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Blackadder Smoking Islay Blended Malt Scotch Whisky (700ml)
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- ABV 55%
Blackadder proprietor, Robin Tucek, is on a mission against the 'amelioration' of whisky - be it via chill filtration or the addition of caramel to add colour, he's dead against it. Tucek's Blackadder selection aims to keep your whisky experience as authentic as possible. The opening rant on his company website is not only informative, but makes good sense to anyone interested in getting the most for their whisky dollar.
He writes, "Most malt whiskies bottled by the distillery owners are a marriage of several different casks. These big cask vattings are then often chill-filtered and coloured with the addition of varying amounts of caramel before being bottled. Even whiskies that are not chill-filtered are normally bright-filtered. Chill-filtration - when the spirit is chilled to freezing point or below prior to bottling - is done for cosmetic reasons, as it removes any possibility of cloudiness. Unfortunately, it also removes many of the natural fats, oils and flavours in the whisky which in turn removes a great deal of the individual character of a whisky as the esters, or flavour congeners, in the spirit tend to gather around these fats. The more a whisky is chilled when filtering, therefore, the greater the proportion of fats and esters are removed. And caramel has its own flavour, which is added to that of the whisky. In fact, the majority of malt whiskies are treated in this way when bottled. Bright filtering also removes a large part of these fats and esters with losses of around two to three percent of the cask volume when bottling".
For his "Smoking Islay" release, Tucek has managed to source a supply of his own Islay casks, bottled at natural strength and without any adulteration. (To ensure supply he has to be secretive about exactly what is contained in each cask, but, perhaps that’s part of the fun in enjoying a glass or two of Smoking Islay - trying to guess what is in it!)
Tasting note: Pale gold colour. Powerful, sweet scents combine into a typically eclectic Islay profile that includes burnt toffee apple, candle wax, boot polish and a trace of orange oils that contributes freshness to the more industrial notes. The palate is momentarily oily, semi sweet and deceptively soft before a surprise spice attack; flavours of sweet vanilla and lanolin follow. Good balance at natural strength, though the high ABV quickly dries the mouth. Concludes dry and deeply warming with a salty tang and a subtle though persistent lanolin, charcoal after taste. In the mainstream of quality, masculine Islays, but plenty for peat freaks to enjoy and...non chill filtered.55% Alc./Vol.
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