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The perfect introduction to the Isle of Islay, Port Askaig 8 Year Old has a soft, sweet peaty character balanced to perfection. Ageing in refill American oak allows the character of the spirit to shine through, making for a gentle, smoky, moreish dram.
Color: Honeyed water. I had to do a double-take to discern whether it had any color at all. It does, but not much.
Nose: This one has some swagger in the glass, which starts with the color. On the nose, it presents an appropriate amount of smoke, with sweeter, citrus-forward notes including burnt brown sugar, apple, honey, and lemon peel behind it. A bit of oatmeal. A slightly charred apple pie. These are all pretty apparent.
Palate: It is unmistakably Islay: straightforwardly mineral-rich and peaty, with slight, pleasant notes of citrus and burnt honey that follow logically from the nose. The smoke is not heavy, per se, but it is obvious. It is not overly complex, and I write that as a compliment.
Finish: It isn’t hot, and nothing lingers. There is no clingy mouthfeel, as some of the other Islays present. It politely says goodbye and then leaves.