Review 2017-044 «Specifics» Single malt • Matured for an undisclosed number of years in a series of undisclosed casks • 57.1% Alcohol • Non-chill filtered • Natural colour • Sourced from an undisclosed Islay distillery (but we suspect it is Caol Ila) • Bottled by Speciality Drinks Ltd • London • UK • Widely available • price €45-70 • Whiskybase #72104
STORY. The Port Askaig range was originally developed by Speciality Drinks, a sister company of The Whisky Exchange, to appeal to the novice explorer of peated whisky. The purpose was to capture the true spirit of Islay by offering a balance between sweet fruits and smoky peat. For that, a range between without an age statement, or with age statements between 8 and 45 years. The release we will taste today is without age statement and bottled at 57.1% ABV – which is 100° Proof in a traditional system of alcohol content measurement (different from 100 proof of American bottlings).
APPEARANCE. Modern and simple design, colour of the contents appear like water with a drop of lemon juice (very, very light) and must have a natural colour.
NOSE. At first nose, it seems to be whispering, despite the high alcohol percentage. I can recognize the peat (of course), with a pinch of salt, some rasps of lemon skin, drops of lemon juice, and smoked ham. It seems to resembles a pure version of Caol Ila with slightly more peat than normal. In the development more salt appears. (water) Still pure and simple, but I can find some more refined layers of smoked lemon juice, lime skin, citrus sweets and marinated ham on the barbecue.
TASTE. Much more power here. We can find lots of sour and sweet peat, salt, brine, balanced by lime juice and lime skin. Again not overly complex, but very honest. (water) Dilution with water sweetens the whole, and adds some extra layers of complexity. Smoked pear juice, apple skin, apple sweets, varieties of peat. It is sweet and sharp with a lingering, oily aftertaste. Do I even detect some olives in there?
VERDICT. Of course we can deliberate here the lack of complexity, but this Port Askaig just does its intended job extremely well, which is delivering a pure and honest Islay whisky with perfect balance.
Recommended for someone searching for the true taste of Islay.
Thanks to Mike for the sample!
«What others say»
- @Whiskybase: Mean score of 85.65 (165 votes)
- @Whiskygospel: “It does lacks complexity but flavours are there on full show”
- @Wordsofwhisky.com: “So a very good nose plus an above average palate equals a good rating in my book” Score: 84/100
- @Whiskyisrael.co.il: “It’s not ultra complex. It is a strong contender for the NAS peat big-ass dram” Score: 83/100
- Serge @Whiskyfun.com: “Extremely simple, very good” Score: 82/100