Youthful, Bold, and Smoky Islay Whisky
Available only online in select countries, I was fortunate enough to have a bottle brought back from Scotland for me. I immediately opened it to share and “Discuss” as the bottle suggests in bold red lettering across the front.
Pale gold in color with thin legs in the glass. Pour was rested for ~5 minutes with no added dilution.
On the nose I get an incredible amount of fruit and a distinct lack of peat. I expected an 8 year will be full of that wet bog, damp smoke, but it’s noticeably light. Apples, some butter, ginger snaps and shortbread aromas. There’s a grassy sweetness, kind of like honeysuckle and fresh cut grass. Vanilla, oatmeal, plum and raisins. Lastly, some fresh ground coffee catches my nose every once in awhile.
On the palette it’s very delicate. I have a 20 year old Ardbeg that is also noticeably delicate like this. I almost want to say it’s similar to a Hazelburn profile being triple distilled. The fruit is still there but now that peat really cuts in with a roasting campfire flavor. Much of those similar grass and hay flavors are still present. Clove, cinnamon, black pepper. Sweetness akin to creme brûlée and cinnamon graham crackers. A very mellow dram with quite a fantastic mouthfeel.
Very familiar Ardbeg smokey finish. A slightly dry and antiseptic peat flavors. Definitely that woodsy campfire esc that seems present in the majority of Ardbeg bottles. Some brown sugar molasses sweetness with a slight touch of salinity. Finally, a metallic tone with some tin and cast iron flavor.
Very surprised with how delicate an 8 year old Islay can be. I expected a much more boisterous dram but instead I was presented with probably the best 8 year old scotch that I’ve had. I was happy to share with friends and I hope they enjoyed this bottle as much as I did. As far as a ranking alongside the core range, Uigeadall it’s still my favorite as I really enjoy wine finished peated scotch. This certainly beats out the 10 year as well as Corryvreckan of which both I had some to try side by side. An Oa is probably the most similar, but dialing back the peat quite a bit.
Overall the 8 Year a hit for me and I’ll be tracking down a bottle entirely for myself. If you have an opportunity to buy a bottle at cost, do so. If you’re an Ardbeg fan you probably already have one.