EYE- LA not I Lay

The Character of Islay Whisky Company tasting set Review

My Blog has been a bit quiet as I have effectively been shielding as I have a number of health issues which make me vulnerable to Covid – 19 and went on a crash diet to reduce my weight to a healthier level! It is great to have an excellent sample pack from Characters of Islay Whisky Company – an AtomBrands Company producing some really great whisky, to get back in action with.

  One of the great things is that this sample pack can be purchased from Masters of Malt at a very reasonable price, to arrive at your own opinion.  Actually an excellent price!

I am often asked which whisky is my favourite.  My honest answer is that I enjoy them all and have trained myself to look for the best in every one. It took practice but I am dedicated.

Were I to be told that I could only drink one region for the rest of my day, it would have to be Islay, so I was delighted to be sent a sample  set from Character of Islay.  Their flagship Aerolite Lyndsay is one of my favourite malts and its inclusion a welcome start.    

Green Isle – 40% ABV

The Characters of Islay Range

A blended whisky with distinctive peated notes

Nose:  Seaweed on a windswept Bech. A grassy peat note subtle citrus lemon bonbons notes an different Islay nose but a good one! 

Palate: Chocolate and honeycomb sweet unctuous taste, vanilla. Poached pear in berry juice, peppery spice note with cinnamon and nutmeg.  Sweet grain.

A smoky flavoursome palate.  A glorious blend with a bit of everything in it touched by Islay.  

Conclusion:  Gentle and approachable I love blends which put the Islay notes to the fore and build them on a grain and speyside foundation.  This is a blend I enjoyed and purchased myself.

It is reasonably priced, I have no hesitation in recommending this.  

Aerolite Lyndsay – 10 year old islay 46%

The name is an anagram of Ten year old Islay – love it.  

I have a close friend, a farmer with Islay roots.  I gifted him this whisky once and he loves it.  For me this is a fabulous Islay malt, 10 years old a sweet spot of the genre.

This is a really great Islay.  I have already had a few bottles myself.  Characters of Islay know their Islay whisky as of course does their closely related Boutiquey Whisky Company!

Equally importantly they know their casks and the ageing of this whisky is impeccable.  Buy this I am sure that every Islay fan will love this.

70% ex-Bourbon barrels, 25% ex-Sherry Spanish oak quarter casks – and 5% ‘mystery’ cask

Nose: Sweet peat, Iodine, salty maritime grasses, Scottish tablet with lovely nutty notes reenforces by oak

Palate: Salted caramel, malty notes then showcasing  seaweed and  lemon puff biscuits 

Fabulous fabulous Islay which I have now tasted on many occasions because I love it!  The cask treatment delivers something rounder and more flavoursome than the distilleries standard offerings which I also love and take nothing away from.  This gives me much more.

Grace Ile 25 year old 48% ABV

Nose: Sweet coastal peat and grassy meadow, pears, marshmallow, castor sugar pancakes hints of citrus a range of aromas just  like opening a box of black magic chocolates great nose.

Palate: Strong initial American Oak notes of spicy pepper then toffee apples and vanilla a rounded fruitiness like fruit cocktail in syrup, dark chocolate, smoky peat a sophisticated palate smooth and juicy. 

Finish: goes on and on constantly revealing new notes 

Conclusion:  Age matured Islay delivers an extraordinary whisky tasting experience the peat iodine bonfire tones retained but developed and tamed into a sweet complex delight with a fruitiness rarely tasted when younger. This is a great whisky. I can’t place the distillery, it did remind me of the Ancient Regime from Bruichladdich which it is unlikely to be! It could easily be any of 4 distilleries as all make great spirit lovely when young but capable of exceptional development. Laphroig or Caol Ila most likely. The cask certainly did its job. The ABV was spot on as well.

This is an excellent malt.

33 year old Fiona MacLeod 46.3% ABV

Nose:  Fresh green apple, honey, shrubbery leaves, waxy, a hint of biscuit, smoky pineapple  – great nose 

Palate : Lovely sweet peat, slightly tart fruit, maybe  figs with a touch of iodine, dried apricot,  ginger, pepper, salty spice notes with iced caramel sweets taste (probably before your time) full in the mouth.  This is a lovely whisky .  It has the depth of fruit salad syrup the only clue to its age.

Conclusion:  A lovely complex Islay with the peat well tamed by age.  

You can buy this as a tasting set from Masters of Malt.  I think it is a fantastic deal for the quality of contents.  Two of the Aerolite Lyndsay is a bit unusual but I love it and understand that at this price you can’t have all 25 year old plus whisky!  

Samples provided by Atom Brands for which many thanks.