rigin: Isle of Islay (Scotland)
Type: Single Malt Scotch Whisky
Ageing casks: Ex-Wine
Added colorouring: No
Owner: Morrison Distillers
Average price: € 65.00
Official website: mactallawhisky.com
There are not many bottlings born under this label created by Morrison Distillers a few years ago: three basic bottlings, all of which you will find reviewed in this blog, and two limited editions, the present one and the very recent Pedro Ximénez, created for Fèis Ìle 2023.
Resulting from the union of twenty-four former red wine barriques from Bordeaux, this edition is not cask strength but still considerable, and contains fairly young distillates (around six to eight years) from the distillery that cannot be named but that everyone knows so well, with a full maturation in wine that cannot be said to be without many risks.
7,200 bottles produced in the second half of 2022, and still widely available.
Thanks to Fabio Ermoli of Lost Dram Selections and Mark van der Vijver, International Sales Manager of Morrison Distillers, for the kind sample.
A whisky that requires time in the glass to dilute the initial overbearing effluvium of vinous notes, in which the red wine is keen to reaffirm its influence. But this is only an initial outburst of French pride, because in a short time the Islay peat creeps through the vines, imbuing the pungent red fruits and must with thick, meaty smoke, re-proposing the classic pairing of wine and grilled steak. The fruit becomes berry mustard with a touch of blood orange, and a vegetal and wet earthy vein emerges to balance the tones. A few spicy brushstrokes (nutmeg, cloves) complete a full and intense picture.
On the palate, the roles are reversed, the peat comes first at the appeal but generously paves the way for fruit in the form of raspberry and ginger jam, blood orange and redcurrant. A wave of salt crashes over the flavours, while the smoke continues on its way towards evocations that are more vegetable than carnivorous, dragging in its unctuous procession notes of cocoa and a slight sulphurous impression. Mentholated ambitions in length.
Fairly long finish in which the smoke vigorously embraces its fellow travellers, sprinkling them with spices, salt, red fruit acidity and minerality in profusion.
What on paper could have been a disaster turned out to be a full and balanced dram, the distillate held up very well to the influence of the not-quite-boyish casks with a truly surprising result, thanks also to an apt gradation.