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Unknown Islay Malt

Mystery Islay!

8 593

@talexanderReview by @talexander

13th Aug 2020


Unknown Islay Malt
  • Nose
  • Taste
  • Finish
  • Balance
  • Overall

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  • Brand: Unknown
  • ABV: 59.6%

It's been a while since I've written a review - keepin' busy during The Covid! I acquired this from Scotch Whisky Auctions many years ago - I had to bid on it since you never get an opportunity like this: hand-bottled straight from the cask at Cadenhead's retail store! Not sure which one, though I'd guess Campbeltown. They have small casks set up where you can fill a 200ml bottle by hand, it's very cool.

This one is an unnamed Islay malt, bottled Dec 18 2009 for a Caroline Smith. Caroline....if you are out there..... I have your bottle. But you can't have it back. You lose! Or maybe she never got it? What is the story behind this? Maybe her boyfriend brought it back for her from his trip to Scotland - and when he got home, she dumped him before he gave it to her! Forlorn and heartbroken, he could not face this precious gift any longer. With tears in his eyes and a catch in his throat, he sold it at auction for peanuts. And now, I have it in my glass, while our poor friend spends his days asking "Would you like fries with that?" and going home to his single bed and pet lizard. It's the circle of life, folks.

The colour is a pale gold; there are tiny particles floating around - love the raw cask! On the nose we have juicy tropical fruits (papaya, mango skins, pineapple), greenish strawberries and peat that sits in perfect balance. Grassy. Milk chocolate. Pine. Macadamia. Peppery. Water brings down the heat. Fruity, peaty, complex. Stunning.

Silky on the palate with a lot more peat; also banana, strawberries-and-cream and almond butter. Mouth-drying. While the nose had mango skins, the palate has the juice running down my chin - fat and pulpy. Spicier with water, and the peat gets dialled up big time. So, so delicious....

The finish is quite spicy with similar notes - fruit, peat and this time, more oak. If I had to guess the distillery (and of course I have to, who wouldn't) - I'd guess Bowmore just from the fruitiness (though Pam, the Bowmore expert, disagrees, but she's also smoking while tasting it so who knows). But I can tell you this is one stunner of a malt. And since this is one bottle of one, this review is less about consumer recommendation and more about complete narcissism.


Nozinan commented

Nice review but I think you got the story wrong.

My take... not actually knowing anything that would give evidence for this, is as follows.

Johnnie Doe had a really good time in Scotland. A REALLY good time.

He bottled two bottles, one for Caroline and one for Rebecca.

Unfortunately, he drank a wee bit too much on the flight back home. As he was unpacking, he gave his partner, Rebecca, the first bottle that came out of the suitcase. Unfortunately, it was the one for Carolyn. Rebecca doesn’t know a Carolyn.

Johnnie told her “It’s not what you think”, when, in fact, it was exactly what she thought. He quickly gave her the one with her name on it.

Now here is where the story gets tricky. It’s unclear to me what happened to Rebecca’s bottle. Some clues suggest that it exited her home, on its own, with a velocity that would just miss Johnnie’s head and would leave a crack in his BMW’s windshield as it shattered.

Other clues suggest that it was the suitcase that followed Johnnie as he ran (he was no “walker”) out, never to be seen again. Angry, hurting, and not used to drinking, she downed the Rebecca bottle with ginger ale (must be @talexander‘s cousin).

When she woke up, she saw the bottle and tossed it (with a soft landing) into Johnnie’s closet. When she threw his clothes into the street she forgot about the bottle.

Years later, as she was packing her home to move in with her fiancé, she came across this bottle and it brought back memories. In a last act of vengeance, she decided to purge Jonnie from her life by auctioning off the bottle, to see what her time with him had amounted to (which is what you paid for the bottle).

Glad you enjoyed it. I experience Scotch vicariously through you.

3 years ago 4Who liked this?

OdysseusUnbound commented

Your tasting notes make it sound more like a well-aged Ardbeg to me, but what do I know?

And for the record, I think it’s all a misunderstanding. I think Evan’s wife was actually named “Carol-Anne” but the Scots mis-head “Caroline” and said “Carol-Anne” thought it would be weird to keep the bottle.

3 years ago 3Who liked this?

talexander commented

@Nozinan You're right - that's EXACTLY what happened!

3 years ago 2Who liked this?

Alexsweden commented

either way it sounds like a winner!

3 years ago 0

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