The Ileach

The Ileach: Peated Islay (Scottish Islay Single Malt Whisky: No age statement: 40% ABV)

Visual: Very deep burnished gold.

Viscosity: Many very slow, very thin streaks.

Nose: Peat. Smoked beef. Thick. Warm hot cross buns and butter. Smooth. Light oak. Water opens to more medicinal and salt touched.

Body: Smooth. Vanilla and caramel. Rising into salt and more medicinal. Rapidly becomes thick and full from a light start. Milky chocolate. Fish oil. Water lowers the intensity, treacle cake comes out and toffee.

Finish: Medicinal. Vanilla custard and toffee. Malt chocolate. Smoke. Dried beef. Dry oak. Salt. Hot cross buns.

Conclusion: Now, this is a complex progression, from a young and energetic whisky. Let’s start in the middle and work outwards from there – it will let us start at the core of the issue.

That first sip comes in smooth, I’d expected heavier – everything leading up to it had shouted heavier. But that first sip was thick, slick and smooth. Just a mix of vanilla and caramel, with no hint of alcohol intensity. I was quite taken aback, and considered this oddity as I held it on my tongue. It was almost too light, like the whisky had been chilled – even though it hadn’t. Then the hidden cobra bite reared its head.

Warmth hit, half way between medicinal and alcohol heat. Salt rose up, the whisky filling the mouth, stinging it. Now far more intense than any hints from before.

Then you swallow, and it drifts away, leaving a medicinal touched, but smooth and sweet backed finish. Here it is exactly at the initial expectations, with no sign of the intense war before.

Now, with that said, lets go back to the aroma leading up to that. The aroma that didn’t warn me of what was to come. It was big, chewy and beefy, it promised a strong tasting whisky, but not so intense progression, it promised the Islay character would be offset by sweet hot cross buns.

Then, of course the main body intensity hit. I’m unsure if I’m disappointed that water smoothes that huge impact out – with water it manages to create a mid point between the initial smoothness and intense progression, to create a well crafted salt and sweet Islay character. It is more proficient like that, but that great progression unleashed was what grabbed me straight out with this whisky and I’m sad to see it go.

Any which way this is a big whisky, matching that hot cross bun sweetness with Islay salt. This is very nicely done, very intense whisky. No tricks or gimmicks, but straight up quality.

very nice.

Background: An Islay single malt from an unnamed distillery, apparently bottled quite young, and available at a quite cheap price. The thing has a quite good reputation, so I grabbed a mini from Independent Spirit to give a try. Drunk while listening to the more recent Spektrmodule podcasts, as they make nice, non intrusive backgrounds for some whisky contemplation.