After the classic Lagavulin 16 year, the Finlaggan 40%, we moved on to bolder ground with the Ileach Cask Strength 58%. This particular bottle was purchased at a boutique liquor store in Vancouver and brought back from BC to Bombay by one of our Whisky Ladies… to be enjoyed in a special evening focused solely on Islay Iterations – all variations on a theme!
So what did the ladies think of this “Man from Islay”?
Ileach Cask Strength 58%
- Nose – Piquant, eau de vie, peat but not a heavy peat, light brine, much warmer, wood, sweet, apricot, peach pits, smoke is there but subtle. After some time some bacon… the true peaty character comes out more later, with some sweet grass too
- Palate – Intense, salt, spice, sour, makes one “pucker” up, mango papad, salted caramel, a bit of a khatta (sour) and meetha (sweet) thing going on…
- Finish – Cinnamon spice finish, quite clean and surprisingly long
- Water – Lost everything initially, then its really opened it up beautifully with a fabulous peat sweet, very smooth, some ginger, saffron, salt and a bit of honey
As our banter turned to its character with remarks like “I feel like I’m sleeping in a log cabin” or “It is a ‘non-veg’ kinda dram.”
We kept thinking how one of our Whisky Ladies would have loved this dram! Affectionately known as our “Peaty Lady,” she missed the evening to visit family in her original home of Sweden. Which made it all the more amusing to later learn this particular brand purports to be Sweden’s 2nd best selling single malt! (PS She did manage to try this in an “off book” mini session later).
Ileach is bottled by Highlands and Islands Scotch Whisky, acquired by Vintage Malt Co in 1997. These folks also bottle the Islay Storm whisky…
Here is what they have to say about the Ileach Cask Strength:
- Nose: Earthy smoky peat and salty ocean Breeze
- Palate: Pungent peat smoke, chewy sweet malt, pepper, tar and a touch of iodine
- Finish: Long and warming. Smoky ashes of the peat fire
Naturally the distillery is undisclosed but one rather discerning lady happened to remark that the four bottles – Lagavulin 16 year, Finlaggan Old Reserve plus their Cask Strength and this Ileach all looked remarkable similar in bottle shape. Hmm…
I shared that industry insiders tend to lean towards the theory that all come from exactly the same distillery – meaning we spent most of our evening exploring variations on a very specific theme – Lagavulin!
With this possible element in common, different pieces of the puzzle came together – the nature of the peat being there yet not overwhelming, the slightly briney quality and the unmistakable similarity of cinnamon spice on the finish.
For many, this Ileach was their favourite. A few turned back to the classic Lagavulin 16 year and some moved on to our next dram… a complete contrast with a shift to Laphroaig with its Port finish experiment.
What else did we explore in our Islay Iterations evening?
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