Elements of Islay is a series of single malt small batch offering from all Islay distilleries, started in 2008 by Specialty Drinks, the parent company of The Whisky Exchange. Until now, all offerings were single malts, but now they have produced a blended malt, presented like all other Elements at natural cask strength, with no coloring and unchill filtered.
I’m curious about malt blends, and I’ve gone over the reasons for it many times before. In short, when blended well, the sum is higher than its parts – which is definitely the case here. Despite being young, this expression is very well put together, with a richness that I have seen in only a few peated malt blends.
Elements of Islay – Peat – Blended Malt (59.3% ABV, NCF, NC)
Appearance: Lightest yellow, a very thin necklace forms slowly releasing tiny thin legs.
Nose: Young and very fresh, with a slight perfumey note. Mineraly peat and a light note of honey with some underlying lemon and a hint of ash. Given some time in the glass to rest and open up, a maltiness appears together with some medicinal notes, and a faint note of crushed black pepper. Left covered for a bit, you’ll get a sour note before it dissipates back to the malty peat. With water, there’s less peat, and a beautiful floral note of violets with some vanilla.
Palate: Taken neat, the peat takes over after an initial sweet attack. You’ll get the malt, and some more of the honey, then a wave of peppery spice leading up to the ash setting in. Water brings out a honey sweetness alongside a citrus sourness, and nudges it towards more spiciness.
Linger: Peaty and ashy, this is a classic young Illiach, but with an underlying sweetness and slight dryness. The mouth remains tingly and ashy. The long linger is better without water, unless you prefer some sourness.
Hard core peat for hard core peat heads, yet this dram has a very gentle, floral, and malty side to it. It reminds me of the Big Peat Christmas Edition 2015 which I really liked. Despite the high octane, I actually prefer it undiluted. This is a prime example of a peated blend well made, which to my great surprise has proven to be a elusively hard challenge for many of the independent bottlers out there.