So my “green apple” might be your “kiwi”. I know they say Lowland malts are “light”. This is the only one I’ve tried, but from what I gather it’s not a triple-distilled malt (like Auchentoshan, which is an Irish whiskey produced in Scotland, nothing wrong with that). Comparing it to unpeated Highlands and Speysiders I wouldn’t call it light, at least not like the much maligned light beers. It’s fresh but no less substance than Glenmorangie, Glenlivet, Glenfiddich, Old Pulteney (perhaps on par with Old Pulteney in terms of interest). It’s not syrupy like Aberlour or Macallan, has its own pleasant character. FWIW I rarely think of different malts as “better” or “worse”, I only compare them to contrast their features. There are very few I didn’t like (Singleton of Glendullan 12). And I like them all – the light bourbon-cask malts like Glenmo10, the syrupy sherry monsters and the peaty Islay bruisers, all depends on the mood, weather and company. Sometimes I even taste bottom shelf blends and I’ve found a few that surprised me, though single malt will always be my preference. I recommend this malt on its own, however it’s also a good way to see if you might enjoy peat. Tasting an Islay bruiser like Laphroaig, Ardbeg or Lagavulin might scare you off (or you might become an instant addict). Instead try this or Glen Moray Peated or Highland Park. The peat is very tame but enough to get you acclimated to it.

Like a previous review says, this is light years ahead of any Jack Daniels, and at only a few dollars more a bottle (where I live). This is a spirit my cabinet will never be without. Light years ahead of any Jack Daniels I have tasted. Nice warming feeling with plenty of taste! Whiskey doesn’t get much better than this. Balanced sweetness. A whiskey man’s whiskey. Quite pleasant, creamy, not complicated. A nice introduction to bourbon. So I have to be honest. I gave up on whiskey after only having one type (i know i’m a horrible person) which was Jack Daniels. I had Jack and I absolutely hated it I thought it was far too bitter and it tasted as though someone had shoved wet woodchips down my throat. Well we had a Firefly party last night at our local bar (Firefly is a western tv show) and I saw this Frontier whiskey sitting on the bar. Well I said what the hell it’s just for the party and I tried some on the rocks.

These are the first two whiskies on the market that have been made from 100% peated barley at the distillery. And while both have good stories, the Peat Week stands out—on the tongue, for its sweetness and elsewhere for its inspiration story. Once a year since 2002, always during the distillery’s maintenance period, The Balvenie’s distillery manager (at the time) Ian Miller would run peated barley through the distillation process. It could only be done during this one week, at this one time of year, because the peat scent is so strong and pervasive it would impact all other production. This week was quite literally known as Peat Week. 14 years later, that 2002 spirit was bottled and now named after the week during which it’s produced. It was aged solely in American Oak casks and hits the market at a strong 48.3% ABV. But why even explore peat at a brand known for smooth, sweet spirits? Gemma Paterson, the Balvenie’s Brand Ambassador, explains that it’s about “harking back to the old way whisky was made. Most malts produced in Scotland were heavily peated because peat is—and was—a fuel source.

There aren’t many distilleries that have universal appeal. Some people adore rich, sherried whiskies; other people despise them. Some love lean, medicinal styles; others run a mile. But there is one whisky distillery that gets praise from all quarters: Lagavulin. Part of the big-hitting trio of distilleries on Islay’s southern coast, Lagavulin celebrates its 200th anniversary this year, and is about to launch a special limited-edition bottling: Lagavulin 8 Year Old. We were lucky enough to try a sneak preview of the whisky before it goes on sale in a few weeks’ time – and it didn’t disappoint. Lagavulin’s distillery manager Georgie Crawford told us: ‘I grew up in a pub in Port Ellen, and I was always of the opinion that Lagavulin was the premium single malt. When I started out, I wanted to be able to drink Lagavulin, but I had this perception that it was too powerful and smoky, so I started with Rosebank, then went on to Mortlach and Dailuaine. ‘With this new 8 Year Old, we were trying to create something as a tribute to Alfred Barnard, and I think the team has absolutely knocked it out of the park. It doesn’t have the big bite of the 12 Year Old; it’s more refined. I find it challenging and serene at the same time. So, how does it taste? Nose: Cracked black pepper and aromatic woodsmoke at first, then fresh notes of orange and lemon peel. Appealing aromas of bonfires, hot shells and a touch of smoked meat. A little water brings out aromas of peach and green apple. Palate: More woodsmoke, plus crunchy oatmeal and honeyed fruit. Rich mouthfeel, with notes of tobacco, bonfire embers and a peppery, spicy note.

Palate: At first it’s salty and smoky, like taking in the sea spray from the deck of an old diesel-powered ferry. Then things take a more savory turn—charred meat, grilled nectarines, chili powder—that takes things in a culinary direction. Vital Stats: 51.2%, no age statement. Appearance: Light mid gold. Nose: Shy and nectar-like. Marzipan croissant, cheese Danish, brioche, plus freshly waxed hardwood floor and clean wool sweater. Creamy, toasty, strange, and a bit tingly in the nose. Palate: Extremely well integrated, with a very crescendo-like feel. Rich papaya, mango, and banana linger on the palate, plus yeated bread and caneles. There’s a touch of very gentle milk chocolate and a whisper of elderflower. The finish is endless, really feeling as if it clings to your tongue. Water brings out more smoky and maritime notes, plus milky white corn and marzipan. Nose: Classic Lagavulin here. Banana and dried mango, puffs of wet smoke, sandalwood, incense, rich malt syrup, and that damp wool sweater you wore to a barbecue and left wadded up in your trunk. Palate: Very sweet and a little earthy up front, with some dried banana, strong smoke, clove, burnt caramel, salty dark caramel, and lots of saline maritime goodness, with mint, cannabis, and lanolin peeking through. The long finish is oddly cooling and refreshing, with spearmint, eucalyptus, ash, and salt.

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