In to the final stretch of the Boutique-y 2017 Advent calendar and today we have one of the more literal bottle labels – coal mining and garlic it seems! Its an NAS from Islay bottled at 56.9% and was part of a release of 1,260 bottles. Time for some smoke…
Nose: Sooty smoke – we’ll go with coal dust given the label – with both sweetness and some coastal affection. Citrus and desiccated coconut are joined by both well reduced sugars – sticky toffee pudding-like – and some background herbalness – pine and grass. Both smoky, and sweet, this takes water well, which enhances the herbal notes, and adds some nutty biscuit aromas, as well as emphasising some cask influence in the form of ginger spicing.
Taste: Warm, sweet peat with a touch of piquancy. Ripe apples and pears – almost syrup like – combine with sharp and biting citrus, seaweed and a touch a menthol. Peat is enveloped throughout the liquid and well suited to the sweeter fruity style on offer here. The addition of water lessens the smoke a touch and adds some real juiciness to the fruit elements as well as a touch of coastal salt.
Finish: Long and emphasising citrus and sweet, but pungent peat.
Islay No.1 shows off some well-defined smoke and fruit flavours. It also takes water exceptionally well, offering two rather different peat-forward experiences. But, with or without water, this is a solid winter warmer.