Best in Blog: Port Askaig, Caol Ila, and Previews of the Islay Festival of Malt & Music

Seems like everyone in the whiskysphere is either gearing up for the Islay Malt & Music festival, buzzing about the release of Port Askaig. Here’s the lowdown from some of our favorite whisky blogs:

  • At Malt Advocate, John Hansell reviews the 17 and 25 year old Port Askaig, bottled and sold by Whisky Exchange. From what I gather, these are independent bottlings of spirit distilled at Caol Ila (though the label looks thoroughly like an Ardbeg creation).
  • Cask Strength also got their hands on the 17 and 25 year old Port Askaig. Like Malt advocate, they too seem to prefer the 17 year to it’s older sibling.
  • At WhiskyFun, Serge takes things a little further and actually tastes the Port Askaig 25 next to four rare, independent bottlings of Caol Ila. The Askaig comes off rather well in the comparison.
  • The Whisky Exchange and Edinburgh Whisky blogs both inform us that Diageo has announced its bottlings for the Islay Festival: a first-ever official single cask bottling of Caol Ila 12 year, and a 14 year old Lagavulin.
  • Finally, our friend the Scotch Hobbyist gives his bottle of Laphroaig 15 year a try and decides that the old girl is growing on him just as she’s about to disappear off the shelves.
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10 Cheap Scotches to Get You Started

A number of people here at the Whisky Party have been discussing some cheap, quality bottlings to recommend to folks just getting into drinking single malt scotch whisky.  Here’s what one of us came up with.  Let us know what you think:

  1. Jura Superstition (never had it, but young peated casks vatted with 23 yo unpeated casks from a unique Island distillery; $40-45)
  2. Highland Park 12 yo (one of my favorites, a critical darling, and a true “all-rounder” Island whisky for under $40)
  3. Glenkinchie 10 yo (light and grassy, with a non-citrus fruit in the middle. Maybe pears).
  4. Caol Ila 12 yo (I prefer the 18 yo, but at $45, this one is peatier and more interesting than often assumed)
  5. Laphroaig Quartercask ($47; a vatting of young whiskies finished in tiny casks, imparting much wood flavor and mellowness.  Anyone who hasn’t had this should kill themselves)
  6. Clynelish 14 yo (a northern, coastal Highland and undervalued)
  7. Glenmorangie 10 yo (another superb Highland; $40-50)
  8. Bowmore 12 yo ($30-40; see Dr. Whisky)
  9. Cragganmore 12 yo (top notch Speyside; big, floral nose; nice buttery body with some rich fruit and a touch of smoke; right around $50).
  10. Balvenie – either the 10 yo ($40) or the 12 yo doublewood ($50)