We taste four whiskies from the Port Askaig range
For this issue of Distilled the Connosr tasting panel assembled to review the full range of expressions from Port Askaig - the Whisky Exchanges' own brand of Islay malts. The fact that these whiskies are all from Caol Ila is widely suspected and the contents of the bottles seem to confirm this assumption. This is a fine range of whiskies and the panel found that they not only improve as you move up the age scale but that they get to be better and better value.
Port Askaig 17 year old
Nose: notes of citrus, almonds and dried banana present along with something reminiscent of the inside of a box of new trainers (sneakers). The nose develops with more coastal notes and eventually coalesces into a mixture of milk, clove and bay leaf - bringing to mind a classic English bread sauce.
Palate: lemon meringue dusted with ash carried by a minerally undertow. The body is clean and light.
Finish: citrus, minerals and spice.
Comments: a good quality Caol Ila and an excellent benchmark for the tasting.
Port Askaig Cask Strength
Nose: aromas of damp hay on a dairy farm greet us before a hint of anti-septic wipe and grapefruit join the fray. Moving along with a hint of melon - a young & fresh one - along with raw potato and mustard seed.
Palate: cherries dusted in sherbet kick things off and even at cask strength this is very palatable, progesses with a bitterness - not unlike peanut skin - and a wisp of disinfectant.
Finish: violets fizzle with a background note of walnut.
Comments: panel ratings ranged from very-good to excellent.
Port Askaig 25 year old
Nose: Cadbury Fruit and Nut greet us with a hint of raw cauliflower, fresh rhubarb, mango, papaya and Tipex! Not as strange as it sounds.
Palate: a slight soapiness - which only deterred one member - heralds a richer body than the first two offerings. The palate moves on with a hint of ripe, creamy, gouda cheese and some resiny menthol.
Finish: richer and more complex than the 17 y/o or natural strength expressions; some shortbread comes in - no vanilla on this - and a buttery, biscuity flavour moves on to oaky notes.
Comments: extremely drinkable & cracking value. This is a slightly dangerous whisky that would keep you coming back. We liked it!
Port Askaig 30 year old
Nose: a heady aroma of gloss paint & eucalyptus builds to mature cheddar rind, with fruit and fresh cut runner bean. Developing with hints of dead coal fire and a touch of stone fruit.
Palate: The paint and eucalyptus is here but with bags of fruit accompanied by praline and liquorice.
Finish: apricots predominate along with a final, and unexpected, hint of garlic.
Comments: less eclectic than it sounds, this is complex, rich and - above all - charismatic. This is the most expensive expression, but, it is also the best value. Outstanding.