Today while my wife was getting her hair done at the mall, I went into the bookstore and checked out a couple of Scotch books. One was the Michael Jackson job that Tyson has mentioned and the other was by some Scotch tasting dude whose name I've forgotten.
Wow, there are major differences in taste! Those guys are more out of whack than audio ratings! Examples: Jackson gives the Glenlivet 12 a rating over 80! He didn't think much of the Dalwhinne 15 giving it something in the 70's, while the other book had it at 95! Well, after this, and Tyson's invitation, I've been emboldened to make some notes even though I'm very much a noob. I'm using a cute little nosing glass exactly like the one pictured in Jackson's book.
Glenlivet 12: pineapple/malt in nose. citrus and tropical fruits followed by sweet malt.
Glenmorangie 10: cinnamon, toffee, honey nose. sweet nutty malt with honey very long finish and still there two hours later! This has considerably heavier and smoother mouth feel than the Glenlivet.
Glenmorangie sherry: very sweet, lots of sherry hazelnut? Even smoother, and thicker in feel than the 10. very slight smoke in finish.
Glenmorangie Madiera: Like a cross between the sherry finish and 10yr.
Glenmorangie Port: Like the sherry except that the nose is definitely more port-like. A little darker in color and perhaps very slightly more smoky
Laphroaig 10: This one really taught me some stuff about water mixing. At about 50/50 the nose of this is a little seaweed mixed with various petroleum distillates: tar, pine tar, gasoline and some menthol and turpentine. On the tounge it is peat covering malt, a little tar. Oily, but thin feel. "Interesting" was the nicest thing I could say about it.
Later, I took a good taste of it neat (I usually start with a tiny, neat taste before mixing the water). Big difference! It starts off VERY sweet and malty and is then followed by mild seaweed and tar with a long smoky finish. This I like a lot!
I also found a shot of this to be good in a tall glass of very cool water. Curiously refreshing!
Dalwhinnie 15. Great balance. The nose is malty with a little grass/peat and a hint of honey. On the tounge it is very smooth and dry with some subtle orange/honey over the malt. The finish is very complex with a little smoke coming in at the end.