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The Great Islay Fumes

This flight fogs the nose and mouth with the smokiest southeastern whiskies. From cigars to barbecues to campfires by the beach, the level of peat in these drams are not to be messed with. Warning: the Islay fumes reveal many layers of pungent flavours. Sip at your own risk.

Caol Ila 12 Year Old

Type Scotch
Style Single Malt
Region Islay
Country Scotland
Distillery Caol Ila
ABV % 43
Aged 12
NOTES:
RM308.00

Lessons in the Dram

Yellow, gold, or mahogany—do these colours matter?

Well, they tell us what type of oak barrels the whiskies were aged in and how fresh the barrels are as oak barrels lose their ability to transfer colour over time. The colours also give us a clue on what was previously in the barrel, forming terms like ex-bourbon and ex-sherry. So, yes! The whisky experience starts with the eyes.

Description

Washed along our shores is a classic Islay rendition of smoky and sweet, garnished with just the right amount of herbs and spices. Taking a sip is reminiscent of a trip along the coastline. There are hidden notes with the ebb and flow of every sniff and sip. Be excited: there’s much more to peat in the 12-year-old Caol Ila.

The Caol Ila distillery got its name from the Gaelic phrase Caol Ìle which means the Sound of Islay or the Islay Strait. Founded by Hector Handerson in 1846, the distillery overlooks the strait between Islay and Jura—what a view! It has since changed multiple hands over the years and is now under the care of Diageo—one of the largest producers of spirits and beers.

Awards

1st Place
Best Single Malt Scotch 12 Years – 2015 International Whisky Competition
Gold
Islay up to 12 Years Old – 2015 The Scotch Whisky Masters (The Spirits Business)
Gold
Distillers' Single Malts 12 Years and Under – 2014 International Spirits Challenge
Silver Outstanding
Scotch Single Malt – Islay – 2017 International Wine & Spirit Competition

Tasting Notes

Sight
Pale straw
Nose
A walk through some offshore vegetation—fresh and herbally. There’s a sharp, cool scent of rubbed peppermint leaves and damp grass in the early mornings. It’s oily and stemmy, with an added complexity of cigar leaves, smoked ham, hickory, lemon peels, and slight saltiness from the sea.
Palate
It’s peaty sweet. Holds a good oily body with smoke delicately filling the mouth. Tastes like tar and a small amount of boiled sweet.
Finish
Ends cosily with a warming long finish that’s peppery, spicy, and smoky.

Laphroaig 10 Year Old

Type Scotch
Style Single Malt
Region Islay
Country Scotland
Distillery Laphroaig
ABV % 43
Aged 10
NOTES:
RM408.00

Lessons in the Dram

Whisky caramel (E150) may be added to some large commercial bottlings for aesthetic purpose or to even out the colour for consistency. It is legally allowed in most countries as distilleries claim that the colouring doesn’t affect the flavours.

Description

This 10-year-old is the OG, or rather, the OL—the original Laphroaig. An excellent representation of what an Islay scotch should be: full of peat and medicinal notes. It’s pretty much the same Laphroaig that was invented 75 years ago by a guy named Ian Hunter, or at least it is still distilled the same way.

A little birdy told us that Prince Charles of Wales is a fan of Laphroaig whiskies. We might as well crown Laphroaig king—a “royal” distillery founded by Donald and Alexander Johnston in 1815, based in Port Ellen, Isle of Islay.

There has been a huge demand for Laphroaig whiskies. Fans go wild over their limited expressions. What can we say? Once you go Laphroaig, drinking whisky will never be the same.

Awards

Gold
Liquid Gold Award – 2019 Jim Murray's Whisky Bible
Gold
Single Malt Under 12 Year Old – 2019 Scottish Whisky Awards
Master
Scotch Whisky – Single Malt – Age Statement – 2018 The Asian Spirits Masters (The Spirits Business)
Gold
Scotch Single Malt – Islay – 2019 International Wine & Spirit Competition
Silver Outstanding
Scotch Single Malt – Islay – 2017 International Wine & Spirit Competition
3rd Place
Best Single Malt Scotch 10 Years – 2015 International Whisky Competition
Silver Outstanding
Scotch Single Malt – Islay – 2014 International Wine & Spirit Competition
Silver Outstanding
Scotch Single Malt – Islay – 2013 International Wine & Spirit Competition

Tasting Notes

Sight
Full sparkling gold
Nose
Largely masculine and somewhat medicinal. The nose welcomes a blast of smoky peat and spoonfuls of salt, some spices and liquorice. This Laphroaig is a little sweeter than its predecessors, giving it a more elegant odour despite the peculiar presence of iodine and sticking plasters. Not forgetting, an all-time favourite: the cool wood smoke.
Palate
Warm ups with seaweed and soft vanilla ice cream. The medicinal trend continues with notes from a first aid box, including plasters, antiseptic, and maybe gauze swabs. It later flexes the oak, giving it more attention the longer the whisky stays on the tongue, before pumping up on the spices, namely, cardamom, black pepper, and chilli. A little water gives it an additional boost, making it easier to detect the flavours.
Finish
Bulky and dry. The savoury and tarry notes progress while gaining some iodine eccentricity in the process.

Ardbeg 10 Year Old

Type Scotch
Style Single Malt
Region Islay
Country Scotland
Distillery Ardbeg
ABV % 46
Aged 10
NOTES:
RM388.00

Lessons in the Dram

Storing highly flammable alcohol is risky anywhere. Storing them in bulk shouts danger. As a safety measure, many Scottish distilleries distribute their casks to other distilleries for storage and maturation. So if one warehouse burns down (touch wood), not all is lost. 

Description

The beast, the dragon in the dungeon, the ultimate Islay classic. Practically breathes smoke or it wouldn’t be awarded as one of the world’s peatiest malts.

The Ardbeg 10 Year Old is the holy grail of whiskies amongst peat and malt devotees. Its innate peatiness makes it highly collectable and desirable. There aren’t many in the market and its value increases over time. Top that with a list of credentials, including the title as World Whisky of the Year by Jim Murray in 2008. This makes the 10-year-old Ardbeg a considerably good investment.

First opened in the 18th century, the Ardbeg distillery itself is among the greatest on the planet. It is located on the south coast of the Isle of Islay, Argyll, and Bute. Though it has gone through many owners (now owned by Louis Moët Hennessy), closed and reopened several times, the doctrine in making the sacred Ardbeg hasn’t changed.

Awards

1st Place
Best Single Malt Scotch 10 Years – 2015 International Whisky Competition
Gold
Liquid Gold Award – 2014 Jim Murray's Whisky Bible
Winner
World Whisky of the Year – 2008 Jim Murray's Whisky Bible
Gold
Islay Single Malt 12 Years and Under – 2016 World Whiskies Awards
Gold
Islay up to 12 Years Old – 2013 The Scotch Whisky Masters (The Spirits Business)
Silver
Distillers' Single Malts 12 Years and Under – 2019 International Spirits Challenge
Silver
Distillers' Single Malts 12 Years and Under – 2017 International Spirits Challenge
Silver
Islay Single Malt 12 Years and Under – 2014 World Whiskies Awards
Silver Outstanding
Scotch Single Malt – Islay – 2014 International Wine & Spirit Competition
Silver
Single Malt Scotch – to 12 Years – 2013 San Francisco World Spirits Competition
Silver
Scotch Single Malt – Islay – 2019 International Wine & Spirit Competition
Silver
Scotch Single Malt – Islay – 2017 International Wine & Spirit Competition
Silver
Scotch Single Malt – Islay – 2013 International Wine & Spirit Competition

Tasting Notes

Sight
Deepest gold
Nose
A morning’s hike, covered in peaty mist. Fragrance from citrus fruits and sea spray punctures the air from below.
Palate
Sour notes of lemon and lime balance out the sweet vanilla, before the familiar and lovable Ardbeg smoke takes over.
Finish
It’s back down to the shores with sea salted caramel and beach bonfire smoke. A long, magnificent toast to end the day. Cheers to you!
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