Thanks to /u/WDMC-905 for this sample.
Let’s cut to the chase: Ileach Islay Cask Strength is one of two whiskies bottled and distributed by the Vintage Malt Whisky Company. Who makes it? Someone on Islay. I don’t know who.
What’s the age? Well fuck you, that’s what it is. We know they peat it though, so… it’s not Bunnahabhain. Maybe.
I’ve said this before though: This is inexpensive, from an Islay distillery, and it has a name that, unless you know Gaelic, is hard to pronounce. Maybe.
This company may be the same one that bottles Finlaggan. And it may be the same thing.
Let’s see how the cask strength version tastes and stop worrying if it’s poison or not, shall we?
Price: $94.95 CAD at the LCBO, however may no longer be in stock
Colour: 2.5Y 7/8
Nose: Lime zest, peat, iodine, buttertart, pecans, BBQ sauce, leather
Nice citrus on the nose. Yes, it’s peated, and yes there’s salt. I guess they weren’t lying about that.
It builds as time goes on. More complex notes of brown sugar, leather, nice complex spices, and it gets better from there.
Buttertarts, for those of you wondering, are a Canadian baked good. They are a tart that is close to a pecan pie that is more runny, can have pecans or raisins or walnuts, or can forego any of those. See also: Sugar pie, or diabetes made easy.
Taste: Freshly ground pepper, thyme, brown butter, algae, cashew butter
Strong pepper note. Yes, I know I mention pepper, as a strong alcohol note can signal that for me. I get it. However this is stronger than normal and takes some time/water to remove it.
Herbal, vegetal, and nutty. Very buttery once it gets going, with a smooth nuttiness. In my mouth.
I wish there was a little more to this. The algae note isn’t great there, and sticks out.
Finish: Caramel, salt, ginger, lime pudding, cereal, cinnamon, cashew
Lots of caramel and salt, which are quite tasty. Some citrus, and then it goes a little lighter with water/time.
Conclusion: Much better than the standard, non cask strength version. Best part is the nose, which has the most complexity and most promise. The taste has an off note, is quite herbal/peppery, and really doesn’t do it many favours.
Honestly if the taste had some more work on it, this would be a nice, inexpensive option for us in Ontario. However it does not. The finish is nice, however falls apart with time.
All in all, a nice dram on the cheap, and a good initiation for Islay in general.
Scotch review #681, Islay review #149, Whisky Network review #1140