That boutique-y whisky company ? Islay #2 25
Single Malt — Islay, Scotland
Tasted March 10, 2020
Whiskey shows are such a wild, wonderful, frustrating mess. Tiny little thimbles in lieu of glencairns. People jostling on all sides (particularly unpleasant in this Age of Coronavirus). A meager handful of plates of food circulating for seconds before being ravaged by the masses. Not to mention the bombardment upon the palate. After the first few micro-drams, everything starts to blend together on the tongue, and buzzy-brain hardly helps. Glendronach 12, 18, Benriach 10 Curiositas, Jameson Cold Brew and Black Barrel, Aberlour A'bunadh Alba, Rittenhouse, Laphroaig Quarter Cask in quick succession. Sweet, rich, peaty, coffee (literal coffee, in the case of that Jameson), apples, mint, smoke. And then I had a chance to try this stellar, memorable Islay from an unnamed distillery, bottled by That Boutique-y Whisky Company. It was the secret "under the table" bottle from these folks. My understanding is that this retails for about $200 for a half-size bottle, which is pretty reasonable all things considered. Laphroaig 25 commands a similar price per volume. I guessed that this was a distinguished older Laphroaig, although the wiser distributor told me that he believed it was Ardbeg. Most authorities online side with him, although there are dissenting voices. Regardless, this is a muscular tiger of a dram, featuring waves of toffee, sinewy smoke, stewed pears, and well-oiled leather. My impression was that it's largely if not entirely ex-bourbon, although the person pouring it told me there may be a sherry cask in there as well. This one is smokier and less fruity than Laphroaig 25 and hits all of the classic older Islay notes. Even though it plays it a little safe, it was the liquid highlight of the night.