On Thursday 8/23/18, I shared my Scotch “three pillars” bottles with a friend.
Broadly speaking, scotch comes in three categories: baseline, sherried, and smoked. With that in mind, I have always wanted to line up representative bottles of these three pillars and see what people think of them. I promise you that there is a bottle of scotch out there that will perfectly fit your preferred flavor profile, but if you don’t key into one of these three bottles, then you are probably best served to choose a different drink.
The Glenlivet 12: This is the quintessential example of scotch. I call it “baseline” because it is not smoked and is aged in standard ex-bourbon barrels. There is nothing fancy here. It is also a great expression. I find it to be light and fruity. Of course, I’m drinking it neat, but I can certainly see why someone would add a cube and sip on it all day.
Glenfiddich 15: I love this bottle and recommend it to many people. The price point is very approachable (though with the recent surge in demand that is changing). This expression is aged in ex-sherry butts, giving it a distinct sherry flavor with a strong forward sweetness. If you are new to spirits or scotch then be sure to try this one out.
Lagavulin 16: This is a wonderful example of a peated scotch coming in at 35 PPM of phenols. This is relatively low on the smoky scale making it very approachable for an introduction to the class. Having said that, from the moment your nose approaches the glass, it is clear what you are drinking (peated scotch). The smoke continues in your mouth, with a strong earthy base giving it an overall hearty experience. Wait until after dinner to try this one and, most certainly, do not start with a smoked scotch and then end with something else.