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Nose: Sweet Smoke on first whiff, then oh sweet smoked bananas in maple syrup arrive! (and a bit of other tropical notes I can’t put my finger on) I didn’t expect that one at all. What a wonderful surprise!. Some honey, and citrus and also vanilla on top of this wonderful banana split of a nose. The Peat is not very strong as expected by an older expression as this one.
Palate: Initially sweet, then bitter with tons of smoke and peat that attack your palate. There is also something spicy going on. The feeling is much more aggressive and strong than the nose would suggest. The smoked bananas are also evident on the palate.
Finish: Long, bitter, Smokey, peaty, ending on oak , burnt embers if coal. Textbook Islay finish. Sweetness is all but gone.
Summing it up:
What can I say? I am in love. A wonderful nose, with a great palate, those tropical fruit / bananas did that for me : mixing so well with the smoke and peat. Very complex, interesting, well aged Islay dram. Nothing short of greatness. This presents a real dilemma: Is this dram worth the extra £20 or so premium over other aged Islays ? Is it that good?
I think it is. £85 is a lot of money, but it’s really a premium malt, and for that amount you are getting an awesome dram, nothing short of that. I guess Ian McLeod could have saved us a few £’s if they chose a more humble casing, and not that black coffin of a box. Also they could have reduced the costs of branding and making the bottle stand out with its black paint and designed fonts, and other marketing features.
Bottom line : I want it. It made its way right into my top 5 wish-list. I intend to get one sometime soon.