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Archive for the ‘Islay’ Category

Ardbeg Uigeadail

13 Jul

Whisky Details

Country: Scotland
Region: Islay
Distillery: Ardbeg
Bottler: Distillery
Years Matured: No age statement
Style: Single Malt
Alcohol:  54.2%
Price: $$

Tasting Notes

Appearance: tawny
Nose: peaty, pulled pork, BBQ, hint of sherry, lemon & lime peels
Body: firm
Palate: sweet, fiery like a brick oven, more lime and smoke
Finish: long and powerful, heavy peat and smoked coffee grounds

Flavor Profile

 ardbegUigeadail

Final Thoughts

What a malt!  This fiery reminder of Islay is packed with traditional Ardbeg house flavor and augmented with rich sherry and fruit notes. 

First on the nose is delicious peat smoked meat and tangy BBQ sauce.  With the addition of a little water fruit just wells up from your glass.  Not to be outdone however, the sherry casks chime in with sweet raisin, lemon, and lime fumes almost as in defiance to the heat of the isles.  The malt is firm and unforgiving on the palate, providing a moment of generous complexity before giving you a sharp reminder of the rich, spicy, and alcoholic cask it was birthed from.  The finish is long and powerful, warming you from the inside out.  A comforting and dang good dram to be sure!

Grade: A- (93)

 
1 Comment

Posted in Argbeg, Islay

 

Ardbeg 10yr

05 Jul

Whisky Details

Country: Scotland
Region: Islay
Distillery: Ardbeg
Bottler: Distillery
Years Matured: 10
Style: Single Malt
Alcohol:  46.0%
Price: $

Tasting Notes

Appearance: pale gold
Nose: smokey, spent matches, iodine, arisol
Body: medium
Palate: medicinal, smoke and more peat, some saltiness
Finish: long and powerful, earth and peat reek, musty, leather

Flavor Profile

ardbeg10yr

Final Thoughts

The Ardbeg 10 year is definitly one of the best representations of the Islay region I have come across.  The malt is heavily smoked with Islay peat which has a good amount of seaweed and lends a distinct salty iodine characteristic.  The palate and finish match the nose very well keeping everything in balance.  The long finish on this one makes for a great calming bedtime dram.

Grade: B+ (88)

 
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Posted in Argbeg, Islay

 

Laphroaig 15yr

05 Jul

laphroaig15yrWhisky Details

Country: Scotland
Region: Islay
Distillery: Laphroaig
Bottler: Laphroaig
Years Matured: 15
Style: Single Malt
Alcohol:  43.0%
Price: $$

Tasting Notes

Appearance: russet, muscat
Nose: peaty, smokey, tar, clove tossed in a bonfire, plastic bucket
Body: round
Palate: sweet, tomatoes, grass, warming
Finish:  long, vanilla creme, bitter chocolate

Flavor Profile

Laphroaig15yr

 Final Thoughts

Laphroaig (pronounced La-froyg) is widely respected as a one of the great Islay distilleries.  Their attention to detail and mastery of the region’s ingredients  show in their portfolio.  This 15 year bottling is quite a bit more mature than its 10 year counterpart but still retains the Laphroaig house character.

Immediately detectable is the peat, cut from Laphroaig’s private farms on the eastern shoes of Loch Indall.  This peat has stewed in the ground for an untold number of years, soaking up the heather, moss, and seaweed that can be found in abundance around Islay.  The smoke is also some of the most unique and flavorful I have ever smelled.  Tar, burnt clove, and a tinge of plastic are all present and give this whisky some great dimension.  The palate is surprisingly sweet and the extra 5 years in bourbon barrels lends a smooth and round characteristic.   I consider this finish one of the best out there.  It is very long and rests on the palate like a rich piece of chocolate cake.

Grade: A- (92)

 
 

Talisker 12yr (Distillers Edition)

05 Jul

Whisky Details

Country: Scotland
Region: Skye
Distillery: Talisker
Bottler: Talisker
Years Matured: 12
Style: Single Malt
Alcohol:  45.8%
Price: $$

Tasting Notes

Appearance: tawny
Nose: peat, sea air, pepper, spent sparklers, cooked fruit, oranges
Body: light, slippery
Palate: instantly warm, turning volcanic, earthy, salty, peaty
Finish:  firm, smokey, mossy earth, dark chocolate

Flavor Profile

Final Thoughts

There is only one place in Scotland that could birth a malt like this.  Something so volcanic, varied, and beautiful could only be a product of the Isle of Skye.

As the sole distiller on the island only Talisker gets to benefit from some great geology and ecology.  The water source for the distillery wells up through layers of basalt left from the island’s creation and imparts a variety of minerals giving it a distinct taste.  The water also flows over peat fields just before its journey ends, adding to the overall high phenol count in this malt.  These variables and more give this malt a great varied and powerful nose.  The body is surprisingly light and is a nice contract to similarly peated Islay malts.  The palate is warming with great peat notes and perhaps a hint of fruit.  The finish is long, delicate, and represents the whole profile very well.  Overall an excellent and unique malt.

Grade: A (94)

 
 

Bunnahabhain 18yr

05 Jul

Whisky Details

Country: Scotland
Region: Islay
Distillery: Bunnahabhain
Bottler: Bunnahabhain
Years Matured: 18
Style: Single Malt
Alcohol:  43.0%
Price: $$

Tasting Notes

Appearance: copper
Nose: salt, toffee, butter, hints of sherry
Body: heavy, mouth coating
Palate: fruit zest, hot, medicinal
Finish: short, moss, hemp, pencil eraser

Flavor Profile

bunnahabhain18yr

Final Thoughts

On the far north shore, overlooking the shipwrecked Sound of Islay lies the Bunnahabhain (pronounced boon-a-havin) distillery.  While not one of the big three, Bunnahabhain still has some enjoyable and different Islay expressions.  The 18yr is unpeated and sherry oak aged like most of their portfolio.

Sherry on the nose is less apparent than other similarly aged malts.  A winey characteristic is present but there is a distinct lack of fruit.  I also believe the savory oak and butter notes are out of balance without the traditional smoke/peat.  The body is one of the heaviest I have ever felt and is in stark contrast to traditional fleshy Islay malts.  The palate starts with a mix of fruit zest and vanilla before getting hot and medicinal (reminiscent of the Talisker line).   As for the finish; while the lingering moss and hemp notes are pleasant and unexpected I feel they don’t properly accompany the savory nose or medicinal palate.  All in all it’s not a bad dram, but would score higher with a bit more consistency across the different dimensions.

Grade: B- (83)

 

Lagavulin 16yr (Distillers Edition 1991)

05 Jul

Whisky Details

Country: Scotland
Region: Islay
Distillery:Lagavulin
Bottler: Lagavulin
Years Matured: 16
Style: Single Malt
Alcohol:  43.0%
Price: $$

Tasting Notes

Appearance: tawny
Nose: peaty, light smoke, salty, sherried
Body: rich, smooth
Palate: smooth, very sweet, turning warm, medicinal
Finish:  long, light spice, woody, more peat, lingering sherried sweetness

Flavor Profile

lagavulinDistillersEdition

Final Thoughts

Lagavulin is widely thought of as one of the leading Islay distilleries, and for good reason.  They have a strong history of turning out flavorful and well rounded malts.  This particular vatting is finished in Pedro Ximenez (PX) sherry casks which impart extremely sweet notes of raisins and molasses.  Balancing out the sweet are the traditional smells of Islay; peat, smoke, and seaweed.  The finish is long and balanced.  A fantastic malt for a reasonable price.

Grade: A- (92)