This is another whisky from the amazing stuff I got from /u/gregbenson314 through /r/ScotchSwap‘s Secret Santa. This one is an undisclosed Islay malt that was matured in first fill bourbon and then finished in casks that held red wine from California’s Napa Valley. It was bottled by the Creative Whisky Company.
I’m not half as familiar with wine as I am with whisky, so I’m not really familiar with the specific nuances and character of Napa Valley wines, but from my experience with red wine casks in general they either work really well with a whisky’s own character or they don’t, and with a whisky so young there’s a lot of distillate character still active, an it’ll be an interesting one to taste.
Aged 6 years. 58.8%. Matured in a first fill bourbon cask and finished in a Napa Valley red wine cask. No colourant added, non-chill filtered and bottled at cask strength from a single cask.
Nose: This is an odd one indeed. Lots of that young, sweet peat one gets in these younger Islay malts, but less aggressive than most. Rubber. Marzipan. A dusty note, but kind of nutty too, think crushed walnuts. Red fruits, cranberries, cherries. Licorice. And behind all of this there’s a slight funk I can’t quite place.
Palate: Malt. Sweet, ashy peat. Wood shavings. Barbecue gristle, but from something basted in thick sugary sauce. Cheap bubblegum. Leather. Chewy red fruits.
Finish: Long. Dry ash. Wine tannins. Wood spice. Apples with cinnamon. More barbecue gristle. Licorice.
Would I buy this: No
Would I order this in a bar: Yes
Would I drink this if someone gave me a glass: Yes
Well this was a weird one. The Islay character wasn’t as aggressive as a lot of similarly aged whiskies I’ve tried so it let quite a lot of subtle flavours through. It was quite sweet and nutty, along with the subtle spice influence. Still not 100% sure it’s the right profile for me, but it’s been well worth trying, I found dissecting the flavours to be quite challenging and fun.