South Shore Islay 8 Y.O. (48.8%, VM, 2016)


Today I finally manage to get to one of those neat Valinch & Mallet bottling, by Davide Romano and Fabio Ermoli. Here I have a sample of the South Shore Islay, a 8 years old single malt from an unknown distillery. 

My powerful investigative capabilities, though, are so developed to make Rustin Cohle look like an amateur in comparison, and some questionable rumours suggested me that it comes from a distillery from the south shore of Islay (REALLY???) whose name starts with L. And it’s one of those distilleries that really doesn’t like having its name printed on indie bottlings. What distillery am I talking about? Well, this is for you to find out, my imaginary reader! In the mean time I’m going to drink up this whisky exactly like Rust does with his beers. And since I’m apparently fixated on him today, he’s gonna accompany me throughout the review.

Valinch & Mallet usually bottle their whiskies at cask strength, but this young one belongs to the “Dumpy Series” and it is therefore diluted to 48.8%. In the glass it shines with a straw-like yellow. But you know, I’m colour-blind, so you should trust me only up to a point (even though I’m pretty OK on the yellow, I think). I’ll proceed then with my tasting notes, with random and inappropriate interruption by Rustin Cohle, as promised.

Nose: A full, steady smoke. It is not too aggressive and it does’t strike me as too dominant. It is a kind of… conscientious smoke.
Rust: “I think human consciousness is a tragic misstep in evolution. Stop reproducing. Walk hand in hand into extinction. One last midnight, brothers and sisters opting out of a raw deal“.
Yeah, OK Rust. I said conscientious, not consciousness… And you’re there with your beer poorly mimicking Giacomo Leopardi, but here I find lemon, a salt so intense… Can’t you just pay attention to the fragrances coming out from this whisky, and to the marvellous connections that your brain is making to other smells?
Rust: “You know me. I don’t see the connection between two dead cats and a murdered woman. But I’m from Texas“.
And I’m from a small village near Torino, and in the old days people used to call us “Christian-skinners”, because of our exaggerated skills in collecting toll charges. Anyway, in this whisky the peat smoke is not killing anybody, certainly not cats. Therefore, there are no homicidal links here to be found, just some intense marine notes. And now after a while I’d say that the place formerly occupied by the lemon is taken over by some clementines, along with some sweet notes (vanilla maybe?). But you know, I’m not so good in giving a precise name to all these smells. Are you?
Rust: “Life’s barely long enough to get good at one thing. So be careful what you get good at“.
Whatever, dude.

Taste: The smoke is hammering now, and the marine/salty side becomes explosive. It’s great, I hope I won’t lose sleep over this fabulous little thing tonight.
Rust: “Not sleepin’, I lay awake thinkin’ about women, my daughter, my wife… I mean, it’s like somethin’s got your name on it, like a bullet or a nail in the road“.
Well, sure, sure… But in the meantime don’t you notice this orange, this apple, this oily sensation? I mean, don’t you know that it’s quite difficult to find a 8 years old whisky of such a quality nowadays?
Rust: “I know who I am. And after all these years, there’s a victory in that.
A victory would be to make you shut up. I start understanding Marty’s impatience. To sum it up, the taste is very well balanced. Rich, strong, and extremely drinkable.

Finish: Not too long, but with whiffs of powerful smoke that you ought to love.
Rust: “I don’t think men can love“.
Jesus, Rust.

Overall: It really excited me at times, The original distillery bottling of the same age, despite being awesome, seems to me quite inferior to this one. But as usual, it’s a completely subjective opinion.
Rust: “This… This is what I’m talking about. This is what I mean when I’m talkin’ about time, and death, and futility. All right there are broader ideas at work, mainly what is owed between us as a society for our mutual illusions. To realize that all your life–you know, all your love, all your hate, all your memories, all your pain–it was all the same thing. It was all the same dream, a dream that you had inside a locked room, a dream about being a person. And like a lot of dreams, there’s a monster at the end of it“.
Rust, please stop it! At the end of this dream there is no monster, just a monstrous 89/100. Really impressive stuff from V&M!And despite being a bottle from 2016, you can still find it somewhere… let the hunt begin!
Rust: “I quit“.

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