[We missed getting this review out before this whisky sold out, but this one sold out almost right away, and quite a while ago now. So we then took our time getting the review out. And by that I mean we really took our time. But should you want to buy one at auction or off a money-challenged friend (why else would he be selling it?!?), these notes might help you decide how deep you should dig to do so.]
I’m going to begin this review by lodging a complaint about the label: there is nothing undisclosed about this whisky. Like a spy that can’t stop talking about how spy-tastic he is, the nose not only discloses its provenance, it shouts to anyone who will listen about its Islayness, its Islacity. [Stephen: John, the point is that the label doesn’t disclose which Islay distillery it’s from, simply that it’s from the Islay region.] [John: “um, 404! File Not Found!”]
There is an iron quarry smell if the quarry was many miles out into the North Sea and Poseidon himself removed the bath plug. There are strange twitching crabs glinting white in the sun against the oil-black rocks, and then dark, knobby fossils of even stranger (but no longer twitching) crabs. I dig down to extract the minerals with blast-furnace hardened toothpicks to no avail. My hands are now ruined; they are like a clump of broiled parsnips. Brandy soaked parsnips, I note, prepared in a flambee.
The mouth is reedy and ragged and righteous. But it’s also more complex than expected. Lively and bright. Exciting. It’s a ceileigh in a bottle! [Bill: <ahem> It’s spelled cèilidh.] [John: <ahem> Anglicization, bro.] I have muffled an opera singer with chloroform but he’s too heavy to drag away, so I sit with him as his chest heaves slowly against a melodic nose whistle. “His right nostril has perfect pitch,” I remark to myself before the police take me away.
The finish is long and compelling; it’s the end of the extended version of Return of the King. As I dwell upon it, I find that it’s like when negotiations go nowhere, but the attachés of the principals are quietly falling in love and exchanging state secrets recklessly. Young and dynamic; it’s preteens dancing off the sexual energy they don’t understand but which their parents fear.
–Our thanks to Single Cask Nation for the sample!