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Islay Mist 8 Year Old

Average score from 3 reviews and 7 ratings 81

Islay Mist 8 Year Old

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This review is based upon samples at various points of a bottle's lifespan: a sample at the end of a bottle given by @Nock, fresh tastings of my own newly opened bottle, and that same bottle open for one month's time

Body: light, quite thin really

Nose: nice peat with some smoke, sweet with some pleasant sharp bitterness. More intense and more juicy than most blended Scotch. You can definitely smell the Laphroaig malt which is reported to be used in Islay Mist 8 yo. There is also some wheat "grain" whisky smell in the background

Taste: mild smooth start, followed by progressively more intense sharp-edged peat and smoke. The thin light body is the biggest shortcoming of Islay Mist 8 yo. At 55% abv this would clobber you over the head. "Grain" whisky wheat flavours are here if you look at them. They colour the background, but they do not command the attention

Finish: finishes on sharp bitter peat with background sweetness

Balance: a good balance of sweet and bitter peat prevails. This is all about peat and smoke, with some nice wood sweetness here as well, similar, as others have pointed out, to the sweetness of Laphroaig Quarter Cask. "Laphroaig Light" you could call it. Some might call it "Laphroaig Very Light"...but, the lightness is not so much in the flavours as in the texture/body/weight, and the fact that you can taste a little wheat "grain" whisky background. This does not taste like malt, "single", "double", "blended" or "vatted". You can either accept that or hold it against Islay Mist 8 yo. Personally I don't like wheat flavours in blended Scotch, and am continuously astonished that Scotch drinkers don't seem to know how to pick them out. (Drink more wheated bourbon. Dilute it ridiculously, say, one part whiskey to four parts water. Then you will have some idea of that 90% abv-off-the-still product referred to as Scottish Wheat Grain Whisky.) Despite my not liking wheat flavours in blended Scotch, Islay Mist 8 yo works better for me than most


Nose: mossy peat and some dry smoke but not as ashen as I recall Laphroaig being. Some medicinal notes but also fruity sweetness; maybe honeydew? Light and appealing.

Taste: light-bodied and smooth. Some sweetness right off the bat and then peat coats the mouth. Very easy to drink. The grain whisky base provides some bite at the back of the tongue, but peat definitely dominates this blend.

Finish: all peat.

Balance: strikes a unique balance with its light body, honied sweetness and strong peat character. Not the most complex blend out there but it does a lot of things right.

I had a dram of this yesterday at a friend's place (I gave him the bottle as a Christmas gift since a) he is new to Scotch, b) has shown a preference for peated whisky, and c) is enjoying his bottle of Black Grouse), and it wasn't bad. You can certainly taste the Laphroaig influence, but I agree, it isnt' 50% Laphroaig, and there is certainly a lot of grain whisky smoothing it out and sweetening it. I'd call it Quarter-Cask Extremely Light, and it is easily at 75 - 80 score-wise for me. I have a bottle of the 17 year-old version in stock (it was $78.95 at the LCBO), but I have a couple other peated whiskies slated for rotation before I get to it.

Thanks for the defence there, @cheeserandyburg...and as he's pointed out, @newkophile, pricing in Ontario is significantly different from what it is in the US...Lagavulin 16 is closing on $120 a bottle, while Laphroaig 18 is about $180...so yes, I'd willingly spend $79 for a 17 year old blended whisky that is around 35% to 45% Laphroaig, plus some well aged grain whisky, than the $180 for the Laphroaig 18...and that $79 is still $10 less than the Ballantines 17, so value is in the eye of the beholder, and plus whisky is about exploration and experimentation, so why not try something different?

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