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Closing Off Islay Be Back!

Author: Matt Wooler - Thursday, December 17, 2015

Thank you for attending

Yes we have now closed off our last sit down tasting class for 2015. We had to go out with a bang so it was peated Islay all the way. Aptly named Islay Be Back this evenings tasting took things from the mildly peated Bowmore to the super cool taste bud decimating heavily peated Octomore from Bruichladdich.

Presenting to a sell out crowd yet again we saw many new faces and just as many older smiles filling the tables. One of the best things about doing regular tastings is the opportunity to share your experience and passion for whisky with those around you.

Whiskies on tasting consisted of a well rounded display of peated Islay Single Malts. The Bowmore 12 Years Old, Klichoman Machir Bay, Laphroaig 10 Years Old, Ardbeg 10 Years Old, and the Octomore 6.1 Islay Barley. As to which whisky won the night I would have to say it appeared to be the Octomore just for what it was though everyone had a regular favourite they would be happy to drink any time. Many discovered quickly that the higher the PPM does not always mean the more smoky the whisky nor that an older peated whisky is as good as approachable as the younger. For tasting notes from the night see below.

Our food service consisted of the ever classic mozzerrlla cheese, a sharp and exciting aged cheddar, a creamy spiky youthful blue, water crackers to even it all out and a salty prosciutto. Pairing a cured meat with whisky can be a difficult thing as the grease from the protein can easily over power the senses. In saying that when it comes to smoky salty Islay whiskies this rule can be broken and we think the choice on the night was well targeted.

Naturally there were giveaways to the more interactive attendees and being Christmas we thought to wrap and hand out 3 little items to put under the tree. To those that won we hope you enjoy your little gifts.

An opportunity also arose for us to road test the new Denver & Liely Whisky Glass created by a couple of Aussie designers from Melbourne. It was a great chance to pass around a glass of the Kilchoman and allow the guests to match it up against our standard tasting glass. If you would like to know more about the D&L glass have a read of our review: All I want For Christmas - Part 3 The Glass.

We want to say a big thank you to all that attended the Islay Be Back class and hope you gained some new experiences and look forward to seeing you again in 2016. For a full compliment of images taken on the night jump over to our Facebook gallery.

If you attended this event and would like to leave a review please support us on YELP.


Whiskies Tasted

Following are the personal notes we supply at our tastings.

Bowmore 12 Years Old, Single Malt

Distiller: Bowmore Distillery
Region: Islay, Scotland     ABV: 40%     Wood: Ex-Bourbon & Ex-Oloroso Sherry Casks     PPM: 20
Nose: Maritime breeze filled with beach smoke & salt air, boxed new leather shoes and mildly boggy.
Taste: Sweet & salty seafood soup, warm toasted woods, spicy tannins (earthy).
Finish: Easy & long with a lingering warmth. Develops an emerging prickle in the gums.
Average Price: $86.99
Other: General releases of Bowmore are recognised as displaying the mildest profiles of the peated Islay malts.

 

Kilchoman Machir Bay, Single Malt

Distiller: Kilchoman Distillery
Region: Islay, Scotland     ABV: 46%     Wood: Ex-Bourbon & Ex-Oloroso Sherry Casks     PPM: 20 - 25
Nose: Smoky fresh tropical fruits, pineapple & ash.
Taste: Vibrant with obvious peat smoke, large vanillas, fruit tending to caramelised pineapple.
Finish: Long & lingering with sweet fruits with an intense pineapple sweetness.
Average Price: $109.00
Other: Currently the youngest of Islay distilleries producing whiskies at 4 to 6 years old. First whisky launched in 2012.

 

Laphroaig 10 Years Old, Single Malt

Distiller: Laphroaig Distillery
Region:
Islay, Scotland     ABV: 40%     Wood: Ex-Bourbon (Makers Mark Casks)     PPM: 40 - 50
Nose:
Medicinal, smoke, seaweed, iodine, sweet vanillas.
Taste: Sweet malt, salt, peat smoke with marginal metallic banding.
Finish: Long and warming like a bonfire in the chest and smoke stacks in the mouth.
Average Price: $84.99
Other: Laphroaig retains the Royal Warrant of the Prince Of Wales. The original 15yo did not display the warrant as The Prince Of Wales did not want to be reminded of himself when he was drinking his favourite whisky. True story.

 

Ardbeg 10 Years Old, Single Malt

Distiller: Ardbeg Distillery
Region: Islay, Scotland     ABV: 46%     Wood: Ex-Bourbon American Oak     PPM: 50 - 65
Nose: Smokey ash, sweet malts, a little boggy with hints of sea spray.
Taste:  Fresh, sweet & malty at first with chewy earthy all spices, coffee, thick peat smoke & salty air.
Finish: Deep, long & drawn with a building furnace in the chest as sweet malts, coffee & almonds return to the mouth.
Average Price: $79.99
Other: Ardbeg’s Master Distiller, Dr Bill Lumsden oversees the sister Highland distillery Glenmornagie’s whisky chemistry.

 

Bruichladdich Octomore 6.1 Scottish Barley, Single Malt

Distiller: Bruichladdich Distillery
Region: Islay, Scotland     ABV: 57%     Wood: Ex-Bourbon American Oak     PPM: 167 
Nose:
Explosive! Rich young peat, salty iodine, sweet barley, mint, charcoal, sea spray (bacon after 1st sip).
Taste: A moreish oily velvet displaying a huge cereal malt mouthfeel, sweet oaks, salty ash with notes of lemon & apple.
Finish: Assertive ashy malts lingering with a spicy tingle that drys with sweet fruits. Goes on and on and on.
Average Price: $170.00
Other: Octomore generally is only ever 5 years old maximum. Young heavily peated whiskies display excitable sweet charcoal characteristics. Classified the worlds most heavily peated whisky. Currently 6.3 is peated at 258ppm and is claimed to be an accident. Bruchladdich produces both peated and unpeated whiskies.

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