Which one is a good deal?

by Volker Weber

Cragganmore, 12 years, 40 %, 0.7 l, 31.89 €
Dalmore, 12 years, 40 %, 0.7 l, 27.83 €
Glenfiddich, 12 years, 40 %, 0.7 l, 16.92 €
Glenkinchie, 10 years, 43 %, 0.7 l, 34.79 €
Glenmorangie, 10 years, 40 %, 0.7 l, 23.19 €
Isle of Jura, 10 years, 40 %, 0.7 l, 26.67 €
MacAllan, 12 years, 40 %, 0.7 l, 29.92 €
Talisker, 10 years, 45.8 %, 0.7 l, 34.79 €


Anything in the €28-€35 range for a 10-12 year old single malt is reasonably good price. From the list I'd say it'd be more what you (or whoever you're buying for) likes. I'm not a fan of Glenfiddich, so I'd not take that. Glenmorangie is a nice easy drinking wisky and pretty good value here. The Macallan is good to.

Kerr Rainey, 2006-03-27

All of them not bad, a matter of taste for sure. The Macallan and Glenfiddich are always in stock in my house, at this price I'd probably stock some more ;)

Frank Koehntopp, 2006-03-27

None of them, none is an Islay Single Malt ;-)

Armin Grewe, 2006-03-27

Sorry to be difficult Volker, but my advice is to stay away from the Scotch and try some Irish whiskey instead!

My vote is with Black Bush, from the bushmills distillery in Northern Ireland. Don't know if you'll have it available but it is worth digging out.

Andrew Culbert, 2006-03-27

Original russian vodka, "Stolichnaya", is the best one :)

Egor Margineanu, 2006-03-27

I guess it depends on the parameters of a 'good deal'. I'm with Armin, though. Islay Single Malt every time. For my money, the best available are Lagavulin and Laphroaig. But then, I like the strong 'peat' flavour and scent.

If you're just looking for the most 'bang for your Euro' you'd probably be stuck with what I call the Budweiser of Scotch: Glenfiddich has the most alcohol per Euro in your list above...

Rob McDonagh, 2006-03-27

Andrew, maybe I should swap my Guinness futures against a Black Bush? ;-)

Volker Weber, 2006-03-27

Rob, I did not like the peat flavour in Talisker, so Lagavulin and Laphroaig might not be a good choice for me then.

Volker Weber, 2006-03-27

Cardhu is way ok. A bit "sharp", so to say, but ok.

Karsten W. Rohrbach, 2006-03-27

"Rough edges" comes to my mind, but too late it seems ;-)

Karsten W. Rohrbach, 2006-03-27

Volker, if you don't like peat flavour, stay far away from my two favorites! You'd *hate* them. Heh...

Of the 'non-peaty' ones I've had, the MacAllan is the smoothest. Have you tried it yet? I know some Scotch snobs (meant in a friendly way, a la beer snobs) who swear by it, and they also dislike peaty flavour.

Rob McDonagh, 2006-03-27

Where's Bill Buchan when you need him :-)

I'd also go for an Irish Whiskey. Have to support the home team as they say.

Next time your in Munich you should find this lovely little bar that only sells Whiskey, Gin, Rum and guinness, no other beers or ales. It's right beside a small hotel called 'Hotel an der opera'.

Declan Lynch, 2006-03-27

No good deal at all: I see no Lagavulin.

Sander Jonkers, 2006-03-27

You don't have to come to Highland Park to drink Highland Park...but I hope you will anyway (come to Highland Park, that is) ;)

Ed Brill, 2006-03-27

Right. I'm here. I would have been sooner, but I was in the bath.

Firstly, sod the irish whisky, aside from Jamiesons 12-year old. An excellent, quaffing whisky. Of the type to drink a bottle a night. I sometimes do. The Black Bush, unless properly aged, could jump start a corpse. (And any Bourbon less than 10 years old. Aside from Newbs' family stuff of course)

Onto the proper stuff.

Vowe - the Talisker, etc - they're very "west coast" and therefore strong (ironically the whisky gets stronger in taste from east to west). Even I (my liver calloused with age) find neat Talisker harsh. Always put a wee bit pure water in there to release the flavours. In other words, if it tastes hard, your putting yourself through unnecessary pain and of course missing 90% of the flavour.

Right. Onto the list.

Are you serious ? Can you get me about 4 cases of each at those prices ? God.. Its about another 30% here in Scotland. Crazy.

Glenfiddich at 16 euros a bottle? Madness. Thats *cheap*. Buy a case or two and only give it to drunk friends, and pass it off as the good stuff. Its still *very* good mind you, but the least of this list (in my humble opinion).

Macallan is always a good one. Sure, its quite popular, but it goes down a treat and doesnt ravage your system the next day. A winner.

Och, but in taste.. Mmm...

Dalmore and Craggamore are central (I think from an extremely shaky memory - research, you understand) whiskys and lovely for that. Dalwhinnie would possibly edge them out in my book. Either would be good.

For sheer length of Nose, the Isle of Jura (back to the lecture on water) wins. Talisker, as you've already pointed it - is a bit harsh for you. A lot of people find that - me especially. You just cant drink a lot of it (and its the national drink on Skye where my folks live!) without terminal heartburn.

There's some way to go before I get my black-belt in whisky drinking it would appear.

Dammit. I cant give you a straight answer. They're all damn fine - far better than that Johnnie Walker stuff we sell to the english...

And I cant tell you which is the best. Its up to you. Ask the guy for a wee sample of each (with a glass of water on standby to either cleanse the palate or put out the fires..)

I'll contradict myself again and say Cragganmore. More for the memories they bring me - down the Stratumsein (Death Valley) in Eindhoven, dancing on pool tables with students... Mmmmmm....

Does that help ?

(In terms of off-list, go for:

highland park (Ironically Ed's favourite, but only for the name. Its a blend, but an award winning blend. Its what I'll drink if I get the choice because its not silly money and it tastes fantastic.)

Oban. Lovely and smooth, and available nearly everywhere. I think I lost part of my liver to Oban

Aardbeg 10-year old. Wonderful. Very long nose, so a definate dilution job.

Anything that comes straight out of the Cask.

Bruddaliach (I think thats how its spelt) has a fantastic 20-year old PINK whisky. Its off the scale, but at 70 pounds sterling, way off my scale too. They also do the "Whisky of mass destruction" and "Yellow submarine" whiskies. They might have fun names, but by god they're serious about the whisky.

And then onto the sillies - like the 200-year old my wife gave me a couple of christmases ago (It was a copy of a 200-year old Macallan.), or the 50-year old Col Isla I have for wetting my first grandchilds head. I have *no* idea what that'll taste like, but I know I'll need the whole bottle *that* night...


Put it this way, more than 50 pounds sterling for a bottle is a waste, as you never taste the second 10-glasses or so in any case... Well, not in the *same* night..

A very readable book on the subject is Iain Banks' Raw Spirit, where the accomplished author and sci-fi writer (Read the Wasp Factory. Brutal) goes on an extended distillery crawl around scotland in a succession of his rather nice cars. Its how I'd like to do it...

At last. A specialist subject on Vowe's blog that I feel I can talk on. Not whisky, you understand - I'm very much a lay-person. Or a lay-down afterwards person.

Drinking. *Thats* my sport....

---* Bill

Bill Buchan, 2006-03-27

i agree with Sander Jonkers & Armin Grewe.
Go for Laphroaig or Lagavulin from islay

Giuseppe Grasso, 2006-03-28

I imagine one could just come to InterWhisky in Hamburg next weekend and try before you buy :-).

I'm a whiskey newbie, so thanks to all the posters for the good ideas. I think there is a Black Bush in my future...

Scott Hanson, 2006-03-28

Having spent 3 lovely rainy weeks on Islay last year, I would - of course - also have recommended Lagavulin, Bruichladdich or Laphroaig, but I thought I'd answer vowe's question first...
Btw., are you taking orders? :)

Frank Koehntopp, 2006-03-28

No, I am not taking orders. METRO is having a sale.

Volker Weber, 2006-03-28

@Bill - I'm shocked! I thought us celts were supposed to stick together!

Volker, you're very welcome! And I know the perfect pub in Belfast to drink it in as well...

Andrew Culbert, 2006-03-28

@Bill: Very much with you with respect to the Ardbeg, I am so sorry I finished my bottle of 30 year old off 2 weeks ago (but it was for a good cause), but I am left with the 10 years one in my cupboard.

Im the one for sipping it, not drinking it, although this can happen, with evenings long, dark and cold...

Armin Roth, 2006-03-28

Ardbeg is peaty as well, so that won't work for Volker. Almost all of the Islay Malts are peaty, but then that's how I (and from the looks of it a lot of others) like it. The Very Young Ardbeg is next on my list to open, I heard it's quite nice.

The main exception is Bruichladdich, they have several "not so peaty" malts on offer. Not the Octomore though, of which I do own futures (it should be ready to bottle in about 5 years or so). Before you ask, I'm not planning on selling any of them, at least not at the moment (and hopefully not ever). Don't know about the 92% Bruichladdich, but then that was only distilled a few weeks ago anyway.

Before I forget, I know someone who owns one of the first casks ever distilled at Kilchoman. That's a single malt you will probably never find at METRO...

Armin Grewe, 2006-03-28

@Bill: Btw., what makes you think Highland Park is a blend? The one in my glass right now definitely is a single malt...

Frank Koehntopp, 2006-03-28

No need to hurry rushing into Metro-Store!

Although the Malt Whisky Company can't beat every price at Metro, they can compete with them:

Glenkinchie, 10y, 33,-€
Talisker, 10y, 35,-€

for example.

I would prefer the Dalwhinnie for 33,-€.

Jan Schierkolk, 2006-03-28

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