another benchmark – this time 167 ppm. but don’t think this dram is all about cojones (ok, well that too) – as jim murray says in his whisky bible: “forget about the age. don’t be frightened by the phenol levels. great whisky is not about numbers; it’s about excellent distillation and careful maturation.”
It is not just a case of tasting peat, peat and more peat. This is a strong, flavoursome, handsome, proud young son of the stills, with a warm, open, Gaelic heart - unconstrained by phenolic overload, untainted by additives, not stripped of his pride by chill-filtration - but made by real people with passion and rare skills. Discerning followers of this islands’ malt whiskies deserve nothing less.
Your anticipation is about to be rewarded: a heat-haze of peat smoke, bog myrtle, heather, wild thyme and juniper harmonise to lift the senses into a state of ecstasy. Next, a beautiful floral bouquet of yellow, riverside, summer flowers (primrose, buttercup, flag iris and wild lilies) waft by - the wind changes - and now the aromas are barley fields just before harvest, with sweet vanilla notes of Bourbon-soaked oak. As time passes, lemon zest and clover honey, slipstream on a cooling, marine breeze. It’s a hedonistic aroma explosion blowing your mind.
The body is lean and muscular with the smoldering heat of a heath fire, just being held in check by the strength of the oak. This is a spiritual soul, unconfined, independent and master-less – Hallelujah! It’s only when you taste that you wonder how such a heavily peated spirit, at such a young age, can provide the extraordinary balance of aromas and flavours. The answer is slow distillation, the tightest middle cut ever, and maturation in fresh American oak casks next to the Atlantic Ocean..
The finish is a very long and winding road of mellowness, ending on a beautiful sunset of smoke and fruit syrup. It’s 100% Islay DNA, the latest addition to the most heavily peated whisky in the world.