Single Malt — Islay, Scotland
Reviewed February 11, 2022 (edited February 12, 2022)
Rating: 16/23 Batch 3; bottled at 55.7% ABV. N: Initially sour, then smoky and herbal notes build out. It's a bit grassy. Easpadin mezcal is what I'd guess it was if I didn't know better. It's a little light and there's faint minerality. Malt peeks out briefly like Where's Waldo, then earthiness comes forward along with spice, giving a slight jalapeno sense. P: Richer and sweeter than the nose suggested. Spicy, smoky, a bit minty. A bigger sip reveals definite herbal peatiness to the smoke. Or perhaps herbaceousness to the agave - because this really does still seem a lot like a mezcal. There's a lemony spritz of acidity and als o a gentle minerality. There is some malty sweetness hanging out around here too, but it's a little vegetal, so it tastes kind of like it could be agave. This is definitely sweeter than most mezcals and it isn't as drying as they tend to be, but there's still quite a similarity. I do get some Laphroaig DNA in here as well though with the beraceousness hinting at band-aids sometimes and having kind of that rough vegetal sweetness to it. There certainly is that richness to the peat smoke in this that mezcal doesn't have, but it's not as pronounced as in most Islay Scotch. Getting back to the actual flavor though, I'm a bit disappointed that it isn't that easy to pick out particular flavors. It's just kind of generically herbal and such - the depth isn't there. This isn't as rich as Laphroaig 10 and it lacks the fruit and spice from the bourbon barrels. This focuses more on the malt and peat, showing its youth, but not suffering from excessive sulphur. I do get a little bit of an alcohol bite too, though the proof is probably part of that. F: Malty sweetness, smoke, clean lemonity minerality, a bit of herbaceousness. - Conclusion - This is good, but it's clearly young and isn't something that I would pay anywhere near asking price for. With its youthful herbaceousness and vegetal character, it's sort of what I wanted Ardbeg Wee Beastie to be. Even so, it doesn't have a ton of personality. Picking now, I'd go with a 15. Compared with Kilchoman Cask Strength 2016 (15/23), This has a funkier profile that gets more into the vegetation and earth. This definitely tastes like it has more young peat. Although the funk here is weird, I like that the flaw here is more akin to excessive personality whereas the Kilchoman Cask Strength suffers from brute force mixed with light flavor. This compares favorably with the funk of Loch Lomond 12 (16/23). It actually gets within range of Amrut Peated (a low 17/23). Laphroaig 10 is richer and more mature and just definitely better than this though. I can actually imagine a world in which I give this a 17, but I think that a 16 is more reasonable here.
120.0 USD per Bottle
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