WTF happened to my scotch?

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john stimson
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WTF happened to my scotch?

#1 Post by john stimson » September 15th, 2020, 10:02 pm

I've been distracted by Bourbon and Rye and other such things in recent times, but when I return to try to find a decent basic scotch, they all seem to have disappeared. I prefer non-souped up 10-12 year old scotches to the 15-18 year old triple casked/sherry/port/bourbon glop stuff. I used to buy Aberlour 10, but it has disappeared. My favorite is the Springbank 10, but it has become $110-130 in our stupid state. What is there out there that is high quality "younger" scotch that isn't double cask, sherry cask, triple oak, etc?

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Re: WTF happened to my scotch?

#2 Post by PeterH » September 15th, 2020, 10:08 pm

What happened? Maybe tariffs?

Washington State has the highest taxes on distilled spirits in the US, but that has been the case ever since the deal was made to break the State monopoly of high proof beverages. I used to load up at the duty free store when coming back from Canada, but that is not an option at present.
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Re: WTF happened to my scotch?

#3 Post by Craig G » September 15th, 2020, 10:14 pm

I like Talisker 10 and Clinelish 14. They’re around $50 here, not sure about elsewhere.
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Re: WTF happened to my scotch?

#4 Post by Barry L i p t o n » September 15th, 2020, 10:27 pm

What about Abelour d’Abunadh?

Never mind, Sherry was on your “No list” of profiles.

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Re: WTF happened to my scotch?

#5 Post by Josh Grossman » September 16th, 2020, 4:32 am

Highland Park 12 is my basic go to.

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Re: WTF happened to my scotch?

#6 Post by Sarah Kirschbaum » September 16th, 2020, 5:57 am

Craig G wrote:
September 15th, 2020, 10:14 pm
I like Talisker 10 and Clinelish 14. They’re around $50 here, not sure about elsewhere.
Clynelish 14 is a great suggestion.

I'm not a fan of the regular Highland Park releases these days. I recall a recent note of Serge's on some NAS HP or another "oak sawdust - a Saturday morning at Ikea." Yep.

To the original question, if you read around in the scotch threads on this forum, you'll get a pretty good sense for what's happened to your scotch. Real aged spirit, well chosen casks etc. have largely given way to "wood science" nonsense or some cutesy marketing spin.
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Re: WTF happened to my scotch?

#7 Post by Scott G r u n e r » September 16th, 2020, 5:59 am

I had recent bottle of Bunna 12 that was very good for I think around $80ish? (Edit- didn't read the disdain for Sherry- there is some Sherry cask to it but not to a gimmicky level by any stretch)

I think the regular Caol Ila 12 is a very solid too- But I like peaty, and Caol Ila especially hits my tastes.
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Re: WTF happened to my scotch?

#8 Post by Sarah Kirschbaum » September 16th, 2020, 6:13 am

Scott G r u n e r wrote:
September 16th, 2020, 5:59 am
I had recent bottle of Bunna 12 that was very good for I think around $80ish? (Edit- didn't read the disdain for Sherry- there is some Sherry cask to it but not to a gimmicky level by any stretch)

I think the regular Caol Ila 12 is a very solid too- But I like peaty, and Caol Ila especially hits my tastes.
Good and important point, Scott - there's nothing inherently wrong with sherry cask, or with bourbon cask for that matter, both of which the OP mentions as disagreeable. But in reading that post carefully....

"I prefer non-souped up 10-12 year old scotches to the 15-18 year old triple casked/sherry/port/bourbon glop stuff."

....I'm given to think John objects to overdone versions of all of those things. Otherwise, if you eliminate bourbon and sherry, including refill, you're going to have trouble finding anything to drink!
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Re: WTF happened to my scotch?

#9 Post by john stimson » September 16th, 2020, 9:47 am

Of course, I realize there's some "cask" in everything scotch-wise, so mostly I just don't want it to dominate. I shy away from anything that says double cask, or double oak, etc. For the record, I like the Springbank 10 the best. I also like the Talisker 10. I don't like the basic Highland Park at all. I'll have to look for Clynelish and Caol Ila.

In my state, a bottle of talisker 10 is in the $80's somewhere with taxes, Springbank 10 is $110-130 somewhere. We were about to travel to a spot close to the Oregon border (Walla Walla), where I was going to cross over and load up, but unfortunately the supermassive smoke plume and air quality indices over 300 have put a stop to this plan.

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Re: WTF happened to my scotch?

#10 Post by Sarah Kirschbaum » September 16th, 2020, 1:42 pm

john stimson wrote:
September 16th, 2020, 9:47 am
Of course, I realize there's some "cask" in everything scotch-wise, so mostly I just don't want it to dominate. I shy away from anything that says double cask, or double oak, etc. For the record, I like the Springbank 10 the best. I also like the Talisker 10. I don't like the basic Highland Park at all. I'll have to look for Clynelish and Caol Ila.

In my state, a bottle of talisker 10 is in the $80's somewhere with taxes, Springbank 10 is $110-130 somewhere. We were about to travel to a spot close to the Oregon border (Walla Walla), where I was going to cross over and load up, but unfortunately the supermassive smoke plume and air quality indices over 300 have put a stop to this plan.
I'm with you, John. All those Fine Oak and double wood things never do it for me. It's very difficult these days.

I'll be curious what you think of the Clynelish, if you locate a bottle. I was in Scotland & England for some events last year, and drank a lot of very special whisky, but the modest little Clynelish 14 was a memorably pleasant surprise.
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Re: WTF happened to my scotch?

#11 Post by JulianD » September 16th, 2020, 4:47 pm

john stimson wrote:
September 15th, 2020, 10:02 pm
I've been distracted by Bourbon and Rye and other such things in recent times, but when I return to try to find a decent basic scotch, they all seem to have disappeared. I prefer non-souped up 10-12 year old scotches to the 15-18 year old triple casked/sherry/port/bourbon glop stuff. I used to buy Aberlour 10, but it has disappeared. My favorite is the Springbank 10, but it has become $110-130 in our stupid state. What is there out there that is high quality "younger" scotch that isn't double cask, sherry cask, triple oak, etc?
tariffs!

Caol Ila 12 would be my rec
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Re: WTF happened to my scotch?

#12 Post by john stimson » September 17th, 2020, 6:18 pm

I did actually locate some Caol Ila 12 a 20 minute drive from my usual haunts, and it is quite nice, fitting the bill pretty well. A little more peat/smoke than I usually seek, but it's part of the package, and the scotch feels very un-manipulated, which is what I seem to be really looking for.

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Re: WTF happened to my scotch?

#13 Post by David B » September 18th, 2020, 7:12 am

Costco in Nor Cal has Glenfarclas 12 for $45.
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Re: WTF happened to my scotch?

#14 Post by Jay $$ Winton » September 18th, 2020, 7:20 am

Scotch prices already increasing became absurd with the tariffs. Now, the 23 Kirkland Speyside is a good deal at $79.
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Re: WTF happened to my scotch?

#15 Post by Kris Patten » September 19th, 2020, 10:26 am

Tariffs definitely hurt price. The trend towards bourbin style Cask finishes to battle the Bourbon trend and recruit new drinkers has definitely changed the flavors, texture, and mouthfeel on many scotches in the past decade.

I only really taste what we sell...Balvenie has remained pretty consistent, the 14 year Caribbean has always been solid, Glenfarclas remains very traditional, Glendronach and Glenrothes too. There is a Highland Park 10 coming that will be interesting, but I haven't tried it yet and we use Magnus for drinks like a penicillin.
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Re: WTF happened to my scotch?

#16 Post by Brian G r a f s t r o m » September 20th, 2020, 3:27 pm

I went through Aberlour 10 like water the few years I lived in North Yorkshire ... could routinely get it for about $30 a bottle ... {sigh} ...

Aberlour 12 should be findable.
The last time I had Cragganmore 12 it was very worthwhile.
Clynelish is a good suggestion, although my opinion is based solely off a couple independent bottlings I've had.


... entering peaty land now:

If you can do peat, Lagavulin 16 and 8 are both pretty solid. Same with Port Charlotte 10. and if you don't mind a balls-to-the-wall expression of spirit, Laphroaig's 10 cask strength is a must-have (I don't think anything speaks more clearly and loudly of Islay than that one does).

Laphroig's regular 10 yo is fine, too, but once you've had the C.S. it might be pretty tough to go back.
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Re: WTF happened to my scotch?

#17 Post by RichardFlack » September 20th, 2020, 4:09 pm

Laphroaig 10 is v good for the money. And a terrific exemplar of the possible effect of a little water. It totally opens the whisky up hints of violet on the nose, quite a transformation from taking it neat, moderating the iodine notes. It doesn’t just dilute it.

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Re: WTF happened to my scotch?

#18 Post by RichardFlack » September 20th, 2020, 4:12 pm

Someone mentioned the increasing popularity of bourbon. I’m wondering if that’s partly due to bourbon based cocktails. I may be wrong, not being a cocktail person (Negronis and martinis aside) but I get the impression that bourbon is more prevalent than scotch as a cocktail ingredient.

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Re: WTF happened to my scotch?

#19 Post by JDavisRoby » September 20th, 2020, 6:05 pm

Need to try Rusty Nail, Penicillin or a Rob Roy for a few good scotch based cocktails.
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Re: WTF happened to my scotch?

#20 Post by Paul Fountain » September 22nd, 2020, 9:34 pm

I don't know much about pricing as it is a whole different ball game in my part of the world, but I'll speculate that the pricing is starting to be pushed upward on anything that has an age statement on it due to demand outstripping supply. That's in part why we are starting to see a lot more whisky that doesn't have an age statements.

Having said that, I've just opened a Glenkinchie 12 as my "clean" whisky - at any given time I'll normally have 3 bottles open - something clean , something peated and something sherried.
The Glenkinchie 12 is usually pretty well priced for me

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Re: WTF happened to my scotch?

#21 Post by john stimson » September 26th, 2020, 6:08 pm

After casting around a little bit more, I reminded myself that I don't particularly like totally "clean" scotches. the un-peated ones often seem a little lacking, and those that have very little oak influence also seem a bit blah--so what I realize that I'm really looking for is high quality scotch that has judicious peat and judicious oak. It's pretty clear that the overall trend here is that the scotch houses have had a harder time maintaining aged stocks, and I suspect as a result have been double oaking/double casking, etc, to try to make up the difference. there have been some good suggestions here that I will continue to seek out. In the meantime, I may just have to spend up for Springbank 10.

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Re: WTF happened to my scotch?

#22 Post by Brian G r a f s t r o m » September 27th, 2020, 1:07 am

Springbank 10 is not only excellent, but also unique, in my experience.
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