I have in stock, samples of the most of the 2014 Feis Ile lineup. So to clear the decks for that, here’s a couple of older ones that have been on my todo list for some time.
Ardbeg Day Feis Ile 2012, 56.7% A⊕+
Nose - Incredibly bright and sweet, intense, balanced toffee pennies and ash. Almost rotten apples, sweet burnt cardboard, raisin, port and dairylea cheese slice sandwiches. Ashes, autumn leaves and charred, damp oak staves. Very sweet, then very savoury, and rather good.
Body - Ham and ashes. Peanut toffee. Dark sherry notes (rum soaked raisins). Wonderful sweet, dark peat and old bandages.
Finish - Perplexing - there is a plastic, ham, and cigarette element in here that lingers and I can’t identify. In any case - long, numbing, rich and tasty, intensely sweet and drying. Intensity and balance throughout gets you top marks.
What’s not good about it - Some bitterness lurks in the end. That ashen note isn’t integrated perfectly with the sweetness late on and mars the overall experience a little.
What’s good about it - Complicated, grown up and serious nose with classical sweet Islay notes and good phenols. Interesting, intense and tasty.
Thanks to Steve for the sample!
Laphroaig Feis Ile 2013 - Cairdeas Port Wood Edition, 51.3% A+
Nose - Rich, burnt cardboard, big 70s bandages and winey peat. Peas and earth. Wet oak and gunpowder. Rather exciting but oddly thin.
Body - Chorizo, fennel and toffee apples. Rich chorizo peat.
Finish - Tasty, meaty, peaty and rich. Quite long and well balanced, good phenols (this isn’t a mild or “accessible” Laphroaig) and definitely in the meaty corner. Great longevity actually, the chorizo lives on. Really enjoyable, if not exactly elegant and beautiful.
What’s not good about it - While the nose is pleasant and interesting it lacks a little intensity. And I’m not sure how many times I’d reach for a pink, chorizo Laphroaig.
What’s good about it - Great port integration, hangs together very well with a very typical Laphroaig delivery.
Thanks to Tom for the sample!