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I lost my taste for Scotch more than 25 years ago.  I had acquired a taste for single malts when I was a youngster thanks to my best friends parents liquor cabinet.  Unfortunately I lost it after hitching-hiking around the Highlands in college and imbibing too much.

Anyway, this past summer, Sharon's cousin pulled out a bottle of 21 year old Glenlivet at a party and I was coaxed into having some.  It was GOOD, and I mean VERY GOOD.  In hopes of trying more and seeing if I had reacquired the taste, I stopped at the local package store.  It was priced at $175---yikes--I passed.

Fast forward to a meeting of Tedder's Gang on a local river this summer where I mentioned this story to TNWCC, who promptly pulled out a flask of single malt.  IT WAS GOOD TOO!!

This evening I was back at the local store looking over the offerings at the liquor store and was lost.  I don't mind paying for quality ($175 for a fifth is nuts though), but balk at high prices for something I may not like.....

So I came to the experts on UJ for advice and suggestions.  I am looking for a good single malt which I should like. Something that approximates the 21 year old Glenlivet or the Balvenie "founders reserve" Ted had. Preferably one that wont bruise my wallet to much.

Suggestions?

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NH has the 15 year old Glenlivet on sale until the end of the month for $51.95 which unfortunately is a decent price for a very drinkable Single Malt.
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I'm a scotch lover. There are a lot of different flavor profiles when it comes to scotch, and I drink them all, but I am particularly fond of the smokey peaty malts. That said,....some of the less peaty malts....

One of my go to malts, also great for converting Bourbon drinkers, is The Balvenie 12 yr Double Wood.  The Balvenie makes quite a few nice expressions, and I wouldn't pass on a bottle of the 14yr Caribean Cask if you come across it.

Highland Park is also nice. I recommend spending a it more and going for the 18yr.

Aberlour is very nice, too, but I think their best is the 15yr, which can be hard to come by here in the US.

A lot of people like Oban, but I am not crazy about it. However, they have made some fantastic Distillers Editions, so you may want to look for one of them.

Auchentoshan Three Wood is a nice woody malt, similar to The Balvenie Double Wood.

Another hard to find, but delicious(and not too expensive) is Longmorn. I believe it's a 14yr, but it may be 16yr. On occassion NH has is as a special.

On to the peat and smoke,....

One of my all time favorites is Ardbeg. They make a lot of smokey, peaty, and spicy malts. Unfortunately their best, and in my opinion the best scotch ever, was called Alligator. There are a few bottles still floating around, but they are hard to come by. If you find one, spend the $300, and then invite me over. Until then, I'd recommend their Corryvreckan. The Ardbeg 10yr is damned good too.

Lagavulan 16yr is also very nice and one of my favorites.

And of course there are the Laphroaigs. Laphroaig has some peaty, iodiney expressions, but I particularly like their Quarter Cask. I thought it combined peaty and sweet nicely.

Anyway, these are just a small sample of what I like.

The thing is, there are a lot of them, and its fun to try out a new one, and explore other expressions, so just but a couple of bottles, and do a little sipping.

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Can't go wrong with anything by Balvenie.  Try Glenmorangie.  Reasonable.  There are some smaller house single malts that can be great deals and can be found at liquor stores that carry many different scotches; seek them out and the proprietor will assist you with your flavor preferences. Current open bottle is Tomatin, a twelve yo Highland finished in Spanish Sherry casks.  Really good.  $28, a steal.  In fact, I think I'll have some now.

What's also interesting is that you'll find that your tastes for different scotches wax and wane.  On a whim I picked up a bottle of Bowmore 'cuz it was on sale for like $23 bucks.  The stuff is super peaty liquid smoke.  At first I didn't care for it then grew to love it, on occasion.  That's what makes scotch the most interesting of all the brown likkers; it's fun to have 4 or 5 sitting around at any given time, all completely different.

Oh, and learn to trust your own preferences.  In the scotch realm one man's elixir is another's p!sswater; nothing wrong with that at all.  Beer's gone that way.  In some circles if you don't like super hoppy IPA's you're a tasteless cretin.  Ridiculous.  It's at those moments that I really enjoy a PBR can in a beer cozy.  In other words, enjoy that Cutty Sark.

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Lagavulin, Highland Park, MacCallan and SpringBank should keep you very satisfied. On the inexpensive side, Glenlivet 12 yo is a great springboard into single malts, and The Famous Grouse is quite a decent blend, and both are under $25.
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IMHO, one has to develop a taste for the peaty malts: Lagallvulin, Ardberg, Laphroig. I cannot stand any of them.

 Bowmore and B'nahhabbin are very nice as is Highland Park, with just a hint o' peat and heather and saltwater.

Very lovely all 3.

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Samuel Hoggson

Have mostly lost my taste for it, too.  Never cared for the spicy/peaty ones.  So didn't mind Oban, etc.  

Highland Park is the least expensive stuff I would touch now.  First time I had it was in Scotland.  Had not heard of it till then.  Good bang for the buck, the 48AL20 of Scotch.  I would start there and spend more if needed.

Sam

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