3.306 - Summer on Islay

18 years old, distilled 17th February 1999, 59.0% abv, Second Fill Toasted Ex-Hogshead, 222 bottles, dram price E

SMWS 3.306 - Summer on IslayThe nose has soft smoke (distant bonfires, scented candles), orange fondant and hints of mango and vanilla. The mouthfeel is thin with no cling. The body has sultanas, burnt heather, and tobacco. The finish is more intense smoke than expected - bonfires and sultanas.

Water brings out thik whorling that settles rapidly into brief mottling. The nose gains mango and honeycomb - I wonder what this would be like with Maltesers? The body gains mango, orange fondant and more sultanas - but that big, dry bonfire smoke is still the dominant flavour. (And not in a bad way!) The finish is bigger smoke, with mango joining the sultanas.

What an unexpected dram. A strange combination of flavours, yet utterly brilliant. Highly recommended. One for any occasion, so long as you're happy to share it with friends...

5/5 (It was originally 4.5, but after I'd finished it the memory haunted me such that I felt compelled to give it the 5!)

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!