Etikettarkiv: Islay whisky review

Douglas Laing’s Big Peat Christmas 2017 Limited Edition

ABV: 54.1 %
Origin: Islay
Type: Blended Malt
Bottles in collection: 1
Emptied bottles: 0
Impression: 4/5

Tasting notes
(Scribbles)
Nose: Very savory, honeyglazed liquid bacon, ashy campfire, iodine, brine and a hint of lemon.

Mouth: Ashy tobacco, savory and meaty. Honey and a touch of vanilla. Very straightforward focus on the peat effect.

Finish: Feels like after smoking a cigarette, ashy, tobacco, brine, still savory, a metallic young note is present.

Additional information
Douglas Laing released Big Peat Christmas Edition for the first time in 2011. This 2017 edition contains whiskies from 7 islay distilleries. Named distilleries are Ardbeg, Bowmore, Caol Ila and Port Ellen. It’s cask strength, has natural colour and it’s unchillfiltered.

Ardbeg Scorch Committee Release

ABV: 51,7 %
Origin: Islay
Type: Single Malt
Bottles in collection: 1
Emptied bottles: 0
Impression: 4/5

Tasting notes
Nose: This is oaky and peaty. At first there’s a heavy impact from a hot burning woodfire with a sweet honey and vanilla baseline. Underneath a mineral rich peatiness struggles to keep up and it takes some time in the glass before the whole becomes balanced. There’s iodine and coastal notes floating around as well. With time the vanilla becomes more noticable. There’s black liquorice and a tiny hint of fresh fruits coming through from the back and with time the liquorice note becomes dominant. This is a great, heavily peated nose with a nice balance between the peat and oak.

Mouth: At first it’s spicy and mineral rich with top notes of fresh oak and honey. The iodine is very pronounced and it takes a few seconds before it’s pushed back by the sweetness, charred oak and peat. The whole is vanilla and liquorice heavy. In the center there’s a nice maltiness peeking through as well. The charred oak becomes quite sooty over time. There’s also a fresh fruitiness, leaning towards grilled pineapple, in the background.

Finish: It starts out with a joint surge of wood spices and ABV spicyness. The burning woodfire is covering most of the palate at this point and the iodine and coastal notes have taken a few steps back. The liquorice is now also residing in the back. After a few seconds there’s a smoky woodfire exterior and a fresh oak center with a tropical fruitiness within. The late finish becomes a bit too oaky. This is a great whisky which does a nice job of balancing extreme flavours against each other. Time in the glass before drinking is recommended.

Additional information
This was released for Ardbeg Day 2021. It’s aged for an undisclosed amount of time in heavily charred ex-bourbon barrels. It’s unchillfiltered and has natural colour.

Ardbeg Arrrrrrrdbeg!

ABV: 51.8 %
Origin: Islay
Type: Single Malt
Bottles in collection: 1
Emptied bottles: 0
Impression: 4/5

Tasting notes
Nose: This is green fruits and peat. At first there’s a green pear and apple fruitiness with a spicy, mineral heavy peatiness. When it settles a layer of minty candy cane gets mixed into the fruitiness. There’s vanilla and, when given time, an unscented lotion note as well. The oakiness is present as an outside layer together with the peat which create a warm burnt woodfire note. The rye is also in there, but it’s not especially ”bready”. This is a great nose which feels lively and there’s a lot of things to discover.

Mouth: It starts out sweet and spicy with a big dose of peppermint spreading out. Underneath the peat still comes through as mineral heavy with an aura of burnt wood. The rye sits a bit back on the palate and gives the whole thing a quite unique character in combination with the peatiness. There’s a bitterness coming through from the back as well as some coastal notes. The fruitiness is now almost completely gone.

Finish: The transition starts with small increase of the spicyness before it turns to a mix of oak, peat and rye bread. The sweetness has subsided and it’s more focused on the bitter side which has a hazelnut vibe to it when combined with the oakiness. The longer the finish last, the more of the rye bread and the oak comes through. The fruitiness peeks through as well. The peatiness moves out to an outer layer and stays a good while down the late finish. It becomes somewhat astingent in the end. This is a great whisky with a very interesting profile.

Additional information
The Arrrrrrrdbeg! is a limited committee release celebrating Mickey Heads retirement. It’s aged for an undisclosed amount of time in ex-rye casks. It’s unchillfiltered and has natural colour.

Ardbeg 21 YO Committee Release 2001

ABV: 56.3 %
Origin: Islay
Type: Single Malt
Bottles in collection: 0
Emptied bottles: 0
Impression: 5/5

Tasting notes
This is fruity and peaty. It’s a very complex whisky with a lot of different sensations and flavours. It’s a lot fruitier than later releases from the distillery. It was tasted in a big Ardbeg blind test which means there are no detailed tasting notes taken. It won against 17 other Ardbeg releases.

Additional information
This Ardbeg was released in 2001 and was limited to 2500 bottles. It’s aged in ex-bourbon barrels and it’s unchillfiltered and has natural colour.

Ardbeg Uigeadail

ABV: 54.1 %
Origin: Islay
Type: Single Malt
Bottles in collection: 1
Emptied bottles: 0
Impression: 5/5

Tasting notes
Nose: Sweet savory smokiness from a recently put out campfire mixed with green fruits, vanilla, honey, plums, raisins and a quite tangy overtone. There’s a note that reminds me of being on an early morning sea shore walk.

Mouth: Sweet and quite spicy, turns to brine, ashy smoke flavours, vanilla and ripe red fruits. The sherry casks are dominant and gives plums, raisins and a hint of liquorice.

Finish: The smokiness takes a turn to the ashy side after swallowing. It’s a mouth watering finish with a sweet yet slightly bitter oakiness as the main flavour. Walnuts and dark chocolate can be detected after a few seconds. The finish is long and very satisfying. Very well balanced.

Additional information
Uigeadail is the lake from where Ardbeg takes the water to produce whisky. This expression is a vat between whisky aged in american ex-bourbon barrels and ex-sherry butts. It’s unchillfiltered and has natural colour.

Port Charlotte 10 YO Heavily Peated

ABV: 50 %
Origin: Islay
Type: Single malt
Bottles in collection: 0
Emptied bottles: 0
Impression: 4/5

Tasting notes
Nose: This is sweet and peaty. At first there’s a very round and gentle honey and vanilla sweetness with a savory note mixed in. It’s surrounded by a dry and earthy peatiness which gives it a nice contrast between sensations. There’s an ocean spray saltiness, as well as mixed fruits, floating around somewhere in between the other layers. They sort of act like a cohesive between everything else. The fruitiness is coming through as fresh, leaning towards green apples and pears with just a hint of ripe plums. This is a fantastic nose with a lot to discover.

Mouth: It starts out with a rich maltiness together with honey and vanilla as a core. The peatiness is somewhat subdued and lets the fruitiness come through towards the edges. It’s overripe red grapes and blueberries and the fruitiness is a lot different compared to the nose. With time a mild spicy black pepper note arrives together with a dry smoke and earthy peatiness. The backbone has a complexity to it with a salt and savory character.

Finish: The finish starts out with the ripe fruitiness on the edges and in the back while the peatiness and the sweetness sort of dips down for a few seconds. When they once again increase in intensity it’s the peatiness that picks up pace and takes over. The sweetness creates a caramel note in the center though. It moves along together with the oakiness which shows up fashionably late. At first it’s a rather anonymous oakiness but in the late finish it shifts towards a nice walnut nuttiness. This is a great whisky for the explorer and there are tons of small things to discover.

Additional information
The Port Charlotte 10 YO is aged in a mix of 65 % first-fill and 10 % second-fill ex-bourbon barrels together with 25 % second fill french ex-wine casks. It’s unchillfiltered and has natural colour.

Bowmore 18 YO

ABV: 43 %
Origin: Islay
Type: Single Malt
Bottles in collection: 1
Emptied bottles: 0
Impression: 4/5

Tasting notes
Nose: This is leather and dark fruits. A mellow peatiness with leather and tobacco notes sits in the middle of a dark fruitiness with overripe plums and raisins. A row of old books and a tropical fruitiness (with a twist of lemon) sit in the background. The contrast between the dirrerences make this a complex nose. All flavours seem integrated and they fit nicely into the whole. The dark fruits become more pronounced over time and they bring a black liquorice sweetness. This is a fantastic nose.

Mouth: It starts out mild yet flavourful. It’s very sweet with the dark fruitiness up front. A lemon note shoots through the dark fruits and, together with a saltiness and the peat, it creates a complex sensation. The old books still sit in the back and after a few seconds the tropical fruitiness return. The peat is now leaning towards tobacco with a hint of burning charcoal. It becomes spicier with time. The oak is not yet present.

Finish: At first, it becomes very dusty and the age is coming through clearly. The darker fruitiness is immidiately toned down to make room for a brighter tropical fruitiness with pineapples as the main flavour. Within this fruitiness the oak slowly emerges. It’s a dry oak with a hint of walnuts and black coffee, but it still got a freshness to it. The bitter notes never really take over, they just seem to add another layer. In the late finish the leather returns. The tropical fruitiness stays in the mouth long after everything else has subsided. This is well made, and a great dram. It is a bit too mild, but still delivers complexity and a lot of flavours.

Additional information
This was added to the core range in 2007. It’s aged in american ex-bourbon oak barrels and ex-sherry casks separatly and then mixed together.

Bowmore Black Rock

ABV: 40 %
Origin: Islay
Type: Single Malt
Bottles in collection: 1
Emptied bottles: 1
Impression: 4/5

Tasting notes
Nose: This is dark and fruity. At first there are tropical fruits mixed with raisins and dark chocolate. Honey, vanilla and black liquorice sits in the back and create a nice rich backdrop. A brigther note of red berries with some raspberries sort of comes and goes on top of the dark fruitiness. The peat manifests as a leather note and sits in between the layers of sweetness. The focus lies on the heavy sherry overlay.

Mouth: At first honey, red berries and a slight bitterness turn up. It then slowly changes into black liquorice, vanilla and raisins. There’s a lemon note surrounding the other flavours. The oakiness comes through together with leather and tropical fruits. It’s a nice oakiness with a slight bitterness that sits well with the other flavours.

Finish: A thin note of menthol passes by before moving directly into a big bowl of assorted tropical fruits. The oakiness comes through as well as the darker sherry notes and the leather, but the main focus is all about the pineapples and mangos and a slight hint of grapefruits. There’s a chalk note sitting on top of the oak in the finish and the oak is somewhat dry and bitter with some coffee and hazelnuts. There’s no astringency until after a few sips. This is very good for an entry level NAS travel retail release.

Additional information
Black Rock is the entry level of the travel retail exclusive range released in 2014. It’s primarily aged in ex-sherry casks. It was discontinued in 2017.

Bruichladdich The Classic Laddie – Scottish Barley

ABV: 50 %
Origin: Islay
Type: Single malt
Bottles in collection: 1
Emptied bottles: 0
Impression: 4/5

Tasting notes
Nose: This is a mix of sweet and salty. At first there’s a layer of honey and vanilla with a mild cloud of peppermint on top. The base consists of coastal notes, like seaweed and salty ocean air. It’s not especially fruity, but there is a hint of citrus fruits floating around somewhere in between together with a slightly perfumey floral notes. The nose is very consistant over time and it doesn’t evolve too much in the glass.

Mouth: It starts out with a sour tang, but soon becomes savory. It feels rowdy and a bit rough around the edges, but in a very good way. There’s tar, motoroil and coastal notes, which are still very much in focus. It’s not as sweet as on the nose and the honey and vanilla notes move out towards the edges. There’s a bitter oakiness coming through and after a few seconds there’s a black pepper spicyness starting to build up. With time there’s a bitter black liquorice emerging from the back.

Finish: The savory notes are first to appear and they are accompanied by peppermint and brine. It’s very salty, but it starts to lean away from the coastal notes and lean more towards a herbaceous character. It takes a second or two for the oakiness to arrive, but when it does it packs a punch. It becomes very pronounced in the finish. It’s a nice oakiness and it feels genuine and almost like it’s coming from a ship wreck, since it’s mixed with the savory and salty notes. This is a great, albeit young, whisky which doesn’t cater for people who want an easy sipping experience. This is rough around the edges, and that’s a very good thing.

Additional information
The Classic Laddie is mainly aged in first and second fill american ex-bourbon casks. There’s also a couple of ex-wine casks in the mix. The batch of the tested bottle is 19/192.

Kilchoman Machir Bay

ABV: 46 %
Origin: Islay
Type: Single malt
Bottles in collection: 1
Emptied bottles: 0
Impression: 3/5

Tasting notes
Nose: This is sweet and peaty. At first there’s a big dollop of an ash and dry soil peatiness. When it settles a sweet honey and vanilla layer starts to fight for attention and pushes the peatiness out towards the edges. Underneath the big flavours a fresh and sour fruitiness peeks through. It’s lemon and a hint of sour apples. It feels young and lively but it doesn’t present any metallic or ethanol harshness. This is a simple yet effective nose with a high emphasis on the peat.

Mouth: It starts out with a sweet outside layer together with a quite medicinal and dry iodine note with a sprinkle of salt somewhere within. After a few seconds vanilla arrives in the center and with time it evolves more towards a butterscotch note. It’s a lot less sweet compared to the nose. The ashy side of the peat is residing in the back together with a savory note. The sour fruitiness is still found in the back but it comes through together with a small metallic note and a zesty bitterness. For those who wait a nice chili spicyness builds up over time.

Finish: The finish is a straight line continuation from the mouth. There’s still the dry medicinal notes on the edges, a savory peat in the back together with a zesty bitter lemon. The chili spicyness is nice and spreads out over the palate but never gets spiky or unpleasant. The butterscotch notes are first to disappear and soon it’s only the medicinal peat and a quite anonymous and boring oakiness left. This is a good whisky in many ways but it feels a bit unfinished and young which is good for the peatiness but bad for the rest of the dram.

Additional information
The Machir Bay is the Kilchoman core range signature malt. It’s a vatting between ex-bourbon barrels and ex-sherry . It leans heavily towards the ex-bourbon. It’s unchillfiltered and has natural colour.

Bunnahabhain Toiteach A Dhà

ABV: 46.3 %
Origin:
Islay
Type: Single
malt
Bottles in collection:
1
Emptied bottles:
0
Impression:
4/5

Tasting notes
Nose: This is red fruits and sweet peat. The full impact is immidiate and it brings liqeuer-soaked red fruits, raisins and a sweet and smoky peatiness. The peatiness is coming through with notes of vanilla and pipe tobacco. There’s a background layer with dry soil and a touch of sea salt. It’s quite mild on the nose, yet very rich even though there’s a youthness shining through in the background. The nose remains very consistant and doesn’t change with time, except for it becoming slightly sweeter.

Mouth: It starts out with the liqeuer-soaked red berries and a hint of lemon but soon the peatiness starts to roll through to become the main feature. The dry soil is still found in the background. After a while a bitter note starts to emerge to, ever so slightly, take over the background together with a rubber/oily note. It’s still salty, but there’s no vanilla and the whole thing is less sweet than on the nose.

Finish: The rubbery/oily note is making an appearance before the sweet side of the peatiness comes through once more. A mild pepper spiciness spreads out and the red berry fruitiness is now residing in the back together with the bitter note. The oakiness arrives and steps forward after a few seconds. It’s a spicy oak and it brings a nutty quality to the finish. This is a great mix of sherry and peat, and a very nice overall experience.

Additional information
The Toiteach A Dhà is aged in a mix of ex-bourbon and ex-Oloroso sherry casks for an undisclosed amount of time. This is a sequel to the Toiteach expression. It’s unchillfiltered and has natural colour.

Bowmore Gold Reef

ABV: 43 %
Origin: Islay
Type: Single Malt
Bottles in collection: 1
Emptied bottles: 0
Impression: 4/5

Tasting notes
Nose: This is tropical fruits in a leather pouch. It starts out very fruity with pineapples, mangos and a hint of ripe bananas. The leathery peat notes are subtle and sits with some honey and vanilla in the back. There is a savory, quite complex center behind everything else, which gives it a nice depth. This is very pleasant on the nose.

Mouth: A spicy note sort of slingshots in before the whole thing turns very fruity and quite dusty. It really shows some age with some dusty leather-bound books. The tropical fruits are still the main focal point and they are joined by some ripe red apples and lemon zest. It’s salty and got a small note of seashore residing in the back. It’s very mild and easy on the palate, yet still quite rich and with an oily texture. The oak do show up, but it takes quite the patience to find it and when it finally shows up it comes with a bitter note and a piece of milk chocolate.

Finish: A big burst of tropical fruits sets the pace. There’s smoke coming from a warm burning campfirein the back. It also still got a hint of leather. The oak comes slowly and settles down around the tropical fruits. It’s a very nice oakiness with a small bitter note to it. It’s a dusty, slightly astringent oak with notes of chalk, hazelnuts and old grey wooden planks. The salty note is still in there and the fruitiness stays for a long finish.

Additional information
This was released in 2014 as a travel retail exclusive. It’s primarily aged in first fill american ex-bourbon oak barrels. It was discontinued in 2017.

The Ileach

ABV: 40 %
Origin: Islay
Type: Single Malt
Bottles in collection: 0
Emptied bottles: 1
Impression: 3/5

Tasting notes
Nose: This is sweet and peaty. At first, the peat with notes of hay and vanilla incense fills the nose. When the first impact resides it reveals a fruity middle layer. It’s ripe raspberries and a sweet and sour lemon freshness. The backdrop consists of a dry earthiness and cold ashes. With time in the glass it grows sweeter and a honey note comes through. This is a nice nose with enough things to find to make it interesting.

Mouth: It starts out very sweet with a full impact of ashy peat. After it settles it brings notes of honey-glazed barbeque meat with the fresh lemon note in the background. The red berry note is not as pronounced as on the nose, but it still in there to find. The background is still earthy and now also slightly medicinal. After a few seconds it starts to lean over towards a vanilla note. It never feels watery or too mild.

Finish: At first there’s just a second or two without anything happening. First to arrive is a bitter note and oak together with a medicinal peatiness. The fruitiness is gone and it’s basically a decent oakiness and the peatiness from here on out. The oak surpasses the peat in the end. This feels somewhat young but it is very much a bang-for-the-buck whisky.

Additional information
The Ileach is a single malt made by an undisclosed islay distillery. It’s bottled by the independent bottler Vintage Malt Whisky Co’s sister company Highlands & Islands Whisky Co. There is a cask strength version available too.