The Whiskey Hotline is currently on sabbatical on Islay, but the line between work and play is always blurred. We visited a few of our favorite distilleries in between eating haggis burgers, haggis pizza, haggis nachos and black pudding and managed to get an advance tasting on some upcoming releases you’ll want to keep an eye out for. These are all currently on the water and we expect to have them within a month or so. We’ll be sure to let you know here as soon as they arrive.  

Islay Whiskey Hotline

 

Laphroaig Cairdeas 2017

This year’s Cairdeas release forsakes the cask finishing and gets to the roots of one of the distillery’s core bottlings. It’s a cask strength, 100% quarter cask matured whisky and it is an absolute knockout. Quarter casks aren’t small casks at all, they are actually 1/4 the size of a butt, which is 500 liters making them more than half the size of a standard barrel. This whisky has some serious weight to it and is full of the classic Laphroaig character. On the nose, whiffs of peat smoke, soft sweet fruits, spice and honey. The palate brings more medicinal notes and some balancing oak spices with a kiss of vanilla. The finish lingers and is well balanced with smoke and soft fruit and honey.  

Laphroaig Cask Strength 10 year old Batch 9

The once a year favorite is finally returning and is one of the best yet. It brings loads of dark fruit, leather, earthy peat and spice on the nose. The oily body gives way to some distinct tropical fruit notes with a touch of baking spices and some honey. The finish just keeps going and remains balanced with spiced fruits, smoky peat and cinnamon. Everything we tasted at Laphroaig was impeccably balanced. Whether that comes from the hand-cut peat, the angle of the line arms of the stills, the careful maturation or perhaps just some Islay magic, these releases are not to be missed.  

Kilchoman 100% Islay 2017 Release

Another perennial favorite returns, and is older than ever. Now a 7 year old whisky, we didn’t think it was possible but this one keeps getting better. Made from barley grown and malted on site and matured in 100% first fill bourbon casks. A touch of pepper with earthy peat and gentle fruit on the nose. The palate is fresh and delicate with earthy peat, dark fruits and a faint whiff of smoke. The long finish features more pepper, anise and fruit fading.  

Kilchoman Loch Gorm 2017

Another newly minted 7 year old but aged exclusively in Oloroso sherry butts. Kilchoman’s soft, fruity spirit does well with the dark stewed fruits and rancio brought out in sherry barrel aging. Those fruits are definitely front and center on the nose, but there is a distinct hint of coconut in the background with a faint touch of peated malt and some flint. The palate is big and round with tropical fruit balancing out the dark sherried fruits and oak spice. The long fruit-laden finish can aptly be summed up as gorgeous.   Check out the Whiskey Hotline for updates on new whiskey, tastings, sales and more!