Laphroaig 10 yr. is a peaty scotch from Islay, the southernmost Scottish island. Scotland is covered in peat, which is just partially decayed vegetation, and peat use by distilleries ranges from a little touch to quite a bit. Many on Islay distill over peat fires that imbues the whiskey with what can be a very present peat smoke. Peatiness can seem aggressive when you are new to scotch, the smokiness it brings is an acquired taste. However, if you like a peaty scotch, as, I do, this Laphroaig 10 year is a damn good scotch for $45.
Aberlour 12 yr. is a double cask scotch also from the Speyside.Most of Aberlour's range is aged in American ex-bourbon casks, this 12 year old sees ex-sherry and ex-bourbon casks.The Aberlour comes in at $40 locally, and while I would happily drink it any day, it does not possess the finesse and complexity of either the Laphroaig or Balvenie. If you haven't dipped your toes in the pool of single malt scotch, any of the three tasted here would give you a good representation of what these can offer. As the cold weather approaches, there really is nothing like a dram of good scotch on a cold night. Give scotch a shot, you won't be sorry.