A diverse whisky region, the proximity to the sea often proffers slightly salty, sometimes smoky whiskies. Balance is a recurring theme; sweetness and pungency in perfect harmony. A decidedly eclectic assortment of whiskies is to be found on the Islands. It is hard to categorise them, indeed the fact they are a category of their own is most probably for geographic ease rather than for discerning between styles. There is often, however, a marked salinity, particularly in whiskies from Isle of Jura, with their oily nature and gentle peat.
The Isle of Skye is beaten by the elements, the sole distillery, Talisker, uses a peated malt and the smoky, pungent drams it produces are quite similar in style to the punchy whiskies from Islay’s southern coast.
Mull is slightly more unfamiliar, its sole distillery, Tobermory produces soft whisky with menthol freshness and plenty of sweetness. Orkney is a dark, weathered isle, there is often a salty character, but, certainly in Highland Park’s case, there is sublime balance. Arran is a newcomer to the scene, and its sole distillery and namesake is producing whiskies that have recently come of age. There is plenty of barley sweetness, no peat and a good fruity character.
Nose: Peppery malt with a hint of baked earth sneaking in there. Balanced by orchard fruit and eucalyptus.
Palate: A burst of lychee juice as it opens, before waves of dry smoke and cut grass appear.
Finish: Lingering orange zest and lemongrass.
In stock (can be backordered)
Only 2 left in stock
Nose: Cream soda, orange oil, a hint of celery salt, cardamom and grapefruit.
Palate: Green apples and ripe nectarine. Freshly-made caramel, a crack of black pepper and an intriguing waft of curry spices.
Finish: Lingering rye-like herbaceous spice, with yellow plum for balancing sweetness.
Only 2 left in stock
Nose: Tropical fruit sweetness alongside rich orange marmalade, with heather honey, a kick of fresh ginger and an earthy, grassy note.
Palate: Freshly baked bread slathered in salted butter and more orange marmalade, with creamy milk chocolate, orange oil and apple sauce.
Finish: Stewed apple with a sprinkle of ginger spice, with dried cherry and honeyed red fruits.
Nose: Exotic fruit, sweet spice, vanilla and a plenty of warming oak.
Palate: Intensely fruity with fresh pineapple, tinned peaches and coconut. Brown bread and more rich spice form underneath.
Finish: Waxy lemons and a hint of cacao linger.
Nose: Roasted red berries, shortbread, a whiff of sea spray.
Palate: Peppery malt, orange oil, vanilla, cut grass, blueberry muffin and buttered malt loaf.
Finish: Boozy red wine tannins and soft smoke.
Nose: Dusty baking spices and cocoa at first, cinnamon, vanilla, dates. Coffee cream Revels (possibly a couple of the orange ones too), a touch of blackcurrant/liquorice, plus butterscotch and an interplay between milk and dark chocolate.
Palate: Sweet, fragrant peat emerges with nutty melted milk chocolate and a little orange alongside some pastries.
Finish: Long and sweet, a little dry chocolate, just a hint of that heather smoke, then salivating.
Overall: Rounded first-fill Sherry notes come from both the European and American oak casks. This is a great, chocolatey addition of a (teenage) no age statement release.
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