Spirit of Islay Cask Samples

Back in the Whisky Good Ol’ Days ( When bottles were reasonably priced and had an age statement on – remember that – and Distillery Casks were reasonably priced…..) the people who were on the Spirit of Islay Yahoo Club (huh?) and Weekly chats ( well before Twitter tastings….) decided to buy first a Port Charlotte Hoggie then a Bruichladdich Bourbon Barrel . Now 14 years and 8 years on they are rapidly approaching bottling .

Up until March they resided at Laddie Distillery but we had to move them as Laddies shipping policy ( to the registered owners address only ) wasn’t favourable so given that the shareholders don’t all reside around me it was decided to move them somewhere that would be able to bottle and ship them to various countries . The obvious choice was Whiskybroker . So off we went today to meet up with Martin and get a sample from SOI 1 and II . It was only this time last year we were over to get a sample from the Longmorn cask and things have certainly progressed at Whiskybroker central ! Loads more racking , loads more  casks and a new super- duper bottling machine , Martin and Jane are certainly doing a cracking job in Creetown ! So onto the samples……

Spirit of Islay II Bruichladdich 2008

In an ex-Buffalo Trace 1st fill Bourbon Barrel , coming in at a whopping 64.2% ABV . Straw in Colour , since the last time i tried it it is now definitely a Laddie , for the ABV there is no burn on the nose , fresh green fruit , apples , pears , touch of the tropicals as well – Bananas , mango , pineapple . Vanilla custard , Lovely stuff !

The strength hits you on the palate , the fruit is there again covered in custard , quite a long finish but i need to try it with water…..

With Water the fruit explodes even more on the nose , it takes the burn off the palate and brings the flavours forward beautifully , actually noticing the Laddie fudge / toffee now  , it actually takes quite a bit of water . Have to say i’m very happy with how this cask has gone .

Spirit of Islay Port Charlotte 2002

In a (possibly 2nd , 3rd or 4th) Refill Sherry Hogshead , measuring a respectable 59.9% ABV . light Amber in colour , this has moved on so much since the last time i tried it (2014) , the colour now looks like a sherry cask matured whisky , the nose is amazing , still has the PC ash , Coal Smoke , a touch of seashore , there is a lot going on in the nose , really complex , too complex for my nose , where’s Serge when you need him……

Wow ! the palate is beautiful , nice and peaty , a touch of the fishermans friend , menthol , nice hint of lemon , again very complex with a lovely long finish . Water smooths the edges off , but i think i prefer it in it’s original state . Another excellent cask , as Serge once said to me i’ve been a luck B……. with casks and i have to agree !


Whiskybrokers site is HERE


A Few kindly donated Samples……

Some Samples kindly donated by Robert Banford and @raithrover…….

Royal Mile Whiskies 1990 23yo Jura 52.4%

To say i’m not a huge fan of Jura is a bit of an understatement (i can count on two fingers the one’s i have enjoyed……) , the initial nose is actually quite fruity , tarte apples and melons but there is an lingering smell of nail varnish / acetate which puts you off slightly . On the palate it is again fruity to start with but then becomes very ‘chemical’ , i would say from experience this hasn’t been in a very active cask , not a pleasant mouthfeel at all , the finish has the fruit / chemical mixture again with a touch of wood spices . This hasn’t done much to alter my opinion of Jura and certainly isn’t a patch on the best Jura i’ve had so far , the BBR 35yo . 

Whiskybroker 18yo Ben Nevis 53.7%

From a Hogshead (#852) that had new toasted ends fitted . On the nose you can smell the toastiness of the new ends straight away , there’s also a nice oranginess to it as well along with vanilla and lemon , a cracking nose . The palate is almost a light sherry (don’t think it was a sherry hoggie) , cake dough  , orange again and it is quite reminiscent of a Japanese whisky . the finish is long with light spices and a lovely sweetness (Honey and lemon) . An absolutely cracking dram ! (Additional info…. Dist –  11.06.1995 , Bott- 14.04.2015 , Outturn – 248) .

Whiskybroker 27yo Strathclyde 54.8%

You can’t whack a decent , well aged Grain whisky , this one is from Bourbon Barrel 62121 which produced 154 bottles . First thing on the nose is Digestive Biscuits , then vanilla , a small hint of varnish and Toffee Rice Crispies , maybe them crispies have Chocolate on the top as well , gorgeous nose . Smooth as a babies bum across the palate , bags of vanilla , again a touch of chocolate , the finish is interesting , long with pepper and a huge dollop of wood shavings ! Another excellent bottle from that young renegade Armstrong bloke , like i said you can’t whack a decent , well aged Grain ! (Additional info…. Dist –  09.06.1988 , Bott- 10.06.2015 )

Whiskybroker 18yo Clynelish 54.1% 

Have had a few Clynelish’s in my time  , this one comes with high recommendations , from a refill Hoggie (#11448) fitted with New Cask ends it produced 285 bottles . The nose is very fruity , ripe bananas , pineapple , apple turnover , a dollop of vanilla , honey and custard . The mouthfeel is incredibly oily , quite peppery , lots of fruit again , Banoffee pie ! The finish is very long , again peppery and spicy , apple pie with cinnamon . A truly outstanding Clynelish , if this was cricket it would be a 6 driven right over the main stand and out of the ground ! (Additional info…. Dist –  11.12.1996 , Bott- 30.01.2015 )

Bobby did send me two other samples but i’m not posting notes up as one (Exclusive Malts11yo Auchroisk) is the first malt i can remember spitting out (sulphured for one thing) when i tried it on Wednesday during the Daftmill chat, yes it was worse than the Jura above…. and the other a 13yo Craigellachie from the same bottler was the worst example i’ve had from that distillery, so i’m not going to taint my taste buds for a 2nd time.

Wild Buck Rye Whiskey 100% Proof


I’m a recent convert to Rye Whisky , so when @raithrover said he had a rye for me to try i naturally said yes please ! Raith picked this up on his recent travels in Florida , he likes to buy local produced Whiskies and this one is hand made in small batches at a small Distillery (they have a website HERE ) . On the nose it’s definitely Rye ! It does smell a tad young but it’s a nice spicy rye , bit like having rye bread in the glass . On the palate it is again spicy rye , a smooth youthfulness across the mouth , there isn’t a lot more you can say about the taste . The finish isn’t that long but is…… spicy rye . A pleasant enough Rye Whiskey but i have to say i prefer my Rye Canadian…….



Bunnahabhain Margadale Cask 9000070

This is the 4th cask i’ve been involved in the bottling of (details of the other 3 can be found HERE ) , This one was bought via Raymond Armstrong while he was at Bladnoch and was sold to shareholders who frequented the Bladnoch Forum . Some of us knew each other which would turn out to be a bonus the way future events unfolded…….

Basically with just under a year of the 10 year maturation left the company that owned Bladnoch was taken into Voluntary Liquidation , We all thought that the Distillery would have been sold by the time we bottled but it wasn’t ! So after talking with the Shareholder i knew we decided to track down the remaining members with the help of the Worldwide Internet and Raymonds new Forum . Eventually on the 11th February 2015 we got the cask released to Martin (Raymond’s son) for his company , Whiskybroker.co.uk , to bottle….. later that same day !


The Margadale is the peated spirit distilled by Bunnahabhain and called Moine by the Company , the peating level is believed to be 38 ppm (just a smidge below Lagavulin’s and Caol Ila’s level ) but Bunnahabhain has been known to peat at a lower level .

The Margadale was distilled on the 26th January 2005 during John Maclellan’s management , filled into an ex-Bourbon Barrel – by the outturn of 243 bottles it may have been a fresh one or very tight 2nd refill – it came out at 59.2% ABV .


And now the nitty-gritty bit….. How does it taste ?

Pale straw in colour . It is incredibly smoky on the nose , and i mean SMOKY ! Very seashore , the proverbial ‘Bonfire on the beach’ , It has a slight sweetness to the nose and a creaminess , very reminiscent of a South Shore Islay starting with ‘A’ , then a damp peatiness . A very fiery palate , lots of white pepper ,  a fierce peatiness along with smoke , there’s a hint of the Bunnahabhain sweetness but not much , a touch of barley and there is a slight chewiness to it  . The finish long , peppery hot and peaty . It can take quite a bit of water which enhances the creaminess  and the seashore qualities and doesn’t affect the smoke . The empty glass smells wonderful even after only a few minutes .

I’m more than happy with this , i’d put this up against any other 10yo Peated Islay and if i had to say which it was in a blind tasting i’d go for the one at the Southern end of the A846…

And then there were 4……..