Bottler: Official Bottling
Bottled: – (bought 2014 – no bottle code)
Age: 12 years
Price at the time of purchasing: – (Miniature)
Colour: E150. On the nose I get a whiff of aromatic smoke, not too little, not too much, intermingled with an immediate vanilla-cream and honey sweetness. Lemon juice, mango, fresh raisins, medium-ripe peaches. Very mellow and calming. The palate is handicapped by the bottling strength at the legal minimum it reminds me of a great cask strength dram where one accidentally adds more water than it can bear. Still, I get a continuation of the smoky-sweet nose with some honey, dark chocolate, white pepper and not a lot more going on due to the dilution – yet at the same time the alcohol is quite noticeable on the tongue. The finish opens with a noticeable alcoholic note and dries down to a medium-long, not overly complex mix of smoke, malt and remnants of sweetness.
This is a classic example of a malt which could benefit greatly from a higher bottling strength – in my opinion anyway, obviously I can’t say for sure not knowing the product prior to dilution. But with the global demand for Scotch being as high as it is, chances for higher bottling strength are slim as distillers try to get as much product out there as possible – and bottling at the legal minimum of 40% means more bottles in the market. Still, it is a fine session malt and daily dram, well balanced at a good price point making it a great introductory malt for someone new to the “typical Islay offerings” being less phenolic and perhaps more approachable than the other well-known, peated Islay drams. And, to be honest, it probably is targeted at the guys buying their malts at the supermarket and not expecting hugely overwhelming, demanding flavours.