Origin: Isle of Islay (Scotland)
Type: Single Malt Scotch Whisky
Ageing cask: Ex-Bourbon Hogshead
Added coloring: No
Owner: Whisky Italy
Price: € 89.00 on Whisky Italy
Official website: Whisky Italy
Without wishing to appear as a brazen advertising, I think we can safely say that Whisky Italy is one of the most important and well-known online shops dedicated to whisky (and not only) in Italy, with an endless catalogue and always very attentive to the latest news.
But like any activity that is the result of passion rather than profit, their website goes beyond the classic shop, offering vast in-depth information on whisky, its processing, its history and fact sheets dedicated to the main producers, distilleries and independent bottlers.
The Malaspina brothers, Diego and Igor, have turned their site into a real portal, a point of reference for enthusiasts and those who are on their way to become one. They also organise online themed tastings, which in these times of forced imprisonment have been the salvation for many of us.
And after a Caol Ila made for them by Claxton’s in 2020, this year they are proposing a bottling of their own, putting both feet in the ring of independent Italian bottlers, never so rich as in recent times.
Behind the name Williamson hides the beloved (by me and others) Laphroaig, which when not wearing its official label “hides” behind this nom de plume (in homage to the historic distillery manager Bessie Williamson), and is here offered in the cask strength version of the classic ten year old, created from a single ex-Bourbon cask filled in October 2010, which produced 169 bottles.
And with the purchase of each bottle, thanks to the contribution of the zeroCO2 association, a tree will be planted in Guatemala, complete with a certificate of “belonging” to the purchaser and updates on its growth: more information on the initiative can be found here (in Italian).
And so, off to taste, raising the Glencairn to the health of the Malaspina brothers, Greta and the planet!
Straw yellow in the glass.
A rain of barbecue on the nose, fleshy and full, but it’s a non-violent and almost caressing effluvium, which combines the sweet softness of fruit (peach, red apple, melon) with spicy tones (clove) and citric and lemony veins. Creme brulèe, woody impressions and a background of sea water accompany the aromas, with just a hint of smoke peeping through. Makes your mouth water!
Ocean and land go hand in hand in the mouth, the harmony between the fruity, creamy notes and the iodine and mineral ones is perfect: if you linger with the deserved attention, you can move from one profile to the other seamlessly. A touch of ginger is the only marker of the albeit high alcohol content, facilitating the passage of the different tones in a rich and complex dance of citrus, yellow fruit, spices, oysters and barbecue (more fishy than meaty). Amazing.
The finish is very long, iodised and mineral, reprising the dance of the palate (almost) ad infinitum with a more marked presence of smoke.
If the distillery’s ten year old cask strength is the apotheosis of Laphroaig, here it manages to go even further, fully recovering the spirit and style of Islay that has been somewhat lost in the big numbers. Bottles are just a few, and at that price you’d better hurry up and get one – you won’t regret it.