Popular Belgium-based importer The Nectar was founded in 2006 and celebrated their 15th Anniversary last year with a raft of special release bottlings – I’ve seen Compass Box, Port Askaig, Blackadder, Arran and Wolfburn alongside Daily Dram (Nectar’s own imprint) Benriach, Craigellachie, Clynelish and Hampden rum. Included in the celebratory line-up was this 30 year old Islay Single Malt from Thompson Brothers. Drawn from a single hogshead laid down in 1990, this cask produced 250 bottles at 49% ABV.
Nose: Pineapple Chewits, peach puree and singed bananas join salted lemons whilst honey mead, fountain pen and squid ink sit with honey mead, cold cream, clay and gentle tarriness. The addition of water reveals smoked vanilla cream tarts alongside gorse, brass and tea chest polish together with salinity and moist earthiness.
Taste: Decidedly oily on the arrival and offering preserved lemons, almond biscotti, lime tartlets and golden cereals before a deep translation over to mineral and lamp oil, sack cloth, brine and langoustines – supported by a swirling mist of wood smoke, antiseptic, mentholated oak and age-old char. Reduction pushed salinity up the flagpole whilst adding smoked fruits (apricot, peach and pineapple) together with herbal tea and residual sootiness.
Finish: Long with smoked fruits supported by the triptych of polished oak, salinity and citrus.
There’s delightful character here from start to finish with well-aged, polished fruits joyfully intermingling with the smoky heart of the whisky, which is still very tangible - particularly on the palate. Forcefulness vs. subtlety. Elementalness vs. elegance. Vibrancy vs. depth. All unions which are highly appealing. Fab stuff.
Review sample provided by The Thompson Brothers