Berrys’ Islay Reserve 46%

After experimenting with Berrys’ Speyside Reserve, we moved on to the Islay avatar.


Here’s what our Bombay Malt & Cigar club found:

  • Nose: Peaty oily and quite earthy. Old leather. Buttery. Becoming quite sweet. Sunshine citrus yet restrained.
  • Palate: Smoke yet very smooth. Very sweet. Slight spice kick at the back of the throat. The peat while very much present is subtle and joined by slight cinnamon.
  • Finish: Soft spice that mellows out.

Here’s what the chaps over at Master of Malt have to say:

  • Nose: Coastal iodine notes, tarry rope, yuzu, wisps of peat smoke and starfruit.
  • Palate: As is often the case, it’s on the palate that the peat smoke some truly makes itself known, circling sweet golden barley, dried apricot and vanilla.
  • Finish: Lingering peat smoke and sea air.
  • Overall: Islay-ey.

For most, this was distinctly Islay in character and much more along the lines of what we’ve come to expect. And yet the Islay did not pair quite so well with our fancy expensive cigar… pity.

What else did we sample that evening?

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Berrys’ Speyside Reserve 46%

A complete departure was exploring less expensive (yet still elusive and somewhat exclusive) blends and mystery malts… We kicked off our evening with a Speyside from Berrys’….


Here’s what our Bombay Malt & Cigar club found:

  • Nose: Sour cherries that then sweetened into maraschino cherries dipped in chocolate. A little sulfur, ash smoke. Also a bit sharp with a citrus tang of orange peel. One recalled orange ‘Acqua di Parma’. Then a mustiness joined the tart sweetness. Shifting back again to bitter chocolate.
  • Palate: 1st sip of our evening and came across as a bit harsh – almost as though cask strength? Quite sharp. Once past the initial punch, a sense of sherry popped out. Glengoyne was mentioned…
  • Finish: Bitter berries, quite dry, like amla (Indian gooseberries)
  • Water: Needs it! Helped reduce the harshness and brought it to a more accessible level

This was one whisky where it seemed impossible it was only 46%. There was a real kick, much like what one tends to find in higher alcohol strengths. There were several remarks like:

  • “OK! My mouth is totally disinfected now!”
  • “Well that cleared my palate and sinuses alright! Did it singe my nostril hairs too?”

Did we like it? Mixed response…

However as the evening progressed, we found it was more approachable after sampling other drams and went well with the cigar.

What was the trio sampled?

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