General Whisky Talk

I’m a little surprised there isn’t a general whisky thread. If there is, I couldn’t find it. There must be some interest, since there’s a topic on Yamazaki 55.

My own whisky journey didn’t start that long ago, and has been focused mainly on Japanese and bourbon. I’ve been lucky to enjoy several of the usual suspects in those categories, but wanted to share a recent pickup that I feel is really interesting.

I ordered a Nikka Pure Malt Black (not sold in the US) online, which came as part of a gift set. I had heard good things about the actual whisky, and worst case the journal seemed nice enough.

Super impressed with all the contents inside. The box, tasting journal and pencil feel unexpectedly premium.

I was of course curious about the actual whiskey itself, and enjoyed a pour (glass not pictured). It is great, similar to Nikka Yoichi which I believe is dominant in this blend. Pure Malt Black retains many of the classic Yoichi Scotch notes while introducing a lot of spice, which I really enjoy. I also get some chocolate and cherry, like a savory sweet dessert.

This was about $50 USD before shipping. Really happy with this one.

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Paging @MyAnnoyingOpinions

hello?

Krisp market in San Diego has a very good selection of whiskey. Lots of Japanese high end stuff

Yeah @MyAnnoyingOpinions is most definitely our resident expert.

I’ll throw in my 2 cents for anyone interested in some great reasonably priced bottles to explore this brown spirit genre.

Single grain whiskey
Aberlour A’bunadh
Lagavulin 16

Japanese whisky prices have gone bonkers tbh, not the value they once were. I haven’t purchased any in quite a while now.

Same goes for bourbon - substituted with Armagnac, French redneck hooch :grin:. Ridiculous value. $89 for a 30 yr old vintage.

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Armagnac is good stuff! I’m curious what people like in the 30-50$ range in Brown liquors. It rare that i splurge more these days, but that doesn’t mean I want something less interesting.

I was always a browser in the bookstore day’s. Now i torture myself looking for good QPR whisk(e)y

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Glad to hear I’m not the only one who enjoys Armagnacs.

The Laphroaig 10 Year seems like a promising choice in sub $50 range. Maybe an Ardberg too.

Love Ardbeg! Bowmore Legend punches above its weght class and I like the more restrained peet. K&L has a couple Bas Armagnac’s in the under 50 range that look interesting

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I’ve had good experience with Bas. Never tried Bowmore before, will have to make note for next time.

Btw Love K&L’s no contact pickup, well thought out system.

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I’m a Bowmore fan personally each across the line they taste above what you would expect of the price

Big fan of K&L they were planning on opening up somewhere on the west side pre covid i hope that still happens down the road.

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Yeah K&L is an awesome store. Their selection is amazing, always something new and interesting to check out. Very friendly and helpful team too.

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They had a fantastic Gin from spain called Wynt & Lila I’m still mourning the loss. Guess they lost distribution

Both are excellent scotches. Laphroaig 10 is amazing for the price - I need to pick one up myself.

I love Japanese whisky, and it’s a shame how inaccessible it is. KL Wines does have Hakushu 12 available to ship for $120, which is higher than retail but reasonable compared to secondary prices. It’s one of my favorites as well.

As far as what’s available today, I would recommend the below with ballpark pricing:

Nikka From the Barrel ($80)
Nikka Coffey Malt ($70)
Hibiki Harmony ($75)

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japanese whisky is–as someone said above–a fairly fucked category now with low stocks and high prices (this has been the case for a while).

about two years ago i published an updated guide to stocking a “well-rounded whisky bar”. you can find the whole post here, with annotations but these are the top-line picks at the lower budget point:

highland park 12
loch lomond 12
glendronach 12
laphroaig 10
springbank 10
nikka whisky from the barrel

but really if you’re looking to spend <$50, bourbon is where you should be looking for the best price/quality ratio.

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i’ll say that i’d now recommend the clynelish 14 over the highland park 12 which seems to have gone downhill a bit.

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@MyAnnoyingOpinions what are your thoughts on independent bottlers? The likes of Gordon McPhail etc. good, bad? Anything they specialize in etc. Murky waters for me this.

I would agree to the point on bourbon, although there are plenty with outrageous pricing and supply like its Japanese counterpart. Good excuse to share some of my favorite bottles, which I’ve been meaning to do.

As far as bottles that are easier to find, my current favorite has to be the New Riff Single Barrel Bourbon and the Single Barrel Rye. The distillery is new and the current offerings are young at four years, but it’s a great pour. The finish for both is surprisingly long, which I love. They are a great buy for $50, and I love the bottle design.

Elijah Craig Barrel Proof is great, too. It is a lot more intense with batches ranging anywhere from 120-138 proof, which I tend to enjoy. This batch is A118, and I get a lot of savory notes while drinking this one. Reminds me of black pepper and steak. Really nice for $60, and not a victim of price gouging.

(Forgot to pour this before taking a photo)

I was lucky enough to find a bottle of Stagg Jr. last year, during a road trip to the Grand Canyon. This one is Batch 13, and it’s my absolute favorite bourbon that I own. It’s also strong at 128.4 proof, and has one of the most pleasant profiles. The nose is like fruit leather, and the palate is like cherry cola. A steal for the $65 I paid, but pretty difficult to track down.

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Know anything about these guys?

https://www.winehouse.com/product/the-lost-distillery-classic-selection-lossit-islay-blended-malt-scotch-whisky-43-abv-750ml/

Here’s a 15yr old bourbon from Willett Distillery that doesn’t get much press and a relative bargain. I think I paid $40ish a year ago. Readily available although prices seem to be creeping up.

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Anybody familiar with this outfit?
https://nashvillebarrelco.com/home

Horus the beer company in Oceanside is coming out with a single barrel straight rye whiskey. 114% proof. I will probably order it regardless but wouldn’t hurt if anybody has positive feedback.