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Islay Storm

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Islay Storm

Postby Wes B. » Tue Feb 18, 2014 3:20 pm

I was at Trader Joe's the other day, and noticed a selection of single malt scotches for less than $20. Quite frankly, this scared me. I wasn't sure if it was even possible to find a drinkable single malt in that price range, but I decided to purchase one just in case my premonitions were wrong. I chose the Islay Storm (an independent bottling of Islay single malt), and it turns out that it is quite drinkable and enjoyable. This particular Islay whisky is not as complex in comparison to the vast majority of Islay whiskies, but it does have plenty of redeeming qualities.

Nose -- Right off the bat, one is able to pick up dominant charred oak/campfire smoke aromas indicating that this is going to be a heavier-hitting Islay. Other notes that lie in the background are dried leaves, musty seaweed, and hints of ocean spray. All in all, fairly consistent in nature with more expensive single malts from Islay, but this particular single malt tended to be a bit one dimensional and predictable.

Taste -- The mouthfeel is lively and oily dominated by tastes of charred oak and peat. Once those tastes settled, I got a feel that the whisky really opened up because the latter half of the flavor profile contains tastes of caramelized brown sugar, salt water, and seaweed.

Finish -- The finish was medium-long in length, and the flavors were all tied together with a bit of spice.

Overall -- As I said before, the flavor profile tended to be fairly predictable and a little boring. Nothing really wrong with that since I suspect this is a young whisky (aged 5-6 years), and the intricate flavors haven't had time to fully marry and tie in with the rest of the spirit. After comparing tasting notes, I'd be willing to bet this is a young Lagavulin.

Final Marks -- 80/100 (ie. well worth the $20).

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Re: Islay Storm

Postby Ganga » Tue Feb 18, 2014 6:17 pm

Sounds like a young Bowmore. I get lots of charred wood - oak campfire - on those. Will have to keep an eye open out here.
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Re: Islay Storm

Postby Gogo73 » Wed Feb 19, 2014 4:57 pm

Looks like a good everyday whisky to me. I usually stay away from cheap whiskys, but looks that there is exception to every rule.
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Re: Islay Storm

Postby bredman » Fri Feb 21, 2014 2:27 am

The bottling company for Islay Storm is C. S. James And Sons Ltd, co owned with another company called Highlands & Islands Scottish Whisky Company Ltd. who bottles The Ileach range of malt whiskies.

In the early days of (the quite brilliant) The Ileach the strong rumours were it was a young Lagavulin, then over the years as the quality dwindled the rumours switched to a most likely a young Caol Ila, or perhaps a young peated Bunnahabhain. I would imagine the Islay Storm is also one or the other of these two candidates. Tbh, if i was putting money on the likely distillery for any unnamed and low price Islay Single Malt (including supermarket brands) i'd put it on Caol Ila.

It is very difficult, by taste alone, to identify the origin of young well peated Islay malts.

Oh, there is different packaging over here, and a 12yo version.

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Re: Islay Storm

Postby Wes B. » Fri Feb 21, 2014 8:40 pm

bredman wrote:The bottling company for Islay Storm is C. S. James And Sons Ltd, co owned with another company called Highlands & Islands Scottish Whisky Company Ltd. who bottles The Ileach range of malt whiskies.

In the early days of (the quite brilliant) The Ileach the strong rumours were it was a young Lagavulin, then over the years as the quality dwindled the rumours switched to a most likely a young Caol Ila, or perhaps a young peated Bunnahabhain. I would imagine the Islay Storm is also one or the other of these two candidates. Tbh, if i was putting money on the likely distillery for any unnamed and low price Islay Single Malt (including supermarket brands) i'd put it on Caol Ila.

It is very difficult, by taste alone, to identify the origin of young well peated Islay malts.

Oh, there is different packaging over here, and a 12yo version.

Thanks for the excellent information, bredman! After having this variant of the Islay Storm, I would love to try the 12 year old variant. Too bad it isn't sold in the US...
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Re: Islay Storm

Postby Balladeer » Thu Apr 17, 2014 9:07 pm

I [picked this up at Trader Joe's because I wanted to try an Islay without spending a fortune. I much prefer the sweeter highland and Speyside whiskies (Dalmore, Balvenie, Deanston) but wanted to crack the mystery of Islay. This is OK, not my cup of tea, very smoky, but mildly drinkable. I can't handle it straight, need to add water to tame the smoke monster.
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Re: Islay Storm

Postby americantoffee » Sat Apr 19, 2014 2:14 pm

I'd recommend Arbeg 10 for a reasonable peated Islay single malt.
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