- Caol Ila 12: favourite hands down. This whisky has changed the views of many people who say "I don't like smoky". It's remarkably smooth and gentle, but with enough of a smoky finish to make it interesting. Also check out Caol Ila 1993 Distiller's Edition, which is a bit harder to find, but it this and a lot more.
- Glenlivet Master Distiller's Edition: I discovered this in duty free a couple of years ago, and thought it was worth a try. It completely blew me away. There's no age on it, but the smoothness on the tongue was such a surprise. It has a touch of sweetness as well, and a lovely finish. I consider "regular" Glenlivet 12 to be the best value single malt in the world, and some of the variations are quite excellent, including Glenlivet 15 French Oak Finish
- Laphroaig PX Cask: Laphroaig is known as one of the peatiest single malts, and some of the variations can be quite harsh. I stay away from the regular 10 year old, and prefer the Quarter Cask, which at 48% packs a punch, but is much smoother for the higher alcohol content. I still remember the cask strength Laphroaig that I enjoyed in Warsaw in 1999, but unfortunately have not been able to find it again since then. Anyway, the PX Cask is triple matured, and finished in sherry casks, so it has an amazing blend of powerful smokiness and soft, sweetness.
- Lagavulin 16: This packs a powerful smoky punch, but relatively smooth and with a good, strong finish.
- Macallan Whisky Maker's Edition: Have only ever seen it in duty free. Macallan have stopped putting ages on any of their whiskies, but frankly, the number on the front is only for the most vain of whisky drinkers (as noted in Ethics of the Fathers 4:27). This one is one of the smoother and more flavoursome premium Macallans that won't cost the earth.
- Ardbeg Corryvreckan: Smoky, to be sure, but very smooth, and a finish that just keeps coming at you.
These are the essentials for any good whisky collection.
- Amrut: You thought only the Scots knew how to make good whisky? Wrong. This is from India, and it's quite amazing.
Is this stuff kosher? That is a complex question; as usual, there are diverse opinions even from some of the leading kashrut authorities in the world. Here are a few you might want to consider: OU, LBD, cRc, and a summary of opinions.