The Scotch Malt Whisky Society are heading to Islay. In fact, they’re heading to the famous festival Feis Ile, which is being held at the end of this month, where they’ll be hosting an Open Day at Islay House on May 22nd.
Sounds a good an excuse as any to release a limited edition Islay festival bottling. And this one is available to all – you don’t have to be a member of the Scotch Malt Whisky Society to get your whisky-stained hands on a bottle. The whisky itself? It’s bottle number 3.243 “Dark, smouldering flamenco gypsy”. It’s a peated Bowmore, which has spent 17 years in a refill ex-sherry butt, before being bottled at 57.1% ABV.
Colour: tawny, auburn. On the nose: gosh that is lovely stuff. A perfect balance between the coastal brine, gentle peat and sweet European oak influence. Burnt sausages, and BBQ sauce. Smoked haddock. Lashings of almost classic dried fruits (imagine a smoked, burnt Glenfarclas being drunk in a fishmonger’s). A little lingering woodspice.
In the mouth: Just gorgeous. The nose and the taste match perfectly. I love the contrast of peat/sherry cask and a sort of meaty, fishy combination. Espresso, plum sauce, Chinese Five Spice, dark chocolate. Sweet chilli sauce. Pork chops. The peat becomes more prominent after a while, and it follows naturally into the wood spices. Quite dry in the mouth, overall, with a touch of bright acidity. It’s excellent.
Why the hell can’t Bowmore knock out whisky as good as this under their own label? It’s the second time I’ve thought that in as many months. Anyway, what a great festival bottling. Worthy, most certainly, of the limited edition tag, and if you’re at the festival it’s definitely worth heading to the Open Day.
This whisky is also a very good reminder of why, if you can afford it, you should become a member of the Scotch Malt Whisky Society. Because the quality of the society bottlings is consistently brilliant. And you get a fancy box when you join.