I read an interesting blog by angelsportion.wordpress.com this past week which focused on his Top 15 whiskies for under $75 that should be in one’s whisky shelf. A blog worth reading – I found it stimulated my curiosity. Do I have a similar list lurking in the house? My first stop was grabbing a copy of my new romp of a book Whisky Tales: Tastings and Temptations. The book covers more than 100 whiskies that I offered at whisky tastings for charities, friends, and private events. They are all on my like list. At the end of the book I proclaim my Top 10 favorite single malts but don’t offer a list of “should haves” under $75. Ok, I needed a plan to work this list out. I checked to see how many of angelsportion’s bottles were mentioned in my book – eight of the fifteen are discussed. Yet, the only whisky from his list that I have not tried is the Glengoyne 17 Y.O. Hmm, what bottles to pick, such a dilemma.
Book in hand, I opened my scotch cabinet and super-secret hiding places and began the quest for the Top 15 under $75. The under $75 wasn’t as difficult as I thought it would be, though a few of my list sneaked towards the $100 mark. And, being a little left of center on most everything, I veered off the single malt course and proudly added a blend and an Irish, a Japanese, and an American whiskey.
Once the whisk(e)y list met my own criteria – an opened bottle that I drink regularly and that I proudly offer to guests – I went back to see how many were in the book. As with angelsportion – eight of the fifteen are discussed in the book. Yet, angelsportion and I only have one duplicate whisky on our lists – the Laphroaig Quarter Cask. Just goes to show that personal preferences are key, availability is crucial, many, many price points are still under $75, and most of all there are still ever so many whiskies from Scotland and around the world to discover, taste and share.
For the record, here is my Top 15 whiskies to have around the house and not hidden in the super-secret places. One more deviation – I have ranked my Top 3, the remaining twelve are by country and region, if applicable. My preference for any of the whiskies is dependent on mood, weather, fellow imbibers, time of day, what/who I am reading, tweeting. All these ingredients keep every dram fresh and exciting!
Scotland – my Top 3
- Lagavulin 16 YO – Islay
- Ardbeg Corryvreckan – Islay
- Springbank Madeira 11 YO – Campbeltown
- Bruichladdich The Laddie Ten, Islay
- Laphroaig Quarter Cask, Islay
- Highland Park Dark Origins, Orkney
- Aberfeldy 12 YO, Highland
- Aberlour a’bunadh, Speyside
- Glenfarclas 17 YO, Speyside
- Glenlivet 18 YO, Speyside
- Oban, Western Highland
- Grand MacNish 15 YO, Sherry Cask (makes a great Rusty Nail)
- Bushmills, 16 YO
- Suntory Yamazaki 12 YO
- Westland Single Malt 2 YO 1st Fill Oloroso Barrel, Seattle, Washington (totally buzzed by this one)
Early on I realized that I needed to have a ranking system for the whiskies I tasted. My system is simple: I number each whisky from 1 – never buy, to 4 – must have. Detailed reviews are not my thing. I am not an expert on using all the monikers that describe the sweet, spicy, savory, subtle, smoky, sherried, candy, etc. flavors of whisky. I leave that to others. Obviously, my list above does not include any “1s”, my Top 3 are definitely “4s” the rest are in between somewhere.
Not to make it sound like a blatant sales pitch, but my book reveals all my wows and hmmms and recommendations for enough whiskies to give readers a sense of who I am and what I prefer. Just saying.
Thank you angelsportion for an inspiring article. I raise a glass!