Whisky Review – Elements of Islay PL1

Elements of Islay PL1
60% ABV
Sold out. Though Corks of Cotham may have 1 or 2 left! £65.99

I love Bruichladdich. Love em I tell you! I’ve tried a few of their expressions. I love Octomore loads! I’ve tried a few of theirs as well. However…I think this is the first time I’ve done a Port Charlotte!

Nose.

Coastal BBQ. The sizzling bacon fat is bubbling away. The salted waves crashing in the background. From the colour and presumed (port Charlotte would have been going up to ten years at the time of this bottling so I would assume 6-9 years in a very active ex-sherry cask) age I would have thought more fruit present on the nose. But it’s very much a big, young, boosty Islay malt. It’s big ABV makes it harder to get your nose into. But with a litter perseverance the sherry spice and dark stewed fruit notes can be found lingering in the BBQ background. A little time in the glass and the fruit does wonder a little further forwards.

Palate.

Immediately some sherried dark fruits followed by a massive alcohol blast. As the blast subsides, it becomes quite maritime. Sea salt. Chilli and pepper. Peat earth. The fruit doesn’t return though.

Finish.

Salt and pepper. Some minimal fruit. Very warming. Drying wood tannins.

Adding water.

Think this will take a bit but will go in stages. Dollop 1. Nose is still hot. Rummed raisin coming through now. A little fruitcake in the background. BBQ still there in abundance. Palate. Wow. Big stuff. Fruity peat. Lots of fruit now. Really chewy. Great mouthfeel. It’s big, brash and fun. It’s got a lot of sherried dark fruits coming through but not the intensity of a a’bunadh, more sherried fruits with a peat fired rocket up its jacksie. Still got quite a bit of heat mid palate, but the flavours are coming out. Finish has some very subtle peat smoke infused fruits. More berried fruit now as opposed to raisins. I would go black/red/straw berrys. Lets do another water dollop. Dollop 2. For reference we have cloudiness. The nose is now well fruited. With many berries in addition to the raisin effect. The BBQ is more bonfire now. Damp brown leaf bonfire. There’s a little toffee coming in with the fire. The palate is now without the big burn. The malt is more toffied in its nature. Still fruity, very little peat on the immediate palate. The finish has peat earth, toffee encrusted fruit bars. Some cereal is floating around the mix as well. Possibly malted milk biscuits. There’s some creaminess throughout the experience now also. With or without water?! Can’t decide. Work to do there I think to find the right balance. It’s an experimental dram. You could spend a whole evening with a couple of these exploring the nooks and crannies. It’s an experience.

Conclusion.

A complex, different, big beastie boy of a malt. Lots to do, see, smell and taste. It’s not easy going. It’s a marathon of an Islay experience. Worth taking up though. If you can find it!

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Whisky Review – Laphroaig Cairdeas Port Wood 2013

Laphroaig Cairdeas Port Wood Edition
51.3% ABV
£??.??

Colour. Pink!

Nose.

Tcp medicinal peat reek. Grass and hay. Tar. Rubber bands. Behind the Laphroaig signature there are some berry fruits. Just lingering in the background. Quite a hot and active nose. One for long sniffing sessions.

Palate.

Summer Berry fruits burst forwards. Strawberry. Raspberry. Red current. Actually not much in the way if Laphroaig profile in the palate. But then. Keeping it on the tongue for a good long while (surprising not as vicious as you would expect considering the cask strength!) does then give a little of the Laphroaig signature sweet peat, crisp, peppery flavour.

Finish.

Medium-long. Crisp, pepper driven, neutral, sweet hay/grass/peat remains with just a dash of berries. It’s moreish in this approach, the fruits staying in the mouth with the crisp peat flavours just make this an easy sipper. Too easy!

Adding water?

Well, I really like this neat. But let’s out in a drop. Nose becomes very sweet. Peat well and truly up front. More berries revealing from the background in place of the harsher peat reek. The palate is a little more watery but the fruit is still on abundance. The reduced heat allows for more subtle tongue contact and gives more sweetness and balanced flavours. The diluted finish gives loads of peat sweetness and continued and more intense fruit.

Conclusion.

This is quite an epic dram. It’s so different from the Laphroaig that people will know and love its either going to twig with experienced Laphraoig drinkers straight away or get to their brains sometime soon enough, as I think it’s a dram that is hard to resist its pink fruity charms!

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