Need some help selecting a bottle

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I know basically jack shit about Whiskeys but I need a little help finding a bottle. Every year, I go on a golf trip with my father and a bunch of other guys. For the past few years, one guy has been bringing a lot of different bourbons, scotches, and whiskeys for everyone to try. I'd like to get a bottle myself to bring and contribute. If I can keep it under maybe ~$75, that'd be ideal.

Preferably a single malt scotch. Looking for something that's on the smoky side but not over the top like an Islay. Lower on the sweetness and higher on the oaky character. Approachable and a crowd pleaser. For reference, I really enjoyed Glenmorangie 10 that I had last year but want a little more smoke. The caveat to all this to up the degree of difficulty is Pennsylvania's state store system which can be a bitch to find certain bottles. What's the best bang for the buck?
 
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I'm sure you don't want my opinion...but fuck you, here it is.

I think Highland Park 12yo might your answer. A little smokey, in your price range and on the shelves in PA.

Alternatively, I think Bowmore 12, although an Islay, might also fit the bill as I've always found them to be less smokey than the peat-bomb Islay distilleries.
 
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Balvenie Peated or Peat Week might be an option for you, but not sure on the price. Balvenie is wonderful and these are tasty and definitely on the lower end of peat.

The An Cnoc series of peated whiskies are real nice and much lower ppm (peatiness). A typical Islay has 40-50ppm + and the An Cnoc’s are All around 15-20, and they make great whisky to begin with. Cutter, Flaughter, and Tushkar. Those might be your best bet for quality, price and lower ppm. They should be easy enough to get too.

Oban 14 is a very solid rec too.
 
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Springbank 15 (in my experience, often overlooked and underrated) but might be a touch harder to find.

Digita7693 will likely have even more recs...
Balvenie Peated or Peat Week might be an option for you, but not sure on the price. Balvenie is wonderful and these are tasty and definitely on the lower end of peat.

The An Cnoc series of peated whiskies are real nice and much lower ppm (peatiness). A typical Islay has 40-50ppm + and the An Cnoc’s are All around 15-20, and they make great whisky to begin with. Cutter, Flaughter, and Tushkar. Those might be your best bet for quality, price and lower ppm. They should be easy enough to get too.

Oban 14 is a very solid rec too.
Most of this stuff will be hard to find in PA. Balvenie is likely the only one - and only core offerings. Maybe Oban. But definitely not Springbank, which really pissed me off when I lived there.

Is the An Cnoc stuff single malt or blends? Never heard of that.

EDIT: PSUMike - how much time do you have? PA does have some additional stuff available online that you can have shipped to the Cranberry FW&S. Some of these suggestions might be available that way?
 
Joined
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Messages
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Bonn, Germany
Most of this stuff will be hard to find in PA. Balvenie is likely the only one - and only core offerings. Maybe Oban. But definitely not Springbank, which really pissed me off when I lived there.

Is the An Cnoc stuff single malt or blends? Never heard of that.

EDIT: PSUMike - how much time do you have? PA does have some additional stuff available online that you can have shipped to the Cranberry FW&S. Some of these suggestions might be available that way?
The An Cnocs are single malts.
Just looked and they are in the US, $79.95 in Oregon. Here’s a description of the Cutter:
https://ancnoc.com/whiskies/archived-collection/peaty/cutter/
 
Joined
Mar 4, 2016
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Pittsburgh, PA
Most of this stuff will be hard to find in PA. Balvenie is likely the only one - and only core offerings. Maybe Oban. But definitely not Springbank, which really pissed me off when I lived there.

Is the An Cnoc stuff single malt or blends? Never heard of that.

EDIT: PSUMike - how much time do you have? PA does have some additional stuff available online that you can have shipped to the Cranberry FW&S. Some of these suggestions might be available that way?
I'm flying down to SC and don't want to take a bottle in my luggage. Several are driving down from PA so I am taking it to give to them to haul down. I'm heading back to my parents' this afternoon. Even at the Fine Wine and Good Spirits in Wexford, which is the biggest I've seen, half the bottles mentioned here weren't available.
 
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I'm flying down to SC and don't want to take a bottle in my luggage. Several are driving down from PA so I am taking it to give to them to haul down. I'm heading back to my parents' this afternoon. Even at the Fine Wine and Good Spirits in Wexford, which is the biggest I've seen, half the bottles mentioned here weren't available.
Should have just waited to buy in SC honestly. Lots of places with phenomenal selections all over SC.
 
Joined
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Windermere, FL
Singleton of Glendullan 12 is an easy-drinking single malt scotch that is readily-available and will set you back about $40.
 
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For this upcoming years trip-Laphroig quarter cask is a good option. While peaty, its cut down and it has a heavy oak influence. Also, I've found Dads Hat and other "pure rye" rye whiskeys are well received by scotch drinkers.
 
Joined
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Brooklyn
Big fan of Oban 14 in the profile/price range you are looking for. I'll also echo Bowmore 12, Highland Park 12, and especially Springbank 15 (in my experience, often overlooked and underrated) but might be a touch harder to find.

Digita7693 will likely have even more recs...
Never seen this before, thanks for sharing
 

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