Smokin’ Islay (Blackadder)

Review 2017-023 «Specifics» Single malt • The Spirit of Legend Series • Bottled in 2013 • 55.0% Alcohol • Matured for undisclosed number of years in an undisclosed cask (BA 2013/450) • Non-chill filtered • Natural coloured • Sourced from undisclosed distillery (Islay, Scotland) • Bottled by Blackadder • Tunbridge Wells • England • Limited availability (386 bottles) • Not available anymore, but other casks are (price €75-80) • Whiskybase #52668

STORY. Fèis Ìle, the yearly Islay Festival of Music and Malt, has evolved from a happening to celebrate Gaelic culture to one of the largest whisky festivals in the world with around 100.000 visitors from all over the world, doubling of the Island population. This year the festival took place from 27 May to 3 June, and as usual all the Islay distilleries, and several independent bottlers, released their special Fèis Ìle bottlings. As this reviewer cannot visit the festival in person, we will raise a dram (or more) to celebrate the many great whiskies that this Islay has given us. The idea behind the series of Smoking Islay releases is to showcase the richness of some of the powerfully flavoured Islay whiskies, which are hard to track down. Blackadder has tracked down some of these jewels, and (I quote) “to ensure our supply we have to be a bit secretive about exactly what is contained in each cask”. Part of the fun, as they call it, is to guess where the jewellery was originally forged on Islay. Well, we like a riddle, don’t we?



APPEARANCE. Retro and classic design, colour of the contents is translucent gold and is clearly natural coloured.

NOSE. This is fierce and fresh. I find some mezcally notes, some herbs, smoke, citrus fruits, and pine trees. The sweetness lures in the back, while after each sip your tongue is layered with ashes. All very A….ggy. Or perhaps not? There also some C..l I.a that are very ashy. (water) It has gotten slightly sweeter and more complex. There is still a pungent and fierce character, which is very enjoyable. Sea food, in particular scallops, smoked dragon, and caramelised orange and lemon skins are also there. This is a lovely combination, which remains very very fresh and pure.

TASTE. It has got pineapples, ashes, dried dragon, some sweetish and pungent peat. The palate remains fairly tight, though. (water) Now it opens up nicely with a combination of extinguished wood fires, coal, fresh peat, and again the caramelised orange and lemon skins. It continues with dark salty liquorice, sea salt, rosemary and dragon, poire flambé, bandages, and more salty liquorice. This is very pure, chiseled, and just awesome. I should compare this to the original bottling of 10-year-old A….g, but I think I might prefer this one. The balance of sweetness, pungent smoke and freshness is admirable.

VERDICT. Of course I do not know if this is really coming from the distillery I think. Anyway, what I can say that this is pure, chiseled and very good peated whisky. Very well selected by Blackadder, as if we expected otherwise.

Thanks to Norbert for the sample!

What others say

  • @Whiskybase: Mean score of 80.50 (4 votes)
  • Serge “Well done again, Sir Blackadder. And loved the coastalness, at times it was ‘wetter than a haddock’s bathing costume’ indeed” Score: 87/100
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