Yesterday a surprise sample came in from London. It was sent by Speciality Drinks Ltd. I was going to say The Whisky Exchange since in everyone’s world they’re the same thing, but Billy keeps hammering at the difference during Maltstock and every other opportunity he gets.
Apart from companies within companies and their naming conventions, they also bottle some rather nice whiskies. I recently bought, shared and tried the Bw5, which is a 19 year old Bowmore if I’m not mistaken.
Since they’re doing all Islay distilleries and have been at it for a couple of years, there have been quite some hits, and there have been some misses too. Fortunately I’ve not had too many of the misses, but not all of them receive high marks. But still, a lot of them do. I fondly remember some Pe, Lg, Lp, Pl and Bw releases.
Now they’ve come up with this, their first blended malt in the Elements of Islay range. The cynical me is thinking they just threw together some leftovers from previous bottlings and some of their other brands (Port Askaig, Single Malts of Scotland).
But, when I think of it a bit longer, I guess they put in some more thought than that. While I might always like everything they put out, I do know they are going at it with a quality first point of view.
Full and clean peat on the nose. Slightly salty, with pear skins and burning straw. Rather smoky, but all very clean. A dry smokiness. After a while there’s a slight fishiness that develops. Like dried, smoked fish. I also get a strong scent of peat. Not in the regular way, but like you’re in a peat store and not in the kiln.
Not as sharp as the ABV made me expect. Clean smoke and peat again. Some oak, but not much. Straw, some grass, a bit of vanilla sweetness too. Becomes more smoky after a while, and peaty.
The finish is gentle and smooth. Some vanilla and some sweetness. Some smokiness but slightly less than before. Quite a long finish.
This is a good whisky. It does exactly what you expect it to do, and I think it does it better than some of its counterparts. As in, I’ve never liked Big Peat, for example. There are big flavors in this one, but they are all very clean, and very straight forward. Apart from the cleanness (not cleanliness, that’s something else), there aren’t many surprises, but sometimes that’s fine.
What I find most interesting is that there’s so much peat scent and flavor, while the actual smokiness is kept in check. That doesn’t happen all too often.
So, a very well made blended malt from Islay, that also comes at a decent price? £ 35 for a bottle is very acceptable in today’s world of overpriced whisky. Kudos to Speciality Drinks and Oliver Chilton for getting this released!
Peat, Blended Malt, 59.3% – Elements of Islay. Available from The Whisky Exchange for £ 34.95
Thanks to Speciality Drinks Ltd. for sending a sample!