Islay Single Malt Scotch Whisky 12 Years Old (Marks & Spencer)

40% ABV, £29 for 70cl

Score: 70/100

What they say:

Typical characteristics of peat and smoke dominate with hints if seaweed and pepper which give this 12 year old single malt the smells and flavours so evocative of Scotland’s stormy coastline.

A very fine example of a first class single malt whisky distilled on the Isle of Islay.

What I say:

So we conclude with part 4 of our M&S own bottling micro-tour of Scotch whisky. As usual we end up where most tastings invariably end – the little peat-monster island of Islay. Heres praying for some powerful phenolics and that rugged Atlantic coastline inspired wildness in a bottle…

Colour:

Gold

Nose:

Briny seaweed, a little peat (!?), some citrus, sweet and toffee aromas

Taste:

Warming and mildly peaty, lemon meringue then strong and bitter coffee/cocoa/chocolate, a little vanilla and woody oak, a little vinegary/acidic

Finish:

A short vaporous and bitter finish is overpowered by ginger, peat and coffee of ~medium length

Would I buy it again:

No! Not for me, this is one of the more disappointing Islay drams I have had in awhile. Usually this is due to just too much peat and the dram really needing assaulting so you can get in and unlock the other flavours. This one however is wishy-washy on the peat front, too much citrus and just down right not sure what the hell is going on with the ginger and vinegar. Conclusion likely Bowmore (sorry Bowmore I do love your stuff really) with all the lemony citrus going on in there.