and there, was superb and a great value at its price point. I feel I can say this online now that we bought as many as we wanted. :)

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Re: Which Scotch distilleries are firing on all cylinders?

#57 Post by Brian G r a f s t r o m » September 27th, 2018, 9:53 pm

I thought Lagavulin's 8 yo was pretty good, too (for the price (sub-$60, iirc)). Do I think it's better than the 16 yo? No, not really. But it's different-enough to merit buying, imo.
Lagavulin isn't "hip." I'm fine with that. :)
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Re: Which Scotch distilleries are firing on all cylinders?

#58 Post by Sarah Kirschbaum » September 28th, 2018, 8:00 am

Brian G r a f s t r o m wrote:
September 27th, 2018, 9:53 pm

Lagavulin isn't "hip." I'm fine with that. :)
Exactly - along the lines of what I meant by "very little BS." I've had it with the fancy packaging and fake coloring and marketing hype driving prices. I was talking with the head of a whisky auction house recently who said there's a grassroots movement to shift the focus back onto the "liquid-based value." It's sad that we have to have a special movement to get us to focus on what's actually in the bottle.

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Re: Which Scotch distilleries are firing on all cylinders?

#59 Post by Drew Goin » September 28th, 2018, 7:50 pm

I stumbled across this neat article on some of the history, hype, and culture of barrel choices among Scotch producers, and this thread seems like a good place to share it:


Drinking Cup
"The Oak Conundrum – Scotch Whisky Goes Barrel Crazy"


"...Marketeers play on this with labels boasting ‘Distillers Selection’, ‘Select Oak’, ‘Masters Collection’, ‘Paradis’ or ‘Single Barrel’ etc. All buzz words used to sell a unique barrel reaction. But how many of these releases are truly picked for their unique character?"

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Brian G r a f s t r o m
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Re: Which Scotch distilleries are firing on all cylinders?

#60 Post by Brian G r a f s t r o m » September 30th, 2018, 2:22 pm

Lots of these "special casks" merely mask sub-par whisky.
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D@vid Bu3ker
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Re: Which Scotch distilleries are firing on all cylinders?

#61 Post by D@vid Bu3ker » October 4th, 2018, 4:41 am

Brian G r a f s t r o m wrote:
September 27th, 2018, 9:53 pm
I thought Lagavulin's 8 yo was pretty good, too (for the price (sub-$60, iirc)). Do I think it's better than the 16 yo? No, not really. But it's different-enough to merit buying, imo.
Lagavulin isn't "hip." I'm fine with that. :)
Lagavulin has been my go-to Scotch since I started drinking the stuff. I enjoy trying other things, and sometimes buy a bottle of something else, but always come back to Lagavulin.
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Re: Which Scotch distilleries are firing on all cylinders?

#62 Post by Lee Short » October 10th, 2018, 8:37 pm

Is Lagavulin really back? Sounds like it must be. Used to drink tons of it back in the day, before they were bought out and disappeared from the market for a couple of years. Tried it a couple of times after the reappearance and thought it was only OK, but probably haven't bought a bottle in 10-12 years.

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Re: Which Scotch distilleries are firing on all cylinders?

#63 Post by Sarah Kirschbaum » October 12th, 2018, 6:10 pm

Lee Short wrote:
October 10th, 2018, 8:37 pm
Is Lagavulin really back? Sounds like it must be. Used to drink tons of it back in the day, before they were bought out and disappeared from the market for a couple of years. Tried it a couple of times after the reappearance and thought it was only OK, but probably haven't bought a bottle in 10-12 years.
I think everything they do is high quality for the price point. The Annual Rare Release, however, can be superb.

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Re: Which Scotch distilleries are firing on all cylinders?

#64 Post by S Haller » November 7th, 2018, 5:34 pm

Anyone tried this one yet?

Glenfiddich Age of Discovery 19 Year
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Re: Which Scotch distilleries are firing on all cylinders?

#65 Post by Alan Rath » November 8th, 2018, 9:30 am

We were at the Albion River Inn for a couple nights last week. They have a pretty amazing whisky/whiskey selection at the bar, and will set up tasting flights for you. I tasted through several, all good, some outstanding (with the caveat that I'm not a peat/smoke guy, so bartender was choosing based on that):

Bladnoch 15 - excellent, very smooth, med spice
Royal Brackla 21 - very smooth elegant touch sweetness spice
Speymalt from Macallan, distilled 2002 bottled 2011, nice, but bit more wood spice
Craigellachie 23 - nice med intensity moderate peat great spice
Tomintoul 12 Oloroso - nice good med depth nice spice
Glenrothes 1998 - bit more wood sweetness
Linkwood 15 g&m - some obvious peat on the nose, decent
Caol ila Stitchell Reserve bottled 2013 unpeated - great flavor and spice, very nice
Springbank 18 - excellent
High West Midwinter (last year's) interesting spices subtle nutmeg cinnamon interesting but somehow lacks authenticity in comparison to the old world bottles

At the end of the evening, I asked the bartender what I owed. He hemmed a bit, then said how about $30. I tipped him $30 more.

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Re: Which Scotch distilleries are firing on all cylinders?

#66 Post by Brian G r a f s t r o m » November 8th, 2018, 1:43 pm

Good job on the $30 tip! You got hooked-up, for sure.
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Re: Which Scotch distilleries are firing on all cylinders?

#67 Post by Alan Rath » November 8th, 2018, 7:03 pm

Yeah, I had ordered a Springbank 15 after dinner in the hotel restaurant the night before, then was studying the bar as we were leaving. Spied a Mortlach, which is one of my faves, and he poured me a tiny taste. I said I'd be back the next night; when I arrived and sat down, he just started pouring me stuff. There were probably a couple more I didn't take notes on. Helps that I only had to walk 100 yards back to the room, just had to make sure I didn't fall off a cliff into the Pacific [wow.gif]

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Re: Which Scotch distilleries are firing on all cylinders?

#68 Post by RyanC » December 18th, 2018, 6:23 pm

Anyone have thoughts on the Springbank 10 ‘Local Barley’? Gimmick or good?
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Re: Which Scotch distilleries are firing on all cylinders?

#69 Post by M.Kaplan » December 19th, 2018, 6:37 am

Local Barley 10 (bottled in 2017) is a very good whisky. The original Springbank Local Barley single casks (bourbon, distilled 1965-66), especially those distilled in 1966 and bottled 1996-98ish, are exceptional and among the greatest Springbanks ever and, therefore, are among the greatest whiskies known to mankind. Unfortunately, they now sell at auction commensurate with their quality and scarcity.
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Re: Which Scotch distilleries are firing on all cylinders?

#70 Post by Sarah Kirschbaum » December 20th, 2018, 3:57 am

M.Kaplan wrote:
December 19th, 2018, 6:37 am
Local Barley 10 (bottled in 2017) is a very good whisky. The original Springbank Local Barley single casks (bourbon, distilled 1965-66), especially those distilled in 1966 and bottled 1996-98ish, are exceptional and among the greatest Springbanks ever and, therefore, are among the greatest whiskies known to mankind. Unfortunately, they now sell at auction commensurate with their quality and scarcity.
There were some sherry cask bottlings from '66 as well, no? Bottled in the early '90s I think. Those, too, are superb.

The 16 year Local Barley, which I believe was a 2016 release, is also very good.

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Re: Which Scotch distilleries are firing on all cylinders?

#71 Post by M.Kaplan » December 20th, 2018, 6:27 am

As I recall, Local Barley bottlings from the ‘60s were all bourbon cask. There were sherry casks, of course, but to my knowledge weren’t “Local Barley.” If the ‘65 that you may be recalling was sherry cask and likely designated West Highland Malt.

Coincidentally, I finished my long open bottle of Local Barley 16 last night. It is too rubbery for my liking (poor cask selection). In my opinion, the 10 that Ryan asked about is better.
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Re: Which Scotch distilleries are firing on all cylinders?

#72 Post by Sarah Kirschbaum » December 20th, 2018, 9:06 am

M.Kaplan wrote:
December 20th, 2018, 6:27 am
As I recall, Local Barley bottlings from the ‘60s were all bourbon cask. There were sherry casks, of course, but to my knowledge weren’t “Local Barley.” If the ‘65 that you may be recalling was sherry cask and likely designated West Highland Malt.

Coincidentally, I finished my long open bottle of Local Barley 16 last night. It is too rubbery for my liking (poor cask selection). In my opinion, the 10 that Ryan asked about is better.
Yes, you're right and I was being lazy. The '60s in sherry cask that I am thinking of are labeled as West Highland Malt, however, it's my understanding that they are functionally the same as Local Barley, in that everything came from within 8 miles of the distillery, per the back label. So I have them mentally lumped in together, and auction catalog blurbs will often describe them as Local Barley, despite the West Highland Malt label.

Sorry you didn't like the 16 year. We liked it a lot. FWIW, Serge did, too. ;-)

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Re: Which Scotch distilleries are firing on all cylinders?

#73 Post by D Lewis » January 9th, 2019, 1:18 pm

Michael S. Monie wrote:
August 28th, 2018, 8:54 am
I've been enjoying the Glenmorangie 18, which I think at its price point, is a really good value. Any thoughts on the Signet?
Glenmorangie Signet is awesome. If I could afford to frequently buy Johnnie Walker Blue (not that great for the price), I would spend a little bit extra for the Glenmorangie Signet.
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Re: Which Scotch distilleries are firing on all cylinders?

#74 Post by Alan Rath » January 19th, 2019, 9:54 am

The new Mortlach series (12, 16, 20) is just showing up. Unpeated for those inclined in that direction, and priced relatively fairly.

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Re: Which Scotch distilleries are firing on all cylinders?

#75 Post by M.Kaplan » January 19th, 2019, 2:39 pm

I tasted a bunch of whiskies at K&L the other day. Their cask selection has vastly improved over the past couple of years. Of their current offerings, I particularly liked and bought multiples of:

1997 Hector Macbeth (teaspooned Glenfiddich) 21 Year Old Hepburn's Choice K&L Exclusive Single Barrel Cask Strength

1996 Linkwood 21 Year Old Signatory K&L Exclusive Single Barrel Cask Strength

1996 Ardmore 21 Year Old Old Malt Cask K&L Exclusive Single Barrel Cask Strength

and I love this one: 2009 Talisker 8 Year Old Old Particular K&L Exclusive Single Barrel Cask Strength

Not whisky, but I liked and purchased a few of 1995 The Rare Armagnac Collection Venus (Domaine de Pouchegu) 23 Year Old K&L Exclusive.

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Re: Which Scotch distilleries are firing on all cylinders?

#76 Post by Mich@el Ch@ng » January 19th, 2019, 3:03 pm

I picked up their cragellechaie 22 recently, haven’t opened it yet though.

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Re: Which Scotch distilleries are firing on all cylinders?

#77 Post by Al Osterheld » January 19th, 2019, 10:16 pm

It's not a producer I've bought frequently, but I have a 1972 22yo Mortlach cask strength open at the moment that's quite nice.

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Re: Which Scotch distilleries are firing on all cylinders?

#78 Post by Sarah Kirschbaum » January 19th, 2019, 10:22 pm

Al Osterheld wrote:
January 19th, 2019, 10:16 pm
It's not a producer I've bought frequently, but I have a 1972 22yo Mortlach cask strength open at the moment that's quite nice.

-Al
My birthyear! There are some very nice Mortlachs out there, though they rarely get much love. I've had one or two from independent bottlers that were very good indeed. One especially by Silver Seal. I often like Silver Seal's selections and wish they were imported into the US.

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Re: Which Scotch distilleries are firing on all cylinders?

#79 Post by Al Osterheld » January 19th, 2019, 10:52 pm

Birth year! That was the start of my junior year of high school, although I do remember it as a very good year. Roughly 15 years ago, I was buying Scotch a lot faster than I was drinking it and this is one of those bottles.

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