Best single-malt Scotch...

I have to give credit to Redwiki for the inspiration to start this thread. Yes, certain malts better compliment certain music or certain moods. Of the fifteen or so different malts in my cabinet right now, my favorites are: Aberlour "Antique", similar to the popular Macallan, but not as syrupy; a bit drier, light hearted and less complicated; great with Mozart and Brubeck. Mortlach "Limited Edition" cask strength. Powerful, smoky, mysterious. Great with Bartok, Berg and late 'Trane. Loch Morar 25 yr old. Incredibly complex and intense, with a hint of honey and flowers. Great with Poulenc, Stravinsky and Bill Evans. Any other single-malt aficionados out there?
I picked up a bottle of 30 year old Laphroaig, which has an amazing taste, not too smoky, but incredibly smooth. It goes well with Diana Krall for me.
A few favorites come to mind. Aberlour 25 and Aberlour
A'bunadh. The Aberlour 25 is the smoothest single malt I have tasted to date. The A'bunadh has intense fruity flavors, a long finish and a slight honey and spice finish.
The Dalmore 12 and Balvenie Doublewood 12 (standard finish), both with a few drops of branch. Readily available, resonably priced and too thick for many Scotch lovers. I'm a Maker's Mark guy myself.
Dekay,We both like the same scotch Doublewood 12. smoky smooth.The 12 is 65.00 a bottle here i don,t think thats resonable though.Great scotch.
I don't drink Scotch so I wouldn't even dream of venturing a guess as to the Best. I just wanted to point out that it is soooo refreshing to see a thread where differences in brand names, product age and manufacturing techniques yield varying responses from the users, and no one is arguing as to whether the results are real or perceived.
Lagavulin. The standard 16 year old is awesome, the 25 and 30 year old special bottlings I picked up in the UK even better. Like Laphroig, this Islay is very much an acquired taste, with an even more pronnounced iodine aftertaste. Macallan 25 ain't shabby at all either.
Massvm: That's because we haven't consumed any yet, give it some time. Steven: I have been off work for the past year and then some, but was selling it for $35 towards the end of 1999. When we first stocked it it was $30 at our regular discount price. I noticed a very wide fluctuation in its selling price at that time, the highest being around $50. I agree that $65 a bottle is not in the nightly guzzling range. LOL.
If ya' all ever find a bottle of 26 year old Inchmurrin, snap it up! It will make yur system sound like whatever you are looking for!!!!!!!!!!! Course, I can't afford to drink this stuff all the time, so I agree with the Lagavulin at 16 years. Love those smelly feet. Cheers!
Funny, but I can't remember any single malt ever tasting any different after the fourth or fifth one anyhow. I submit that the scientific proof shows there is absolutely no difference between various scotches.....they are all just alcohol after we are pickled enough. If you can taste or feel the difference, you just ain't had enough yet.
I like it straight out of the radiator, although in a pinch, canned heat gets the job done.
Hello, fellow single malt lovers! If you are interested in enjoying some of the greatest single malt Scotch whisky, available only in limited quantities, you must join the Scotch Malt Whisky Society. The Society's main offices are in Florida, but it has chapters in a number of states. One of the annual events, held in a number of cities around the US, is an evening of single-malt tasting (just like a wine tasting). The Society also has its own club in Edinburgh, Scotland, where one can stay and sample the many private bottlings. For more info, go to the Society's Web site:
A drinking time question, dear malt pals: late afternoon, before~, after dinnner... when do you have yr first of the day?? With me it's usually late a/noon & before dinner, or after dinner (the best). Before dinner: Lafroiagg with Brahms (1&2 Piano Concertos -- Curzon recommended), Sibelius, J Hendrix, JL Hooker (should've been drinking rye here)... After dinner: Aberlour (music ditto Frogman + Bach), Lagavulin (Alexc -- I'm with you).
Cheers -- i'm off to access that site, thanks Sdcampbell!
Okay, enough of this! Now the real issue: What beer, and how much of it, is necessary to make Bose 901s driven by a Cryin ear receiver sound good?
My accessible answer is Talisker's standard bottling. The one that got away was Adelphi's cask bottling of 30 yr. old Springbank- $100 I should've spent before it went away. Generally, I'll take cask bottlings over diluted/filtered ones any day. Unfortunately, since there's no such thing as blended bourbon, American distillers don't have the guts to produce cask bottlings (Booker's notwithstanding).
Killer thread!!

I've been into Scotch for several years now and have a few that are almost always kept 'in house'.

1) The Macallan 25 yr old, I remember when it was $125. Now at $300, I buy it less, thankfully many friends seem to always remember my favorite on birthdays and Christmas, so there is usually some around. Unquestionably one of the best, if not the best commercially available single malt...

Their 18 yr old is my house staple and always drinkable!

2) I like a 24 yr old Dalmore (Cooper's choice) that I got recently, not quite as smooth, but very full and flavorful.

3) Royal Laproagh, eceptionally smooth, almost to the point of too little taste.

4) Talisker

5) Lagavulin, a little to smokey for me, but nice with a bit of H2O and some ice.

That covers my favorite single malts......

Now, the selection becomes much more obscure for single casks..... yes, true straight from the cask Scotch whiskey. I found the store of my dreams on a trip to London last year.

There's a store in Covent GGardens (3 Russel Str, Covent Garden, London WC2B 5JD, Phone # 0171 379 4640)that is a Scotch drinkers dream. I bought a bottle there, can't remember right now what it was, but was the best Scotch I've ever had. If you're in london, or want to buy a case (they export!!) go there or contact them! You won't be disappointed. If you go, they give tastings of all the single casks, just ask!! Their cigars are poorly humidified though, so don't go overboard with the Cubans there!

Buy and happy drinking!!
When I posted above about the Scotch Malt Whisky Society, I didn't mention that their bottlings are all cask strength, directly from special barrels or casks that are of exceptional quality and purchased directly from the distillery. Over time, their bottlings are from more than 100 distilleries, some of which are no longer making product. All of the whisky is excellent, but I have particularly enjoyed an 18 year Dalwhinnie, a 30 year old Bowmore, and several terrific 10-12 year bottlings from very small distilleries.
Althou Lagavulin is one my fav's. I had the opportunity to sample (ie 1oz) a 1965 Talisker. Best scotch I ever had, we won't mention the price to my wife though....
During my last trip to Scotland I fell in love with Oban. It is from the western shore and has a velvet texture and not too smoky taste.
Glendronach seems sanely priced considering it's quality. Silky, smokey, smoooth. Much better than the 15 year old Aberlour. You will all probably hate me for this, but, I like it with chocolate!
Frogman, you did a much better job than I did getting this topic going. On those cold winter nights the combination of a good malt and good music forms a combined magic that is obviously shared by others here. This thread is intriguing because I agree wholeheartedly with so much that has been said. Of what I consider the affordable single malts, I agree with the Lagavulin, with Talisker coming in a close second with the Dalwhinnie, Bowmore and Oban up there too, but there are some nights and moods when I find myself in agreement with Dekay and prefer one of the Balvenies. When you step up to the more pricey vintage malts, I agree very much with the Springbank recommendation too. Hifiharv - chocolate or cheese are what I like, you are not alone.
Loch Dhu is my favorite. Recently I've been enjoying Dalmore, Glenfiddich, and Pinch, too.
At our music gatherings Scotch is the drink of choice, for me in particular. My most consumed includes Aberlour 10 and 15 year old, Balvenie Double Wood, Macallen 18, and (now discontinued) Glenfiddich Cask strength 15 year old. I love 25 year old Macallen and Springbank 18, but both are too expensive to keep on my bar. I sometimes favor Cognac, and still have one bottle of Jules Duret from 1986. I cannot bear to finish the last of it, as it cannot be replaced. My best friend loves Laphroig, I remind him the dog in little rascals was named "peaty" and that he too may develop a huge ring around one eye if he keeps swilling it down. He ignores me.
Gentlemen, glad to see such spirited response to my thread. Along with Redwiki's inspiration, what prompted this thread was the anticipated return of my wife from London where she occasionally goes on business, and always returns with one or two new (to me) malts; often times purchased at the very enporium that Kennyt mentions in his post. Is that a babe or what? Anyway this trip produced a bottle of Auchentoshan 21. Excellent lowland malt. Extremely smooth, medium body, on the sweet side with hint of orange zest. Perfect, as I have just found out, with some Jarlsberg cheese and dried figs; thanks again Redwiki for the suggestion. I think I'll put on some Satchmo.
Hey, Kennyt, the place you're talking about in London is the Cadenhead bottle shop. They're the oldest independent bottler. Everything's cask strength and you can tell what they have by what's listed on the chalkboard. Some legendary bottlings have come from them, including a green (really) Springbank that'd been matured in a demerara rum cask. They also have a shop in Edinburgh. Several places in the states get their bottlings, particularly Sam's in Chicago and D & M in San Fran.
Good to see I'm not the only one so obsessed with my Scotch to know of Cadenhead's!!! I'll be there this year for my birthday (May 3rd) with my girlfriend, hope she gets me a present there! If not, I beleive you can bring two bottles a piece back....too bad, a case would do better!

By the way, I've heard little of some others I forgot to post, the Glenmorangie 18 yr old, and their Fino Sherry (12 I beleive) both also quite tasty!
For God's sake, man, be sure to have some real ale (The White Horse on Parson's Green is amazing), cheese from the Neal's Yard Dairy, and Asian noodles at Wagamama as well. And that's besides all the touristy things to do.
The Dalmore 21 year is outstanding and priced reasonably for around $80, Dalmore Stillman's Dram 30 year is excellent also., but the 21 year is the best of the line. These are single Highland Malts blended by Richard Paterson, one of the best noses in the business.
Lagavulin seems to me the closest one can come to being overwhelmed by a deluge, a long ebb and tide reeking of peet and smoke without perishing. Almost existential. Otherwise a partiality for Oban, less idiosyncratic, balanced, smooth. Me mate for single malt does like Macallan - 25 when he can afford it. There's still so much to discover
I usually don't like when we get off topic, but, I'm really enjoying this one. I'm not familiar with many mentioned here. Thanks for the the putting me in the know. My favorite is McCallan 18 year old, to my mind their best value. I like Glenliviet on warmer days or before dinner, ironicaly though it's on the light side, I like this one over ice. My favorite "bump" with a beer, is Oban. On a cold winter's night I find Lagavulin warm and inviting. After dinner I like Bunnahabein (spelling?). I detest Laphroiag, taste like medicinal iodine to me. To each his own. Thanks again for the tips.
Can any one recommend a "scoth like" bourbon? I prefer scotch, but I'm intrigued by the possibilty.
Knockando. It's not a single malt, it's a blend. Around $50 for 12 year old and it's fantastic and very smooth. Beats 25 year old mccallen hands down, and just about anything else you can throw at it. Of the 25 or so popular single malts I've tried over the years, this is the one I keep coming back to.
You have to try "Glen Garioch". Only aged 10 years but a killer. Better than many I have had that are aged longer and cost much more.
I work in the high end of the booze biz & get good opportunities to purchase rare malts. Springbank is the distillery that I would miss the most were it to go silent. My all time fave Highland malt is the discontinued (since 1995)Balvenie Classic (the one that came in what look like an E&J brandy bottle). For pure in-your-face sauvage Islay charachter, you can't beat the younger Murray McDavid bottlings of Laphroaig. These bottlings, sometimes labeled as "Leapfrog", make the distillery bottlings seem tame & muted in comparison. The lack of chill filtration is the key to the superior quality of these Murray McDavid bottlings.

BTW, if any audiogonsters out there were to find a dusty bottle of the Balvenie Classic sitting forlornly on some retailer's shelf (I found one last year), I'd trade a fairly spectacuilar bottle of wine from my cellar for it.
What are we looking at for a price range on this? Love scotch and had the oppurtunity to taste a many in Scotland but stick to GlenLivet cause I am uneducated in this catagory. Where can i find it?
Highland malts are (generally) full bodied, with a sweet finish & little of the pronounced iodine, peat & salt air character found in Islay malts. Glenlivet is an excellent place to start. Go to a bar or restauarant that has a good selection of drams. Try four or five different ones before you buy a bottle. If you like the Glenlivet, try the Macallan 18 (currently around $80, but worth it), Glenfarclas, any of the offerings from Balvenie, or, for a killer bargain, get a bottle of the Dalmore 12 (less than $25).
For me, Lagavulin, Taliser, Aberlour. Got a bottle of Macallan 18 yr as a gift. It's very smooth, sherried, but I like more heft to my single malts!
Any Islay malt is worth a go if you like peat and smoke, but I echo the earlier recommendations for Laphroaig Lagavulin. Consider also the outstanding Ardbeg and Port Ellen malts (the latter no longer being in production and thus a bit harder to find). As previous posters have indicated, Talisker on Skye is also an excellent dram (and worth a visit if you're in the area).
For a warm, rich, taste (perhaps too rich for some) Highland Park is a great choice. Worth a try, IMO. Works great with jazz for me. Cardhu is on the opposite side of the spectrum, very light and "easygoing" yet not dry (perhaps too easygoing, careful, hehe…). All in all an excellent all-around “companion.” Most of the others lay in between, except for those with an exceptionally strong character, like Laphroaig or Talisker, which are definitely worth a try, but may be something of an acquired taste for the non-aficionado.
[slight hijack] I usually prefer my whisky straight, but I was wondering if there is a “golden rule” (other than trial and error) about adding water to your drink? [/slight hijack]
Wow just stumbled on this rich spiritual personal fav is Strathisla(owned by Chivas)with a few chunks of ice and a dash drink to enjoy and not to conform.Bliss with Cohen and occasionally Beethoven's 9th.
Glad to see this thread still has life. Cpdunn99 is right on the money; it is amazing what a single drop of water (preferably spring water) can do to open up the flavor of a quality malt. More than a drop if you are drinking a cask-strength malt such as Mortlach.