29.255 - Smoke over the machair

23 years old, distilled 4th April 1995, 56.6% abv, Second Fill Ex-Bourbon Barrel, 192 bottles, dram price G

SMWS 29.255 - Smoke over the machairThe nose has smoke from a woodchip barbecue, rosemary, thyme, lemon, and sea air. The mouthfeel is thin with no cling. The body is soft, but not indistinct - lemon, oak, rosemary, vanilla, mint leaves and pear - and that wood smoke. The finish is lemon, wood smoke and vanilla.

Water brings out thin, rapidly expanding mottling that settles into lingering mottling. The nose gains menthol, pears and vanilla, and loses much of the herbal notes. The body gains thyme and peppermint, and loses the rosemary and vanilla. The finish gains a little thyme, and loses the vanilla somewhat.

Oh, if all Islays were like this! Well, life would be quite dull, actually. But this is a superb, atypical dram from this distillery. The usual fans should stay away, as this one's for the rest of the whisky drinkers...

One for summer afternoons.

Technical score: 4.5/5

Personal preference: I'd like a 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!