The Whisky Tasting Club The Whisky Tasting Club

ISLANDS

Islands

Island hop around Arran, Jura, Mull, the Orkneys and Skye.

More Islands info here

Arran Machrie Moor

Arran is a roughly ellipsoid island with a varied landscape and a population of around 5000. The population was actually higher in the 19th century, but many people were forced to leave in the notorious clearances. The small independent Arran distillery is based in the village of Lochranza on the North coast.

This Machrie Moor expression is unusual for Arran in that it is peated. Machrie Moor, on the west coast of the island, is an area of moorland with a plethora of Bronze Age stone circles. One of the stone circles is known as Fingal's Cauldron Seat, where sits a stone with a carved hole. The legendary warrior giant Fingal is said to have tethered his favourite dog Bran to this stone, hence the label.

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machrieMoor

Tasting notes:
Nose: Fruit and nut chocolate, ripe grape, burnt Christmas cake, mock cream, liquorice sticks
Taste: A luscious and creamy peat much more prominent now with tinned fruits and a smooth liquorice edge.

Retails for around £40-£45

Jura Superstition

Jura Jura is most easily reached by a small ferry from Islay. With a population of around 200 on an island about 30 miles long, Jura makes Islay feel like a bustling metropolis. Dominating the island are three mountains known as the paps. The islands single road winds along the eastern coast, passing through the only village, Craighouse, which is also the location of the island pub and distillery. The Superstition is one of Jura’s classic range. It is a lightly peated easy drinking dram.

Jura


Jura

Tasting notes:
Nose: Condensed milk, green fruits, sherbet and wood. Sticky toffee pudding.
Taste: Milky and thin at first. Growing rich, smoky, spicy and slightly bitter at the death.

Retails for around £25-£30 and is commonly available in supermarkets

Talisker Distillers

Sky

Skye is the most northerly island of the Inner Hebrides and has a population of 10,000. Linked to the mainland by the 570m long Skye bridge (which is now free to use), it is a beautiful island and a popular tourist destination.

Talisker, located beside Loch Harport on the west coast of the island, is one of drinks giant Diageo’s classic malts range. Talisker’s taste profile is peated (at around 18-22 ppm), peppery and reminiscent of the sea. The distillers edition is finished in Amoroso sherry casks.

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Talisker 57

Tasting notes:
Nose: Rich and buttery but a definite hit of greengages adding juicy depth to it. Caramelised oranges in jelly and beeswax. A substantially reduced level of pepperiness over the standard Talisker. Very pleasant indeed.
Taste: The Amoroso sherry gives an initial fruitbowl character with oranges, nectarines and peaches with more of the beeswax and furniture polish before the Taslisker pepperiness re-asserts itself without ever dominating.

Retails for around £50-£60

Ledaig 10 year old

Ledaig (pronounced led-chig), meaning safe haven in Gaelic, is made at the Tobermory distillery on the Isle of Mull, an inner Hebridean island directly north of Islay and Jura. The distillery was established in 1823, but has been inactive for long periods of its life. In 2002 it was taken over by Burn Stewart and has since gone from strength to strength. About half the production is the lightly peated Tobermory, half the more peaty Ledaig. You may find a cheap no-age-statement Ledaig in supermarkets, but it is worth spending the extra to get this excellent higher strength ten year old.

Balvenie


Longrow

Tasting notes:
Nose: Sweet and herbal, custardy, oaty, citrus and hot tarmac.
Taste: Meadowsweet, lemon peel, seaweed, sour peat and late vanilla.

Retails for around £30

Highland Park 12 year old

The Orkney Islands are an archipelago off the North East coast of Scotland inhabited by about 20,000 people. Of the 70 odd islands in Orkney, only 20 are inhabited. Orkney has two distilleries, Highland Park and Scapa, both based on the largest of the islands, which is somewhat confusingly called the Mainland. Highland Park is one of the iconic Scottish distilleries, highly prized by whisky collectors. Honey is at the heart of Highland Park, but so is peat, which is cut from a moor close to the distillery.

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Tasting notes:
Nose: A flirty flash of malt thigh, with shades of honey, barley and peat, seductively asking if you want to come in without giving too much away.
Palate: Taste wise this one goes through the gears, cruising through a barley and honey overture, steering its way between wood, fruit and spice, and putting the peat pedal down as it accelerate to its conclusion
Finish: the various components finish equal first and in style.

This Islands tasting is an ideal whisky gift for a whisky lover, especially someone who loves peaty whisky. A great whisky gift (or whiskey gift) for a birthday present, christmas present, Father's day, St Patrick's day or just to be nice! Looking for a corporate gift? A whisky tasting or whiskey tasting is ideal.