Thursday, April 10, 2008

In the whisky cupboard ... The Wine Society 'Exhibition' 21 years old Islay malt

I received this bottle as a Christmas present, it is a very limited release from The Wine Society in their 'Exhibition' range. They buy casks from various distilleries and then release bottlings from these casks to their members. There is no distillery named on the label but the region is named (the island of Islay). It is rumoured that this whisky is from Bowmore. The colour is very rich, dark and golden and the nose is very pleasant. There is the smokiness that you associate with most Islay whiskies, but it is more subtle due to the age of the spirit. There is also a very interesting sweetness coming through that reminded me of citrus fruit (think of sweet oranges). The taste is very good. The smokiness does not overpower the other flavours and is lighter than I expected, making me think of a small open fireplace burning (the ash/embers, I think). Again there is the sweet citrus note but it is joined by other vegetal elements (it's earthy and mossy, which probably comes from the peat used in smoking the malt grains).

Some Islay whiskies can have a very full on meaty flavour, but this was surprising and refreshing to the palate. The finish is very enjoyable and long. All the elements linger around for ages, with maybe a slight bitterness coming in right at the end. This whisky is a very good example of how smoky whisky can become rounded and mellower with age and I think even people who don't like the really smoky whisky flavours, would enjoy this. It can only be purchased from The Wine Society website and the price of £30 for a 21 year old whisky, is a bargain. I would be pleased to get another bottle as a present!

No comments: