Kilchoman Loch Gorm (2015 release)
Peated Single Malt — Islay, ScotlandTastedChocolate...check...Honey...check...Vanilla....check...Peat....check....Smoke....check....briny goodness....check! What else do you need? This mighty five year old, yes, five year old tastes like a 12. Hell, maybe even a 14. Great dram right at a hundred smackers.
Laphroaig Triple Wood
Peated Single Malt — Islay, ScotlandTastedNose is amazing. Woody oak, cinnamon peat and is that smoke? Large gulp needed on this one, no playing around. Lovely medicinal/tcp. Bright peat with slight sherry. This is Oloroso and not PX. Finish is medium oak with spice. Could be a little longer. This dram just needs two small water drops to open. Also, I will say that I even enjoyed this more after the first two or three drams from the bottle. I think this one might be blessed by oxidation somehow.
Ardbeg Dark Cove
Peated Single Malt — Islay, ScotlandTastedThis is the one, my friends. It's got everything that a lover of complex Islay malts is going to want. If your a peat purist, then you may want an Octomore, but this is the one I liked sooo much that I wrote specifically to the Ardbeg distillery begging them to make it a standard release. Imagine what I would do if I got my hands on the CR release. I think I'd lose control. Edit - I DID get my hands on the CR release, and I DID lose control! Best dram I've ever had so far!
Ardbeg 10 Year
Peated Single Malt — Islay, ScotlandTastedOh myyyy. Well, for me, this is a tough review. Please let me explain. I love Ardbeg as a distillery. No, I adore them. So, how can this be a hard review? This is their flagship...you know, the safe bet. Well, honestly, I've loved pretty much every variation of Ardbeg I tried, and I've tried a ton, except this one. You see, I just detest lemon-lime as a flavor. So, if you're a peathead who doesn't mind that lemon-lime flavor, you're going to love it. So, I guess it's a positive review after all.
Ardbeg Kelpie (2017 Committee Release)
Peated Single Malt — Islay, ScotlandTastedOoh yes. I drove quite a ways to pick up this "puppy". This has got to be the most complex dram I've ever had. Nose! I smell that peat and smoke - oh my... The sea is well with me here.. The brine... I got the TCP/Iodine in a good way, subtle... Fruit notes are there too! Another nose! I do get some dark chocolate notes back there... Palate time after about 5-10 min... At 51.7% neat, surprisingly doesn't burn as I thought... Definitely has a nice ham/bacon note with that salty brine. Wow... I can't believe how good it is neat, but I think it might need just a couple small drops to open even more... After a couple drops - nose has some toffee/butterscotch/vanilla in there, thankfully the peat and smoke remain too. Maybe some almond/marzipan too. You can tell it's young/immature a little, but it doesn't stop it from being extremely complex. It has that trademark Ardbeg finish - this one is medium/long with peat smoke brine and believe it or not, homemade fudge. It's a keeper, but I like all Ardbeg's except the flat 10 because I am not a fan of the lemon-lime taste. Finally, there is some smoked fish in the palate/finish as well. Phew, quite a busy dram.
Lagavulin 8 Year
Peated Single Malt — Islay, ScotlandTastedA pleasant surprise by Lagavulin, but obviously a young one. This is a great breakfast dram with its hint of toast, cereal, peat, and salty glazed ham. I'd rather drink the 16 though, if there was a choice.
Lagavulin 16 Year
Peated Single Malt — Islay, ScotlandTastedThe glass that IS the gateway to Islay. This is the one of the most liked and well balanced drams out there. There is a major difference from other malts with its earthier peat. Also,there is actually a nice taste of bacon in there too with that salt. Don't be afraid!
Peated Single Malt — Islay, ScotlandTastedThis is my favorite "go-to" option from Ardbeg. The coffee, chocolate, cordial, and smokey notes are very exquisite, and you don't have to sell a kidney to buy it - yet. I would only rate the Dark Cove CR release as a higher quality. The Kelpie too, only if I am in the mood for smoked fish.
Peated Single Malt — Islay, ScotlandTastedNose - A little of everything, with that magic peat of course. Not nearly as much smoke as the Oogie, but I definitely get the cherries, the TCP/iodine. This one is at 57%, so just a wee little few drops of water will definitely do. If you don't mind the alcohol burn down the esophagus, it is VERY pleasant neat as well, but I want a smoother dram this time. Palate - very similar to what I get on the nose, but add in the brine, the seaweed, and ... what is that? Oh my, CALIENTE! Peppers out the ying-yang... chilis.. white pepper, black pepper.. "He's an pepper, she's a pepper, wouldn't ya like to be a pepper too?" Heh, old Dr. Pepper soft drink advert. Anyway, oooh nice finish, but a little dryer than I like usually, probably from all the heat. BUT, I am not complaining one bit. Some people like this more than the Oogie and vice versa. I have to say that I like both equally, and it just depends on the mood if you want a lot of smoke or not.
Laphroaig 10 Year Cask Strength
Peated Single Malt — Islay, ScotlandTastedThis is the benchmark dram of most Islay malts. It's a lot different than Lagavulin 16 because it's not as earthy, and more peaty. This a higher ABV content, so it handles a couple drops better than most other pours. I enjoy the Laphroaig 10 better than the Ardbeg 10, because I am not a big fan of the lemon-lime zip.