Tag Archive: 50-55% ABV


timorous-beastie-40-year

Douglas Laing: Timorous Beastie: 40 Year (Scottish Blended Malt Whisky: 40 Year: 54.7% ABV0

Visual: Custard gold.

Viscosity: Slow thick streaks.

Nose: Very floral. Slight menthol. Vanilla. Oily and waxy. Heather. Light smoke. Battenberg. Grapes. Cream soda. Water adds sour grapes and sulphur. Butterscotch.

Body: Grapes. Caramac sweet bars. Definite alcohol. White wine. Cream soda. Water makes more marshmallow front and citrus back. Apples in a calvados style comes out over time.

Finish: Strong alcohol. Gin. Elderberry. Grapes. Waxy. Cream soda. Drying. Tropical fruit and white chocolate. White wine. Water adds more grapes and a slight make spirit style fruitiness.

Conclusion: This is not what I expected of a 40 year old whisky, not at all. It has all the vibrancy of a young whisky – especially a fruitiness that hints to make spirit, but it is matched with a smooth character and a very white wine style character that speaks of its age. It even has a very unusual cream soda style side of sweetness. It matches very vinous notes with butterscotch and even a slight sharpness in the fruitiness in a way that is very rarely seen in whisky.

There are elements that range as wide, and are as unexpected as a waxy battenberg, a sharp butterscotch, and a vinous soda. Combinations of words that you would not expect to be seen together, even less so to work as well as they do. It is very distinct and different. Most old whiskies I try are good, but feel so smooth as to be understated – the strong abv of this means that it is still forceful in its odd complexity.

Water integrates the notes and smooths it out a lot, but it still keeps a slight sharpness – what gets brought out is more white chocolate and tropical fruit – really emphasising the bourbon ageing influence.

A spritzy, unusual, gin influenced, winey, butterscotch whisky. It feels like it has been influenced by far more spirits than it can possibly have been – white wine, grappa, gin, rakia, calvados. So many styles resulting in a whisky unlike any other. It does have slight rough edges at times of sourness and alcohol, but I have not seen many spirits this fascinating and unique. So, not the best, but unique and that earns it a heck of a place in itself.

Background: 300 whisky tasting notes! I actually had a bottle set aside for this, but ended up hitting the 300 at Independent Spirit‘s uber whisky tasting. A 40 year old blended malt is one well worth the 300 mark, so what a wonderful coincidence! Sorry the photo is a bit rubbish on this – I started drinking then realised I hadn’t done the photo yet so it is a bit hurried and half empty. My bad. As before as this was a social event with five different whiskies my notes may be shorter and more scattershot than normal but I do my best.

that-boutique-y-whisky-company-laphroaig-12-year-old
That Boutique-y Whisky Company: Laphroaig 12 Year Old (Scottish Islay Single Malt Whisky: 12 Year: 52.4% ABV)

Visual: Pale clear and light, just slightly gold touched, spirit.

Viscosity: Slow thick streaks.

Nose: Quite creamy. Slight lemon. Orange crème. Butterscotch. Very light medicinal. Water makes slightly salty.

Body: Lightly salty. Some alcohol presence. Water makes creamier. Chocolate toffee eclair sweets. More medicinal and light custard sweetness. Light lemon meringue.

Finish: Dry peat intensity. Light grapefruit. Malt chocolate drinks. Water adds caramel and cream. Light lemon sorbet air. Light beef slices. Salted notes. Shredded wheat and honey.

Conclusion:An easy going Laphroaig? Kind of, yes, but with a sting in the tail. Spoiler – in a shock twist it is not the high alcohol level that gives the punch that provides the sting in the tail. In fact for the abv it is remarkably easy going, and while you only get a few of the notes neat, it only needs a tiny amount of water to start opening it up.

This is a mix of three definite, and distinct styles. There is the expected, though lighter than usual, medical, salty, salted rocks and such like notes that makes up the traditional Laphroaig elements- much more subtly used than normal though. The second string is a heavy twist on a note that can sometimes be seen in Laphroaig – lemon. Here it is far from normal – creamy, between lemon sorbet and lemon meringue, but now bringing light grapefruit and orange fruitiness that nigh unheard of from the distillery. It actually reminds me of traditional lemonade at times, that odd mix of flavours. Third and final is the chocolate caramel sweetness – there is normally a sweetness in Laphroaig backing everything but never as ramped up and thick as it is here.

Together it is only just recognisable as Laphroaig – until that sting in the tail – that being a peat punch pounding out in the finish; Finally stamping the Islay styling home.

Over time the more beefy, peaty notes rise up, more towards the standard ,expected notes- so by the end if feels like a more traditional expression, but enhanced by all that additional creaminess, sweetness and fruitiness.

Oft I have seen the expressions from the big Booming Islay distilleries mocked for the impression that they all taste the same. This shows this as the lie it is and slays the concept – this is recognisable, but different and delicious.

Background: After my last notes at the Hideout, I resolved to go back and try this. A rare independent Laphroaig bottling, with a cool Back To The Future inspired label. That Boutique-y Whisky Company always has cool, cartoon labelling which I dig. Apparently the people on the label are the winners of a contest. This is one of 421 bottles. While I do not control the music when in public, The Cranberries : Zombie came on while doing these notes, which was pretty nice.

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jura-tastival

Jura: Tastival (Scottish Island Single Malt Whisky: 14 Year: 51% ABV)

Visual: Bronzed gold.

Viscosity: Quite slow thick streaks.

Nose: Treacle toffee. Cinnamon. Honey. Cinnamon rolls. Light tar notes. Thick. Sugared orange. Stewed fruit. Water adds cinnamon pears.

Body: Strong. Alcohol presence. Orange liqueur. Spiced rum. Treacle toffee. Cinnamon. Water makes cinnamon pears. Slight charring. More water adds apples, a touch of salt. Vanilla toffee and treacle.

Finish: Malt chocolate and light oak. Spiced wine notes. Cinnamon and pepper. Light charring. Water adds treacle and chocolate liqueur. Light salted rocks.

Conclusion: Jura have been a go to whisky for me for a while now. Their entry level stuff is very nice, and generally not too expensive – while their Prophecy expression stands out as a great, complex peaty whisky. This is different again from those. The higher abv gives it a bigger, thicker character and a lot of room to roam.

This is a dark, rich expression with deep chocolate liqueur notes and light charring – all darker notes which calls to Bowmore Darkest or some of the Dalmore series for inspiration. It has that similar, very luxurious character, albeit with a strong alcohol punch if taken neat, and they are accentuated by a definite cinnamon sweetness and rum to red wine spiciness. It really, even when with the force of being neat, gives a decadent dark dessert feel. Death by chocolate meets cinnamon doughnuts.

Water soothes out the alcohol weight and gives hints of lighter notes hidden below it; Never huge, but there are feelings of subtle cinnamon pears and such like in there. Also water brings out, on the opposite side, subtle more traditional island characteristics – light salted rocks – again very minor, but gives it a grounding so it is not just a sweet, thick whisky.

Overall these just balance out an already very good experience – it gives hints of the more familiar expressions of Jura, but matched with that luxurious chocolate and cinnamon – making it like an island character backed dessert expression. Just enough added edge to make it unusual.

Very nice indeed, and probably now my tied favourite Jura with Prophecy.

Background: The 14 year is from a quick google that says the youngest spirit in this is 14 years. Anyway – this was my first tasting note done at The Hideout – a new whisky bar in Bath. Damn they have a nice selection – will try and take advantage of them to get some more unusual whisky tasting notes up on here. It is always nice to be able to try the more unusual stuff by the dram. This one is the Jura whisky done for the 2016 festival and has been aged in Palomino Fino, Amoroso and Apostoles sherry casks. Which actually goes beyond my knowledge of Sherry, so I will assume that is good.

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Boarders: Single Grain Scotch Whisky (Scottish Single Grain Whisky: 51.7% ABV)

Visual: Deep yellowed grain.

Viscosity: Many fast thick streaks.

Nose: Sugared almonds. Definite alcohol. Vanilla. Rum and raisin. Water makes smoother and more nutty. More water adds slight lemon cakes.

Body: Quite smooth mouthfeel despite the alcohol. Rum and raisin. Cardboard. Water adds raspberry liqueur. Gin. Soft lemon cake. Quite viscous still. More water makes more lemony. Some squeezed orange. Peach syrup and tinned peaches. Even more water adds pineapple chunks.

Finish: Rum and raisin ice cream. Cardboard. Alcohol air. Water adds a quite medicinal air, nutty and slightly rough. More water gives orange, lemon, watermelon Jolly Ranchers and dried apricot.

Conclusion: You really have to lay on the water with a trowel for this one. At over 50% abv for a single grain whisky that isn’t a surprise, but it is still worth pointing out. Ya know, just in case. What is surprising is that despite a distinct alcohol character you can still feel the viscous yet smooth texture to the whisky even neat. A good sign there at the start.

The rest of it – not so good neat. A slight cardboard like character, definite alcohol – you can feel a nice rum and raisin character there but it is overwhelmed by the rougher notes.

Progress with water is initially a mixed bag- rougher nutty comes came out which are kind of unpleasant and the cardboard, while it lightens, never fully goes away. On the positive side the flavour style definitely improves – less alcohol, more rum and raisin, then slowly lemon cake. Then, with more water, a full fruity burst that seems like grain whisky’s speciality style. Out comes lots of lemon, watermelon, peach – all backed by the gentle rim and raisin.

So, good? Erm, well, even with a ton of water it has those cardboard backing and rougher edges. I don’t know the age of this, but it feels young, and while I have had some very good single grain whisky over the past years; Whisky that has shocked me away from my preconceptions of grain whisky, they still seem far more reliant on age for quality than their single malt counterparts.

So, not one I can really get into. Its good points are always layered over that weak backdrop. It needs a better base before the, admittedly ok, bells and whistles can work. So not worth it, especially at the slightly higher price point this comes at. It needs a few more years I think to work out the rough edges, then maybe its strengths can shine.

Background: Like Raasay before it, this is not made at its named distillery. Instead being distilled at an unnamed Highland distillery and finished in Oloroso sherry casks. It is said to be an example of what they hope their whisky will be like when it is done. Apparently this is the only single grain scotch whisky to be made from 50% wheat and 50% malted barley. So they say. Bias warning – this was gifted to me after Independent Spirit’s Raasay whisky tasting night for me to take home and do notes on. As always I will try to not let that affect my notes. Many thanks for the whisky. This was drunk while listening to Godspeed You! Black Emperor!’s Lift Your Skinny Fists Like Antennas To Heaven – very relaxing and vibrant music for doing notes.

Glen Scotia: Victoriana (Scotland Campbeltown Single Malt Whisky: 51.5% ABV)

Visual: Deep dark gold.

Viscosity: A mix of slow to fast, thick to thin steaks. Ok, all kinds of streaks.

Nose: Chocolate toffee and gingerbread. Choc orange. Marshmallows. Light spice. Wood shaving and oak dust. Water makes more oaken and more ginger bread. More water adds coriander and coffee cake.

Body: Warming alcohol heat. Orange crème. Chocolate toffee. Water adds honey and make lightly waxy. Lime notes. More water gives light grassy notes and a touch of peaty beef mix. Coffee cake.

Finish: Tingling alcohol. Moderate oak. Fudge. Water makes for toffee, lemon cakes and mild coffee cake. Still lightly waxy. More water adds coriander, beef slices and more coffee cake.

Conclusion: Me and Glen Scotia have had an odd relationship. By which I do not mean to imply that anyone at Glen Scotia actually know I exist – I’m not that egotistical. Just that I love half of the distillers in Campbeltown – by which I mean Springbank. I want to love Glen Scotia, I love the idea of the Campbeltown area and its small dedicated few distilleries, but none of the Glen Scotia whisky have really clicked with me. Until now.

The aroma on this is excellent, mixing deep liqueur like chocolate notes with light airy marshmallow and a mix of spice and oak. The body doesn’t initially seem to follow though with that – at over 50% abv the alcohol kills the tongue too quickly to get any of the subtle notes.

Water, as it almost always does, brings out the more subtle notes. In this case subtle variants in chocolate notes, and that waxy character that seems to follow Glen Scotia, a style that gives a lot of grip to its flavours. Now it also has a slight grassyness which I have to admit I think of as the trademarked Campbeltown style. What brings it all together is the coffee cake backing – it makes if feel more classy, a touch luxurious, like a high class chocolate box done Campbeltown style- and it all leads out into a similarly balanced, but just slightly smoky, finish.

In fact the finish is where the water has done its job the most – initially overly oaken it now lays down spicy, grassy and coffee cake noes that give a mellow and savoury send off against the sweeter main body. It is all restrained, classy, and complex. Finally, the Glen Scotia whisky for me.

Background: Grabbed in mini, this is towards the more expensive end of Glen Scotia’s main range, and is a no age statement whisky bottled at quite high abv. Seen at Independent Spirit this seemed a good chance to give the not commonly found Glen Scotia another try. Drunk while listening to Massive Attack: Mezzanine, great even for Angel alone, which is a genuine legend of a song but a solid album on top of that.

Arran That Boutique-y Whisky Company Batch 4

Arran: That Boutique-y Whisky Company: Batch 4 (Scottish Island Single Malt Whisky: 52% ABV)

Visual: Nigh clear with a mix of green hints and vanilla toffee hue. Becomes hazy with water.

Viscosity: Very thin slow puckering.

Nose: Alcohol and crumpets. Rocks. Water adds heather and pepper.

Body: Warm to burning. Buttered toast. Lemon pancakes. Water makes much sweeter – golden syrup and vanilla pods. Touch of vanilla yogurt with lime as well. Fudge. More buttery.

Finish: Light lemon pancakes. Light oak. Butter. Water adds vanilla yogurt and toffee. Tins of tropical fruits.

Conclusion: I don’t think I have seen a whisky with the nose and body so much at odds for a long time. The nose is, well, a tad rough. Not just in the alcohol, that element disperses with water so isn’t that big a deal. It is the fact that it has touches of crushed rocks and pepper that kind of sticks out – it is not that appealing. Though there are soft crumpet notes in there as well, but it doesn’t quite balance.

So, how is the body? Well, neat it is mainly alcohol heat- so let’s skip straight to the part where I add the water shall we? Boom! Sweet golden syrup and vanilla pods – a real big sweetness over the kind of soft buttery base I associate with Arran, with a few lime high notes.

Unfortunately adding even more water brings the body more in line with the aroma, not heavily, but it brings out a slightly gritty character to the base. It lowers the sweetness but keeps the butteryness, which unfortunately is less capable at holding up against the newfound grit.

Still, if you keep the water on the lower end then it is a reasonable whisky that shows the strength of Arran well. Well, the body does anyway. Still, less is definitely more with water use here. Even at over 50% abv it turns far too quickly from where it works to where it is past the tipping point. It doesn’t really outdo the official bottlings i have tried – its main addition is the big sweetness with just a little water. Still, it does emphasise that buttery toast base, which is not something you see often.

So, solid body, bit of a bad aroma. Not stand out but solid enough.

Background: Ok, here we go “Ok, bias warning first: This is a part of the Masters Of Malt Whisky Calendar given to The Bath Whisky and Rum Club, part of Independent Spirit, who invited me to assist with the notes in return for uploading them to alcohol and aphorisms. Sounded a very fair deal to me. Also, due to this we each only had half of the 3cl bottle so thoughts are based on a smaller exploration than usual. On the other hand I could not say no to the chance to try so many new whiskies. Many thanks!”. Not run into ” That Boutique-y Whisky Company” though a quick googling shows that their bottles have some pretty non standard cartoon like labels. Not bad. Arran has been a nice smooth, if not always that complex, whisky for me, so I thought this may be nice. Drunk whilst listening to the haunting Ritualz CDR.

Longrow Red (2015 Ed - Pinot Noir Finish)

Longrow: Red (2015 Ed – Pinot Noir Finish) (Scottish Campbeltown Single malt Whisky: 12 year: 52.9% ABV)

Visual: Rose wine to mahogany red.

Viscosity: Fast middle thickness streaks.

Nose: Peaty. Light cherryaid. Burnt caramel. Shortbread. Water makes sulphur like, and more water brings out rose wine.

Body: Smooth. Glacier cherry. Beef broth. Alcohol tingle if held on tongue. Cherryaid. Rose wine. Thick. Treacle notes. Water adds sugared orange peel, red grapes, and seven spice. More cherryaid comes out. More water brings out more cherries and adds some vanilla.

Finish: Dried beef slices. Mixed spice. Red grapes. Dry. Light vanilla custard. Blackcurrants or blackcurrant jam. Water makes more spicy. Malt chocolate, smoke and toffee.

Conclusion: People give me evil looks when I say this has cherryaid notes. Maybe I am lacking in cooth to dare say such things. But, seriously, they are there – I’m guessing it is the unusual side of the Pinot Noir influence. They are there neat and become much more evident with water. So, cherryaid, is this a good or a bad thing?

Well, it is an odd thing. The traditional peaty, dried beef character of Longrow comes right up against artificial sugar drinks with deep red spicy grapes in the middle keeping the two opposite poles apart. Definitely not your traditional whisky experience.

Id say the sweetness is probably so prominently in my mind as it such a contrast to the rest of the whisky. It probably isn’t as sweet as I am imagining it, but in relation to the heavy peat whisky it sits within it seems very big.

The sweetness is the outlier though, so it is probably more helpful to examine the rest of the whisky. The deep spicy blackcurrant and red grapes suits the peaty character nicely, taking it into dark rich depths. It definitely suits water as well. While the whisky is smooth neat, if burning if held too long, water opens it up and lets you hold it and take your time to examine the flavours at your leisure. Water also lets out the soft toffee which acts as a more well balances sweetness than the more cherryaid notes in the neat expression, it sooths rather than stands out from the main whisky.

There still is the sweet cherryaid notes but they are better integrated. It never quite reaches the height of awesome that the gaja barolo aged Longgrow, but it definitely has depth to it. Probably has a lot of elements that some people think whisky should not be, especially a peated whisky, but it is fun and different and deep.

and cherryaid.

Background: I tried this a while back at the Bristol Whisky Show, so was keeping an eye out for it getting released. Still nearly missed it, thankfully Robbie’s Whisky Merchants still had some in – Chris from Independent Spirit point them out to me – many thanks! This was finished in New Zealand Pinot Noir casks for one year after 11 years in bourbon casks and is one of 9000 bottles. Drunk while listening to some Dirty Knobs for atmosphere.

Pearls Clynelish 17 Cask Strength

Pearls Of Scotland: Clynelish: 17 Year Cask Strength (Scottish Highland Single Malt Whisky: 17 years: 53.6% ABV)

Visual: Pale grain gold.

Viscosity: Thick fast streaks.

Nose: Light smoke. Touch of meat and broth. Varnish. Water adds old fashioned sweet shops.

Body: Thick. Touch of fire. Burnt caramelised brown sugar. Tar. Waters adds more caramel sweetness. Crème brulee. Custard pudding and toffee sponge cake.

Finish: Tar touch. Light fire. water adds cinder toffee and smoke. Pepper and touch of salt.

Conclusion: Wow, this is completely different from the last Clynelish that I tried. So does that make it a good whisky? Well, at high abv it also pushes a booming whisky to go with it, so at the very least I am not going to be complaining about it being too light.

This is chewy as hell, up front it has got a bit of smoke and meat – closer to the heavier whiskys than I would have expected. However once you get into the main body you realise that, while it is big, it is big in its sweetness – like treacle and steamed toffee pudding – very thick and full as it fills your mouth.

The two styles then combine on the way out – the smoke and the sweetness meld for a big but balanced finish. The more water you add to this, the sweeter and smoother it gets – unusually, adding too much water doesn’t seem to make the whisky thin, instead seeming to give it a too cloying sweet character, like it has finally been let off the leash. Still a reason not to add too much water, but an interesting variation on expectations.

It is an enjoyably big whisky, heavily chewable – the only problem is that, despite the contrasting sweet and smoke, it still feels somewhat one note. In everything it is very sweet – very treacle, very toffee, but no real point to relax or be released. Enjoyable to experience, but it does wear out its welcome.

So, for people who want a whisky that as big as the islands, but without the medicinal character – this could be right up your street. For me, it is a bit too one note – still fascinating, but not a favourite.

Background: Nearing the end of the Burn’s night five. This is only the second Clynelish I have had, so not much to compare it to. Also this is one of only 333 bottles, so the night was a nice chance to try a few uncommon whiskys over at Independent Spirit. As before this was part of a group tutored tasting so I may have been influenced by the people around me for my notes.

Springbank 12
Springbank: 12 Year: Cask Strength (Scottish Campbeltown Single Malt Whisky:12 Years: 50.3% ABV)

Visual: Custard gold.

Viscosity: slow thin streaks.

Nose: Raisins. Dry shortbread. Prunes. Stewed fruit. Water adds a familiar grassy character.

Body: Thick. Treacle. Burning warmth. Raisins and sultanas. Vanilla toffee. Charred oak. Plums. Water adds fudge, grassy character, fruitcake and apples.

Finish: Warming. malt drinks. Chocolate liquore and plums. Water makes grassy, adds liquorice and charred oak.

Conclusion: This thing is thick. Initially it was almost treacle textured as you sip it, and warming on the tongue with it. The flavours were completely unexpected based on my previous experience of Springbank – fruity and robust with a mix of stewed fruit and prune notes. Despite the warmth it had a sweetness to it, but very weighty in how everything was delivered. It is lovely but nigh unrecognisable as a Springbank.

A touch of water doesn’t disperse the dark fruit, or that very distinctive feel that says “whisky”, but it does bring out that familiar, slightly grassy character that I always associate with Springbank. The sweetness becomes better defined as a sweet fudge, and the dark fruit does alter, it mellows to be notes in the mid range rather than up front. Here you an detect a restrained amount of peat that had previously been hidden by the sheer weight of the neat whisky.

The finish is long lasting, with charred oak, dark fruit and that aforementioned distinctive “whisky” character. I’ve been writing notes for a while now, intermixed with reading a bit of “A dance with dragons” and I can still taste my last sip.

More water mellows the warmth but the flavour never loses its weight, mixing that raw heavy stewed fruit with *ahem* lighter Springbank house character.

Frankly the whisky can take an extraordinary amount of water, it has about a quarter higher abv, but can take about double the water, each addition adding an extra layer as it tends towards the grassy and peated base.

While a huge whisky, for me, it is that bit too heavy to be a favourite, even with water it feels huge. This does not make it bad, oh no I like a good heavy whisky, but it is a styling that seems odd in contrast to the lighter notes.

However it is a wonder of exploration, and of sheer range, for which it is a fascinating choice. I would probably not grab a bottle, but every now and then it would be nice to settle down with a double and just re-examine it.

Background: Springbank was the first Campbeltown whisky I tried, and is still a favourite. There are only three remaining Distilleries in Campbeltown: Glen Scotia, Springbank (Who make Springbank, Hazelburn and Longrow) and Glengyle which makes Kilkerran (Which is owned by Springbank). Despite the small variety they are still a great whisky region. All this is to say, when I saw a cask strength Springbank it was definitely time to give it a try. As you can see I had THE WORLDS TINIEST WHISKY GLASS. (Disclaimer: Probably not the worlds tiniest. Some hyperbole may be in use) It was actually kind of fun to use.

Ardbog

Ardbeg: Ardbog (Scotland Islay Single Malt Whisky: No Age Statement: 52.1% ABV)

Visual: Dark gold.

Viscosity: Quite fast thick streaks.

Nose: Dry. Smoke. Peat and dry beef slices. Bogs and seaweed. Tar. Pears. Apples. Raisins. Waters adds light sulphur element.

Body: Pears. Peat. Beef slices. Dry and tongue numbing. Vanilla. Seaweed and salt. Fruitcake with cherries. Madeira. Water makes smother and adds marzipan but keeps the peat. The texture gains an oily style as it becomes more accessible.

Finish: Quite open. Smoke. Dry. Chocolate drops. Pears and grapes. Very peaty. Tar. Cloves. Water adds white grape, marzipan and an oily sheen.

Conclusion: Wow, this one is great. The peat is massive, but somehow does not dominate the spirit. I’m not quite sure how they do it, but I’m glad they do. The first kicks is still sheer force I will admit, all peat, bogs and dry beef slices. Then, as you are recovering you get the pears, apples and cherries all coming out. It is like a gift from the spirit to congratulate you for surviving the initial assault.

While the dryness will numb the tongue, the whisky is much smoother than its abv would suggest, in fact for such intensity of flavour the smoothness is even more surprising. What’s more you get more with water, it gains a great sweetness, marzipan and sherry that adds to an already complex character but without negating the peat smoke.

The use of texture is amazing, dry without being harsh, oily with water, down from slightly tarry without, again it is mixing elements you would not expect to see side by side. The fantastic fruit range and sweetness that water brings makes it feel like a peated dessert. Which turns out to be nicer than you would ever imagine from those words.

There is so much to it and so much that can be done with water to expand upon it. If it wasn’t for the fact that bottles were going for up to 350 quid last time I looked I would happily grab a bottle to experiment with to find out its full range. As is I am merely glad to have got the chance to try it.

This is great, all the peat, beef, salt and smoke backed by light and dark fruit.

I sat again. Wow.

Background: This was drunk at the amazing Independent Spirit Rare Whisky event at Circo. When they say rare they mean rare. This was released during the Feis Ile whisky festival and normally only available to committee members Ardbeg embassies. This expression was aged in bourbon and Manzanilla sherry casks. We had five whiskys that night, with other guests, my friend Matt, and Chris from Independent spirits all giving their thoughts. Since I know how easy it is to get psychosomatic flavours after someone else mentions them consider the above a view of the general opinion on the whisky so I can call it a feature rather than a bug. Due to the nature of the event my notes were somewhat haphazard, but hopefully I’ve managed to put them together into something readable.

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