Whisky Review: Islay Extra Special
- Category: Islay single malt scotch whisky
- Origin: ?
- Bottling: ASDA
- ABV: 40%
- Cost: £20.50
What they say
A perfect Islay malt sitting between the spicy, floral flavours of Highland Malts and the sweetness of soft Speyside Malts.
For generations our small distillery on the Hebridean isle of Islay has been creating the very special Single Malt Whisky. Using only natural soft island spring water, we insist on drying our barley with peat smoke -a process which imparts gloriously complex aromas and hints of flavours including earth, smoke, tar and seaweeds. Finally this classic Islay Malt is matured in oak casks previously used for Bourbon in a traditional stone-walled dunnage warehouse before we bottle it straight from the wood in time-honoured fashion to retain every ounce of character. The Result? A light, golden whisky with subtle hints of oak and sea salt, vanilla and fruit undertones and a peaty, smoky finish.
What I say
Following our purchase and review of the ASDA Extra Special Highland Single Malt, we decided to try out their Islay expression.
Priced at £20.50 this was a reasonable gamble for a No-age statement [NAS] single malt whisky, however this time the odds were slightly stacked in our favour at guessing the distillery.
Islay currently houses eight distilleries, and many of these either do not produce enough or are currently low on stocks due to various reasons, leaving in our opinion a two horse race as to which distillery this was from.
I guessed Bowmore and Paula convinced me it was Laphroaig!
My tasting notes:
- Appearance: Full gold
- Nose: Toffee, Peat smoke, iodine, sea salt spray, seaweed, sweet vanilla, chewy oak wood
- Taste: Mellow honey and vanilla, meaty smoky burnt charcoal, peaty peanut and earth flavours build to salty sea spray and sushi seaweed umami flavours
- Finish: Short sweet honey then long long peanut peat with a little reflux, incredibly mellow
Would I buy it again, probably as I actually rather enjoyed this. In fact we both did and Paula isn’t usually a fan of peaty Islay whisky. My initial conclusion of Bowmore was based on the fact that this is incredibly mellow for Laphroaig. I was convinced however when we tried this side-by-side with the Bowmore 12 Years Old. The citrus elements of Bowmore are completely absent in the ASDA dram and the tears revealed that the ASDA dram was also significantly more viscous and oilier in the glass. In the end I conceded that this probably was a young Laphroaig. It is actually quite intensely vanilla flavoured which really softens the peaty influences and makes it hugely drinkable and enjoyable. For around the same price you can pick up either the Bowmore [12YO] or Laphroaig [10YO] on offer on a good day, however this is a little different and perhaps more accessible to the occasional whisky drinker.
Don’t take my word for it: