Port Askaig 30-year-old SMS

"A very nice bottle of Caol Ila (well, we suppose it is) with a great balance of slightly sweet peat, hessian and ashy lemons"

(Photo from Whiskybase)

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The Port Askaig  range, released by The Whisky Exchange’s associated independent bottler Speciality Drinks, consists of limited batches of peated whisky from Islay. The bottlings are comprise of NAS, a recent 9-year-old to even a 45-years-old. Of the 30-year-old batches have been released in 2009, 2013 and 2015. The contents of the first two seems to hint strongly at Caol Ila as the source, while the last batch seems more likely to be sourced from Bunnahabhain. The 2009 version, which we will have today, was bottled at 45.8 (let’s say the Talisker number), distilled in 1979 and, well, we don’t know much more. We’ll continue to the nosing than…

Nose

The undiluted nose is dominated by a greasy variant of peat, accompanied by faint notes of citrus in background. There are clear smells of wet hessian burlap and fresh coquilles. Overall, it is quite soft, despite the dominant peat, but also complex with beautiful hints of melon, fresh leather, new car furniture, limoncello, and a faint smell of pencil shavings. The peat becomes stronger after some time in the glass, which is still partnered by hessian, rope, and has even tropical side with hints of mango.

Taste

The palate starts with a soft and slightly sweet peat, backed by faint ashes, smoked lemon juice, but becomes more pungent after a while. There is some prickling lemon rasp to give it an incredible balance. Very nice! Then some ashy lime, and like in the nose, rope. A gentle finish, not overly long, but sufficient.

Overall

Again a very nice Caol Ila (well, we suppose it is). I compared it side by side with the Cadenhead from 1984 (review here), and I found the Port Askaig somewhat gentler and slightly less complex. The balance was slightly better. I mean, we are talking minor differences here, since these are both great bottlings.

What others say

Whiskybase: 89.00 (38 votes) * Serge Valentin @Whiskyfun: 90/100
Read for yourself

Big thanks for sharing a sample

Scores

these are my personal views, so do not take them too seriously… nothing beats tasting these for yourself •

Cask influence
40%
Peat/smoke
65%
Nose 90%
Taste 89%
Balance 91%
Depth 88.5%
Finish 89%
Score