An Islay but on the lighter side.
Notes: This is one of three whiskies released by a new company (the others are: The Smooth Sweeter One and The Rich Spicy One). Formed by two brothers and their best friend, a former master distiller at The Macallan.
The aim of the company is to make scotch more approachable and fun – to shed the snobbery and lower the barriers a bit. They accomplish all of these goals with their offerings.
While they do not have the distinctiveness of single malts, they do have an easy-to-drink, casual quality to them that makes them a good introduction to malt whiskies. As a rule, I would rather drink bourbon from a full ashtray than most cheap scotch blends- thankfully, these guys have broken the mold and produced some very drinkable whiskies.
While this vatted blend lacks the full bore phenolic/seaweed taste of say, Lagavulin or Laphroaig (to name the most popular/familiar Islay whiskies), in keeping with their other whiskies it gives you a foretaste of what that particular style is like in a more approachable form than a single malt. For someone who wants to explore the “Dark Side” it is a brush rather than a full embrace. Definitely worth a try and a interesting vatted blend.
Appearance: Nice burnished brass or amber gold in the bottle. Nice edge line on the glass when you swirl it, smooth layer of whiskey on swirling (absolutely even, no legs to speak of).
First Impression: Peat reek and a subtler smokiness at the same time, orange, some floral notes. Lots of dark fruit smells at the end as well.
Taste: Medium weight mouth feel (for a scotch). Orange honey, dark fruits, toffee and a peaty, lingering, warm finish.
Drinks: Straight or with exotic oriental fruit juices in a drink.
Cigars:Yes, nice combo with a medium cigar.
Bottle: Rather thick recycled glass with lots of small bubbles in it. Upside of that is it bounces rather than breaks when you get towards the bottom of the bottle. Also useful for those disagreements that might spring up about then. Glass resembles a number of tequila bottles in their use of recycled glass. Unlike the recycled coke bottle glass that the tequila comes in (notice the color on those?) they use clear glass and it lends a certain charm. Relatively plain, unpretentious labels and sealing wax tops (in this case dark red) finish it off. Hang tag with interesting flavor chart to explain what you are in for.
Final Thoughts: A very interesting vatted blend. A gentler, kinder Islay style to get people on the road to the real stuff. Also you don’t have to waste that precious old Ardbeg on someone who might not like it. A good way for someone to explore the dark side of scotch without getting burned.
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