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The series of Smoking Buffalo is always a peaty whisky in honor of KAA Gent, a Belgian football club that celebrates its 150th birthday this year. To celebrate, Belgian bottlers The Bonding Dram and Whisky Import Belux released this 6th edition of the Smoking Buffalo. Something special, to be sure, as it is a peaty version of an 18 Year Old from the Speyside Distillery. Hang on… Speyside Distillery does not produce peaty whisky, do they? I am told they experimented with peaty spirit in the early days of their existence. This whisky, distilled on 11th September 1996 and bottled on 11th November 2014 came from the warehouses of Carn Mor. It is a single cask #1076 at cask strength, a whopping 59,1% ABV.
The nose is lovely fruity with a big smoky jacket. Very accessible. White fruit (apples, pears), but also gooseberries and loads of white grapefruit. Some nuts, even some marzipan. Something candy-like too. The peat gives some herbal, mildly sour notes. Suddenly I get espresso and the fruit turns yellow. Sherry cask? This is really nice.
The arrival is pretty sweet and spicy. Burns a bit, so let me add some water. Then I get the lovely fruit from the nose again – white grapefruit in the lead – but also loads of honey and caramel. And then suddently a wonderful smokiness develops which reminds me a bit of Caol Ila (which is always a good thing). Good!
The finish is smoky, sweet, spicy and long. Yes, only good things.
I confess that my expectations were pretty low and I have not yet tasted anything worthwhile from the Speyside Distillery. But this is truly a wonderful whisky. It does need some water though. My favorite Smoking Buffalo so far and as far as I know the only peaty whisky from this distillery ever bottled. The 150 bottles sold out in less than two weeks. I got me bottle 150 of 150.