Nose: Delicate peat. Mostly just that . . . peat. But not your Islay peat. No mud, dirt, or earthy peat. This is a medium peat . . . similar to what you get from Bruichladdich. This is a rocky peat or a hay peat. Maybe I will call this a dry peat . . . yes, that is it: desert peat. With time more malt comes through. That is more or less all there is: desert peat – pale, uninteresting and not complex. But enjoyable for peat’s sake.
Taste: Malty, very malty. Maybe a hint of salt, oak and peat smoke. Nothing off or bitter or soapy.
Finish: Big malty finish with a searing peat smoke on the end. No big wave with white caps. Again this is very simple smoke and peat with big malty notes. I would have to say that this is a slightly bigger finish then the Fusion but without the wave. The Fusion was a big intake of breath followed by a small wave. This was just a big malty finish with a peat smoked trim ending. There is a slightly bitter oak ending along side the peat. But I liked that. Still, it is nothing compared to a big 3 finish. So medium long?
Balance, Complexity: Almost zero complexity. This is only peat and malt. I am a fan of both but I will have to take away points here. The balance is a bit off in that the nose promises peat with hints of malt. The taste delivers malt with only the barest hint of peat. And the finish is, I guess, the promise of the nose with only a footnote to the palat. Well, I guess it is a nice Chiasm.
Color, Body, Aesthetic experience: Light hay: white wine (almost indistinguishable from the Fusion). Full bodied. Again there is so much to like here. As with the Fusion it states proudly that it is Indian while at the same time standing firmly in the Scottish tradition of whisky. I love the words “peated” on any label – it just gets my heart pumping. I even like the map of India on parchment here so half a point up. The ABV while 46% and awesome is less then the fusion 50%. So half a point down. Simple and classic.
Conclusion: This is a decent peat alternative. I liked the Cask Strength version much more. I think the higher ABV really helped with extra flavors. I saw this on sale recently for only $29.99 . . . I told myself, “Grab two bottles.” But I was in a hurry and there was a line. So I said I would go back for it . . . and time got away from me. Sadly, I am out with no bottles. For that price it is a steal. For $50 I will take the Fusion instead.