Tag Archive: Port Askaig


Port Askiag 28 Year (Scottish Islay Single Malt Whisky: 28 Years: 45.8% ABV)

Visual: Pale gold. Slow thick streaks from the spirit.

Nose: Subtle smoke. Subtle Iodine and salt. Soft lemon. Slight sharp lime. Mossy. Water adds a touch more salt.

Body: Smooth. Lime. Lightly medicinal. Soft orange. Slight kiwi. Slight beef slices. Water makes more buttery and adds orange peel.

Finish: Soft lime. Soft moss. Salted rocks. Light smoke. Dried beef. Water adds orange peel, butterscotch and more salt.

Conclusion: This is nothing like what you would expect from a Laphroaig, which is what this is rumoured to be and so is how I am treating it. It is so gentle, smooth , wearing a light medicinal character but very gentle. This softness allows out smooth and light citrus flavours that you would normally never see as they would be hidden by the peat and harsher edges.

It you want peat, heavy medicinal and kicking character, avoid this and go for something younger. This is smooth, wearing hints of what comes in younger Islay, but gentle as a I newborn lamb (note: I have never met a newborn lamb, for all I know they are vicious shits. I am going by their reputation).

So, this is an experience. A good one at that. I am so glad I got to try it, it is very, very good. Softly buttery, soft citrus and is the most gentle an Islay can be while still being recognisable. It even lets loose just a wisp of smoke, a grain of salt and a tiny dab of medicinal spirit, just to make sure you know it is an Islay.

Despite that quality I kind of find it hard to recommend in general. The smoothness is an utter treat to have here, but for general drinking I would want something more forceful and more showing the character I come to an Islay for. You are paying a lot to get everything smoothed down, and it goes down a treat, but if you want something this smooth and light, I’d say go for a whiskey designed that way in the first place.

That is for considering buying a bottle, if you get a chance to try a dram, this is totally worth trying – not just fascinating in seeing how Islay ages, but delicious as well – but it is one where I feel a full bottle would be wasted on me. So unless you are very rich and can take the hit easily I would say don’t grab a full bottle.

It is interesting in that I love it, but unlike say the Arbeg XOP, it is not a love that needs to be repeated at every chance you get.

Background: Uber whisky time again at Independent Spirit. I love these events, where you get to try some pretty rare whisky that would normally be prohibitively expensive by the dram. As always with events like these, it was a busy event, with talking and other people describing notes so I may have been influenced by that and my notes may be shorter and more incoherent than even normal. Normally Port Askaig is bottled from Caol Ila, but rumour says this is a Laphroaig, which if so is very interesting. You very rarely see old Laphroaigs, mainly as they are very peaty and medicinal and that vanishes quickly with age. Any which way this should be a fascinating one.

Port Askaig: 8 Year (Scottish Islay Single Malt Whisky: 8 Year: 45.8% ABV)

Visual: Pale yellow with brackish green tinge. Fast thick streaks. Water makes very cloudy.

Nose: Medicinal. Reek of peat. Peppered beef slices. Peppercorn. Light salt. Water brings out more medicinal notes.

Body: Beef slices. Peat smoke. Overdone steaks. Salt. Slightly tarry. Vanilla. Golden syrup. Some alcohol weight and warmth. Water makes smoother. Adds vanilla fudge. Pears. More medicinal notes. Apricot. Light bread. Lime cordial.

Finish: Drying. Salt. Light vanilla. Tarry. Golden syrup. Apple pies. Water makes medicinal. Adds lime jelly and slight zestiness. Apricot.

Conclusion: This is a big ‘un. Yet water makes it oh so mellow. Ok, I am kind of lying my balls off there. It is not mellow, but there is a whole other subtle set of characteristics under the peat assault that only come out when you add water.

So, first of all let’s take a look at this without water. Whoa! This reeks, utterly reeks of peat. In a good way. It has huge intense smoke and smoked beef, mixed with peat, with medicinal notes in there as well. Without water a vanilla and golden syrup sweetness backs it up over time, but the rest of the intensity does not let up.

Now at this point it is not complex, but it does show the advantage of a younger spirit in keeping the peat intensity up. It is heaven for smoke fanatics, while utterly lacking in subtlety.

Then you add water.

It happens slowly – drop by watery drop. First vanilla fudge comes out, then soft lime notes, then finally sweet apricot creeps out from under the peat nest it is birthed in. What the heck even is this? Apart from delicious I mean.

Now it isn’t quite Lagavulin 16 level must have, but the range it runs with water – going from sheer assault, to still weighty but with a great range of fruit notes – well, that makes this a steal at the 40 quid ish price it goes for.

Both heavy duty Islay, and complex restrained Islay in one whisky. I advise grabbing a bottle and adding water to your preference. Very impressive.

Background: I had Port Askaig for the first time many a year ago at a whisky show. It was very nice, but I never did get around to grabbing a bottle of it for myself since. That mistake has now been rectified. Port Askig is not a distillery, but a bottling of one of the other existing Islay distilleries under the Port Askaig brand. So far quality has been very high. The most common guess of what distillery it is from is Caol Ila and Ardbeg. I have no idea. Anyway, I grabbed this from Independent Spirit and broke it open with some Karnivool to listen to – Sound Awake to be exact. Saw them as a warm up band once, and enjoyed them enough to grab the CD there and then. Pretty soothing music for background noise.

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