This week I had pleasure of attending the Peaty Exclusive Tasting at Whisky Exchange’s Great Portland St. store. The tasting was hosted by Billy Abbot, the brand ambassador of Whisky Exchange and one of my favourite whisky writers. The tasting consisted of 6 amazing whiskies, each exclusively bottled for Whisky Exchange, and of course as the name of the tasting would suggest, all whiskies were peated.
From a 30 year old Islay single malt to 5 year old peated Dutch single malt, we’ve tasted some interesting whiskies with different approach to peat usage in whisky production. Here are my tasting note from the tasting.
Orkney 2006 – 16 Year Old Sherry Cask Signatory
A 2006 Orkney single malt, bottled exclusively for The Whisky Exchange by indie bottler Signatory Vintage. It’s stated as undisclosed distillery on Orkney, but it is not hard to guess that it’s from Highland Park distillery. This one matured in a refill sherry butt for 16 years and bottled at 64.3%.
Nose: Starts with heather, moss and hay notes, followed by peat, dark chocolate, old book and wet oak.
Palate: Dark chocolate, apples and black liquorice aromas are accompanied by strong oaky nuances, wood smoke (almost like charred) and black pepper. Starts sweet and turns into a dry character.
Finish: A long and dry finish with dark chocolate, wood smoke and lime.
A big and bold Orkney malt, that show it’s sherry character more with its dryness instead of sweetness.
Price at the time of tasting: £135 – Available from Whisky Exchange
Islay 1991 – 30 Year Old Signatory
A 1991 Islay single malt, bottled exclusively for The Whisky Exchange by Signatory Vintage. This one is from an unknown distillery. It is matured in a single ex-bourbon barrel for 30 years and bottled at 50.7% abv.
Nose: Soft sweet peat, leather and chocolate with some fruity notes such as citrus, green apples and pears. Followed by aniseed, damp wood and hints of medicinal notes. Quite complex.
Palate: Similar with the nose, it starts with sweet peat, chocolate and fruity flavours, accompanied by citrus peel, black pepper and damp oak.
Finish: A dry and long finish with orange peel, citrus, oak and peat.
A truly complex Islay single malt from unknown distillery (my lucky guess would be Caol Ila or Laphroaig). I especially very much enjoyed the nose as it evolves with each sniff. Complex and well-balanced.
Price at the time of tasting: £475 – Available from Whisky Exchange
Ardbeg 2000 – 22 Year Old 50th Anniversary
A very special 2000-vintage Ardbeg bottled specially for the 50th anniversary of The Whisky Exchange’s co-founders’ family opening their original west London off-licence. The whisky was matured in a pair of heavily charred ex-Jack Daniel’s barrels and bottled at 53.4% abv.
Nose: Starts with seaweed, salted caramel, charred oak, apples and liquorice, followed by hints of medicinal notes.
Palate: Quite juicy and delicious with seaweed, caramel, apricots, liquorice, black pepper and smoky notes. Makes you feel sweet, salty, smoky and savoury all together. Complex.
Finish: Long and juicy finish with black pepper, liquorice and smoke.
This is the second time I’m tasting Ardbeg 2000 – 22 Year Old 50th Anniversary. In my first tasting, I thought “this is the best Ardbeg I’ve ever had” and this tasting confirmed my thought. It’s truly a amazing whisky.
Price at the time of tasting: £445.50 – Available from Whisky Exchange
Kornog 2016 – 6 Year Old Peated Refill Pedro Ximenez
Kornog 2016 6 Year Old Peated is a French Single Malt that has been matured in Pedro Ximenez sherry butt for 6 years and bottled at 60.5% strength.
Nose: Starts with mustard!, parmesan cheese, IPA beer and smoke. Followed by red fruits, barley and meaty notes. Sour, sweet and smoky. Quite interesting.
Palate: Red fruits, pear, apple and cherry are followed by milk chocolate, biscuits, leather and oak. Sour tastes are still present, but sweet nuances are more prominent on the palate. Smoky and a little medicinal character accompanies you during the journey in the background in a balanced way.
Finish: A long finish with red fruits, tobacco ash and oak.
I had a chance to taste Kornog 2016 6 Year Old Peated first time in a special tasting I was invited to celebrate 50th anniversary of The Whisky Exchange. My initial thoughts were this whisky is being one of the most complex whiskies I’ve ever tasted. After my second tasting this interesting dram, my thoughts are same. A truly complex single malt with unusual characteristics.
Price at the time of tasting: £99.95 – Available from Whisky Exchange
Millstone Peated 2017 – 5 Year Old Oloroso Sherry
A 2017 Millstone peated Dutch single malt that was specially selected by The Whisky Exchange. It is matured for five years in a single oloroso sherry cask and bottled in 2022 at 54.7% strength.
Nose: Starts quite sweet with dried fruits, caramel, dark honey and goes a little sweet-sour with mushroom, raspberries and mulberry. Initially feels more like a sherry or brandy. Followed by new oak, tobacco, leather and old books. Feels juicy. Complex.
Palate: Similar with the nose there is a combination of sweet and sour aromas, but also smokier this time. Raspberries, mulberry jam, raisin, leather, toasted oak and tobacco. Somewhere between cognac and rum. Truly interesting…
Finish: A long finish with raspberries, tobacco and leather.
Millstone Peated 2017 was my second favourite dram of the tasting (after Ardbeg). Super complex and full with interesting aromas that makes you feel as you are tasting a cognac, rum and sherry at the same time. Just amazing!
Price at the time of tasting: £59.95 – Available from Whisky Exchange
Ledaig 2005 – 17 Year Old Sherry Cask Signatory
A 2005 Ledaig single malt, bottled exclusively for The Whisky Exchange by Signatory Vintage in October 2022. Distilled in Tobermory distillery and matured in a refill sherry butt for 17 years, this one is bottled at 65.2% abv.
Nose: Blackcurrant, liquorice, caramel, brown sugar, red apples with smoky and medicinal notes. 65.2% abv level definitely hits on the nose.
Palate: Starts smoky and sweet with red fruits, blackcurrant and dark chocolate. Followed by sour and dry aromas such as seaweed, lime, cocoa beans. Syrup-like texture. Sweet and dry.
Finish: A long finish with smoke, dark chocolate and blackcurrant.
A strong and syrupy 17 year old single malt from Ledaig. This was the only whisky in the tasting that needed a few drop water. Delicious whisky yet lack of balance.
Price at the time of tasting: £275 – Available from Whisky Exchange