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Stalla Dhu Islay

Stalla Dhu "Islay"

5 186

RReview by @RikS

24th Sep 2018


  • Nose
  • Taste
  • Finish
  • Balance
  • Overall

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Distribution of ratings for this: user

  • Brand: Stalla Dhu
  • ABV: 40%

So, I'm walking to a meeting in London as I pass by a small tobacco store that also had a few bottles of whisky in the shop window. Threw a glance.. Brora 37... Glendronach 25... huh!? Even though the meeting was in Mayfair, a $2500 bottle of whisky in a 3x4m tobacco store, that's a bit "unusual". Curiosity got the better of me and as I was early I decided to pop in.

Apparently the owner is a bit of a whisky buff, and introduced I were to "Stalla Dhu", which apparently means "Black cliff". Some internet research reveals:

A rare collection of small batch and single cask malts from Scotland's finest distilleries. Created by Ron Morrison and Mitchell Orchant and bottled by Stalla Dhu Whiskies. Stalla Dhu is Scottish Gaeilic for "Black Cliff" and with this exclusive whisky, there are two different regions, this Islay edition and a Speyside offering. First and second generation members of our family of independent bottlers carefully select the whiskies which show a particular promise. To begin, the wood is managed and we continue to house the environment and casks which best affect the aging to achieve the unique results which we strive for. The whiskies are then left until the time is right and then select the correct ABV to bring to you a very special dram.

So, here's a few notes for the 5cl "Islay" that I got.

The nose is very tarry ropes. Some citrus and lemon in there, and cracking hard brown carmel. A whiff of sea-salt and some hazelnut. To say that it's "unmistakenly Islay" would be redundant, it most certainly is! It's got some serious punch in the nose, but of aromas not alcohol vapour. I've been nosing for comparison a few Ardbegs and Laphroaig to try and identify what there is inside, but I cannot be sure. I'm uncertain, but leaning towards a (very) young Laphroaig. edit: no, after some 30min aftertaste on the palate, and a "confirmation" sip, let me revise that and rather point to a probably a bit younger and feisty Caol Ila!

The palate is a bit watery on the attach, but it only takes a second until the full range of flavour kicks in: salted fudge, werthers, some soft sweet liquorice and more than a pinch of salt. The latter surprises me a bit - I tend to pick this out / be sensitive to it in Campbeltowns like Kilkerran, but haven't really experienced it to this extent in an Islay. That said, whilst I'm not really appreciating it in e.g. the Kilkerran, in here it fits well with the other strong tarry flavours.

The finish is rumbling on a while, with the salt being the last that abandons ship.

This ain't half bad at all. Granted, it's young and punchy and probably lacks most in terms of "sophistication", but as the evenings are getting colder, this is definitely one I'd be happy to come back to once in a while, or more often too.

Just thought I'd share as a search here and on Google reveals almost no information at all.


RianC commented

Thanks for the review @RikS! I don't know why but the story of where you found this made me think of Harry Potter smile . . . A little tobacconists that opens up into a Tardis like whisky emporium selling only the finest old, rare and collectible whiskys! One suspects you couldn't pay with one's wand though . . .

9 months ago 2Who liked this?

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