Not speaking of woodwork here, folks.
Here’s the question…
If you were given free rein to pick up 10 (and 10 only) bottles to be the basis of starting your cabinet, what would they be? What is your idea of a well-rounded whisky wall?
Extremely interested to see what you come up with in terms of what you think are the cornerstones, and what the prices will look like to give a solid set-up.
Though I am WELL beyond 10 bottles, these are where I would start from, or recommend as ‘the basics’. I have 9 of these 10 in my cabinet right now:
ABERLOUR A’BUNADH (Speyside) – You gotta have a cask strengther or two in there, and this one is hard to beat. A bold sherry bomb. 59.7% abv* (*varies according to batch).
ARDBEG TEN (Islay) – Ardbeg is the sexiest whisky on the market. Though this is not the best of the Ardbeg line, it is absolutely stellar, and relatively affordable. A clean, smoky and apple-ish peat monster. 46% abv.
AUCHENTOSHEN 12 Y.O. (Lowland) – A light triple-distilled whisky. Fruity and floral sipper. Great aperitif dram. 40% abv.
CAOL ILA 12 Y.O. (Islay) – They don’t get much better than this. Delicate, but bold. Peat, salt and smoke. 43% abv.
GLENFIDDICH 15 Y.O. SOLERA (Speyside) – I was initially going to put the Glenfiddich 12 y.o. here, but thought it was worth the $10-12 bump in price to have this instead. Brilliant whisky. Fruity and balanced. Quintessential Speysider. 40% abv.
GLENMORANGIE ORIGINAL (Highland) – A nicely balanced, light-weight whisky to represent the Highlands. Quite similar to many of the big Speysiders. 40% abv.
HIGHLAND PARK 12 Y.O. (Island) – Stunning whisky. Beautiful balance. Smoke, fruit, caramel, vanilla and sherry. Creamy and smooth. Suits all moods and occasions. 40% abv.
LAGAVULIN 16 Y.O. (Islay) – One of the ‘classic malts’. A slightly more medicinal edge than most of the Islay big boys. Still a peat and smoke bomb though. 43% abv.
LAPHROAIG QUARTER CASK (Islay) – A smoke and peat monster. Raw and earthy. Incredible value for your dollar. 48% abv.
TALISKER 10 Y.O. (Island) – Some smoke and peat there for sure, but a dry peppery edge differentiates this from the other peated offerings. 45.8% abv.
…and when you start expanding…
BALVENIE 12, GLENFARCLAS 15, SPRINGBANK 10 and ABERLOUR 10.
Though there seems to be a heavy Islay contingent here, trust me…they are all very distinct and deserving of a spot and individual attention.