Character of Islay

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I guess the cooler evenings are perfect for something a little smoky…

A while ago I was lucky to have received this little package from the Dram Good Club, and though I don’t really drink that much peated whisky these days, it was nice to try these. These are from the Character of Islay Whisky Company:

The Character of Islay Whisky Company is an independent bottler of whiskies from Islay (y’know, like the name suggests), taking inspiration from the Hebridean island’s landscape, culture and inhabitants. The first release in the range was Aerolite Lyndsay, of which there were whispers about during the 2019 whisky festival on Islay, before being followed by another pair of excellent expressions (Grace Île and Fiona Macleod) in 2020. Later that same year, The Character of Islay Whisky Company revealed The Stories of Wind & Range series”.

First out the box is the Aerolite Lyndsay (an anagram of ten year old Islay) this is 46% and was distilled in bourbon barrels and Spanish oak sherry quarter casks.

On the nose there is sweet peat smoke, and a little citrus kick. There is some sweetness, salty hint…think about saltiness on your lips after walking at the beach and the sea air.

I thought it was slightly dry on the palate, but a little tart sour note makes your tastebuds water. There’s light smokiness on the palate, and a pinch of pepper. Dark chocolate. Not overly sweet. 

Salty on the finish… a little bit impish (black sweetie things.) 

Fiona MacLeod 33 year old 46.3%

A little fragrant, and bonfire smoke. Coffee and tropical fruity notes. Vanilla and a little menthol. I thought there was a brief waxiness. The peat came through as a hint of coal tar soap. 

Spicy on the palate with a little lemon. Dark chocolate. Turkish delight….Terry(s)…(I was thinking Arthur Daley.) Woody smoky flavour and a little brine.

A little sweetness remaining…

Grace Île 25 year old 48%

Chocolate orange meets peaty smoke… A little TCP. Like a walk on the shore, a freshness on the senses. A twist of lemon bitterness. In the distance the scent of a dying bonfire. 

Woody notes and spices greet the palate. Dark toffee. It’s a little oily…with fruit and vanilla. Smoky…definitely a saltiness to this again. 

Sweet and smoky on the finish…

Green Isle 40%

Biscuity hints on the nose with a definite Maritime air… Savlon. A grassy note. Dusty cocoa and an oily note.

Caramel on the palate alongside vanilla. Black pepper. A little saccharine… spicy and a little juicy (fruity.)

The finish is soft and a little smoky. 

Although I enjoyed trying these, I can’t say that smoky/peated whiskies are my “go to drams” anymore…years ago it would have been odd to see me with anything but a Laphroaig 10 year old in my hand. I liked the Aerolite Lyndsay and the Grace Île.

Many thanks to the Dram Good Club, Drinks by the Dram / Master of Malt for the opportunity to try these. If you’d like to try these for yourself the set is available to buy from Master of Malt

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