Old versions are always popular. This 17 years old, even if strongly reduced, doesn’t fail the rule. If this Islay distillery usually needs power to seduce us, why wouldn’t this « classic » be a revelation? …
Nose : The peat lies between seaweeds and « Laphroaig-like » plants. Quite fast, we notice that this nose is under green tea and heather influence. We also find quite a lot of pastry cream and pepper with a fruity aspect slowly appearing. We then have apricots in syrup, bananas and a bit of mandarin. Caramel and almond milk come to complete the profile while meaty notes give him intensity. It ain’t ultra powerful but the development is harmonious and it appears to be way more serene and peaceful than most of the recent versions. Indeed, it’s finer than expected, as the peat leaves a bit of space to the ambient softness.
However, vanilla and caramel scents override the fruitiness.
Mouth : We already get more peat. However it shoots off around herbaceous and lightly smoked notes before rejoining with the green tea but also with cold tobacco and salt. Dark chocolate immediately joins the whole whereas mandarin, Granny Smith and menthol notes appear next.
A straight and pretty ample mouth for 40%, but it lacks style. It also denotes a certain dryness in the second part, inexistent until then. It ain’t bad, far from it, but the tone withers with time. What a shame.
Finish : Cold tobacco, green tea, aniseed and green apples show a bitter/sour leaning. We feel a lack of punch but here the peat comes with a little boost to make the flavors last. The aftertaste, too short, finds back the cold tobacco-green tea duo with a bit of salt.