Thursday, 23 January 2014

Unmissable Opportunity: The Society's Exhibition Islay Single Malt 25yr

Back before Christmas I came across a whisky that I just had to review: the perfect blend of quality, value, rarity and uniqueness, it's the perfect bottle to give to someone or with which to treat yourself.

The whisky I'm talking about is the 25yr Islay single malt from The Wine Society - a snip at under £40. I was very excited about this bottle, but unfortunately so was everyone else, and this wonderful dram was sold out by early December. I was crestfallen, and yet with the New Year comes new hopes, dreams and even little miracles - the 25yr Islay single malt is back in stock!

This whisky comes from one of the very finest distilleries on Islay (the Society isn't able to divulge which), but its quality really is second to none and at £33 is priced at a third of what you would need to pay if it was the distillery's own branded bottle! It is bottled at 46% and is non-chill filtered so you get to really taste this whisky, without the loss of any flavour for aesthetic or economic reasons.

On the nose this dram is all Islay with its intoxicating iodine and seaweed aromas. The smoke is clear and light and mixes wonderfully with a toasty caramel. Lots of younger Islays can be a little headstrong, climbing out of the glass and stinging your nose, but this is a fantastically graceful and refined example with all the depth you could hope for, but nicely aged and softened.

So what does it taste like? Well, there's pepper, salt, smoke and medicinal flavours for a start, with toasted caramel making another appearance, and spices and the lightest touch of candied citrus peel on the finish. The length is really good and it coats the mouth nicely and keeps with you - perfect on these cold, rainy nights. The 25yr Exhibition is a wonderful example of a lighter Islay: the age has really added depth, but also rounded off any severe edges that you can get with the younger examples. A slight touch of water will work for those that are so inclined (but it will really only need a tiny bit).

This a wonderfully warming dram and absolutely perfect to get you through the last of the winter as we start to come into Feb. There has been no significant snow yet and so we may be due, but this is a perfect remedy for that. Alternatively, perhaps purchase a bottle and set it aside for next Christmas, you will be sorry if you miss out on this awesome bottle.

Please note that The Wine Society only sell to their members, membership is £40 (we, along with the rest of the wine world, really think it is worth it), but that buys you a lifetime share - win!

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