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Well, my birthday was actually last week but I finally have a chance to try this wonderful and generous birthday present from Igor Kossov. It is a mini of Islay Mist 17 Year Old, but from the 1970s! Where are you ever going to find this?? My lucky stars!
The colour is a deep, rich gold. On the nose is a burst of aromas: dark chocolate, salted caramel, leather book binding, musty library. It's that mustiness that you only find in old bottlings that I absolutely adore. The gentle smoke flows beautifully within the caramel and chocolate. Mint and eucalyptus. I swear to God I get parmesan rind. A few drops of water helps, bringing more smoke forward.
On the palate, silky smooth, with a bit more caramel, and this time milk chocolate. The peat has retreated a little but it is still there. A wee bit of spice - truly savoury (sage, light beef stock), not too sweet. A little shy, unless you add a few drops of water, and everything comes forward in harmony.
The finish is briny, herbal and delicious. Literally mouthwatering. This is top-notch and in that excellent category of old-school scotches - meaty, musty, savoury. Too bad I don't have a current bottling of Islay Mist 17 Year Old handy, but when I reviewed that one back in February of last year, I scored it an 84. This one scores rather better - keep in mind the new one is 40% whereas the older bottling is 43%. Thanks Igor, ya bastard!