A cask strength, smoky mystery worthy of Sherlock Holmes.
The Ileach Whiskies are designed to be a mystery. “Ileach” is the word that residents of Islay call themselves. It’s even the name of the local neighborhood newspaper serving the Scottish Islands of Islay and Jura. But when you purchase either the regular Ileach Peaty at 40% ABV or The Ileach Cask Strength at 58%, you will find that there is no age statement (NAS) and that — even though they are single malts — the name of the distillery is missing. Buyers are left with a smoky, mysterious dram either way.
Each spring they hold the Islay Whisky festival. It tends to be a big deal and all of the distilleries open their doors to freely welcome guests. Each year’s Ileach Whisky release is usually timed to celebrate the big event. Being a special release without distillery recognition, it should not be surprising that it varies a bit from year to year. This year’s release fills the palate with peat smoke and sea-spray and the obvious use of ex-Bourbon casks. It tastes youthful, and a consensus of experts puts the age at 5 to 7 years.
Smartass Corner: If we put on our Sherlock Holmes caps, here is our guess. Since it is a single malt, by law it’s not a blend. It has been sold in the official distillery shop at Bowmore Distillery, hinting that it hails from either Bowmore or its sister distillery, Laphroaig. Taste, mouth feel, bottle, and label style … we say it’s a youthful Bowmore.