From the Islay distillery closest to the wee fishing village of Port Ellen. This is a 20 year old SMWS single cask release from a refill sherry butt. No dead wood here, though. This must have been one of the liveliest and sexiest of sherry casks ever. The barrel influence is massive and the fruity depths plumbed here are leagues deeper than we usually see in any of the distillery released expressions of Laph—-g.
This is the kind of whisky I actively seek out: intense, brooding, thick and all-encompassing. This perfect balance of peat and sherry is difficult to achieve, but when the balance is struck there’s simply nothing comparable. I could go on for a while, but there’s really no point. Utterly magic.
Nose: Syrupy and jammy. Plums and grapes. Ash and notes of smoke, with a strong peaty undercurrent. Licorice. Lanolin. More rich, dark fruits and chocolate. A clean thin stroke of oak and vanilla. Like a cup of lapsang souchong tea, smelled from across a vast room. Well-oiled leather and spiced nuts. In short…stunning.
Palate: Rich and oily. Mouthcoating doesn’t even begin to describe this one. Big, smoky and ashy delivery. Licorice and black cherry. Cough syrup. Dark and earthy notes. Bittersweet chocolate and espresso. Drying, but only after a mouthwatering arrival. Enormous and instantly enamoring. Man…that cloud of smoke builds again at the back end.
Thoughts: Love this malt. One of my all time favorites, and truly majestic. Sadly, I’m now down to the last 1/3 or 1/4. Something this beautiful wasn’t meant to last, I suppose.
– Reviewed by: Curt
– Photo: Curt