The world of Scotch whisky has no borders. The flavour between one bottle and the next can differ greatly, and there are numerous factors to consider when attempting to break down a whisky, and understand more about its taste and allure.
Distillers work their magic, the ingredients do their part, and wooden casks let the distilled spirit rest, develop, and grow into the wonderful whisky that is poured into your glass.
The region in which a Scotch is produced also plays an extremely important role concerning the flavour of the whisky. Over the years distilleries have come to be defined by the region that surrounds them. If you want to know more about the many Scotch whisky regions, have a read here.
Fans may have preferred distilleries, but a real whisky lover will most likely have a favourite region, and swear by whiskies produced within it.
In the first part of our “5 Of A Kind” series we’ll be showcasing some amazing bottles from the Scotch whisky region of Islay, and presenting all the isle has to offer.
Port Charlotte 13 Year (Maltman, 2002) – £114.71
Let’s start strong with a Whisky Foundation exclusive from the distillery of Port Charlotte.
This single malt showcases the brilliantly peaty character of Port Charlotte whisky. Distilled in 2002, this release is relatively young and brings forth an edge peat-lovers will most definitely enjoy.
The intensity of being bottled at cask strength, the heavy peated flavour, and the smoothness of the sherry bring a balanced and unique whisky to your glass.
Bunnahabhain 25 Year (Wilson & Morgan, 1989) – £172.07
Most people automatically associate the isle of Islay with peat explosions and smoky wood notes, when it comes to Scotch. For good reason too, as most distilleries on the island take advantage of the peat reserves available and infuse the smoke into their products.
But not Bunnahabhain. They have taken a different approach by producing less peaty, sweeter, smoother and richer whiskies over the years. This is most definitely the case for this wonderful 25 Year Old bottling.
Think honey and smooth creaminess, flavours reinforced throughout the 25 years the whisky spent in a Pedro Ximenez sherry cask. This warm, syrupy single malt will keep your mind on the complex aftertaste for hours after finishing your dram.
Caol Ila 19 Year (Kingsbury, 1996) £180.26
Distilled at Caol Ila in 1996, this whisky has been aging in sherry hogshead for a whole 19 years.
During that time this magnificent Scotch has become a balanced, peated and sherried whisky, bringing forth flavours of fruit and spice, which shine through the evident smoke and wood that hits the nose and palate. At 55 per cent cask strength, you can expect an intense and mind-blowing experience.
Only 242 bottles were produced, so you’ll want to get your hands on one of these bottles as soon as possible.
Bowmore 30 Year (Rest & Be Thankful , 1985) – £573.57
A whisky which equals pure delight.
This 30 Year Old release by Bowmore gives drinkers a good amount of peat, followed by a whole lot of complex flavours, created from the many years it spent in a cask. What’s more, it’s the only bottle on the list which was aged in a bourbon cask, so expect some pleasant vanilla and caramel notes to emerge.
Time has transformed this Scotch into a rich, complex, and unique elixir, ready to entertain the palate of anyone lucky enough to taste it. Only 159 bottles exist, and this is a bottle few will be indecisive over.
Laphroaig 25 Year Crystal Decanter (Sar Obair, 1990) – £778.42
Laphroaig is truly a world-renowned distillery, based on Islay and known for the intense, strong-flavoured whisky it produces. This specific release is very rare, distilled in 1990 and then matured for a staggering 25 years.
The whisky comes in a gorgeous crystal decanter and showcases the well-known, peaty Laphroaig character, which has deepened and developed over its two and a half decades soaking in and out of the oak cask that held it.
This single malt looks and tastes the part. With only 216 bottles ever produced and considering the current rare whisky boom, this gem won’t be available for long.