OK, tried Lagavulin last night. A friend bought a bottle for $70, and it's apparently a big seller these days. It was good--very good, but not one of my favorites. The smokey flavor was similar to Cragganmore, with a complex mix of other flavors in there and it had a lingering herbal medicinal aftertaste. By lingering, I mean you were tasting hints of it ten or fifteen minutes later. That's not a criticism; just an observation. No one flavor was overwhelming. The concensus of several who tried it last night was that it was very good, but pricey and maybe not something you'd put at the top of the list unless you're a big fan of that type of flavor. Apparently plenty of people swear by it, but I'd recommend trying a shot at a bar before investing in a bottle. Also had a sip of Dalmore a couple of weeks ago, and it was very tasty. A bottle runs $30, which is very reasonable for what you're getting. The dominant flavor was orange/honey, not too far from Glenlivet (which has a flavor of pineapple/honey with splash of orange). A week ago, someone bought me a quadruple shot of Macallan 18. I had a cold at the time, and my taste buds might not have given me an accurate picture, but I recall it being very similar to the Dalmore. Orange, oak, floral. Very pleasant and straightforward, maybe not what I'd call complex, but very enjoyable. I've read reviews which describe a smokey flavor, but I don't recall too much of that; at least not nearly as much as Cragganmore or Lagavulin. By the way, I recommend you folks register at the Glenlivet site as a Guardian of the Glenlivet. I just got some cool goodies in the mail, including a tasting notes DVD, an engraved metal membership card, a special key to get me into a secret room at the distillery if I should visit, and a fancy little book with pictures and a centerfold of the 25-year-old. No decoder ring, though.
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