Inside door number four and it’s a 6 year old Williamson. If you’ve never heard of Williamson Distillery, fear not, it’s actually not a distillery in its own right, rather, it’s the name given to ‘tea spooned’ Laphroaig. Tea spooning is the process whereby a small amount of whisky from one distillery is added to a cask containing whisky from another. By doing so, the cask is, technically, no longer 100% one thing or another (and perhaps not even a technically a single malt anymore, but that’s a discussion for another time) and therefore has to be sold under a different, new name. Distilleries tea spoon to allow the sale of their whisky (often to independent bottlers), whilst protecting their currently traded brand names.
Nose: Pronounced briny, salty and slightly musky peat that both tarry, but also quite sweet. Toffee apples, citrus, plasticine and a mineral, granite-like aroma drive sit behind the smoke and are supported by some light grassiness. Water adds some earthiness and also aromas of smoked fish.
Taste: A lighter mouthfeel than the nose promises, but still fairly viscous. Immediate ashiness, tar and bitumen, supported by salted caramel, vanilla, liquorice and mineral-like slate. Smoke is certainly coastal offering iodine, seaweed and rock pools. The addition of water adds both a citrus character and some additional candy-floss sweetness.
Finish: Medium in length, ashy and smoky but sweetened with toffee dipped apples.
It’s whisky like this that makes you wonder what Laphroaig are currently playing at with many of their NAS offerings. This Williamson is only 6 years old, but still offers an experience which both belies its youth, as well as trumps many of the recent OB’s from the distillery. Coastal, ashy and tempered by fruity sweetness, age is truly but a number here. Great Scott.