I only briefly tried the original release of Ailsa Bay, it seemed decent if maybe a little bit rough so I was delighted when a bottle of this landed on my doorstep thanks to the kind whisky fairies.
I also received some Norlan glasses and some Fever Tree soda water and Tonic Water, which was lovely.
Now, apparently Aisla Bay is a science project, the bottle and blurb talk about nothing else, the micro control of sweet part per million and peat parts per million (019 and 022 respectively if you’re interested) and as well as the Malt Master name of Brian Kinsman, a name you’ll be familiar with surely, we also have the technical leader’s signature on the bottle, a John Ross.
“No other bottle is made with this much science” this is also written on the bottle, a quote from distillery manager Stuart Watts, but I’m already getting rather overwhelmed by all this talk so I’m going to get on with the review.
I’m going to be dead cheeky and ask if I can go for a wander around the place, I doubt I will but I want to see this science in action, fingers crossed.
For the review I am using my normal Glencairn and the glass I bought for a quid from Ikea, the Norlan glasses are very pretty but I don’t think they offer the best experience for someone trying to get the most out of a glass of whisky but I’m doing an article on glassware soon and I’ll maybe even link it here if I remember.
For something nearly 50% it doesn’t need the water to soften it but I find a drop helps to bring out one or two of the more nuanced notes.
Nose. A big whiff of fire pit smoke, just as the fire really takes and the wind blows some ash at you, hobnob s’mores with dark chocolate, apple sauce, some fudge and the marshmallows from the s’mores.
Palate. Sweet peat smoke, vanilla notes, creamy milky chocolate, banana cake or bread of or something.
Finish. Big massive smoke, charred barrel and candyfloss hit, lasts a while.
This is very nice, in fact it’s a really tasty dram, the Norlan glass kinda kills it a bit, I know they’re designed to kill off the ethanol notes but it kills off some of the smoke, same with the Fever Tree mixers, they made a nice long drink but seemed a bit of waste, I can get Grant’s Smoky just now for £16, in fact I have, and I see no need to use up what is after all a nearly sixty pounds bottle of whisky on long drinks.