The last set we sampled with Sukhinder Singh were decidedly peaty from Highland to Islay and back to the Highlands.
It was a fitting close to an evening of remarkable drams – showcasing bottles having a special connection with the company started over 20 years ago by two brothers which lead to The Whisky Exchange and its many supporting and complementary brands and enterprises.
Loch Lomond’s Highland distillery plays around with different labels – from Croftnegea to Inchmoan to Inchmurrin. This particular bottle was bottled exclusively for The Whisky Exchange in 2019.
What did we think?
- Nose – A distinctly autumnal dram, leafy supported by fruits
- Palate – A curious mix of bitter and sweet, fruity too
What more do we know? Only the TWE tasting notes:
Soft aromas of ripe apricots, plum, quince and vanilla fill the nose. The palate offers notes of banana, mango, honey and peach cobbler that lingers in the finish.
You won’t find a full bottle of this so easily, however last check you could still get a sample for GBP 5.45.
This wasn’t my first brush with Port Askaig – I first was introduced to an interesting trio at Whisky Live Singapore in 2017. I knew Port Askaig was a special ‘project’ of Sukhinder and his brother, creating a distinctive brand as a precursor for the ultimate dream of setting up a new distillery in Islay.
What about this particular edition? It greeted us with a lovely peaty aromas, cinamon toffee sweet on the palate. Quite enjoyable.
What do the folks at The Whisky Exchange have to say?
The 2020 Spring Edition of Port Askaig 12 Year Old has been made with 18 ex-bourbon hogsheads from both 2006 and 2007, creating a perfect balance between sweetness and smoke. The palate offers notes of lemon sherbet, peach, sooty smoke and toffee, with hints of barbecued lemons and fresh mint lingering in the finish.
When we sampled it, this whisky was available at The Whisky Exchange for GBP 65.95.
Between the Port Askaig and the last whisky, we snuck in a quick nip from Elements of Islay – a special series dedicated to exploring different distilleries from Islay. Launched in 2006, each distillery has a “code”, however beyond that, there is no indication of age or vintage to prevent any distraction from discovering the flavour. So you could be sipping a young five year old or a 30 year old.
Which one did we try? Peat & Sweet 55.2%… which we found it was distinctly “khatta meetha” (sour and sweet) with juicy berries and of course peat! And yet completely balanced in the different elements.
Ballechin Heavily Peated 15 year (1 April 2019 / 2 May 2003) Sherry Cask No 204, 55% TWE 20th Anniversary 482 Bottles
Ballechin is another name for Edradour in the Highlands – representing the “peaty” line. We closed with a whisky that was clearly a “two for one” deal! It was an incredibly robust sherry on the aromas and full fledged peat on the palate – truly flavour packed and intense.
After sampling so many whiskies, I will admit to not jotting down any further tasting notes, however when I read what Billy Abbott shared, it “rang” true! Unfortunately if you are tempted to track it down, it is no longer available except on whisky auction sites!
What did the folks at TWE have to say?
Made in 2003 at Edradour distillery, this 15-year-old Ballechin single malt has been matured in a single refill sherry butt, before being bottled in April 2019 to celebrate The Whisky Exchange’s 20th Anniversary. A heavily-peated Highland whisky, it has rich aromas of dark chocolate, treacle, earthy peat smoke and roasted coffee beans. The palate offers notes of sugared almonds, cocoa, coffee, peat and soft fruits, before a lingering, smoky finish.
Billy Abbott, The Whisky Exchange
NOSE – Dried cherries, plump raisins and rich, leathery notes lead. Smokiness sits at the centre, a mixture of charred oak, coal and thick, savoury peat smoke, with a touch of singed roast beef. Fruit builds, with more cherries and raisins joined by mixed peel and wood-roasted apples. Bandage and sticking-plaster medicinal notes sneak out through the gaps in the dense aromas, with a touch of bittersweet, grown-up chocolate brownie to follow.
- PALATE – Rich and thick, with chocolate sauce and cherry jam interleaved with layers of rich earth and leather. Burnt raisins sit at the core surrounded by tingling menthol and aniseed notes, all balanced by raisin jam and black liquorice sweetness.
- FINISH – Tar and leather are joined by blackcurrant jam, dark mint-chocolate chips and cherry jam spread thickly on black bread.
- COMMENT – A beast of a dram, with waves of sherry oak teeteringly balanced against Edradour’s intensely peated spirit.
So there you have it! Quite an exceptional array of whiskies – ranging in character from delicate and nuanced to robust and lively! Truly a special evening…
What else did we explore that night with Sukhinder Singh?
- Glen Elgin 21 year (2007/2020) 48% (SMoS)
- Glenburgie 21 year (1998/2019) Cask 90887 59.4% (SMoS)
- Speyside Blended 45 year (1973/2019) 45.1%
- Ichiro’s Malt Chichibu “On The Way” (2019) Cask 2089 51.5%
- Glentauchers 22 year (1997/2019) Cask 4163 46.6% (Signatory TWO 20th Anniversary)
- Ben Nevis 23 year (1996/2019) Cask 1479 52.7% (SMoS)
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