Blind Tasting Competition Day 7: Ailsa Bay 3yo, 68.3% – Malts of Scotland

Malts of Scotland released this whisky last year and I wanted to get it, but somehow didn’t. It went rather quickly when it came out that this ‘Images of Ayrshire – Dalrymple Bridge’ turned out to be Ailsa Bay.

As far as I know this is the very first release of Ailsa Bay that has ever been released. I was lucky enough to taste a dram of Ailsa Bay (a cask sample) at Maltstock during the masterclass from Kevin Abrook. That was a very good whisky, at eight years old.

This day in the competition will most likely be remembered as a massacre. There are 71 participants that have entered their guess at any time during the competition. Of those 71 participants, only SEVEN have scored any points at all. The one that scored most points scored 20 points only.

So, for the final ranking this whisky didn’t do much but it sure was an interesting dram.

Based on a lot of the flavors I got during the tasting yesterday I went for a Springbank. Also because the type of sherry fits that distillery too, and Springbank sometimes tastes a lot fiercer than it is. Which also seemed necessary for this one.

Image from Whiskybase

Image from Whiskybase

The nose is sharp with lots of sherry. It’s quite spicy with a light smokiness. There’s dates, salt and chocolate. Really rich and fruity, and it’s a biter.

The palate is ridiculously sharp, almost to a level that you start doubting this is not some raw alcohol. Salt, with malty notes. Again, the sharpness is insane. Dates. It’s a crude, unrefined spirit, but all the more interesting for it.

The finish burns as well, but mellows rather quickly. It’s long, dirty and there’s lots of sherry. Some salt as well, and rocks, and some smoke.

Club buddy Eugene remarked that so far I’ve liked all whiskies in the competition to some degree. This one adds to that list. Although, I can imagine this being a whisky that’s more interesting than tasty, more a gimmick.

However, I certainly liked tasting this and wouldn’t mind getting my hands on a bottle of this, just to see how this evolves with more water and a couple of glasses out of the bottle (and therefore more oxidation).

So, another good whisky, but another zero-pointer for me. Let’s hope I get some points tonight. I already tried that and have some certain ideas to what it can be. Not that that’s an indication of anything, as it seems…

Ailsa Bay 3yo, 2014, Sherry Hogshead, 68.3%, Malts of Scotland (Images of Ayrshire, Dalrymple Bridge), used to be around € 90


About Sjoerd de Haan-Kramer

I'm very interested in booze, with a focus on whisky. I like to listen to loads of music and play lots of Magic: the Gathering, and board games too. I'm married to Anneke, have two daughters Ot and Cato, a son Moos and a cat called Kikker (which means Frog, in Dutch). I live in Krommenie, The Netherlands.
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