Tag Archive: Elements of Islay


Elements Of Islay: LP9 (Scottish Islay Single Malt Whisky: 54.3% ABV)

Visual: Very dark bronzed cherry.

Nose: Smoke. Charred dry grass. Gunpowder tea. Moss. Black pepper. Spicy. Tar. Sherry. Light menthol. Water adds dried tea leaves, tannins and sulphur. Smoked bacon.

Body: Cherry. Intense peat. Thai 7 spice. Black cherry. Thick. Water adds orange crème touch. Mulled wine. Cloves and turmeric. Smoked bacon.

Finish: Thai 7 spice. Tarry. Smoke. Intense. Bitter red wine. Plums. Oily charring. Bitter cocoa. Water adds cloves. Mulled wine. Spiced orange skins. Lots of smoke.

Conclusion: Ok, this is intense. I have been spoiled with intense, aged smooth but peaty Laphroaigs recently of which this is the latest wonder.

This one has lost some of the medicinal Laphroaig character , but more than makes up for it by pushing a) A smokey peaty thing – very burnt greenery, burnt moss and general just smoke intensity. It shows a drier, more herbal smoke than is usual with Laphroaig – giving it a peppery and intense kick.

Against that is super spicy mulled wine and bitter red wine character that takes that pepper note and throws handfuls and handfuls of spice in after it. Holding these two heavy sides apart is a thin red line of sweet cherry and black-cherry which just about keeps everything in control.

Water brings out even more smoke, if that can be believed, smoked bacon notes come out as a rewarding extra to the main body in addition to subtle variance in the existing flavours.

Unlike the also awesome Laphroaig XOP 18 year I tried recently, this does not feel like a traditional Laphroaig in all things, just with extra boost from barrel ageing character. This feels like it keeps all the soot, smoke and peat from from Laphroaig – that is true – however the more medicinal elements seem to be lost under the spicy red wine like character. It is equally amazing, but different in how it expresses it. XOP is more traditional, this is more experimental. Both are great.

Another top notch, immense Laphroaig.

Background: Ok, wow, this was not one I expected to get to try. Independent Spirit had it on at a tasting I couldn’t make it to, and all the bottles sold out very rapidly. However they very kindly let me have a small sample to try and holy shit this is one that sounds awesome. Very many thanks! Distilled in 1998 this must be around 19 ish years old Laphroaig , aged in a single Pedro Ximénez Sherry Butt and bottled at cask strength. I tried this after getting back from seeing Progress Wrestling in Manchester for one of the best shows I have ever seen from them, so was on a high already. Put on some IDLES to listen to as Jim Smallman from Progress got me into listening to them due to tweeting about them, so they were on my mind. Awesome band.

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Elements Of Islay: Peat (Scottish Blended Malt Whisky: 45% ABV)

Visual: Very pale with a greenish hint, very slow streaks come from the spirit.

Nose: Medicinal. Salt. Peat smoke punch. Watered down lime cordial. Moss. Water is very similar to neat.

Body: Sweet golden syrup and maple syrup. Salt. Alcohol warmth. Barbecue glazed meat. Cherries. Vanilla toffee. Water makes beefy, peaty and choc limes.

Finish: Cherries. Salt. Medicinal. Vanilla. Creamy soda. Toffee. Beef crisp’s flavouring. Lime jelly. Water adds choc limes, dried beef and oily character.

Conclusion: You know for a whisky called “Peat”, this is smooth as silk. Which is not a contradiction I guess, just not what you would expect. I mean, it is pretty peaty, but does not seem obsessed by it it an Octomore kind of way as you would think.

Initial impression tend toward the Caol Ila side of the Islay island – medicinal, dry, slightly salty but not harsh, The highest amount of peat you are going to get in the whisky comes here as the aroma floats with a nice punch of peat, making you think you are heading into a harsher whisky than it actually is.

The first sip is where your expectations shift – it is peaty and meaty, sure, but the first hit is more syrup touched – almost like maple syrup and that makes the medicinal notes it holds far smoother and easier to slip down. There are soft lime notes, but big sweetness and the kind of smoothness you generally get with a good quality vatted malt.

I feel like the name of this whisky betrays it – it makes you expected a much harsher and more assaulting whisky than the one you get. It still has the medicinal, oiliness and saltiness but smooth- and if you add water it opens up to reveal new levels of smoothness for Islay whisky.

With water light cherries comes out, choc toffee then choc lime. As before it is meaty and brothy in the peat character but the medicinal and salt character becomes smoother and smoother as you add the drops. It feels like an excellent Islay with all the edges polished off. Now the smoothed edges is something I both love and hate – it loses some of the unique charm of Islay but becomes an entity that stands as something special of its own by doing that.

An excellent vatted malt, but it is about a balance of notes of which only one part is the peat of the name.

Background: So, as mentioned in my last whisky notes, it is traditional when one of us holds a whisky night that the rest chip in and grab a bottle for the host – this was the bottle we gave the last host,and he was kind enough to let me borrow it to do notes on a measure. Many thanks. Unlike most elements of Islay, this is a blended malt rather than a single malt with the distillery identified by a pseudo elemental letter. There is also a cask strength version of this going around which I am very tempted to try some time. This was drunk very shortly after the last set of whisky notes, so I was on my second listen through of Frank Carter and the Rattlesnakes – Modern Ruin. Still prefer the first album, which is far more raw, but it is not a bad wee album.

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