This is classic Islay. Not the best of Islay, but absolutely exemplifying the style and character. Islay with a little age and dust on the bottle, that is. The subtle nuances paint a picture of the island that resonates long and hard with me, having now been there. Be damned if this doesn’t remind me of walking the island. Dusty farm roads and briny coastal breezes. The impressions are all there of afternoon strolls beneath island skies and the bleating of sheep on the gently rolling hills.
Every now and then the olfactory organ can trigger such violently vivid recollections driven by scent recall that I am truly taken aback. It is hard to believe how much is stored in one’s mind that can be brought forth by a scent months or years later. The mind is a wonderful thing.
Though I tsk and shake my head at a bottling of Port Ellen that is adulterated to something less than its glorious cask strength, I do concede that beggars can’t be choosers. With this whisky in such limited supply, just a taste is a treat. This Old Malt Cask bottling at 50% is from cask 6588. It was decanted at 27 years, and to be honest…I think it could have come out a little earlier. While still good (very good, actually) it shows a few signs of being a little long in the tooth. Too active a cask perhaps? Is it just me?
The nose is a medley of rubber, oak, smoke and salt. I could also pick up notes of dry tinder, fish, grains and decaying autumnal vegetation. One of the more satisfyingly unique compositions I’ve come across.
The taste buds are treated to the much anticipated smoke and lightly citric dryness. Tart and ashy, there is a very unique and defining burnt licorice/rubber. In terms of finish and staying power…pull out the hide-a-bed…these rubbery gristy notes ain’t leaving till the morn.
I imagine this would pair well with a fine cigar. A mild one though. This is a fairly brittle dram.
– Reviewed by: Curt
– Photo: Curt