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Kirkwall Bay Orkney Single Malt

Viking....skin tone?

3 482

@OdysseusUnboundReview by @OdysseusUnbound

7th Oct 2020


Kirkwall Bay Orkney Single Malt
  • Nose
  • Taste
  • Finish
  • Balance
  • Overall

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  • Brand: Kirkwall Bay
  • ABV: 46%

I'm behind on my sample reviews, so I'm trying to catch up. This is a blind sample which is always more fun since my preconceptions and biases are taken out of the equation. This sample comes to me courtesy of @Nozinan and it was poured May 29/2019, while the bottle opened May 18, 2019.

Tasting Notes

Neat from a Highland Whisky Glass

  • The colour is very pale. Interesting
  • Nose: apple juice, honey, a bit of oak, graham crackers, cinnamon, with time there are mild aromas of strawberries and cream
  • Palate: light bodied, yet a bit of a sharp arrival on the palate, honey, a bit of oak, milk chocolate, almonds, vanilla frosting
  • Finish: very light, medium length, a touch of orange zest, oak, perhaps a hint of dried herbs (marjoram?)
  • Thoughts: This is a mild whisky; it's a little on the subtle side. The nose is the most interesting part. The palate and finish don't quite deliver, but there's nothing off or wrong here. I'm guessing this is a malt whisky, possibly a vatted malt. There doesn't seem to be a ton of different stuff going on. I feel like this is a younger whisky (6 to 8 years) that was mostly aged in ex-bourbon casks. I can't decide if this is bottled at 43%-46% or if it's a bit of a hot 40%.
  • Reveal: Kirkwall Bay Orkney Single Malt, 46% abv. This is rumoured to be Highland Park, but I'm not getting any peat whatsoever. Perhaps HP makes some unpeated whisky, or perhaps I'm just not picking up the coastal, peaty funk tonight. Such are the perils of judging a whisky based off a single sample. Based on this tasting alone, I'm not likely to purchase a bottle. It sells for $90 at the LCBO and that's a big price tag to see if I'd like a whole bottle more than a one-off sample.

Thanks again to @Nozinan for his generosity.


cricklewood commented

I remember @Nozinan graciously sharing this whisky during one of our tastings. I enjoyed it enough that I think I decanted a sample but forgot to label it so I'm not a 100% certain If that's the actual whisky in the bottle.

Blame it on the flight of 5 Jack Daniel's Barrel Proof Single Barrels sweat_smile

Some HP are somewhat more phenolic/than peaty...I have a North Star Orkney bottling that is very underwhelming and not particularly peaty or good...

3 years ago 2Who liked this?

BlueNote commented

@OdysseusUnbound Seems like the best HPs come from the independents these days. I'm thinking the Cooper's Choice 16 year old Skara Brae and the Berry Brothers' Orkney Islands for a couple of good examples. I think I had a sample of the one you reviewed from a friend last year. I recall liking it a bit more than you did. I agree, it's a bit too pricey to invest in a bottle.

3 years ago 2Who liked this?

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