Elements of Islay – Peat
Non chill filtered
No added colouring
£34.95 from The Whisky Exchange
Elements of Islay from speciality drinks, one of the Whisky Exchange’s related companies, have been releasing Islay bottlings for a few years now, but this is the first release which isn’t elemental, and therefore specific to a distillery (they use not too obscure element style monikers to denote their different releases. Eg. Bw3 would be the third release from an Islay distillery which has Bw in the name!).
This latest release is peat…and as you would expect, it’s peaty! It’s a blend of several undisclosed Islay distilleries, has a good entry level price (the older releases are going for some silly money at auction!) of £34.95, bear in mind they are 50cl bottles though, in a nice medicine style shape.
It’s cold out. It’s good time for a smoky dram, so let’s pour away.
Immediately on pour there is an abundance of thick floral rich smoke wafting out. Bonfire on the hills smoke, lots of heather and moss smouldering away. Honey and vanilla also very prominent. Fishing town sea air, complete with sailors ropes, shellfish and some smoked mackerel. A bouquet of highly fragrant Spring flowers. A slight dab of violet. It’s very Islay. Very, very Islay. With a little time in the glass there is a creamier, almost buttery rich vanilla in the fire now, with the smokiness slightly calmed.
Arrival is sugar sweet intense, with the warmth of the peat fires underneath, after a few moments, the butter thick mouthfeel coats everywhere, it’s very oily and rich. Lots of vanilla, some heather honey and Parma violet is lovingly embracing the tastebuds. Immensely chewable, this can be savoured for a long time, there is a touch of bitter spiciness, this balances well against the sweet creamy vanilla. Lots of pepper and chilli. Surprisingly drinkable at full strength. Lovely to hold in the mouth, swirl around and get transported back to Islay. Smoke emits it’s presence in the late development, with touches of barbecued meats and earthiness.
Smoke everywhere. Earth and moss, touches of wet grass. It’s relatively short to medium length, but with its sipability it’s straight back to the palate experience very quickly! After a while (if you can wait that long or when the glass is dry) a drier toffee cream, almost werthers is left behind.
A random splash added. Smoke is turned up a few notches on the nose, with some added floral and countryside grassiness. The palate is sweeter and has more intense vanilla from the offset, with some Creme brûlée, caramel, dew soaked grass, bonfire smoke, and all around better integrated. The finish is less intense, and more about the creamy vanilla, with a side of distant bonfire.
Do you like your Islay drams? Intense smoky experiences? This is for you. It’s a great dram that has me thirsty for more. Very well done, and I think well priced for the current Islay desirability. Buy drink enjoy. Don’t store and speculate. This ones for the tastebuds.
Many thanks to Speciality Drinks for the review sample