Tag Archives: Islay

Bowmore 15 Year Old Mariner


Bowmore 15 Year Mariner Taste ProfileStats – 43% alcohol
Price – $100 for 1 Liter
Color – Mid amber
Nose – Peat and apples
Palate – Balancing tastes that typically seem to be in opposition with each other is no easy task. But contradiction plays in the favor of this polite Islay sipper. Light and sweet, but still has the full backbone of rich ashy peat smoke. Some dry oak and must at the finish. Apple peels brighten up the mid-palate and counteract the briny sea-side quality. As this one opens, it brings in more raw honey sweetness and a touch more woody oak.

Bowmore 15 Year Old Mariner Tastes Like:

  1. Ardbeg 10 Year Old (89%)
  2. Old Ballantruan – The Peated Malt (89%)
  3. Yoichi 12 Year Old (88%)

 


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Kilchoman – Loch Gorm


Kilchoman - Loch Gorm Visual Taste Profile

Stats – 46% alcohol, aged 5 years in Oloroso sherry casks, Islay
Price – $85
Color – Straw
Nose – Smoky peat and biscuits
Palate – As expected from “Islay’s farm distillery” it is rich and smoky with a good dose of diesel peat and coastal seaweed iodine character. But this is no one-trick-pony, it is also sweet, smooth, and has a slight baked apple quality as well. While it is undeniably an island scotch, it is tame and drinkable at 92 proof. While this may diminish some of the deeper and richer flavors you would find in a cask strength Kilchoman, the sherry cask maturation fills in a lot of this whisky’s well rounded sweet and fruity flavors. This one is just more evidence that when it come to whisky, heavy peating and sherry cask aging go together like chocolate and peanut butter.

Kilchoman Loch Gorm tastes like:

  1. Port Charlotte – An Turas Mor (90%)
  2. Bruichladdich – Octomore Comus (87%)
  3. Port Charlotte – The Peat Project (86%)

 


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Bowmore 23 Year – AD Rattray


Bowmore 23 Year - AD Rattray Taste ProfileStats – 53.1% alcohol, Sherry hogshead cask finished, distilled 1989, Islay
Price – $150
Color – Pale blonde
Nose – Warm and spicy
Palate – From private bottler A.D. Rattray, this whisky is not your typical release from Islay powerhouse Bowmore. Lighter on the peat smoke and sea-air iodine qualities that you may come to expect, this has a good botanical and ginger spice to it. Mint, pine, and fresh cracked black pepper linger at the midpalate, but it’s also a touch fruity. Not as much rich as it is astringent like grapefruit and lemon pith. This also dries it out some, but pleasantly which carries into sweet, long finish. This is worth seeking out to taste a new dimension to a standby distillery. If you’re fast, you might be able to pick up a bottle at Caskers.

Alternatives:

  1. Penderyn – Aur Cymru (87%)
  2. Russel’s Reserve – Single Barrel (83%)
  3. Dry Fly – Bourbon 101 (81%)

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Kilchoman – Machir Bay


Kilchoman - Machir Bay Taste Profile

Stats – 46% alcohol, Vatted 4 and 5 year malts, Islay
Price – $65
Color – Pale blonde
Nose – Firepit smoky and rich peat
Palate – From Kilchoman, the youngest distillery on Islay and named after the Machir Bay just west of the distillery. This is a vatting of 4 year old bourbon cask matured and 5 year old bourbon cask matured whiskies, with the 4 year also sitting in Olorosso Sherry casks for an additional 4 weeks. [“Vatted” simply means that different batches single malt whisky were combinded to make the whisky, as opposed to “Blended” which allows the distiller to cut the whisky with much cheaper neutral grain spirit (which is effectively just like vodka)].

Nice warm peat smoke and earth notes.  Well rounded and light, this one isn’t a “peat-bomb” like some of its Islay neighbors. Some ashy firepit and astringency lingers in the background, but isn’t overpowering. Even though this Kilchoman is brought down in alcohol content compared to the Summer 2010 version we reviewed earlier, the lighter proof makes Machir Bay incredibly drinkable. This is a perfect option for whisky fans looking to try something with a peat backbone without the overpowering smoke, sea-spray, or diesel-like character that typically come with it, but may be a touch weak for the peatophiles.

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Alternatives:

  1. Yoichi 12 Year (86%)
  2. Port Charlotte – The Peat Project (80%)
  3. Port Charlotte – An Turas Mor (77%)

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Kilchoman - Machir Bay label


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Port Charlotte – An Turas Mor


Port Charlotte - An Turas Mor Taste Profile
Stats – 46% alcohol, produced by Bruichladdich, Islay
Price – $55
Color – Straw
Nose – Very peaty and ashy, like a rich warm fireplace.
Palate – Very subtle and floral out of the gates, but smoky peat starts to build, but never drops the hammer.  It doesn’t linger for the finish either.  The smoke is very ethereal, there, then gone.  Some white grape almost like a sauternes finish but backed with peat smoke.  Some richness mingles with the Islay sea spray to make a complex slightly salty finish.

Alternatives:

  1. Port Charlotte – The Peat Project (85%)
  2. BenRiach 20 Year (78%)
  3. Bunnahabhain 12 Year (78%)

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