Islands – 56.3%ABV – 700ml bottle – Price ?? I could not find this bottle available at any of the shops I frequent – Thanks to “O.K.” for the sample! (Note: the picture shown is for the 1985 version, not the 1981 as I had tasted)
This will be sort of a shorter review today. Or at least, the lead up to the actual tasting. Truth be told, this one took a lot out of me. The whisky (specifically, the nose) was quite demanding and I’m not sure I was up to the challenge. Yes, I think I gave it a fair shake (or maybe I gave myself the shake) but it took a while for all to be revealed.
They say good things come to those who wait. Maybe I was too impatient. You can decide for yourself…
On the nose — Man, this whisky needs some time to open up. A few minutes and some nice cherry notes are revealed along with an overall saltiness to it – quite oceanic but at high tide, not a fishy low tide type ocean scent to it.
The nose is brisk and has just a mere hint of smoke (think pipe tobbaco – fragrant). A few extra minutes and the nose opens more giving me some nice orange notes (Mineola to be exact, very tart). With a few drops of water some buttery notes come out and it get ever so floral. I love this nose but I had to dig and wait quite a bit for the scents to show themselves.
On the mouth — Hold on here, this is quite a departure from the nose. The flavors are not subtle here, you don’t have to work quite as hard – fresh grassy notes and bitter fruits, a good amount of pepper (think cayenne with out the burn).
I think I need to add some water here (it did wonders for the nose) — the mouth feel gets chewy and some white pepper comes out as does something quite sweet thought I can’t put my finger on it.
Finish — A long finish. The orangey notes remain as does the pepper.
In sum — Part of me felt like a paranormal investigator here. I knew I had a “spirit” nearby but the nose made me want to scream “Show Yourself!!” Thank G-d for the palate and finish though, it really came through. In the end, a nice single cask whisky but I’m not sure it was worth all the trouble.