Nosing this dram, I find myself mentally traversing Islay in search of some hint, some disclosure, of that which is Undisclosed. I wander across the Rhinns amidst wafts of smoked sausage and ears of corn with barley heads where the kernels would normally be. I realize I must travel further to find the answer, even though Bill just went into a Pavlovian fit as he nosed this. [John: Dammit, Bill! Why didn’t you wear your slobbering bib? You knew this was an SCN dram!] Exploring further, there’s a fatty, round smell that we imagine is roasted splagchna offered to a truculent god. Or maybe it’s just really good lamb kofta. I stroll through Port Charlotte and notice the gunpowder notes, like from a confetti cannon firing out printed pages of Donald Trump’s twitter feed–in an apparent and inexplicable attempt to pollute the landscape as it’s polluted America’s collective brainspace. Again, it’s clear to me that this is not the place for these notes, so I move on.
As I make my way across to the town of Bowmore, I take a taste, and the mouth is just like the nose, only earthier. And in the mouth. (#tautology #AmeansA #logicYo) But I go further and find notes of raw, unwashed selvedge denim that leaves marks on buttermilk-colored leather couches, the likes of which would never fit in a round church. So I move on down the long road bordered with peat bogs. Here, I’m drawn further by notes of an anthracite grill that cooks elk steaks to a perfect medium in seconds. Up ahead, I think I sense a wine note hiding in the background, blushing behind one of the few trees out here. I move toward it and into Port Ellen.
The finish is oily and sweet and lurking beyond Port Ellen, so I plow ahead, down the road toward Ardbeg. As I do, I can sense it getting closer: a note of maple syrup with smoked eels suspended in it. But it’s fainter than that: it’s like finding said maple syrup centuries later, when it’s crystallized like amber, preserving the eels as curiosities forever. I lag a bit, then stop short of Ardbeg and know I’ve arrived.
The SCN Undisclosed Islay 7 Year Old is a home run–Glorious and decisive, nothing can stand in your way once you hit it. Just admire your work, then trot home.
–Our thanks to Single Cask Nation for the sample!