Ailsa Bay


One thing you won’t see very often here is a review of a Lowland whisky. Aside from the fact that there are but a handful of active distilleries in this region, I’m not really a fan of the style. This though showed up on my radar because it is peated, something quite uncommon for a Lowland whisky.

The William Grant & Sons owned distillery shares its grounds with the older Girvan distillery, a producer of grain whisky. The Ailsa Bay distillery was added in 2007 and can be configured to produce a variety of styles of single malt, meant to be used primarily as a component in the various blends produced by William Grant & Sons.

This was the first malt produced there to be released under the Ailsa Bay name and was sort of a way for them to show off just how versatile the new distillery is at producing various styles, so it was heavily peated.

Aged 3 years * .  48.9%ABV. No colourant added and non-chill filtered.

*for lack of age statement

Nose: Mineral peat. Sea breeze. Ozone. Fresh tar. Green herbs, parsley and sage. Old tarred wood in the sun, like those old wooden death trap jungle gyms one used to find in public parks. Bit of smoky lemons. Honey. Menthol.

Palate: A bit thin feeling at first, but it build up to a nicer mouthfeel. Salt. Earthy peat. More tar. Old rubber. Pine cones. Wood ash. Lychees. Liquorice on the swallow.

Finish: Ash. Bitter wood. Rubber. Citrus oils. Paraffin wax. Some very light fruit notes, white grape juice maybe.

Would I buy this: No

Would I order this in a bar: Yes

Would I drink this if someone gave me a glass: Yes

VFM: 2/5
Finally something I really want from the Lowlands. Not a bad dram at all. It has quite an interesting bouquet of flavours from all over the place but they seem to work well and are quite balanced. I’d like to see a more aged expression and hopefully the price will go down a little once the gimmick factor wears off, but it looks like a promising whisky.



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