Thursday, 26 September 2019

Aerolite Lyndsay 10-year whisky: A mystery from Islay



I love a good mystery. I love a mystery even more if it involves whisky… a whistery? Whiskery?

Independent bottler Atom Brands has launched a new range of Islay whiskies, and this is the first release from its Character of Islay Whisky Company. Future releases will be single and blended malts representing the unique characteristics of Islay spirits.

The Aerolite Lyndsay - an anagram of ten-year-old Islay - is a peated single malt bottled at 46% abv, and interestingly, it’s from a mysterious unnamed Islay distillery. It’s been matured for at least 10 years in 70% ex-Bourbon barrels, 25% ex-Sherry Spanish oak quarter casks, and a bonus 5% mystery casks.

Islay whisky

Islay is one of the southernmost islands of the Inner Hebrides off the west coast of Scotland. Although it’s a very small island, it has nine active distilleries. Islay whisky is known for its smoky, peaty style.

Islay itself has a bit of mystery about it. As well as being tricky to get to, it’s got an interesting, varied and rugged landscape. To the south of the island, you’ve got Ardbeg, Lagavulin and Laphroaig, which epitomise the Islay style with their salty, peaty, smokiness.

To the north of the island, you’ve got Bunnahabhain and Jura, which have both used and not used peat over the years, as well as Bruichladdich, which is typically unpeated (except for a couple of big hitters in recent times).



And then there’s Caol Ila which mostly produces fragrantly smoky whiskies, but spends part of the year making unpeated whisky, Kilchoman - which only opened in 2005 - and Bowmore, with its typically fruity, smoky whiskies.

Islay is also home to one of the most famous ‘lost’ producers. Port Ellen closed in 1983, but its whiskies are still incredibly sought after today. Which one could it be from?

Less mysterious about the Aerolite Lyndsay is the packaging. It’s quite basic - not in a bad way - and keeps things real, stating ‘believe what you will’, bringing the focus back to the whisky itself.



Filling your nose with this stuff transports you to the Hebrides. It’s rugged, salty, peaty and smoky. Add a few drops of water and you open up some sweeter notes too. On the palate, straightaway you get a burst of rugged coastal smokiness, but there’s some sweetness in there as well. It tastes like a trip to a stormy, dramatic seaside. The finish lingers for a little while with a woody smokiness, and some spice.

Overall, Aerolite Lyndsay covers quite a few aspects of a ‘typical’ Islay peated whisky. It might not be the most complex whisky I’ve ever sampled, but it’s tasty, and incredibly drinkable, with a reasonable price. I just had to keep drinking to see if I could work out where it was from.

It looks like the Aerolite Lyndsay won’t be the only mystery release from the company, with future releases exploring ‘a unique personality based on stories, legends and experiences associated with the island and its people.’

Aerolite Lyndsay costs £44.95 a bottle, so well priced for an exciting Christmas present, and is available from Master of Malt.

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