8 years old, distilled 19th November 2009, 62.4% abv, First-Fill Ex-Bourbon Barrel, 248 bottles, dram price D
The nose has vanilla sweetness, cracked dry dusty footpaths on a hot summer's day, and a hint of zinc-coated cycling clips. The mouthfeel is thin with no cling. The body has vanilla and pear, and then a explosion of smoke from dry wood bonfire, with some hints of herb garden. The finish is bonfire smoke, vanilla and hints of thyme.
Water brings out thin, tight and rapidly expanding whorling that settles into brief mottling. The nose gains thyme and hints of floral bouquets. The body gains thyme and hints of rosemary, alongside a hint of pear. But the smoke is now bigger, and bolder. The finish gains more smoke and loses some (but not all) of the vanilla.
A beast, but a magnificent one. It's delivery is poised and its power obvious, this shows that Islay's monopoly is long dead...
One for friends around a fireplace in winter.
Technical score: 4.5/5
Personal preference: I'd like more than one bottle.
This whisky was provided by the SMWS in a preview session - thanks to them for that. Full editorial control has been retained in the tasting process!