The Ileach Peated Malt is sourced from an undisclosed distillery on Islay, so that narrows it down to being either, Ardbeg, Bowmore, Bruichladdich, Bunnahabhain, Caol Ila, Kilchoman, Lagavulin or Laphroaig.
Ileach is an independent bottling from the good people at the Highland and Island Scotch Whisky Company (based in Glasgow). As we’ve spoken about in the past – an independent bottling is when a third party buys spirit (either raw make or partially/fully aged) and then ages and/or bottles the whisky under their own brand name. Some independent bottlers are upfront with the distillery they are sourcing from – some (such as Highland and Island in this case) prefer to market as a totally proprietary product with no mention of the source. Just why would a distillery sell it’s own product to a third party for aging/bottling you ask? Simple economics – it allows that distillery to capitalise on their new make spirit immediately rather than having to wait 3, 6, 10 or more years for a return on their investment. Not as high a return as when they mature/bottle themselves, sure – but the money is in the bank now rather than down the track.
Debate rages on several forums about which distillery it is from, some swear it’s a young Lagavulin, some convinced it’s Bowmore. Andy thinks more likely Caol Ila. There is even speculation that the source is ever-changing. There seems to be no consensus on it’s actual origins – but who cares when it tastes this good!
Colour: The bottler has used clear glass in a typical Islay bottle. It is the same shape as Lagavulin and Caol Ila. The clear glass shows a wonderful bronze colour, which is the result of added caramel, rather than aging in ex Sherry butts.
Nose: The Ileach is a very heavily peated single malt whisky. The peat is immediately obvious when you pull the cork. It is a rich, smokey, bacon and ham aroma. There is a faint waft of the new make spirit, giving away that this whisky is less than 10 years old. The nose also has a touch of sea spray, so often present in the coastal Islay drams.
Palate: Full and rich. There is that bacon, truffle, and salty iodine, with a hint of vanilla, no doubt from the ex-bourbon barrels casks.
Finish: It is a savoury single malt. Long and dry with that bacon again.
Did I mention the bacon?