Daring Islay

To date, I have sampled over 60 whiskies in seven months. Not too shabby, really. However, while I’ve sampled a good range of things, I’d really been avoiding some classics. Mainly the classics of Islay. I have tried a few Bruichladdich at the recommendation of a coworker (they were okay, but I didn’t love them), and I’ve also tried Bunnahabhian at another recommendation (which I liked a bit better.) But I’ve been avoiding the peat monsters of Ardbeg, Caol Ila, Lagavulin, and Laphroaig. I wanted to ease my way into it.

This week, I decided to take the plunge.

Laphroaig 10 Yr Old

Single Malt Scotch (Islay) 40% ABV

Nose: Smoke! After a few sniffs the smoke fades and you smell “whisky.” Although it’s quite different from the sherried whiskies I usually prefer.

Palate: Medicinal. Briny. Tarry. Not sweet, fruity, or fiery.

Notes: Interesting to try this classic. It’s not bad, per se, just different from what I’d normally get. Will I buy it? Definitely not. But is it horrid? Not that either.

Ardbeg Uigeadail

Single Malt Scotch (Islay) 54.2% ABV

Nose: SMOKE. Dark sugar, but it makes you think of leather armchairs.

Palate: Fiery and smoky. Long and warming finish with spice and smoke following.

Notes: Water softens it a bit, more pleasant. Again, very interesting to try, but you won’t find a bottle on my shelf.

Also along these lines, I’m reading a fascinating book on Islay and its whiskies. It was recommended to me by a knowledgable Scotch drinker, and it took me months to get one… “Peat Smoke and Spirit: A Portrait of Islay and its Whiskies” by Andrew Jefford. I hope it sheds some light on these uniquely challenging (to me) whiskies.

And now for something a bit more “normal” for me…

Glenmorangie Tusail

Single Malt Scotch (Highland) 46% ABV

Nose: Sweet, but not fruity. Barley, oak.

Palate: Sweet, but fiery. Bit of vanilla, and warming. Little spice at the end.

Notes: Very tasty expression!

I’m excited to continue tasting! (And I’ll admit to dreaming of tasting on Islay, it’s bound to be even better there, right?)


One thought on “Daring Islay

  1. Pingback: Easygoing Weekend | will run for whisky

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