The Ileach (Cask Strength)

Review 2017-021 «Specifics» Single malt • 58.0% Alcohol • Matured for undisclosed number of years in a combination of undisclosed casks • Non-chill filtered • Natural coloured • Sourced from an undisclosed distillery (Islay, Scotland) • Bottled by The Highlands & Islands Scotch Whisky Company • Bearsden • Glasgow • Scotland • Widely available • Still available (price €38) • Whiskybase #52054

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 Ileach is a young whisky launched in 1997 (the cask strength version was introduced in 2000) that originates from an unknown Islay distillery, although persistent rumours point at Lagavulin. It reflects the people born on Islay, who are called The Ileach, pronounced as ee-lukh. The brand was redesigned in 2013 into its current form and apparently it is very popular in Sweden.

TASTING NOTES

 

APPEARANCE. Modern and tasteful design, colour of the contents is brownish straw and is slightly sherry coloured.

NOSE. This is full-in-your-nose peat, which at first is quite acidic and pungent. Add to that a touch of lemon skin and a bucket full of sea weed. It is very vegetal, rubber-ish, and there is freshly laid asphalt road (some not so random letters enter my mind L-a-g-a-v-u-l-i-n). It becomes sweeter over time as some sherry influence enters the nose. There are quite some iodine, TCP, new magazines and freshly cut oranges. (water) This makes it fruitier with pineapple jam and sweet pears. There is also some citrus freshness, along with sea air, shell fish and rose jam.

TASTE. You get directly mouthful of dried peat dissolved in sea water. Here the age is telling, it is young indeed, I would guess around 6 years. There is some burned wood and iodine. The palate is dry, but there is also a pleasant fruitiness. I find pears and again pineapple jam. (water) This brings more peat, salt, asphalt, bitter liquorice wood and horse radish. I detect some sherry on the background. The taste lingers for quite some time on the tongue.

VERDICT. Yes it is young, and very strong, but I like it, as it is balanced and, for this age, possesses a reasonable depth on the nose and palate. Looking at the price, this is an excellent choice for any (beginner or experienced) peat head.

Recommended for peat heads that do not mind young and strong.

Thanks to Norbert for the sample!

What others say

  • @Whiskybase: Mean score of 83.90 (99 votes)
  • @Jim Murray Whisky Bible, Score 97/100
  • Ralfy @Ralfy.com: “Young…” Score: 82/100
  • @Whiskyreviews.net: “If this isn’t a young Lagavulin it’s doing a damn good job of trying to be” Score 45.5/50
MY SCORE
Nose
84 %
Taste
85 %
Balance
85.5 %
Depth
84 %
Price
89 %