August 4, 2016

Malts of Scotland - Eilean a Chuirn Lighthouse

We keep finding ourselves buying more of these Malts of Scotland independent bottlings. What's not to like? They are all uncolored, unfiltered, cask strength monsters. They come in the coolest squat medicinal bottles.  And they seem to have limitless supplies of super peaty Islay malts. So far so good.

The "Images of Islay" line appears to be a range of single malts from distilleries that asked Malts of Scotland for non-disclosure as to the source of the whisky. This is pretty common for distilleries like Ardbeg and Lagavulin which will agree to sell barrels to various bottlers but would prefer it not made public. This is why you rarely see an independent bottling of Lagavulin, though there are a few out there labelled anonymously. Each Images of Islay features a different Islay landmark on the label like "Cattle at Islay Graveyard" "Round Church of Bowmore" "Port Ellen Lighthouse" "Soldier's Rock", or this one, "Eilean a Chuirn Lighthouse".

In this case, the stuff is almost certainly Ardbeg. It's got the flavor profile written all over it. Also the Eilean a Chuirn lighthouse is located on the southeastern tip of Islay, with the closest distillery being Ardbeg. Also the guy in the store told us it was Ardbeg.

We want to get in touch with Malts of Scotland! We dropped a note on their 'contact us' page, but didn't hear back. If anyone knows them, please introduce us!

Tasting Notes

Nose:  Brilliant phenolic explosion on this one. Limes and bandaids, tons of tropical fruit all wrapped up in the smoke like grilled pineapple, mango, coconut, maybe just the whole palm tree. Some little bursts of skunky cactus, aloe vera, or - agave? (have we been drinking too much mezcal?? No it's there!)

Palate: Lighly oily mouthfeel on this one. Some more traditional flavors come out in the mouth - white grapes, some light oak tannins, white chocolate.

Finish: Damn is this just incredibly smooth for a cask strength (106.4 proof) whisky! Not a big bruiser of a finish at all, this is all elegance. Everything comes together nicely with the smoke carrying a brush of sweetness. That strange fruity skunk aspect remains (not using "skunk" in a bad way here, it's quite nice).


This is a great straight-ahead Islay malt. Strong, smooth, smoky, and sweet without too much cask influence. Guessing this is in the 8-9 year age range and just a lovely expression of what a simple well-treated Islay malt can do.


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