We like the Elements of Islay here at The Whisky Exchange blog. Admittedly, they are bottled by our sister company and selected by Oliver Chilton, occasional writer here and developer of The Whisky Exchange’s own exclusive bottlings, but fortunately they are also very good. The latest release in the range has just hit our shelves and it’s a departure from the series’ usual approach – it’s a blended malt. Introducing Elements of Islay Peat.
So far, the Elements of Islay have all been small batches or single casks of single malt whisky, all from individual distilleries on the island of Islay. With the introduction of Peat, they now have a blended malt in the range, using whiskies from several distilleries to create a consistent and ongoing bottling, so, rather than being a small batch that will sell out in a few weeks or months, if you like it,you’ll be able to come back and grab another bottle. It’s also bottled at full proof – 59.3% ABV – making it ideal for fans of cask-strength whisky.
We’ve questioned Mr Chilton extensively about Peat and what he’s used to make it, but all he’ll reveal is that it uses whisky from a ‘handful of distilleries’ on Islay.
Nose: Singed lemons, damp peat and freshly roasted malt roll out the glass before your nose even reaches the lip. Hiding underneath are notes of rich earth and liquorice, with stewed citrus fruit – lemon, lime and grapefruit – and a pinch of molasses-rich dark sugar.
Palate: Warm and leathery with damp heather, abandoned seashore campfires and roasted fruit: apple and lime with a sprinkle of caster sugar. Sharp citrus and peat smoke build with a background of spicy heat. Water softens the spice and dials up the fruit, revealing layers of sweet apple and candied lemon.
Finish: Comparatively restrained, with sea spray and baked apple fading to charcoal-edged cinnamon toast and freshly sliced orchard fruit.
Comment: A great, everyday Islay whisky – it has hints of character from around the island, with light and dark flashes, and a backbone of fruit and smoke. Just what the doctor ordered.
Elements of Islay Peat is now available from The Whisky Exchange website and The Whisky Exchange Shop @ Covent Garden. If you fancy trying it and some previous releases in the range, then there are still a few tickets to our Elements of Islay tasting in London on 29 February, hosted by Mr Chilton himself.