About the Distillery
Well, winter is here in full force at the moment – so let’s get into a region known for warming the cockles of many a drammers heart during the cold depths… Islay. Known for it’s ‘big’ iodine-ey and smokey whiskies, Islay (pronounced eye-lar) is an island sitting off the west coast of Scotland. Exposed to the big Atlantic weather systems during maturation, Islay whiskies are renowned for their ‘maritime’ quality as well as their peat and smoke. For August, we feature the Port Askaig 8yo as our malt of the month. A whisky that embodies all the attributes that make Islay whisky so popular – yet still enjoyable to those who don’t worship at the ‘Peat Monster’ altar.
There are currently 8 distilleries on Islay with a couple more being built now. For a relatively small island, this is quite a concentration. So why is Islay so popular with distillers? Well, historically, Islay has great barley and fantastic water – but the peat on Islay is also renowned for its very high quality. Specifically – Islay peat is completely free from rotting wood which tends to change the flavour of the peat when burnt. Due to the islands exposure to the Atlantic storms – lots of salt spray blows over and settles on the peat bogs which adds even more character to the peat.
Port Askaig sits apart form most Islay whiskies in that it is independently bottled (by Elixir Distillers) – and is not an actual distillery. The source(s) of the Port Askaig range are kept secret but it is widely believed that most of the Port Askaig whiskies come from Lagavulin, Caol Ila and Bunnahabhain.
Port Askaig 8yo - our thoughts
Port Askaig 8yo is aged in refill bourbon casks and presents itself with a pale white-wine colour. No caramel colourising this whisky!
On the nose it is instantly and fabulously malty with wafts of lemon, some mixed peel and vanilla as well as wet-stone and subtle coastal notes.
The palate gives away it’s true Islay nature with a beautiful oily mouthfeel, salt, seaweed and just a medium amount of peat which sits nicely with the licorice, vanilla and citrus flavours.
Not a particularly long finish, but it does arrive with an astringent dryness with lingering smoke and some peppery spice on the edges of the tongue.
All in all, the Port Askaig 8yo offers a fairly delicate introduction to Islay whisky. All the ‘typical’ flavours of the island – peat/smoke, iodine and salt – but toned down (compared to the the ‘heavyweights’ like Lagavulin 16yo) to allow the malt to shine, and smoothed out by the sweetness of citrus and licorice.
To compare the Port askaig 8yo to another in the range, please read our Port Askaig 100 Proof review from 2016.
Bottlers Tasting Notes
The youngest age-statement release in the Port Askaig range, this eight-year-old single malt Islay whisky is warming and smoky with notes of limestone, liquorice and dark peat.
The Port Askaig Range
Port Askaig is a range of Islay single malt whiskies that embodies the unique spirit of Islay and its people. Its character brings together the robust smokiness and soft fruitiness found in this beguiling island.
The range has been developed to appeal to the most discerning of whisky connoisseurs while also appealing to the novice whisky drinker. We have selected exceptional casks of Islay single malt and created a range that we believe will become recognised as an Islay classic.