Ailsa Bay – 48.9% abv
Info: Ailsa Bay Batch 1 is a peated lowland whisky. Different styles can be produced by the distillery, so batch 2 may be different (but probably not as they seem quite focussed on peated malt). Peated runs are 2 weeks per year. Matured in a combination of four different casks: refill American oak, first fill Bourbon, new oak and Baby Bourbon casks from the Hudson Distillery. No age statement, but no older than 8yo.
Colour: Clear and straw like. Seemingly quite natural.
Nose: If you didn’t know better you’d think this was an Islay dram; it’s not medicinal, but it’s very peaty. There’s sweet, mossy peat with hints of some tropical back notes. It’s creamy, rounded and full; really rather fabulous with a barley background.
Palate: Quite thick, pretty smooth and easy, but with enough ABV to keep it interesting. It’s sweet, with mossy peat, some chocolate and barley notes… what you got on your nose is what you get in your palate, and it’s an absolute pleasure.
Finish: The finish continues from the nose and the palate with more of the same; plenty of mossy sweet peat, creamy chocolate notes and a generally long and pleasurable ending.
Thoughts: Ailsa Bay is a rather triumphant malt. If you were to give it blindly to a Islay malt fan I think they’d be shocked to find that it’s a ‘lowland’ malt… but then again regional styles were ripped up a long time ago, right? It’s nice to be challenged a little!
Available: The Whisky Exchange – £53.95.
My own stock as part of a bottle share.