Islay Ales - Kentucky Kiss- 5.1%
This is a beer, which has been fermented in fresh bourbon barrels, then bottle conditioned. It is a dark, malty stout style ale, with pronounced malt extract aromas and a very fragrant, floral waft of bourbon sweetness. The palate has lots of character, with a sweet, malty tongue coating taste, again with bags of the bourbon fruitiness. Anyone fascinated with the link between beer and American whiskey should grab a bottle of this, as the flavours are extremely well balanced and showcase just how progressive Islay Ales have become as an artisanal brewery.
Islay Ales – Single Malt Ale – 5.0%
Winner of a gold medal at the CAMRA champion Bottled beer awards in 2010, the single malt ale has a superbly clean, floral nose, with pronounced hoppiness and lemon zest, reminding us of a slightly heavier IPA. It is brewed using only pale malt (hence the ‘single malt’ description) and American Amarillo and English Bramling Cross hops. The palate is again clean zesty and very hoppy, making this a cracker of a summer ale- alas not what we’re experiencing on Islay at present.
Kilchoman – Feis Ile 2011 bottling – 500 bottles - 56%
Nose: Very fresh marzipan notes, slightly zesty, with buttery tones and a whiff of smoke and dark sherry.
Palate: Sharp with heathery honey tones, with sooty coal smoke, then sweet banana foam sweet notes. More than a hint of Caol Ila’s Moch about it, but at cask strength.
Finish: The smoke lingers with light, sweet malt notes.
Overall: Light weight with less of the pronounced peat, which earlier bottlings of Kilchoman have exhibited. We really liked this – again thinking it will probably shine brighter on a hot summers day than a rain sodden weekend in May!
In our next post, we visit Bunnahabhain for their open day and start pricing up distillery themed 3-piece tweed suits at the Islay Woollen Mill. Will Ridley’s Visa finally succumb to the massive seizure it has been threatening??