this is more about the peat than it is about the smoke, which, apart from the ash, is hardly there at all. By no means is this an in your face whisky, although it does take you by surprise, as it slowly opens up and sets you to work to fully reveal everything it has to offer. It’s also really bloody brilliant! For a 10 year old, it’s not exactly cheap at around €60-€70, but it is worth every penny.
it starts of grainy and malty, with hints of ‘funk’ (musty) and mineral notes and wet straw. It has a hint of sourness to it, like an intense sour dough bread (again, the grainy element you tend to find in the unpeated Bruichladdich expressions as well). But let it sit for some 15 minutes and all that changes: much sweeter now, with (still some) barley sugar, a sweet, earthy peat, a hint of wine (not a sweet wine like a dessert Muscat or anything, mind you), some faint touches of tropical fruit (pineapple, maybe even kiwi) and again an earthy-mineral note, but more like clay now. That’s already quite something, but this party is just getting started.
On the palate, the peat is much more prominent (and I do mean peat, not smoke per se). Here, the higher ABV shows itself, although it’s not, nor ever does it turn, overly aggressive. There’s a quite clear grainy/biscuit-y note, some (unripe) banana now as well. Again, the wine casks (25% of this comes from second fill French wine casks) show themselves, but never take over or mask any potential flaws, they’re just sitting quietly and well behaved in the back, almost with a polite cough asking for a bit of attention, in fact. Towards the finish it dries out with hints of white wood, ash and a salty/briny note. Very, very impressive!
The finish is long. No, wait…the finish is very long, and as was to be expected from the back of the palate it’s woody and ashy, with a whiff of dried or roasted nuts. It doesn’t deliver a climax, but it sort of fades out really slowly and gently.