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Peat and sherry, the salt and tabasco of whisky. As powerful flavour agents they often determine the direction of our single malts. Ranging from enhancer to the dominant force of our single malts, we all certainly love one of their phenotypes.
But designing a dram that encompasses both to the fullest of their merit can be quite tricky. You'll need to create a perfectly balanced combination of rich, bold, and phenolic tastes. The Lagavulin Distillers‘ edition and Ardbeg Uigeadail know well how to fine-tune the two to a foolproof equilibrium, but there’s another Islay contender from the shores of Loch Indaal. And I ain’t talking about Bruichladdich.
Description: Batch 3, matured for 14 years in an ex-bourbon cask, finished in a Spanish Oak Sherry butt, bottled in 2012 at 53.7% cask strength.
Nose: a saline kick-off: salt crusts and seaweed. Notes of polished leather, earthy peat, soft pear juice, gunpowder and a touch of Fisherman’s Friend. In time the dram turns more subtle and fruity, displaying aromas of sherry and fresh sultanas.
Mouth: a rich body with a warm and fairly intense peppery burst on the palate. Some tar, peat, a drop of sherry, dried plums and salty liquorice, with an overall clear influence of the wood.
Finish: long, ending on a note of tobacco smoke, black pepper, cinnamon.
Verdict: underneath all that peat smoke lies a mature whisky that wears its sherry finish like an armour. What a dram and what a blast. Only €77 at the local shop, so it comes reasonably priced. Makes you wonder why it gets so little acclaim. I can’t stress this enough: if you don’t know which OB Bowmore to buy, Laimrig is the one.