This is my personal list of whiskies and impressions on them (if I remember it).
Method of tasting:
- Use tulip-shaped whisky glass e.g. a Glencairn glass.
- Add 25ml of whisky.
- Check the color.
- Whirl the whisky to the glass walls to see how thick it is as it drips.
- Use water to rinse your mouth before nosing or tasting.
- Smell the whisky.
- Taste the whisky.
- Don't drink water again right after tasting the whisky, wait for the finish.
- If whisky is 40+ abv, add one metal teaspoon of water to the whisky.
- Lowland whiskies are usually floral, grassy and light.
- Glenkinchie 1999-2012 Amontillado Cask - Distillers Edition, excellent, fresh
- Glenkinchie 12, good, light, fresh
Highland or Islands:
- Highland whiskies are usually floral and honey-like, but peat is common.
- Island whiskies are usually peppery and heather-like with maritime notes.
- Loch Lomond Original, decent
- Highland Park 12, good
- Speyside whiskies are usually fruity, sweet or spicy.
- Glen Moray Classic, decent
- BenRiach Peated Quarter Casks, decent
- BenRiach 20 (the white-blue bottle), good, fruity (pear)
- Glenfiddich 12, decent, sweet
- Glenfiddich 15, decent, sweet
- Glenlivet 12, meh
- Macallan 21, good, very sweet
- Campbeltown whiskies are usually salty, toffee-like or vanilla-like.
- Glen Scotia 15, good, salty
- Glen Scotia Double Cask, good
- Glen Scotia Victoriana, good
- Springbank 15, good, salty caramel but complex so can differ
- Islay whiskies are usually smoky, woody or peaty.
- Bowmore 12, decent, woody
- Caol Ila 12, decent, smoky
- Lagavulin 16, excellent all-arounder, more woody than smoky
- Ardbeg Corryvreckan, legendary, very smoky
- American white oak casks brings vanilla-like wood aroma.
- Bourbon casks bring rounded sweetness.
- Sherry (and other wine) casks bring sharp sweetness, wine-like.
Smokiness and peatiness are two different things.
Peat level of a whisky is measured in ppm (parts per million phenol). The higher the ppm levels, the peatier the whisky. The score varies between 0 and 170.
- Octomore, ~160 ppm, chemical
- Ardbeg, ~55 ppm, iodine
- Laphroaig, ~40 ppm, cigar
- Lagavuling, ~35 ppm, cigar
- Caol Ila, ~30 ppm, cigar
- Talisker, ~25 ppm, woody
- Bowmore, ~25 ppm, woody
- Highland Park, ~20 ppm, bacon
Pay attention to ppm, but taste also depends where the peat actually comes from.