This is a blended scotch which includes a number of whiskies, of which the core component is Laphroaig. It can give someone a budget introduction to smoky islay whiskies, as these are often love or hate first (expensive) experiences – but this one doesn’t show the complexity, grace, and power of many of the Islay malts.
Nose: Light lemon peel, orange, apple, combined with some light smoke and vanilla, and some raw almonds. At times it’s a bit sour and slightly stale and bitter. It could use a bit more complexity, but it is light and pleasant as is with the interplay of the citrus and smoke. 24.5/30 (82%)
Taste: A bit of the smoky peat comes in with a bit of bitterness (which is ever so slightly present throughout), and there’s an odd bit of sourness which is misplaced. The sweetness builds towards the end, but the whisky sort of collapses into the finish. It’s a bit raw, almost – but as I drink more I become more accustomed to it and notice more of the underlying richness and sweetness. 23/30 (77%)
Finish: It sort of collapses on the finish, and there is a light peppery smoke which sits on the front of the tongue. There’s a bit of sweet vanilla as well, with some cinnamon, almond, a bit of earthiness, green apples, some light malt, and a touch of salt. It has decent length, but could do with a bit more flavour. 14.5/20 (73%)
Conclusion: The nose is a bit intriguing but the taste doesn’t match up to the expectations. Elements of it speak clearly enough, and well, but the combination of all the elements is a bit discordant and cacophonous. Originally, I was interested to see if this one would work as a peaty mixer for a few interesting peaty cocktails – so I don’t have to waste money or spend good scotch on them. It works ok – it still doesn’t have enough peaty kick for cocktails that demand the peaty levels of a laphroaig or similar – but it is quite a decent peaty mixer and I can usually make do with it. 15.5/20 (78%)