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January 23, 2008

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I'd go for some other styles -- maybe a Macallan (younger is okay -- no need to pony up $75 for your first dram) or Glenmorangie. I also like Glenfiddich. My favorites are Laphroaig and especially Lagavulin, but they're seriously peaty and you may want to work up to it. (Then again, if you rocked the Talisker, this might be to your liking.)

Chuck is the real single-malt expert around these parts. Maybe he'll weigh in.

Lagavulin is like chewing bog... really good bog mind you.. but very very peaty. My first introduction to Lagavulin was from a friend who cut it 50/50 with Famous Grouse, stuck it in a flask, and produced it on the 4th hole of the course. My father and I have become big fans of Macallan, 12 year is good, 15 year is a nice upgrade, 18 is too nice for most nights, and I'm too happy with 18 to try anything older as I might not be able to go back.

I'd go with Lagavulin...Laphroiag if you're really up for a challenge to your tastebuds.

I've got a pretty big soft spot for Glenlivet. It was the first Scotch I had oh so many years ago. I've found many other Scotches I think are more interesting, but I've always got a bottle of Glenlivet around the house. If there's such a thing as comfort booze, this is it for me.

I'm a bit surprised not to see Glenlivet on the list as it seems to be a staple of most houses serving single-malts. I enjoy it, though it usually isn't my first choice for taste; more of a compromise for taste and budget as its a bit towards the lower-end of the single-malt price scale.

Lagavulin and Macallan - any of the Macallan varieties - are easily in my top 2, so I'd recommend them any day of the week. I'd have to say that Macallan is most consistently my favorite. I've tried several of their offerings, but anything over their 18 year I'd buy the bottle for friends to enjoy at home and not at a pub. If you can find a bottle, I'd recommend trying the Macallan Cask Strength. (I refer to it as Scotch concentrate.) You must dilute it with water as it is full-strength, direct from the cask, Scotch. The flavors are very strong and different from their other offerings.

I agree that the glass makes a great deal of difference in the experience. Many times have I sent back a single malt because it was served in a brandy sifter, which I don't enjoy. For me the service is simple: a single-malt, neat, in an old-fashioned glass, with a glass of water. Although I order it neat I add just a smidgen of water; no more than a straw-full. The water brings out the flavors and aroma. If I'm sitting at the bar I'll order it neat from the bartender, and upon delivery ask him/her to splash the smallest amount of water to it. If they understand single malts they usually shoot a knowing smile.

as a big fan if islay scotches, i'll put in a strong vote for caol ila when you can find it. really smooth, really enjoyable. if you can't find it, try bunnahabhain (which is just fun to say).

isle of jura is always an excellent choice if you want to go highland.

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