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My friend and co-blogger Marc Castermans put a mystery sample in my hands at one of the many tastings where we often meet, thus forcing me to the hardest of excercises: tasting blind. It is a challenge that I love, since it enables me to humiliate myself unabashedly, something I have absolutely no problem with.
The nose is prickly and sweet, with a hefty helping of peat. It has clear coastal elements, but also a dark sweetness. Hints of butane gas, sauerkraut and sea salt on the one hand, candid sugar and a handful of sultanas on the other. Very entertaining.
It is very creamy, but also quite piquant on the attack. This must be cask strength, no doubt. Probably even over 60% ABV. Clear elements of rubber and salted fish (so very brackish), before the dark side reveals itself: plums, old leather, raisins. A sturdy fellow, to say the least. I am sure this one could do with a bit of water, but my sample is gone before I get round to it.
The finish is intense, long and a battle between sweet and salt. Oh, my!
I am thinking of an Islay whisky on sherry cask, as well as a rather young age. This could well be Bunna or Laffie. Or even a young Ledaig. Whatever the case, it is good stuff. I would describe this as a young, untamed sherry/peat animal.
After sending Marc my tasting note, he reveals the true nature of his sample: turns out to be indeed a young Ileach on sherry: the 12 Year Old Bowmore club bottling for Fulldram.